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Want dinner ideas? These easy salmon recipes are some of the best ways to include this tender fish on your table!

Salmon recipes

Looking for salmon dinner ideas? This fish is a popular choice when it comes to meals, but it’s notoriously tricky to cook it right. Here at A Couple Cooks, we’ve become salmon experts by testing out all the best salmon recipes to make dinnertime delicious! Try it seared, baked, or grilled, with a butter sauce or smothered in a sticky glaze. Or think outside the fillet with burgers, tacos, salad and more!

Looking for salmon basics? Try it pan seared, marinated, grilled, baked or broiled. Learn how to know when salmon is done, and browse ideas for leftover salmon.

And now…our top salmon recipes!

Tips for buying good salmon

When buying salmon for these salmon recipes, there’s one rule to keep in mind: get the best quality fish you can find and afford! Low quality salmon can taste very fishy and have a mushy texture or ooze that white stuff once it’s cooked. The quality of the fish can make or break your salmon recipe! Here’s what to look for:

  • Look for wild-caught salmon. Fish that is wild caught in your country is usually a sustainable choice. (There are also quality options in well-regulated farms; see Seafood Watch Consumer Guide.)
  • Tend toward fresh salmon. Buying salmon fresh from the fish counter usually has the best flavor. Frozen can work too, just try to find high-quality frozen salmon and not a big economy-sized bag.
  • Know your types of salmon. Coho salmon has a nice mild flavor: it’s a good middle of the road option in terms of price. King salmon is incredible, but on the expensive end. Atlantic salmon is often farmed, but can be a sustainable option. We find it’s better when purchased from a fresh counter (versus frozen). Ask about its source at the fish counter.

Main methods for cooking salmon

There are five main ways to cook salmon: pan fried, baked, broiled, grilled, and poached. The best way to assess doneness is with a food thermometer. Salmon is done when the internal temperature measures 125 to 130°F at the thickest point for medium cooked salmon (medium rare is 120°F). The fish will continue to cook after you remove it from the heat. To ensure full safety, the FDA recommended temperature for seafood is 145°F or well done.

Salmon Cooking MethodCook Time (depends on thickness)
Pan Seared Salmon4 to 8 minutes on medium high heat
(2 to 3 minutes skin side up to sear, then flip)
Baked Salmon10 to 16 minutes at 400°F
Broiled Salmon5 minutes (thin) or 7 to 10 minutes (1-inch thick salmon)
Grilled Salmon5 to 10 minutes on medium high heat (375 to 450°F)
(3 to 5 minutes skin side up until grill marks appear, then flip)
Poached Salmon
7 to 10 minutes

The white stuff: albumin

Ever noticed that gooey white stuff that sometimes appears on the surface of the fish after it’s cooked? It’s coagulated protein that seeps to the surface while cooking, called albuminIt’s safe to eat, but it does look less than appetizing on top of a beautiful fillet. The amount of albumin varies greatly depending on the piece of fish you buy, so it’s not something you can fully control.

To reduce the albumin, experiment with different types at different grocers to find those with less white stuff. It also helps to brine the salmon in a salt and water solution before baking:

  • In a large shallow dish, whisk together 4 cups room temperature water and 3 tablespoons kosher salt until dissolved.
  • Place the salmon in the water and wait for 15 minutes.

More with salmon

There are so many ways to enjoy this tasty, tender fish! Here are a few more ideas:

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Garlic butter salmon

35 Easy Salmon Recipes

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This garlic butter salmon recipe is an easy dinner in under 30 minutes! It’s bursting with flavor from fresh lemon, butter and garlic.


  • 1 pound salmon fillets, skin on (wild caught if possible)
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for brining
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus one drizzle
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus a few lemon wedges
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (if desired)


  1. Brine the salmon* (optional): In a large shallow dish, whisk together 4 cups room temperature water and 3 tablespoons kosher salt until dissolved. Place the salmon in the water and wait for 15 minutes. 
  2. If not brining, allow the salmon to come to room temperature for 15 minutes. Pat the salmon dry with a clean towel. Rub it generously with oil and sprinkle it with the kosher salt and generous grinds of fresh ground pepper.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the butter and olive oil. When butter is melted, add the salmon skin side up and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until cooked about halfway to center of thick part of salmon.
  4. Reduce to medium heat and flip the salmon (a fish spatula makes easy work of it). Tilt the pan down slightly and quickly spoon the pan juices over the top of the fish a few times. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then drizzle with the lemon juice and add the minced garlic. Continuously baste the salmon by spooning the garlic butter over the salmon and cook and additional 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness, until just tender and pink at the center (the internal temperature should be between 125 to 130°F in the center when removed).
  5. Remove from the heat. Spritz with juice from a few additional lemon wedges and  chopped fresh parsley (if using) and serve.
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Keywords: Salmon recipes, salmon recipe, easy salmon recipes, salmon dinner ideas

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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