This easy oven baked salmon comes out perfectly tender and flaky! Cooking salmon in foil makes a moist piece of fish every time.

Baked salmon

Salmon for dinner? Here’s an easy method for oven baked salmon that works every time! Salmon is deceptively hard to cook. With many different varieties and thicknesses of fish, it can be hard to get it right! This baked salmon in foil removes the guesswork so that the fish comes out tender and flaky. It’s the perfect healthy dinner recipe and takes just 30 minutes to make. Here are the keys to making the best baked salmon!

Want an even faster method? Try Pan Seared Salmon.

Perfect oven baked salmon: brine it first!

What’s a tip for baking salmon? Brine it first. What’s brining? It’s actually very simple, and it doesn’t take any extra time for the recipe. It makes for perfectly moist salmon, and it helps the salmon come to room temperature which makes it cook more evenly. It also cuts down on the white stuff (see below). Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Mix up a salt water solution. You’ll use 4 cups of water to 3 tablespoons salt to make a salt water solution.
  • Place the fish in the water for 15 minutes. Just set the fish in the water for 15 minutes. You can do this in the time it takes to preheat your oven: so there’s no time lost!
Oven baked salmon

Baked salmon in foil: some tips

Making baked salmon in foil seals in that moisture and makes for a moist and tender piece of fish. Here are a few notes on getting the perfect oven baked salmon:

  • Allow the salmon to sit in brine while the oven preheats (see above).
  • Add lemon. Slice a lemon into wheels and place them next to the salmon on the foil. (Placing them on top can make the fish gooey, so place them to the side.) Fresh herbs are optional but tasty.
  • Low and slow. Baking salmon at a low temperature, 325 degrees Farenheit, helps to lock in that moisture, and reduces the white stuff (see below).
  • Adjust the time based on the thickness of the fish. Here’s one important thing about salmon: the bake time will be different every time, depending on how thick the fillets are! Bake 10 minutes, then open the foil and bake another 3 to 6, depending on the thickness of the fish.
Baked salmon in foil

What’s the white stuff on salmon when cooked?

What’s that gooey white stuff that sometimes appears on the surface of the fish after it’s cooked? Alex and I have had this happen more often lately, so we set to researching what causes this phenomenon. Good news: it’s perfectly normal!

The white stuff is coagulated protein that seeps to the surface while baking, called albumin. The amount of albumin varies greatly depending on the fish, so it’s not something you can control. (Read more here.) It’s safe to eat, but it does look less than appetizing on top of a beautiful fillet.

Here are a few ways to reduce the albumin when you cook salmon:

  • Cook it at a lower temperature to cook it more gently (325 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Brine the salmon in a salt and water solution before baking
Oven baked salmon with capers

How to buy a great piece of salmon

You’ll also need a fantastic piece of fish for this baked salmon. Lower quality salmon can taste very fishy and have a mushy texture. Here’s how to buy 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.) Buy it either fresh from the fish counter or frozen works too.
  • Look for US caught (if you’re in the US). 90% of the seafood we eat in the US is imported. Imported seafood runs the risk of being overfished, caught under unfair labor practices, or farmed in environmentally harmful ways.
  • Coho is a good choice for great flavor. We tend to like Coho salmon for its mild flavor: it’s a good middle of the road option in terms of price. Of course, King salmon is incredible but it’s on the expensive end. Avoid Atlantic salmon as it is typically farmed salmon.
Oven baked salmon
Try baked salmon served with caper butter!

Best sauces for oven baked salmon

Here are lots of ways to accessorize this oven baked salmon after it’s baked! Here our the best sauces to serve with salmon:

  1. Squeezed with lemon! Baked salmon in foil is great all by itself; spritz with lemon and serve.
  2. Caper garlic butter. Lemon caper sauce is full of incredible flavor! Go to Salmon with Capers.
  3. Dill sauce. Creamy lemon dill sauce is another favorite! Go to Lemon Dill Sauce.
  4. Miso sauce. This miso glaze brings huge flavor to Miso Salmon.
  5. Basil sauce. Try this Fresh Basil Vinaigrette or Basil Sauce.
  6. Chimichurri sauce. Fresh cilantro and parsley combine into a fresh and tangy bright green sauce. Go to Chimichurri.
  7. Teriyaki sauce. Paint on this homemade teriyaki sauce after baking (and skip the lemon and herbs). Go to Teriyaki Salmon.
  8. Bourbon glaze. Make it fancy and paint on this sweet and boozy bourbon glaze. Go to Bourbon Glaze.

What to serve with salmon?

Want to make it a meal? We’ve got lots of Sides to Go with Salmon. Here are some of our favorites:

This oven baked salmon recipe is…

Pescatarian, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Baked salmon

Easy Oven Baked Salmon


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

Description

This easy oven baked salmon comes out perfectly tender and flaky! Cooking salmon in foil makes a moist piece of fish every time.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2 pounds or 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, wild caught if possible
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for brining
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 small lemons
  • Variation: 2 tablespoons salmon seasoning (and reduce kosher salt above to ½ teaspoon)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Brine the salmon: 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).
  3. Place the salmon in foil: 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. Sprinkle the salmon with kosher salt on each fillet and fresh ground pepper. If using, sprinkle with seafood seasoning (using less salt, as indicated). Place the lemon slices and fresh herbs around the salmon, not on top. Close and seal the foil around the salmon.
  4. Bake: Bake the salmon for 10 minutes in the foil. Then open the foil packet so steam can release and bake again for 3 to 6 minutes, depending on thickness, until just tender and pink at the center (the internal temperature should be between 125 to 130F in the center). A 1-inch thick fillet should cook in about 15 minutes total.
  5. Serve: When the salmon is done, squeeze with some lemon juice from lemon wedges, to taste (add a sprinkle of salt if necessary). Serve immediately. Leftovers can be stored refrigerated for 3 to 4 days.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Keywords: Oven Baked Salmon, Baked Salmon in Foil

More Mediterranean diet recipes

This healthy oven baked salmon recipe is a tasty Mediterranean-style way to serve fish. Here are a few more of our favorite Mediterranean diet recipes:

Last updated: September 2020

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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