This lemon garlic salmon is packed with flavor! Bake it until tender and drizzle with a rich, zingy lemon butter sauce.

Lemon Garlic Salmon

Love salmon and looking for a new way to prepare it? Try this Lemon Garlic Salmon! The tender, flaky fish is draped in a lemon butter sauce that tastes like pure gold. It’s rich and zingy, bringing a pop of flavor to each bite. Adding a sauce makes this salmon so much more flavorful than cooking it with lemon or even just spritzing it with juice. You can mix up the sauce in just 5 minutes!

Finding a good piece of salmon

Here’s a tricky thing about this lemon garlic salmon: the quality of salmon you find at the store varies greatly. Lower quality salmon can taste very fishy and have a mushy texture, or have a lot of the white stuff when it’s cooked (see below). Here are some things to think about when buying salmon:

  • 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.) Buy it either fresh from the fish counter or frozen works too.
  • Coho is a good choice; avoid Atlantic salmon. We tend to like Coho salmon for its mild flavor: it’s a good middle of the road option in terms of price. Of course, King salmon is incredible but it’s on the expensive end. Avoid Atlantic salmon as it is typically farmed salmon.
Lemon garlic salmon

Perfect lemon garlic salmon: brine it first!

Ever cooked salmon and white stuff rises to the top? It’s perfectly safe to eat: but it’s not so appetizing to see! It’s coagulated protein that seeps to the surface called albumin. The amount of albumin varies greatly depending on the fish, so it’s not something you can control. (Read more here.) 

Here’s one way you can avoid the white stuff in this lemon garlic salmon: brine the salmon first! It also makes for perfectly moist fish, and it helps the salmon come to room temperature which makes it cook more evenly. Here’s what to do:

  • Mix up a salt water solution. Mix 4 cups of water and 3 tablespoons salt to make a salt water solution.
  • Place the fish in the water for 15 minutes. Just set the fish in the water for 15 minutes. You can do this in the time it takes to preheat your oven: so there’s no time lost!

Cooking methods for salmon

The lemon butter sauce is what makes the lemon garlic salmon flavor, so you can cook the fish using your favorite method! Here are our top methods for cooking this fish:

  • Baked: Baked Salmon is an easy method that works every time.
  • Broiled: Our favorite method is Broiled Salmon because it’s so quick and simple!
  • Pan seared: Pan Seared Salmon is also fast: it takes a little extra technique but results in a delicious crispy top.
Lemon Butter Sauce

Making the lemon butter sauce

While the salmon cooks, mix up the lemon butter sauce! It takes just 5 ingredients and 5 minutes to bring it together. It’s an intensely flavored sauce that’s intended to using in small quantities. A little goes a long way! Here are the 5 ingredients you’ll need:

  • Salted butter
  • Garlic
  • Lemon juice and zest
  • Salt
  • Parsley

Simply heat the garlic in the butter for 1 minute, then add the lemon, salt and parsley. Easy as that! It adds a massive pop of flavor and you can use it for any type of fish or chicken.

Lemon Garlic Salmon

More salmon recipes

Salmon is fantastic for easy weeknight meals. Here are a few favorite ways to prepare it:

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Lemon Garlic Salmon

Lemon Garlic Salmon


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This lemon garlic salmon is packed with flavor! Bake it until tender and drizzle with a rich, zingy lemon butter sauce.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for brining
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus zest of ½ lemon (plus more slices for garnish, if desired)
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 pinches kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Brine the salmon: While the oven 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. Place the salmon in foil*: Place a large sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and brush it with olive oil. Pat each piece of salmon dry, then place it on the foil. Sprinkle the salmon with kosher salt on each fillet and fresh ground pepper. Close and seal the foil around the salmon.
  4. Bake: Bake the salmon for 10 minutes in the foil. Then open the foil packet so steam can release and bake again for 3 to 6 minutes, depending on thickness, until just tender and pink at the center (the internal temperature should be between 125 to 130F in the center). A 1-inch thick fillet should cook in about 15 minutes total.
  5. Meanwhile, make the sauce: Mince the garlic and finely chop the parsley. Zest and juice the lemon. Melt the butter in a saucepan or skillet over low heat. Once melted, add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute (keep the heat low and don’t let it brown!). Remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice, zest and kosher salt.
  6. Serve: Serve the salmon immediately, drizzled with the lemon garlic sauce. Leftovers can be stored refrigerated for 3 days.

Notes

*If you prefer, you can also make Pan Seared Salmon or Broiled Salmon instead of baking it.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Lemon garlic 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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