How to Cook Salmon

Easy, Basic Salmon Recipes

You've gone to the trouble of buying quality fish - wild-caught salmon, maybe even a king (a.k.a. chinook) or sockeye salmon. Don't ruin it with shoddy cooking. See how easy it is to cook great salmon with these delicious recipes.

  • 01 of 11

    Grilled Salmon


     Leah Maroney

    Grilling salmon is easy - as long as you follow a few simple tips:

    1. Grill salmon with the skin on.
    2. Cover it, don't flip it.
    3. Cook, undisturbed, until flesh flakes easily, 10 to 15 minutes for fillets that are about 1-inch thick.
  • 02 of 11


    Miia Sample / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    Gravlax - salmon cured in a salt and sugar mixture (with a few herbs or spices sometimes thrown in for good measure and a shot of liquor for even better texture) - is a Scandinavian specialty. While it does need some time in the fridge to cure, making gravlax at home is crazy easy.

    Space in the fridge + time + minimal effort = amazing flavor.

  • 03 of 11

    Salmon Cakes

    Salmon Cakes

    The Spruce

    Salmon cakes are a fabulous way to both use leftover salmon and to stretch that leftover salmon into another full meal. Mix cooked, flaked salmon with some aromatics (chopped green onions, minced red onions, grated ginger, chopped chives, or minced garlic are all excellent options), an egg or two, and bread crumbs to hold the whole thing together. Form into cakes and pan-fry in a hot pan with a bit of oil until browned, cooked through, and crispy. See the full recipe for Salmon Cakes.

  • 04 of 11

    Smoked Salmon

    Smoked salmon
    Armstrong Studios / Getty Images

    Hot-smoked salmon - fish that's been fully cooked by the heat of the smoke and infused with its haunting aroma - is a Pacific Northwest specialty. Curing the salmon in a brown sugar and salt mixture first helps create its the distinctive firm texture and sweet flavor. See How to Smoke Salmon on a Grill and How to Smoke Salmon Indoors to get started.

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • 05 of 11

    Parchment Baked

    Salmon in Parchment
    Salmon in Parchment. Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

    Baking salmon in parchment is easy and elegant:

    1. Heat oven to 375°F. Place each 6-ounce serving of salmon on a large piece of parchment paper or tin foil.
    2. Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper. Add a small knob of butter or drizzle of oil, fresh dill, a splash of white wine or lemon juice, and even small vegetables that will cook in 20 minutes, if you like.
    3. Fold the edges of the paper together and crimp to form a sealed pouch. Bake for about 20 minutes.

    See the full recipe for Parchment-Baked Fish.

  • 06 of 11

    Planked Salmon

    Cedar plank salmon
    mphillips007 / Getty Images

    Truly planked salmon is threaded onto sticks and set at an angle near a bonfire to cook. Setting filets on cedar planks on the grill may not be as dramatic, but it is much more do-able and terribly tasty.

  • 07 of 11

    Broiled Salmon

    Salmon Cooked Under a Broiler
    Broiled Salmon. Image Studios/Getty Images

    Broiling is a great way to get the texture of grilled salmon when it's too cold or rainy to heat up the grill.

    1. Preheat broiler. Place salmon fillets or steaks on an oiled baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add a splash of white wine or melon juice to the pan. Drizzle salmon with olive oil or dot the surface with bits of butter.
    2. Broil salmon until sizzling, releasing its fat, and flakes easily, about 10 minutes depending on thickness.
  • 08 of 11

    Slow-Roasted Salmon

    Roasted salmon with green bean
    Lilyana Vinogradova / Getty Images

    Slow-roasting creates a firm, cooked-through salmon that is still vivid in color and extremely moist.

    1. Preheat heat to 225°F. Place a 2-pound fillet of salmon skin-side down on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    2. Fill a baking pan half-full of water and place on a lower rack in the oven. Bake salmon on an upper rack until firm and cooked through, about 1 hour.
    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • 09 of 11

    Poached Salmon

    Poached Salmon Fillet
    Lauri Patterson / Getty Images

    Poached salmon is a delicate treat. Serve it warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

    1. Prepare the poaching liquid. You can use salted water with an ample amount of white wine or lemon juice added to it or fish stock (a fumet).
    2. Heat a pan of the liquid large enough to hold the salmon to 180°F.
    3. Submerge salmon in the liquid and adjust heat to maintain a steady 180°F (barely a simmer). Cover and cook, undisturbed, until salmon is fully opaque and flakes easily, about 30 minutes for a large, full fillet and 15 for individual portions.
  • 10 of 11

    Poke (Raw Hawaiian Salmon Salad)

    Poke bowl
    bhofack2 / Getty Images

    Poke is a diced raw salmon salad. Dice about 1 pound of high quality salmon into small bits. Put the salmon in a medium bowl and toss with 3 sliced green onions, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil. Serve immediately.

    Note: Due to parasites, some people prefer to freeze the salmon first and then use it for raw applications.

  • 11 of 11

    Salmon Spread

    Salmon Rillette
    Tanya_F / Getty Images

    Make good use of any leftover salmon with this spread. Mix cooked, flaked salmon with cream cheese. Add chopped fresh dill, sliced green onions, freshly ground black ​pepper, or a bit of freshly ground cardamom to taste. Use spread on bagels or crackers.