This delicious Baked Salmon Recipe is cooked with lemon, butter, fresh minced garlic, and sweet honey, and baked in the oven for maximum flavor and minimal cleanup. Super easy to make, have this absolutely incredible salmon recipe on the table in 20 minutes or less!
Oven-Baked Salmon with Lemon Butter
This baked salmon recipe is a great place to start if you’re just learning how to cook fish at home. Naturally flavorful and so good for you, salmon cooks quickly, guaranteeing the gift of easy weeknight dinners whenever you’re in need of a helping hand.
I love this easy recipe for so many reasons – and I’m pretty sure you will too! A whole fillet of salmon is baked in the oven over a bed of thinly sliced lemons and topped with an irresistible lemon butter sauce. It’s naturally gluten-free and perfect with a side of hearty brown rice or cooked quinoa and your favorite roasted veggies.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the recipe and full list of ingredients.
- garlic cloves
- Italian seasoning
- red chili flakes (optional)
- salt & black pepper
- fresh herbs
Marinating is not required or necessary
How to Bake Salmon
- Bring salmon to room temperature and pat dry with paper towels.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Whisk together the ingredients for the lemon butter sauce.
- Line a large sheet pan, baking sheet, or baking dish with foil (or parchment paper) and layer with thinly sliced lemon. Place the salmon directly on top of the lemon slices, skin-side-down.
- Pour the lemon butter sauce over the top of the salmon.
- Bake for approximately 8-12 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the salmon reaches 145 degrees F.
- Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh thyme or chopped parsley, if desired.
How Long to Bake Salmon?
Cooking time will vary according to the thickness of your salmon, oven temperature, and the type of oven used.
In general, however, salmon will need to bake for 4-6 minutes per 1/2 inch of thickness when placed in a 400-degree oven. Most fillets are approximately 1-inch thick, so you’ll want to cook them for 8-12 minutes (adding approximately 4-6 minutes per additional 1/2-inch thickness).
Also consider if you’re baking a whole side fillet or smaller, pre-cut, portions. Smaller individual salmon fillets will cook faster than a whole side fillet.
If you are using a convection oven, remember that foods generally cook faster. You may need to reduce the total cook time by as much as 30 percent.
How to Tell When Salmon Is Done
The most obvious way to tell if salmon is finished cooking is by looking at the salmon flesh. It’s done when it flakes easily and it’s opaque in the center.
As with all meat, I always recommend using an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the salmon. Remove from the oven at,
- 135 degrees F if you’re using wild salmon as wild salmon is leaner than farmed salmon and is more prone to drying out or if you prefer a somewhat more “rare” salmon (it won’t really be rare, but this guarantees that it won’t be overcooked)
- 140-145 degrees F if you prefer firmer salmon
Note that the USDA recommends cooking salmon to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Fortunately, salmon continues to cook even when removed from the oven, making up those last few degrees.
Recipe Notes and Tips
- For best results, always thaw frozen fish before cooking. Although it is possible to cook your fish from frozen, it will not cook evenly, with some parts overcooked and dry and other parts undercooked or still frozen.
- Keep the salmon skin on and bake it skin-side-down for locked-in moisture. Easily remove the skin by sliding a spatula between the flesh and the skin after it’s been cooked.
- The skin is completely edible and especially delicious when cooked until crispy. If you love crispy skin, return the baking sheet with the skin still on the tray back to the oven and bake until the desired crispiness is reached. You may also broil the skin for 1-2 minutes, just keep an eye on it as it will burn quickly!
How to Serve
Serve this heart-healthy salmon recipe with your favorite side dishes like Brussels sprouts, roasted asparagus, or sauteed zucchini. Also fantastic with wild rice, jasmine rice, or fluffy mashed potatoes.
I also highly recommend my homemade tartar sauce for dipping.
Have you tried making this Baked Salmon Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Baked Salmon with Lemon Butter
- 2½ pound side of salmon fillet - with or without skin
- 4 tablespoon butter - melted
- 3 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice - juice from ½ a lemon
- 5 cloves garlic - minced
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- ½ teaspoon salt - plus more to taste
- black pepper - to taste
- 1-2 lemons - washed and thinly sliced
- fresh thyme - or fresh parsley, to garnish
- Time allowing, remove the salmon from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking and allow it to come to room temperature. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and place the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
- In a small bowl whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce – the melted butter, minced garlic, fresh lemon juice, Italian seasoning, red chili flakes, salt, and black pepper. Set aside.
- Line a large baking sheet/rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the lemon slices on top of the foil in a single, non-overlapping layer. Place the salmon, skin-side-down, directly on top of the lemon slices.
- Pour the butter/garlic/honey sauce over the salmon and use a spoon or pastry brush to spread evenly so that the entire surface of the salmon is covered.
- Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the salmon registers 140-145°F as measured by an instant read thermometer.
- Garnish with fresh thyme or chopped parsley and serve immediately with the baked lemon slices.
- Whenever possible, try to purchase wild salmon vs. farmed salmon. Farmed salmon is higher in fat, including saturated fat, and is higher in calories (1, 2).
- Given the higher fat content of farmed salmon vs. wild salmon, adjust your expectations when it comes to the overall taste and texture of your fish after cooking. For example, farmed salmon will be significantly more oily and somewhat less prone to drying out.
- Swap the whole side of salmon for 4-5 equal portioned salmon fillets.
- Make this recipe dairy-free by swapping the butter for extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil.
- The honey and red chili flakes are optional (but delicious!) additions. Feel free to skip them.
- Leftovers: Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container and in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat until warm in the microwave, preheated oven, or air fryer.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)