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This oven baked salmon recipe perfectly seasoned, bursting with flavor, and ready in just 20 minutes! It’s ideal for busy weeknights or a quick meal to impress.

Oven baked salmon on a plate with serving forks and garnished with parsley.

Stop right there and bookmark this baked salmon recipe, because you’ll never need another! As married cookbook authors who have tried countless salmon recipes, this is the method that gets hands down rave reviews from friends and family. The tender fillet is perfectly seasoned with brown sugar and spices and has a lovely crisp topping, which is our favorite (no more mushy and under-seasoned fillets!).

What we love about this oven baked salmon recipe

This baked salmon recipe is our total go-to, from when our parents visit to a quick weeknight dinner for our kids. You’ll never need another recipe! Here’s why we love it:

  • It’s perfectly seasoned. The smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and thyme combination hits a home run (we also use it on our baked chicken thighs).
  • It has a crispy top. Mushy salmon is our pet peeve. This one comes out with a lovely crispy topping from the brown sugar and if you’d like, a quick broil.
  • It’s so simple. It takes just 20 minutes to make this! Get ready to impress your mother in law, neighbors, boss, or partner with no effort at all.

“It was absolutely delicious, and so easy to make! The fish was very flaky and tender and the smokey flavor is almost addictive. What could be better than having something that is easy to make and tastes wonderful? I will no doubt make this again soon!” -Annika

Key ingredients

Oven baked salmon ingredients: salmon, olive oil, spice blend, kosher salt

For the very best baked salmon recipe, you’ve got to start with a great fillet of fish. This is easier said than done, since there are many different ways salmon is sold at the store. In general, stay away from those big economy-sized freezer bags. Here are a few tips:

  • Look for 1 to 1 1/2-inch thick salmon fillets. You might find this type labeled “center cut” at the store. You can also use thinner fillets like sockeye salmon, which take less time to cook.
  • Buy fresh salmon, wild caught if possible. Salmon fresh from the fish counter usually has the best flavor. Frozen can work, but opt for highest-quality possible. 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.
  • Add this simple seasoning blend. You’ll need a combination of brown sugar, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, dried thyme, cumin, and salt. Before seasoning, brush on just a thin coating of olive oil.

How to bake salmon: step by step

This baked salmon recipe calls for seasoning the fish with brown sugar and spices, then baking until tender. We used to only bake salmon in a foil packet, but it gets very moist and mushy. This method for baking salmon that makes a lightly caramelized top, which we find gets rave reviews! Here are the steps for how to bake salmon:

Baked Salmon Step 1

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Allow the salmon to come to room temperature (or brine it in salt water).

Step 2: Place the room temperature salmon on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season (see full recipe).

Step 3: Bake the salmon for 10 to 16 minutes, until just tender and pink at the center and the internal temperature is 125 to 130°F in the center.

Serve garnished with finely chopped parsley. If desired, add a salmon sauce!

Oven Baked Salmon on plate with parsley garnish.

Variation: try baked lemon salmon

🍋 Want to mix up this baked salmon? Our favorite variation is lemon salmon, infused with citrusy fresh flavors!

  • Brush a medium baking dish with olive oil, then place slices from 1 lemon in the bottom and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place the salmon on top and sprinkle the fillets with 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon garlic powder and ½ teaspoon each onion powder dried dill, then sprinkle evenly over the fillets.
  • Bake in the same manner as the base recipe, then spoon over the sauce in the pan before serving.
Lemon Salmon

Serve with a sauce!

The best part about this oven baked salmon recipe is that it’s perfectly seasoned on its own: it doesn’t required a sauce to make it taste great! But you’re welcome to add one to take it up a notch. Here are a few of our favorite salmon sauce ideas:

Ways to serve this baked salmon recipe

Want to make it a meal? Try some of these easy sides for salmon, none of which require the oven!

Storing leftovers

Leftover salmon lasts refrigerated for up to 3 days, stored in a sealed container. Reheat it in a skillet over medium heat, or in a 400F oven until warm. Or, repurpose it in leftover salmon recipes like salmon salad, a salmon rice bowl, and more!

More salmon recipes

Love cooking with salmon? Here are a few more salmon recipes to try:

Dietary notes

This oven baked salmon recipe is pescatarian, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the best temperature for baked salmon?

400°F (200°C) makes for a tasty, tender piece of fish.

How long to bake salmon?

Bake salmon at 400°F (200°C) for 10 to 16 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.

For a crispy top, when the salmon is at 115°F, broil for about 2 minutes (about the last 2 minutes of the cook time).

What is the white stuff on baked salmon?

The gooey white stuff that oozes on the surface after cooking a piece of salmon is called albumin: it’s a coagulated protein that seeps to the surface while baking. The amount of albumin varies depending on the fish, so it’s not something you can control. It’s safe to eat, but it does look unappealing.

How do you prevent the white stuff on salmon?

Buy quality fresh fish. It’s best to buy fresh salmon and the white stuff can vary based on the fish counter at each grocery store, even though there’s no labeling difference. Experiment to find a source you love.

Brine the fish before cooking. Placing the fish in a brine solution for 15 minutes before baking can help to reduce albumin (see notes in the recipe below).

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Baked Salmon

Easy Oven Baked Salmon


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This oven baked salmon recipe perfectly seasoned, bursting with flavor, and ready in just 20 minutes! It’s ideal for busy weeknights or a quick meal to impress.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2 pounds or 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, wild caught if possible*
  • Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Allow the salmon to come to room temperature (or brine it**). 
  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. Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle the salmon with the kosher salt evenly divided among the fillets.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, and cumin. Sprinkle the mixture evenly on top of the fillets. 
  4. Bake the salmon for 10 to 16 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. For a crispy top, when the salmon is at 115°F, broil for about 2 minutes (about the last 2 minutes of the cook time).

Notes

*Lemon salmon variation: Brush a medium baking dish with olive oil, add the slices of 1 lemon, and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place the salmon on top of the lemons and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided among the fillets. In a medium bowl, mix 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, and ½ teaspoon dried dill, then sprinkle the mixture evenly over the fillets. Bake in the salmon manner as Step 4 above, then spoon over the sauce in the pan before serving.

**Brine the salmon (optional): 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).

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Keywords: Baked salmon, baked salmon recipe, oven baked salmon. how to bake salmon, how long to bake salmon

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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4 Comments

  1. It was absolutely delicious! And so easy to make. The fish was very flaky and tender with a delicious flavor. I have never used brown sugar on salmon before but it was so good in combination with the smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme and cumin. It tasted so good and the smokey flavor from the smoked paprika is almost addictive.

    The ease of the recipe is perfect for a quick week-night meal but it is also so delicious that I would not hesitate to serve it at a dinner party. And what could be better than having something that is easy to make and also tastes wonderful. I will no doubt make this again real soon!

  2. Hello!

    I think this recipe (or one like this) used to have a recipe for some cumin spiced red potatoes. Does that still exist somewhere? My husband and I love the Salmon with the chimichurri and potatoes.

    Love your recipes!
    Amy