How to Cook Salmon: 10 Different Ways

Let’s talk about my favorite fish: salmon! We eat it so often for dinner that we now have numerous ways in which we enjoy it. I frequently get reader requests on how to cook salmon, so I thought I’d share our recipes with you to expand your own healthy dinner recipe collections. 

Just a note here to say thank you so much for all of the sweet wishes about my nerve repair surgery. Everything went well and I’m on the mend! I took the day off yesterday to rest a bit but am back in the swing of things now. I also have a sweet splint on my hand, which makes me look pretty tough, like I punched through a window or something. 😉 P’s 6 month update is up on the family page. I still can’t believe she’s half a year old.


10 ways to cook salmon

Back to that salmon. Salmon was one of the first meals I cooked for the Pilot when we were dating (10 years ago!). I had just gotten off work and was on the way to grab groceries and cook dinner for us at my apartment. I called my Uncle Eric (<— chef and he always amazing ideas for meals and menus), to see what I should make. The menu: salmon (with a ginger, soy sauce and orange dressing), wasabi mashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus. It sounded fancy, but was still doable. This was key since I was very new to the cooking game.

Tips on How to Cook Salmon

From Uncle E!

-Go for the freshest you can find.

Wild-caught is a sustainable option, with a vibrant red hue and rich taste. He said to take a good look at the fish and make sure it didn’t look slimy or bruised. Instead of overdressing it, let the flavors of the fish shine through. 

-It’s all about the sear!

The best way to cook salmon is to preheat the oven to 375, and preheat a large pan on high. Season the salmon well with salt and pepper, then add some oil to the pan. When the oil dances, place the salmon (skin side UP) on the pan. Let it sear (you should hear a sizzle, or the pan isn’t hot enough) for 30 seconds to 1 minute. When you transfer it to the baking dish, place it skin side DOWN so the lovely browned top is facing up. After that, bake for 10-12 minutes, until it flakes easily with a fork.

-If you can, let it marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

If you’re using a sauce, marinate it in a sealed baggie (in the fridge), and drizzle a little extra marinade on top before baking.

10 Salmon Recipes

Even though fish is one of our favorite things to have for dinner, we tend to get into fish ruts and rotate through the same recipes. We have salmon pretty much every week, so I love using different flavor combos to change it up. Here are our favorite recipes to run through the rotation.

Huge BBQ Salmon

1) BBQ. Season the salmon with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Pan-sear using the method above, and before baking, baste with your favorite BBQ sauce. 

2) Pistachio-crusted. Season the salmon well with salt, pepper and olive oil. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup crushed pistachios, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Gently coat the salmon with the mixture before baking.

3) Dill and lemon yogurt. Season the salmon well with salt and pepper, then pan-sear using the method above. In a small bowl, combine 1.2 cup plain yogurt with a heaping tablespoon of fresh chopped dill and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Stir in 1-2 minced garlic cloves. Before baking, spread the yogurt sauce on top. Garnish with lemon slices and fresh dill.

4) Lavender and honey. This one is unexpected and so delicious! The sweet honey is beautiful with the earthy lavender. Season the salmon with salt and pepper, the pan-sear using the method above. Drizzle the fillets with honey and top with pinches of dried lavender before baking. 

5) Honey-Dijon. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and pan-sera using the method above. In a small bowl, combine equal parts (I use a heaping tablespoon each) honey, olive oil, and dijon mustard. Season well with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Spread the sauce onto the filets before baking. 

6) Blackened. Combine 1/2 teaspoon each of brown sugar, smoked paprika, oregano, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin. Season well with salt and pepper before adding 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Rub onto the filets before pan-searing and baking. 

Searing salmon

7) Orange-maple-ginger-soy. In a large ziplock bag, add 1/4 cup Tamari or soy sauce, the zest, juice and slices of one orange. Add 1/4 cup honey, 1 teaspoon of fresh minced ginger and 2 minced garlic cloves. Season well with salt and pepper. Place the salmon in the bag to marinate for a few hours or overnight in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook, pan-sear using the method above and top with the orange slices before baking.

8) Salmon with cranberry sauce. Recipe is here! 

9) Straight up with lemon and garlic. Season the salmon with salt and pepper before pan-searing using the method above. Before baking, place fresh lemon slices on top. 

10) Tacos! Use the blackened salmon (#6 above!) and serve in corn tortillas with shredded cabbage, salsa and a creamy cumin-lime sauce. Just combine plain yogurt with 1/2 teaspoon cumin, zest of 1/2 a lime and a squeeze of lime juice. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper.

I also love these salmon patties and salmon kabobs.

Salmon skewers

Are you a salmon fan? What’s your favorite recipe or flavor combo?

Have a great morning and I’ll see ya later today.



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  1. Kate Z. on May 4, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Such great timing, as I’ve been wanting to make the frozen salmon we’ve got on hand. I love making fresh fish, but the frozen variety is still wild caught (and so darn convenient!). Thank you for these delicious sounding ideas! The seared/baked with lemon butter and the salmon cakes are happening tonight. 🙂

    • Fitnessista on May 4, 2016 at 10:30 pm

      let me know how they turn out!!

  2. Brittany on May 4, 2016 at 7:20 am

    Salmon is just a little too fishy for me. I only like it with a honey Dijon glaze.
    Funny story: it was the first meal my mom made for my brothers girlfriend before they were dating. We all went crazy for it. And she now cant remember exactly what she did! its forever known as the “great Amanda salmon”

  3. Taylor on May 4, 2016 at 7:37 am

    yumm!! I love salmon… like a lot. We eat it a couple times a week. 🙂 My favorite marinade is spicy mustard, braggs aminos, honey, lemon juice and a little olive oil. I also recently tried a dry rub with a lot of spices and it was delicious. We usually grill our salmon, but I definitely want to try the sear and bake method. Thanks for sharing!

    • Fitnessista on May 4, 2016 at 10:29 pm

      that sounds amazing! i’ll have to try that combo

  4. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine on May 4, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Yes! It is the BEST fish! I could live off of salmon!
    I love it anyway, but one way I haven’t tried (and want to!) is poaching!

    • Fitnessista on May 4, 2016 at 10:29 pm

      ahhh i never think to do that, either!

  5. Racheal on May 4, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Thanks Gina and glad to hear you are on the mend! I am “scared” of cooking fish and don’t do it that often, so I am going to challenge myself to cook my way through this list.

    I know you said that fresh is best, but have you ever tried the frozen salmon at TJ’s? Would you recommend it?

    • Fitnessista on May 4, 2016 at 10:29 pm

      totally!! a lot of times “fresh” fish is actually previously frozen. just make sure it’s not freezer burned and should be fine

  6. Juliana on May 4, 2016 at 7:55 am

    Yay thank you! Can’t wait to try some of these 🙂

  7. ee on May 4, 2016 at 8:19 am

    Hey, your link to the family page in this post actually goes to some really cute Kate Spade PJs on Nordies 😉

    • Fitnessista on May 4, 2016 at 9:20 am

      Ahh! Hahahah. I will fix that

  8. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on May 4, 2016 at 8:21 am

    I love salmon and you can truly make it in so many different ways too. That orange maple salmon sounds AMAZING. I may need to put my own spin on that!

  9. Maria on May 4, 2016 at 9:15 am

    Love salmon! I think it goes so well with Asian inspired flavors. I’ve actually never seared my salmon :-/ Something I will definitely be adding to the cooking process!

    • Fitnessista on May 4, 2016 at 10:28 pm

      i think it makes it much juicier 🙂

  10. Caroline M. on May 4, 2016 at 9:28 am

    I absolutely love salmon. They never have it at my school so it’s one of my number 1 requested meals when I go home for the summer and breaks! I love it grilled or literally any other way. Can’t wait to try some new ways soon!

  11. Nathaneal on May 4, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Salmon can be great! and that loooks wonderful!
    My favorite way to make it is Simply with peper and put some lemon on it when Im wating it. I have never thought to make a kabob out of fish 😮

  12. Crystal on May 4, 2016 at 10:16 am

    I love salmon!! My absolute favorite way to eat it is raw in a sushi roll 😉 but obvs not gonna do that at home. Honestly when I make salmon I usually keep it simple and use some salt, pepper, and maybe garlic powder and just bake it. I may try one of these ideas just to branch out a little lol.

  13. Stacie on May 4, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Salmon is my absolute favorite! I love it really no matter how it’s cooked but I think either grilled or blackened with a little salmon grill seasoning is the best! I have never tried BBQ but I think that will definitely be how we cook it next time. Thanks for the tips!

    • Fitnessista on May 4, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      yay, no prob! hope you like the bbq version

  14. Britt@MyOwnBalance on May 4, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Yes! Love salmon! Just got back from the grocery store with some so timing is perfect. I never considered the lavender and honey one. I’m surprised it holds up on such a meaty fish. I’ll definitely give it a try!

    • Fitnessista on May 4, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      yes, it’s so good! another trick from my uncle 🙂

  15. Tracy on May 4, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Love having all these ideas & tips in one place! Love salmon but don’t make it much at home so thank you!

    Happy to hear the surgery went well! One step closer to being yourself again!

    • Fitnessista on May 4, 2016 at 10:26 pm

      happy you enjoyed it!
      thank you <3 i can't wait to feel normal again!

  16. Jodie on May 4, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Thank you thank you. This is going to be bookmarked. Salmon is my fav and I always get stuck how to prepare. These new recipes are awesome.

    • Fitnessista on May 4, 2016 at 10:26 pm

      yay, so happy you got some new ideas 🙂

  17. Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment on May 4, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Salmon is so versatile Thank you for highlighting these options. Great recipes.

    • Fitnessista on May 4, 2016 at 10:26 pm

      thank you, friend <3

  18. Danni on May 4, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    I’m always making mine salmon so plain so his gave me some great ideas. Thanks!

    • Fitnessista on May 4, 2016 at 10:25 pm

      awesome- hope you enjoy!

  19. Jen on May 4, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Great post!!!!!! Thank you and hope you continue to feel better.

    • Fitnessista on May 4, 2016 at 10:25 pm

      thank you, friend. happy you enjoyed the post 🙂

  20. Becky @ The Bex Factor on May 5, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    I’m going to have to try searing my salmon. I literally have only made salmon with dill and lemon or maple glaze, both of which are old now haha.

  21. Stephanie on May 5, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    Love this post!! Great ideas for salmon! I like mine cooked on a cedar plank. I want to try pistachio-crusted at home.

  22. Kathy on May 8, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Yum! We do a cedar plank grilled salmon and then top it with this spiced avocado “salsa”

    • ½ lemon, juice only
    • ½ lime, juice only
    • ½ red onion, finely diced
    • ½ cup coriander leaves (cilantro)
    • 2 tbps Mango chutney
    • 1 tsp sambal oelek
    • Pinch ground cumin
    • Extra-virgin olive oil
    • 3 avocados, halved, stone removed and peeled
    • Salt/pepper to taste
    Combine citrus juices, onion, coriander leaves (cilantro) chutney, sambal oelek and cumin in a large bowl. Add a splash of extra-virgin olive oil then gently fold on diced avocado. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    It’s always a hit!

  23. Stephanie M on June 2, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Dumb question – do you need to use a non-stick pan to sear? I’ve cooked salmon a ton, but I’ve never tried searing it. Here’s a marinade that I recently used and was delish:
    -1/4 cup brown sugar
    -1/4 cup soy sauce/coconut aminos
    -1/4 cup olive oil
    -2T white wine
    -2T lemon juice

  24. Becky @ Gluten Free Experiment on June 6, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    I needed this! Time to shake up my salmon routine…instead of my 1 of 2 choices: marinate in Italian dressing or brushing w/ BBQ sauce. Yawn!

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