This salmon marinade recipe makes one perfect piece of fish! Salty, tangy, garlicky and a little sweet, it works any cooking method.

Salmon marinade

Want to step up your fish? Here’s an easy way: this flavor-popping salmon marinade recipe! It’s salty, tangy, garlicky, and a little sweet from brown sugar, resulting in a bite that’s positively bursting with flavor! Even better, the ingredients are ones you likely already have on hand, making this extremely simple to whip up. Come, experience the magic!

Ingredients in this salmon marinade recipe

There’s no one way to make a salmon marinade: you can use just about anything to bring tasty flavor to this piece of fish, from teriyaki to brown sugar. This marinade recipe uses a mixture of soy sauce, oil, vinegar, and seasonings to infuse big flavor into the tender fillets. True to form, we kept things relatively simple: all are pantry and refrigerator ingredients that are in hand in most kitchens. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Soy sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Rice vinegar
  • Brown sugar
  • Mustard powder
  • Garlic
  • Hot sauce
  • Salt
Salmon marinade recipe

How to marinate salmon

There are a few tips for how to marinate salmon, no matter what marinade recipe you’re using. Here are a few things to know:

  • Place the salmon in shallow dish, then pour in the marinade mixture. The recipe below makes about ¾ cup marinade which works for 1 pound of salmon.
  • Marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. You can allow the salmon to marinate for up to 3 hours refrigerated; if so, allow it to stand at room temperature 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Tap off excess marinade and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Removing excess marinade is important if you’re pan searing so the pan won’t spit (it’s not as necessary for grilling, since excess marinade can fall between the grates).
  • Cook using your favorite cooking method. Broil, pan sear, or grill the salmon.

3 ways to cook salmon

Once you’ve got that salmon marinated, it’s time to cook! Interestingly, we’re not huge fans of baked salmon: it often turns out soft and even mushy. We prefer salmon with a nice crispy top! The best methods? Here are links to our favorite ways to cook salmon:

  • Pan seared: Go to Easy Pan Seared Salmon. This method is fast and easy, and gets a beautiful browned top. Some drawbacks? It’s a little messy, and you have to adjust the temperature to make sure the salmon gets fully cooked. But done correctly, it’s perfection! (It’s what’s pictured in the photographs.)
  • Broiled: Go to Quick Broiled Salmon. Broiling is perfect for salmon because it both cooks it through quickly and gives it a nice browned top. (It’s much preferable to oven baked, in our opinion.) Just make sure to keep an eye on it because it cooks fast!
  • Grilled: Go to Easy Grilled Salmon or Grilled Marinated Salmon. This is a favorite method because it’s easy and the grill infuses delightfully smoky flavor. The only drawback? It’s not always grilling season. But when it is, this one is tops.
Marinade for salmon

How to know when salmon is done

The other key to this salmon marinade? Pulling the salmon when it’s just done, but not overdone! The best way to do this is with a food thermometer, which gets a precise reading on whether it’s cooked. Salmon comes in many different thicknesses. No two pieces of fish are alike, so the exact timing varies every time you cook it. Here’s a rule of thumb:

  • The internal temperature should measure 125 to 130°F in the center for medium cooked salmon. If you prefer medium rare, you can stop cooking at 120°F. Make sure you insert the probe into the thickest spot. The fish will continue to cook after you remove it from the heat. To ensure full safety, the FDA recommended temperature for seafood is 145 degrees, or well done.
  • Or, flake it with a fork to assess doneness. Cook the fish until the salmon just starts to flake when pricked with a fork.
  • Either way, be careful not to overcook. There’s nothing worse than a dry piece of fish. Keep an eye on it and don’t overdo it!

Sides for salmon

And that’s it! We hope you love this salmon marinade! It makes a simple meal out of any piece of fish! Here are a few easy sides for salmon to pair with this recipe:

This salmon marinade recipe is…

Gluten-free and dairy-free.

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Salmon marinade

Easy Salmon Marinade

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: Varies
  • Total Time: 4


This salmon marinade recipe makes one perfect piece of fish! Salty, tangy, garlicky and a little sweet, it works any cooking method.


  • 4 4-ounce salmon fillets*, skin on (wild caught if possible)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, olive oil, water, rice vinegar, sugar, Dijon mustard, and grated garlic.
  2. Place the salmon in a large dish or container skin side up, and pour in the marinade. Marinade for at least 30 minutes at room temperature (or up to 3 hours refrigerated; if so, allow to sit at room temperature 30 minutes before cooking).
  3. After marinating, place the salmon on a baking sheet, making sure to tap off excess marinade before cooking if you are pan searing. Brush it liberally with the marinade if you are grilling, then discard the remaining marinade. Sprinkle with the kosher salt (split between the fillets) and fresh ground pepper.
  4. Cook the salmon using one of the following methods: pan seared salmon (pictured; watch out for spitting of the marinade), broiled salmon, or grilled salmon.
  • Category: Essentials
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Sauce
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Salmon marinade, marinade for salmon, salmon marinade recipe, salmon marinade recipes, how to marinate 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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1 Comment

  1. This looks delicious and so versatile! I wanted to alert you to a typo so it could be fixed straight away. I clicked on the link to this recipe from your newest post about the salmon rice crunch bowl and the word “marinaded” is misspelled. As a verb, it is spelled “marinated” (easy to confuse). Have a great day!