Made with a sweet and savory spice rub and baked to perfection, this recipe for Baked Salmon turns out juicy, flaky, and full of flavor!
Baked Salmon is an easy and healthy 30-minute dinner perfect for any night of the week.
There is no marinating, no special ingredients, just a simple recipe for salmon that is that produces outrageous results.
Just like my recipe for Pan-Seared Tilapia, the key to the success of this recipe is the spice rub. It is a simple combination of savory spices, like paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne, mixed with brown sugar and lime zest that works together to create a sweet and savory glaze that flavors the salmon perfectly.
Baked to the perfect temperature, the brown sugar caramelizes slightly on the outside of the fish and also melts into the salmon, giving the flesh a hint of sweetness to balance out the spice from the cayenne. It is absolutely delicious!
The next time you need dinner in under 30 minutes rely on this Baked Salmon for a healthy meal that everyone will love! The flavors are impressive, the salmon bakes up to be juicy and flaky, and the lack of prep work is even better!
Notes on Ingredients
- Salmon: 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.
- Spice Rub: The spice rub is made with salt, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, brown sugar, and lime zest.
- 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 simple steps.
- Prepare the salmon spice rub by mixing the spices and brown sugar together in a small bowl.
- Pat the salmon fillets down with a paper towel before rubbing them with the spice rub. This will help the rub adhere to the salmon.
- Sprinkle the rub evenly over the flesh side of the salmon fillet, using your hands to pat the rub into the fillet to adhere the rub to the fish. Be sure to coat both sides of the salmon if you are using skinless fillets.
- Place the rubbed fillets onto a rimmed baking dish that has been lined with foil or parchment paper. This will help to keep the salmon from sticking to the pan, not to mention help keep clean-up to a minimum.
- Bake the salmon until it reaches 140 degrees F.
- Remove the salmon from the oven, tent it with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. This will give the salmon time to reach 145 degrees F, which is the perfect final temperature for salmon.
- Squeeze each salmon fillet with lime juice (use the limes you zested for the rub.) This will really help the flavors to pop and finishes the salmon with a nice citrus flavor.
- Serve immediately for best results.
How to Tell When Salmon is Cooked
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.
Side Dishes for Salmon
You can pair this baked salmon with a variety of side dishes, but below are a few of my favorites that compliment the flavors of the salmon and spice rub perfectly.
- Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice
- Instant Pot Baked Sweet Potatoes
- Roasted Asparagus
- Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
More Easy Seafood Recipes
- Lemon Garlic Baked Cod
- Honey Garlic Salmon Sheet Pan Meal
- Easy Fish Tacos
- Baked Fish Sticks
- Blackened Mahi Mahi
- Easy Pan-Seared Tilapia
Need more inspiration for planning meals that your family will love? Sign up for my FREE Meal Plans and each week you will get a meal plan with a shopping list.
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 the seasoning mixture onto the flesh side of each piece of salmon. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the prepared baking sheet.
- Insert an oven-safe digital 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.
This recipe was originally shared in 2020 but updated in 2023.