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

Lemon Garlic Salmon
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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 (called albumin) when it’s cooked. Here are some things to think about when buying salmon:

  • Buy fresh if you can. Either fresh fish from a fish counter or frozen work, but we’ve had better luck with the flavor from fresh 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 this Sustainable Salmon Guide.
  • Know your types of 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. Sockeye salmon is another great choice.
Lemon garlic salmon

Tip: brine it first!

Ever cook salmon and see that white stuff that oozes from 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.

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 lemon garlic salmon

The lemon butter sauce is what makes the lemon garlic salmon flavor, so you can cook the fish using your favorite method! The recipe below includes instructions for baking the salmon in foil, which makes for a moist piece of fish (but no crispy top). Here are a few other 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 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:

This lemon garlic salmon recipe is…


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Lemon Garlic Salmon

Lemon Garlic Salmon

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
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This lemon garlic salmon is packed with flavor! Bake it until tender and drizzle with a rich, zingy lemon butter sauce.


  • 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


  1. Preheat: Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  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 130°F 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.


*If you prefer, you can also make Baked Salmon, Pan Seared Salmon, or Broiled Salmon instead of baking it in foil, adjusting the seasonings to this recipe. 

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

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 and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. LB says:

    What should you heat the oven to?

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Recipe is updated. Thank you!

  2. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!