5 Guidelines for Cooking Perfect Salmon Every Time

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

Salmon can be a simple weeknight dinner, but it’s a fish that can also carry its weight as a fancy meal for a weekend date night or dinner party main course. It’s all about how you cook it (the ways are many!) and how you dress it up.

Here are five essentials to help you confidently cook delicious salmon every time.

1. Yes, you can cook salmon in the dishwasher!

Yes, you did indeed read that correctly, and trust me, we were all just as surprised as you are right now. As Christine recently found out from giving this a try, salmon cooked in the dishwasher flaked perfectly, was just cooked through, and had a texture quite similar to salmon cooked with the sous vide method.

2. Just one or two ingredients can transform it.

Salmon is a great meal to keep in your regular dinner rotation, but eating it plain gets old fast. Simple staples that are already in your kitchen — like breadcrumbs, herbs, and yogurt — will go a long way to make dinner more exciting.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

3. The slow cooker is magic for salmon.

While we often lean on our slow cooker for braising tough cuts of meat, it works equally as well for poaching fish. Cooked on a low setting in a flavorful combination of stock and herbs, or olive oil, you can poach salmon in the slow cooker in under an hour. The result is a super tender, moist piece of fish, and no more worrying about it turning out dry.

4. What’s that white stuff on cooked salmon?

If you’ve ever cooked salmon, then you’re familiar with the unappetizing soft white stuff that appears in the surface of the fish. It’s albumin, a protein pushed out of the muscle fibers as the fish cooks, and overcooked fish has a lot more of it. So, the best way to avoid it is by cooking your salmon just right.

5. You’ll know salmon is done when it easily flakes.

Use a fork to check salmon for doneness. When the fish flakes easily, it’s done. You can also use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness. The USDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 145°F, which should be measured at the thickest part of the filet.

What are your tips for cooking better salmon?