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Poached salmon is one fast and easy way to cook this healthy fish! It comes out perfectly tender and flavorful.

Poached Salmon
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Need a quick way to cook salmon? Try Poached Salmon! This method might not be the most popular, but it’s incredibly fast and easy: just 15 minutes start to finish. It results in perfectly tender, mild fish that melts in your mouth. Season it up and poached salmon is irresistible; try it with a creamy sauce or flaked into a salmon Caesar salad. After the first bite, we were sold! Here’s how to poach salmon.

Want more ways to cook salmon? We’ve tried them all: pan seared, baked, grilled, marinated, and more.

Ingredients for this poached salmon recipe

Poached salmon requires just a handful ingredients: most importantly, a great piece of fish! You’ll also need the elements of the poaching liquid. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Salmon fillets, wild caught if possible. Start with a fresh piece of fish if you can, but you can use frozen in a pinch.
  • Dry white wine or broth: Use vegetable or chicken broth if you prefer not to open a bottle of wine.
  • Water
  • Lemon
  • Fresh dill
  • Capers
Poached Salmon

Why poached salmon?

Poached salmon is a less popular way to cook this fish than methods like grilled, broiled, baked or pan seared. So why poach salmon? Here are a few pros and cons to this classic method for cooking fish!

Pros

  • Poached salmon is a quick and clean method. It’s simple and straightforward, and difficult to mess up.
  • Poaching avoids the classic “fishy” smell in your kitchen of cooking salmon, though it does have a distinct smell of its own.
  • Poached salmon comes out melt-in-your mouth tender, with a texture unlike other cooking methods.

Cons

  • The texture is very soft, with no browning on top. If you like a crispy finish to the top of your salmon, try it grilled, broiled, or pan seared. (You can also bake, then broil in the last 2 minutes for a little browning.)
  • Poached salmon is very light pink in color, which may not appear as appetizing as other salmon cooking methods. Make sure to add garnishes and sauces for serving.
  • Poached salmon can taste bland if not properly seasoned, so make sure to add enough salt and pepper. Serving with a sauce makes the flavor pop!

How to poach salmon

Poaching is a cooking method that simmers proteins, fruit, or vegetables in a small amount of liquid. This poached salmon is not fully submerged in liquid like a poached egg; instead, the liquid is just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Here are the basic steps for how to poach salmon:

  1. Season the salmon: Pat the salmon dry and season it generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Make the poaching liquid: Add the white wine or broth, water, lemon slices, dill sprigs, and capers to a large skillet. Place salmon pieces on top, skin side down.
  3. Simmer, cover and cook 7 to 10 minutes. Cook until the fish is tender and cooked through and the internal temperatures is between 125 to 130°F when probed at the thickest point.
  4. Serve. Remove the fillets from the pan and place on a platter. Garnish with extra lemon and dill, or a sauce.
Poached Salmon

Tips for buying salmon

The success of poached salmon is dependent on the quality of the fish, and poaching is a cooking method where you’ll want to go for a great fillet. Lower quality salmon can taste very fishy and have a mushy texture, which you can’t hide when poached. It can also have a lot of white stuff (called albumin) after cooking: though it’s edible, it doesn’t look appetizing! Here’s what to know when shopping for salmon:

  • 1 to 1 1/2-inch thick fillets are good for this recipe; you might find it labeled center cut at the store. You can poach thinner fillets, but they may not appear as appetizing.
  • 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 fresh salmon. Salmon that’s fresh from the fish counter usually has the best flavor, and we’d go for fresh when poaching if at all possible. Avoid fish from economy-sized freezer bags, which can be thin and have a fishy flavor.

Ways to serve poached salmon

Poached salmon comes out tender with a very light pink color. Add some bright, fresh garnishes or a salmon sauce to take the presentation and flavor to the next level. We used additional lemon slices, capers and dill sprigs to make the plating pop. Here are a few ideas for serving poached salmon:

And that’s it! Let us know what you think of this poached salmon in the comments below.

Salmon Caesar Salad
Salmon Caesar Salad is a great way to use poached salmon.

More salmon recipes

There are endless ways to serve salmon: and honestly, this fish is easy to mess up if you don’t cook it correctly. Here are a few of our top easy salmon recipes we hope you’ll love:

This poached salmon recipe is…

Dairy-free, gluten-free and pescatarian.

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Poached Salmon

Poached Salmon


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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

Poached salmon is one fast and easy way to cook this healthy fish! It comes out perfectly tender and flavorful.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2 pounds or 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, wild caught if possible
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ cup dry white wine or broth
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 lemon, sliced, plus more for serving
  • 1 handful dill sprigs, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons capers, plus more for serving
  • Optional: serve with Lemon Dill Sauce,  Caper Sauce, or Lemon Butter Sauce

Instructions

  1. Pat the salmon dry and season generously with the salt and several grinds of black pepper.
  2. In a large skillet, place the white wine or broth, water, lemon slices, dill sprigs, and capers. Place salmon pieces on top, skin side down.
  3. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook 7 minutes for thin salmon and 10 minutes for thick salmon, until the fish is tender and cooked through and the internal temperature is between 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit when probed in the center.
  4. Remove from the pan and place on a platter. If desired, serve with additional capers, fresh lemon slices and dill sprigs.
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • 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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2 Comments

  1. Doda says:

    7-10 really was too long for thick filets….dry…4 max

  2. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!