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This brown sugar salmon recipe features a flavor-popping glaze that takes this fish to the next level! An ideal fast and easy dinner idea.

Brown Sugar Salmon

We’re always game for more fast and easy dinner ideas, and this is one to bookmark to make on repeat. Brown sugar salmon is simple and comes together quickly with just a few pantry ingredients! It’s a fun trick to whip out for a weeknight meal or when you’re entertaining, and it comes together in a flash. Broiling the salmon makes it even quicker than baking, and makes a caramelized crispy top.

Ingredients in brown sugar salmon

This brown sugar salmon recipe features a simple glaze featuring brown sugar, Dijon mustard and seasonings. It’s based on a concept where you simply mix equal parts brown sugar and mustard and paint it onto salmon. We adapted the concept with a few tweaks to really make the flavors shine. The ingredients for this brown sugar glazed salmon are:

  • Salmon fillets, wild caught if possible
  • Brown sugar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Olive oil
  • Onion and garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
Brown Sugar Salmon

Tips for buying salmon

Finding a quality piece of fish is key to brown sugar salmon, and the salmon you can find at the store varies greatly. Lower quality fillets can taste very fishy and have a mushy texture, or ooze lots of white stuff (called albumin) when cooked. It’s edible and not harmful, but it doesn’t look appetizing! Here’s what to know when shopping for salmon:

  • 1 to 1 1/2-inch thick fillets are handy for this recipe; you might find it labeled center cut at the store. Try to find something that looks like the fillets in this photo.
  • Buy fresh salmon. Salmon that’s fresh from the fish counter usually has the best flavor. Frozen can work, but try to find highest-quality frozen salmon: avoid those big economy-sized bags (we’ve found this type can be thinner and taste fishy).
  • 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.)

How to make brown sugar salmon

This brown sugar salmon recipe is fast and easy, partly because it uses a quick cooking technique: broiling! Broiling salmon is efficient because it skips the oven preheating time and the fish cooks in 5 to 10 minutes. Here are a few tips for broiling brown sugar salmon:

  • Allow the salmon to come to room temperature before cooking. This can take about 20 minutes, but it’s important. If the salmon is too cold when heat is applied, the outside can cook much faster than the inside. This makes it browned on the outside but still cold on the inside.
  • Remember the thickness determines the cook time. Very thin salmon can broil in just 5 minutes, but for this recipe we recommend a thicker piece. 1-inch salmon takes 8 to 11 minutes to broil.
  • Keep an eye on the broiler! Salmon can go from pink to brown very quickly in the broiler:. Don’t stray too far, especially at the end of the cook time!

How to know when salmon is done

The best way to know when salmon is done is to use a food thermometer! The internal temperature of the fish should measure 125 to 130°F in the thickest part of the salmon. 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.

Don’t have a food thermometer? You can use visual cues. Cook until the fish is just tender and pink at the center; it should also flake with a fork. It’s easy to overcook salmon, so the best way to measure is with a thermometer.

Brown sugar salmon

Or, try grilled brown sugar salmon

You can also make this brown sugar salmon recipe as grilled salmon! In the summer, it’s our favorite way to make it. Use the method from this Marinated Grilled Salmon to transform this recipe by doing the following:

  • Make the glaze as listed in the recipe below.
  • Place the salmon in a large dish or container skin side up and pour in the brown sugar glaze. Marinade for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • Place the salmon on a baking sheet. Brush it liberally with the marinade and discard any leftover marinade. Sprinkle with the kosher salt (split between the fillets) and fresh ground pepper.
  • Grill the salmon over indirect heat skin side up for 3 to 5 minutes, until grill marks appear and it releases from the grates. Flip and cook another 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon, until flaky and just pink at the thickest portion and the internal temperature is 125 to 130°F. Allow to rest for a few minutes, then serve.

More salmon recipes

And that’s it! Let us know what you think of this brown sugar glazed salmon recipe in the comments below. Need more inspiration? Here are a few more salmon recipes you might enjoy:

This brown sugar glazed salmon recipe is…

Dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Brown Sugar Salmon

Brown Sugar Salmon


Description

This brown sugar salmon recipe features a flavor-popping glaze that takes this fish to the next level! An ideal fast and easy dinner idea.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2 pounds or 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, wild caught if possible
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon warm water
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. For best results, allow the salmon to come to room temperature before preparing the recipe (about 20 minutes).
  2. Place a large sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and brush it with olive oil. Pat each piece of salmon dry and place it on the foil skin side down. Sprinkle the salmon with the kosher salt evenly divided among the fillets.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the light brown sugar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, water, onion powder, and garlic powder. Use a pastry brush to apply the glaze on the top of the salmon. Add a few grinds of fresh ground black pepper.
  4. Broil (on a center rack if possible) for about 8 to 11 minutes for 1-inch thick salmon, until it’s just tender and pink at the center (the internal temperature should be between 125 to 130°F in the center). Broil about 5 minutes for very thin salmon. Keep an eye on it because it can brown quickly. Serve immediately.

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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3 Comments

  1. I made this recipe. It was delicious! Loved the brown sugar topping. It took no time to make. A very easy weeknight meal. Thank you!