Our Favorite Baked Salmon Recipe - juicy, flaky, and super delicious. This salmon recipe is made with a simple sweet and savory spice rub and is baked to perfection! No marinating, no special ingredients, just a healthy, easy salmon recipe ready in less than 30 minutes.
Make this EASY Baked Salmon the next time you need something healthy on the table and don't have a lot of time. The flavors are impressive and the lack of prep work is even better!
Why you will Love this Baked Salmon
Baked Salmon is an easy and healthy option for dinner any night of the week.
- Fast. This Baked Salmon is ready in less than 30 minutes.
- Easy. The prep work is minimal for this recipe.
- Flavorful. This recipe for for Baked Salmon is filled with an incredible flavor thanks to the sweet and slighty spicy spice rub.
- Picky-Eater Approved. The flavor is so intense and delicious, that even people who are a bit skeptical of fish seem to enjoy this recipe for Baked Salmon--my picky kids included.
- Allergy-Friendly: This recipe for salmon is gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free, and dairy-free.
- Healthy: Salmon is filled with nutrients and Omega-3 fatty acids. It is also a great source of protein.
Even on the busiest of nights, this Baked Salmon can be thrown together nearly effortlessly. Meaning you are sitting down to a healthy, easy salmon dinner in less than 30 minutes with minimal dishes. That's what I call WINNING!
Notes on Ingredients
- Salmon: This recipe is for four 6-ounce salmon fillets. I personally prefer skinless salmon, which allows more surface area for the spice rub, but you can certainly use salmon that still has the skin on.
- Spice Rub: I use a simple combination of savory spices with brown sugar and lime zest that gives this salmon a sweet and savory glaze. As the salmon bakes, the brown sugar caramelizes slightly on the outside of the fish and also melts into the salmon, giving the flesh of the meat hits of sweetness. The paprika, garlic, and cayenne wake up your palate and balance out the sweetness of the brown sugar.
- Fresh Limes: I use the lime zest in the spice rub and the juice of the limes to squeeze over the salmon once baked. The lime adds a burst of freshness and acidity that really wakes up your taste buds.
How to Bake Salmon
The process for making this baked salmon is only 4 steps.
- Mix together the spices in a small bowl.
- Pat the salmon fillets down with a paper towel before rubbing with the spice rub. This will help the rub adhere to the salmon.
- Rub the salmon with the spice rub.
- Bake the salmon until it reaches 145 degrees F.
How to Tell Salmon is Done Cooking
Salmon is best served at 145 degrees Fahrenheit. It is flaky, moist, and tender at this temperature.
Because ovens vary and the thickness of salmon fillets can vary, the BEST way to tell that Salmon is done is to use a digital thermometer. When the salmon reaches 140 degrees, remove it from the oven and then tent it with foil. The carryover heat will raise the temperature to 145 degrees in about 5 minutes.
If you have a whole fillet of salmon, I do recommend cutting it into portions before seasoning and baking for two reasons. By seasoning individual fillets, you have more surface area to pack in the flavor and salmon flakes after baking, which makes it hard to cut into pretty portions if using a whole fillet of salmon.
As for skin on or skin off, again the choice is yours. I purchase skin-on fillets typically. The skin helps to seal the moisture in the salmon. While edible to eat, I prefer slicing off the skin before serving or eating around the skin once served. If you do not want skin on your salmon, simply ask your fishmonger to remove the skin when you purchase the salmon and prepare the recipe as directed.
When it comes to farmed or wild salmon, that is a personal choice. You can read more about the difference between the health benefits of the wild versus farmed salmon, but bottom line, this recipe works for either or.
Side Dishes for Salmon
- Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice: The lime and cilantro in the rice pair perfectly with the lime in the baked salmon. Plus the rice is gluten-free and dairy-free, just like this salmon recipe.
- Instant Pot Baked Sweet Potatoes: The sweet, mild flavor of the sweet potatoes is a great pair to the spicy rub of the salmon.
- Vegetables: Instead of serving a starch alongside the salmon, opt to serve Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Asparagus, or a Spinach Avocado Salad on the side of the salmon.
- Pineapple Salsa: While this sweet and spicy glazed Salmon does not need any accompianment, sometimes I like to dress it up and top it with Pineapple Salsa. The fresh fruit contrasts with the spicy rub and it is delicious!
If you enjoyed this recipe for Sweet and Spicy Baked Baked Salmon, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Sweet and Savory Baked Salmon
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 1 lime zested & juiced
- 4 salmon fillets skin-on (about 6 ounces each)
- Olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil, and lightly brush the foil with oil.
- In a shallow bowl, mix together brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, salt, garlic, cayenne pepper, and lime zest together.
- Pat dry the salmon fillets and then pat seasoning mixture onto the flesh side of each piece of salmon. Place the salmon, skin side down, on baking sheet.
- Insert a thermometer into the end of the thickest part of one of the salmon fillets, ensuring that the probe is not angled downward nor touching the pan. Place the pan in the oven and cook until the salmon reaches 140°F, about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon.
- Once the salmon reaches 140 degrees, remove the pan from the oven, loosely cover with foil, and allow to rest until the temperature increases to 145°F. Drizzle with fresh lime juice and then serve immediately.
- The recipe is for individual 6-ounce fillets but if you purchase a whole fillet, simply cut it into 5-6 ounce portions.
- You can use skin-on or skinless Salmon fillets. Skin-on fillets help to seal the moisture in the salmon. While edible to eat, I prefer slicing off the skin before serving or eating around the skin once served. If you do not want skin on your salmon, simply ask your fishmonger to remove the skin when you purchase the salmon and prepare the recipe as directed.
- Store leftover salmon in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.