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This pecan crusted salmon is fast and easy, with a deliciously crunchy topping! Make it to impress on weeknights or for dinner guests.

Pecan Crusted Salmon
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Here’s a meal that consistently makes everyone who takes a bite say Wow. Try this Pecan Crusted Salmon! It has an air of restaurant-style fancy, but it’s quick and easy to whip up on a weeknight. It takes basic salmon to the next level, coating it in a crunchy topping of nuts, seasoned breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese. The flavors are elevated enough for dinner guests, but also tasty enough for kids to shovel in bites. Pull it out for dinner guests or an easy weeknight meal…you choose! (And keep reading for a custom side dish that pairs beautifully.)

What you’ll need for pecan crusted salmon

Aside from the fish, all the other ingredients in this pecan crusted salmon are pantry ingredients! That makes this preparation great for if you’re looking for a great way to cook salmon but don’t want to think too hard. Once you’ve bought the Italian panko, you can keep it on hand for months. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Salmon (wild caught if possible, see below)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Honey
  • Pecans
  • Italian panko (see more below)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (that’s the kind that’s the texture of sand, not shredded)
  • Salt and pepper
Pecan crusted salmon

What salmon to look for

The number one most important part of a salmon recipe? The quality of the salmon. Try to find the best quality salmon you can afford. Here are a few tips on locating a great piece of salmon:

  • Buy 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.
  • Fresh salmon is best. You can find decent frozen salmon. But for the very best salmon, buy it fresh from your local seafood counter.
  • Coho is a good choice. We tend to like Coho salmon for its mild flavor: it’s a good middle of the road option in terms of price. Try to avoid Atlantic salmon as it is typically farmed salmon.

Italian style Panko, and a substitute

A key to this recipe? Italian-style Panko. Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb mixture that is airier and lighter than traditional breadcrumbs. Italian panko is panko with herbs and salt added. You can also use breadcrumbs or Italian breadcrumbs here, but we like how panko give it just the right crunch. You should be able to find panko easily at your local grocery store. If you can’t find the Italian-style panko, you can do the following:

  • Use regular panko and add salt and Italian seasonings. Mix the 2 tablespoons panko with 1 pinch kosher salt and ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning (or ¼ teaspoon each dried oregano and dried basil)
  • Or look for Italian or plain breadcrumbs instead, or make your own breadcrumbs! For plain breadcrumbs, use the seasoning recommendations for panko above.
Pecan crusted salmon

Make it gluten-free

Panko is made from bread, so how to make this recipe gluten-free? Look for gluten-free panko or breadcrumbs in stores or online to make this a gluten free recipe. You can also omit the breadcrumbs, but keep in mind the topping will be less delightfully crunchy (but still delicious).

How to store pecans

Another key to this recipe: the pecans! The nuts are great for adding a bit of protein and crunch to the top of the salmon. We like to buy a nice big bag of pecans…but did you know it’s not best to store them in your pantry? Here’s how to keep them fresh longer:

  • Store pecans in the refrigerator for up to 6 months! Most people think of storing nuts in their pantry. But pecans stay freshest in your refrigerator! We place them in our cheese drawer.
  • Store pecans frozen for up to 2 years. Did you know you can freeze pecans? This extends the life for years. They thaw quickly when you remove them!
Arugula Goat Cheese Salad

A great side dish to pair with pecan crusted salmon!

For this pecan crusted salmon, we decided to create a custom side dish to go alongside! Readers often tell us it’s hard to find side dishes that are easy enough to make, fit with the vibe, and fill in the needed nutrients. Here’s one we developed to fit with this recipe: Arugula Goat Cheese Salad! Here’s more about it:

  • Start with a few handfuls baby arugula, fluffy leafy greens. Make sure to buy baby, not standard arugula (which is very bitter). You can also substitute spinach or mixed greens.
  • Drizzle it with this Creamy Balsamic Dressing, which has the best tangy sweet flavor.
  • Top with goat cheese crumbles, sliced shallot, apples, and pecans. It’s simple, but the flavors are tight and it tastes incredible.

Other side dishes to pair

Just a salad and pecan crusted salmon might need a little filling out as a full meal. So here are a few other quick side dishes to consider!

This pecan crusted salmon recipe is…

Pescatarian and gluten-free (with gluten-free panko).

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Pecan Crusted Salmon

Pecan Crusted Salmon

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.6 from 8 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This pecan crusted salmon is fast and easy, with a deliciously crunchy topping! Make it to impress on weeknights or for dinner guests.


  • 1 pound salmon fillet or fillets, skin on (wild caught if possible)
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • ¼ cup finely chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons Italian panko (or Italian breadcrumbs; gluten-free if desired)*
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Bring the salmon to room temperature and pat it dry. Season the salmon with the salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix the Dijon mustard and honey, then brush it on to the fish in an even layer. 
  3. In another small bowl, mix together the finely chopped pecans, Italian panko, and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the nut mixture on top of the fish.
  4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the salmon flakes with a fork; the internal temperature should be between 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the center. Serve immediately. 


*We recommend Italian panko or Italian breadcrumbs because they’re already seasoned. Panko is best since it’s the lightest and crunchiest. If all you can find is regular panko, mix 2 tablespoons panko with 1 pinch kosher salt and ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning (or ¼ teaspoon each dried oregano and dried basil). 

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • 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. Katie SCHORLING-Veal says:

    I can’t wait to make this for dinner tonight!! We love Salmon but shopping today at ALDIs I found Trout (a rare find! I live in Kansas) so I am hoping the ingredients remain the same. I will let you know!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great recipe, it’s the only way I make Salmon now! 5stars

  3. Nan says:

    Made the pecan crusted salmon tonight. Did not have Dijon mustard, so I used plain yellow mustard and the honey. It was still delish!

  4. Latasha Carr says:

    I really loved making this with my wife. It is a healthy alternative to our normal fried fish or no protein regimen. We truly enjoyed this, and can’t wait to see more of what your make! Thank you both for sharing a part of your meal life at home with us! I gave the recipe to my children as well! Maybe one day we will have a spin off to see who makes the best pan of this!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      We love to hear this! Thanks for making :)

  5. Jane Rickert says:

    We love salmon but have gotten tired of the same way of cooking it (lemon juice and pepper for my husband and lemon and dill for me). Tonight I tried this recipe, it was delcious, fabulous! We both loved it and have already shared with a friend. Thank you for this recipe!

  6. Julie Thomas says:

    I just made this last night and it was DELICIOUS! Probably the best Salmon recipe we have ever had. :-) Yes, we used shelled and chopped pistachios, but pecans would also work.

    1. Jeremy Jackson says:

      Recipe was delicious but cook time was way off. Instead of 425 for 15 minutes, we put it back in for another 10 minutes for a total of 25 minutes cook time.

  7. Sheila says:

    It was delicious! Thanks. I will make it again!

  8. Lisa Parmenter says:

    What a find, I just happen to come across your recipes and what a delight. I’m loving the easy to read and dinner ideas. I love to cook, but love to get new ideas to make my dinner time more enjoyable. Thanks again, looking forward to seeing more and trying these.

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Thanks for the comment! Let us know what you end up making :)

  9. Patricia Machale says:

    It looks delicious. a little note for correction on the recipe.
    In point 3 directions, the word pistachio should be changed to pecan.
    I will definitely make this, pecan is my favourite nut, it probably would be nice with pistachio too.

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Thank you, corrected! Let us know if you try it!