Here’s how to make the absolute best grilled salmon! It’s perfectly tender and flavored with a magic seasoning blend that takes it to new heights.

Grilled Salmon

Want to grill salmon to perfection? Salmon is notoriously easy to over cook and under-season. We’ve had our share of sub-par salmon experiences, so we set about to find a no-fail way to grill salmon. Meet the Perfect Grilled Salmon! It’s an easy method and comes out tender with a lightly crisp crust. Even better, it’s sprinkled with our tasty magical seasoning blend. This salmon seasoning tastes so good, you’ll want to put it on everything…you might never make salmon without it again.

Ingredients for grilled salmon

Let’s break down the ingredients for grilled salmon, shall we? You only need a few quality ingredients to make the very best grilled salmon:

  • Skin-on salmon fillets: Try to find wild-caught if you can: it tastes better and is most sustainable. Skin on is important because it acts as a barrier between the fish and the grill while cooking.
  • Olive oil & salt: You’ll just need a bit for rubbing and sprinkling.
  • Seafood seasoning: Here’s where the magic comes in…
Grilled Salmon

The best seasoning for salmon…period.

Salmon is beautiful with just salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. But want to take it over the top? (We know you do.) The very best way to season grilled salmon is our homemade Seafood Seasoning! It brings unreal savory flavor to this fish. There’s a little smoky, savory, and salty, with a hint of celery seed and allspice for some intrigue. It’s so good that we can’t help but use it on all our grilled vegetables, too. Here’s what’s in this magic seasoning blend:

  • Smoked paprika (or sweet paprika)
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Thyme
  • Celery seed
  • Cumin
  • Allspice
  • Salt
How to grill salmon

Tips for how to grill salmon: the easy way!

Some people swear by cooking grilled salmon in foil. But we think the very best way is right on the grill grates. This way, you get all that smoky flavor and a crispy exterior. Here are our tips for how to grill salmon:

  • Brine the salmon first! Brining is simply placing the salmon in a salt water solution while the grill preheats. It makes for perfectly moist salmon, and also helps the salmon come to room temperature which makes it cook more evenly. You can also marinate the salmon as an alternate option: go to Marinated Grilled Salmon.
  • The temperature for grilled salmon? Medium high heat, or 375 to 450 degrees. Medium high heat makes for a perfectly cooked piece of salmon. While you can cook at high heat and then finish at lower heat, we like the ease of grilling at one temperature.
  • How long to cook grilled salmon? 3 to 5 minutes skin side up until grill marks form and it releases from the grates, then 2 to 5 minutes skin side down, depending on the thickness! The best way to measure whether it’s done is using an internal thermometer. Stick it in the thickest part of the fish and it should read 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ways to prevent sticking to the grill!

Some people complain about salmon sticking to the grill. The biggest contributor to that problem? Don’t try to turn it too soon! When the salmon is cooked just enough, it releases from the grill grates, making it easy to flip. But if you touch it before that time, it can stick and break apart. You don’t need to oil the grill grates. Just lightly oil the fish, and when cooking wait until the salmon is easy to release (about 5 minutes). Then it’s easy to flip!

Another tip: make sure to cook with skin on salmon. This helps it to stay together on the grill. Salmon with the skin off easily sticks to the grill. We don’t recommend using it here.

Another method: grilled salmon in foil!

Another great way to prevent sticking to the grill? Make Grill Salmon in Foil! Here are the pros and cons to this method:

  • Grilled salmon in foil eliminates the need to flip the fish on the grill.
  • The tradeoffs? The top doesn’t get crispy like in this method, and the fish doesn’t pick up as much of the charred grill flavor. If it seems worth it to you, head to our Grilled Salmon in Foil recipe.

Or, try marinated salmon!

Another option? Try Marinated Grilled Salmon! This infuses big savory, moist flavor into the salmon fillets and is one of our favorite ways to make this recipe. Here are the pros and cons:

  • The marinade adds complex, savory flavor to the fish fillets.
  • It takes at least 30 minutes to marinade, but half of this is your preheat time. You can also marinate for up to 3 hours refrigerated (just pull it out 30 minutes before grilling).
Grilled Salmon

More ways to season salmon

There are lots of ways to season salmon! Once you’ve tried it with this Seafood Seasoning, you might want to change it up a bit. Here are some more ideas on seasoning:

Grilled Salmon

What to serve with grilled salmon

Enough about cooking it: let’s talk about eating! What to serve with grilled salmon? Try using the rest of the grill grates for some grilled veggies, or pair with a summer salad. Here are some recs to build out your meal:

Want more grilled seafood? Try our Grilled Scallops, Grilled Cod, or Grilled Ahi Tuna.

This grilled salmon recipe is…

Gluten-free, dairy-free and pescatarian.

Print
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Grilled Salmon

Easy Grilled Salmon (Perfectly Seasoned!)


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

Description

Here’s how to make the absolute best grilled salmon! It’s perfectly tender and flavored with a magic seasoning blend that takes it to new heights. Or, try our Marinated Grilled Salmon with a quick marinade. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 4-ounce salmon fillets, skin on (wild caught if possible)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Seafood Seasoning*

Instructions

  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375 to 450 degrees).
  2. Brine the salmon (or go to Marinated Salmon to marinade instead): While the grill preheats, in a shallow dish mix together 4 cups room temperature water and 3 tablespoons kosher salt. Place the salmon in the water and wait for 15 minutes (this should be about the time it takes to preheat).
  3. Pat the salmon dry with a clean towel. Rub it generously with oil and sprinkle it with the kosher salt and seasoning blend (or simply salt and pepper).
  4. 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 degrees. (Salmon varies in thickness, so the cook time is different based on each piece of fish.) Allow to rest for a few minutes, then serve.

Notes

*We highly recommend making this homemade seafood seasoning! To make a quick version just for the salmon, mix 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon cumin.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • Diet: Low Calorie

Keywords: Grilled Salmon

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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3 Comments

  1. I have grilled salmon plenty of times but never knew about brining it. I tried this for our dinner tonight and WOW! The salmon just melted in our mouths! It was fantastic and my husband said it was better than any salmon he has gotten in restaurants in the past. Thank you!

  2. I’m confused. Trying this recipe tonight. Most other recipes say “skin side down first.” You say skin side up twice. Which is better?
    Thanks!

    1. We fixed the typo, sorry! We prefer skin-side up first, until you get nice grill marks on the salmon and then flip and cook until done.