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Impress everyone with this creamy Tuscan Salmon! It might just be the best salmon recipe ever, made in just 30 minutes.

Tuscan Salmon
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There are salmon recipes and then there’s this creamy Tuscan salmon. It might result in a few marriage proposals, which is why we also like to call it “Marry Me Salmon!” The tender fish is bathed in a luscious cream sauce with garlic, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, and capers, making each bite bright, salty, and luxurious. It tastes restaurant-style, but it’s easy to whip up at home in just 30 minutes. Honestly, it might be the best salmon recipe we’ve made!

Ingredients in this Tuscan salmon recipe

We’re not exaggerating when we say this is one of the best salmon recipes we’ve made. Multiple friends and family have tried it and can’t stop raving, then immediately ask for the recipe! This is the one we pull out to impress at dinner parties and for entertaining. Each ingredient here packs a flavor punch, so no substitutions. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Protein: Salmon fillets, skin on and 1 to 1 ½ inches thick
  • Pantry: Olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper
  • Dairy: Salted butter, milk, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh ingredients: Garlic, spinach, lemon (for garnish)
  • Special ingredients: Sun dried tomatoes, capers
Tuscan Salmon recuoe

Buying high-quality salmon is key

The most important thing for a great salmon recipe is a buying high quality fillets of salmon. Lower quality salmon can taste very fishy and have a mushy texture. It can also have a lot of white stuff (called albumin) when it’s cooked. While it’s not harmful, 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. Thicker fillets can take longer to cook and are slightly harder to pan fry since they can become blackened before they’re cooked on the inside.
  • 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. Frozen can work, but try to find highest-quality frozen salmon. Avoid big economy-sized bags, which have thinner fillets that can taste fishy.

Avoiding the white stuff

Ever noticed the white stuff that oozes to the top of some salmon recipes when cooking it? It is coagulated protein that seeps to the surface called albumin. The amount of albumin varies depending on the fish. We’ve bought certain varieties of salmon that have little to no albumin when cooked, but others that consistently have it ooze out.

There’s one thing we’ve found that helps: brining the salmon. In a side by side test, we found it helped to reduce the albumin in two similar fillets. (Keep in mind it did not reduce all of the albumin, so to fully reduce it you have to find a grocery store or other source for salmon that reliably has no white stuff.) Here’s what to do:

  • In a large shallow dish, whisk together 4 cups room temperature water and 3 tablespoons kosher salt until dissolved.
  • Place the salmon in the water and wait for 15 minutes.
Creamy Tuscan Salmon in pan

Making Tuscan salmon for a crowd

This Tuscan salmon recipe is perfect for impressing guests, whether it’s for a dinner party or a holiday like Christmas or Valentine’s Day. It’s pan seared, so you can cook as many fillets as fit in a large skillet. If you want to increase the serving size for this recipe for serving a crowd, you can do it two ways:

  • Pan sear the salmon in batches. Sear a double version of the salmon in batches.
  • Bake the salmon. Use the method in this Baked Salmon recipe, but season with the quantities of garlic powder, salt and pepper in the recipe below. For a crispy top similar to pan searing, broil for 2 minutes at the end of the bake time.
  • Make a large amount of the sauce in a skillet, then pour it into each fillet. Re-warm the salmon if necessary, then top with the creamy sauce right before serving.
Tuscan Salmon

Leftover storage

This Tuscan salmon recipe stores well, if you do end up having leftovers! (We rarely do.) Store in a sealed container for up to 3 days, refrigerated. Re-warm in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through. If the sauce becomes dried out, add a splash of milk or cream or a pat of butter.

More salmon recipes

Salmon is always a hit around here! Here are a few more salmon recipes to enjoy:

This Tuscan salmon recipe is…

Gluten-free and pescatarian.

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Tuscan Salmon

Creamy Tuscan Salmon

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


Impress everyone with this creamy Tuscan Salmon! It might just be the best salmon recipe ever, made in just 30 minutes.


  • 1 1/2 pounds or 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, wild caught if possible, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ¼ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 cups baby spinach, loosely packed
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • 2 lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Allow the salmon to come to room temperature for 15 minutes (or brine it*). Pat the salmon dry with a clean towel. Rub it generously with olive oil and sprinkle it with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt, the garlic powder, and a few grinds of black pepper.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Add the salmon skin side up and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until cooked about halfway to the center of the thickest part of the salmon.
  3. Reduce to medium heat and flip the salmon (a fish spatula makes easy work of it). Tilt the pan down slightly and quickly spoon the pan juices over the top of the fish a few times. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, continuously spooning the juices over the salmon. Cook until just tender and pink at the center (the internal temperature should be between 125 to 130°F in the center when removed).
  4. Remove the salmon to a plate and set aside. Drain the pan of any liquid and quickly wipe it out with a paper towel. 
  5. Place the pan over low heat and melt the butter. Then add the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the garlic is lightly browned and fragrant. Add the capers, cream, milk, and remaining ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute, then return the salmon to the pan and warm it for 2 minutes, spooning the sauce over the salmon.
  6. Serve topped with the sauce and grated Parmesan cheese.


*To help reduce the white stuff (albumin) that can ooze from salmon when it’s cooked, we recommend brining the salmon to bring it to room temperature. In a large shallow dish, whisk together 4 cups room temperature water and 3 tablespoons kosher salt until dissolved. Place the salmon in the water and wait for 15 minutes.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • Diet: Vegetarian

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. Gretchen says:

    HI there! This looks SO delicious! Any suggestions for dairy-free options, in terms of the cream and the milk? Thanks in advance!

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Yes! I think you could try oat milk for the milk and cashew cream for the cream? We have not tested this personally but cashew cream is one of my favorite vegan substitutes for cream. Here’s our recipe for it: I’m thinking you could get by with 1/2 cup cashew cream and 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk, since cashew cream is so thick compared to heavy cream. Let us know if you try it! :)

  2. Erika W says:

    Excellent, easy dinner! Fish was perfectly tender, sauce was tasty, and it came together quickly with things I usually have on hand. My only change was the spinach – I have a kid who will pick out every leafy green. I sauteed some asparagus with the garlic and tomatoes and it came out great. Served with farro.

  3. K.Jorge says:

    This dish was super easy to make and no leftovers. I served it with butter , garlic and parmesan roasted potato wedges. The brine tip worked like a charm.
    Thank You

  4. Rita says:

    I’m very dairy allergic. How would you adapt this recipe to keep its creamy finish.

  5. Carol Foster says:

    In step 2 & 3 you saute the salmon in the olive oil and baste with juices, but it says baste with butter, though you don’t add the butter until the next step. Can you clarify this for me. thank you for the recipe. I am going to try it on our next camping trip.

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Great catch! That should just say to spoon the juices over the fish, not butter. We’ve updated the recipe accordingly!