How To Bake Salmon in the Oven
If you want an easy, fancy main dish, it doesn’t get much better than baked salmon fillets. It can be a midweek date night, an al fresco meal with friends, or dinner with the in-laws — salmon will rise to any occasion. I particularly like baking salmon in the oven, as it’s more hands-off than cooking salmon on the stovetop.
Today we’re showing you the easiest, simplest way to bake salmon in the oven. It’s the kind of recipe to keep in your back pocket (although it’s hardly a recipe at all). Make it once and you’ll never wonder what to do with salmon again.
How to Bake Salmon
- Plan for 8 ounces of salmon per person
- Set oven to 425°F for tender, buttery fillets
- Bake salmon 4-6 minutes per half-inch thickness
- Serve with roasted potatoes, wilted greens, or roasted broccoli
The Best Temperature to Bake Salmon
Baked salmon is best when cooked at 425°F in the oven. This makes for tender, buttery fillets that are done in under 10 minutes. Even thicker fillets don’t take long.
We recommend baking the salmon uncovered. Simply rub the fillets with a little oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, then place them in the roasting pan skin-side down before popping them in the oven.
How Long to Cook Salmon in the Oven
If you’re cooking your salmon in high heat (425°F), you’ll want to aim for four to six minutes per half-inch of thickness. Since most fillets measure about one inch in the thickest part, start checking after around eight minutes in the oven.
When the fish starts to flake easily with a fork and the flesh looks opaque, it’s time for dinner!
The Best Salmon to Buy
As with any fish, buy the best salmon you can find and afford. For more information about best practices for buying salmon, search for it on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch site.
There are five different types of salmon:
- Chinook (or King)
- Coho (or Silver)
- Chum (aka Keta, Dog, or Silverbrite)
Not sure which to choose? It all comes down to personal preference and price. See our guide to the different types of salmon.
What to Serve With Salmon
Salmon pairs well with a whole range of side dishes, especially starches like roasted potatoes and rice, as in this sheet pan salmon recipe with potatoes and leeks.
Because of its rich, mild flavor it harmonizes well with all kinds of vegetables, from wilted greens to roasted broccoli to a crisp cucumber salad. See our best recommendations for salmon side dishes for inspiration.
As for toppings:
More Ways to Cook Salmon
How to Store and Reheat Salmon
Baked salmon will stay good in the refrigerator for three to four days. Refrigerate any leftovers right away. We recommend storing baked salmon in a glass container with a well-sealed lid since fish odors can linger in plastic containers even after washing.
To freeze baked salmon, wrap cooled, individual-sized portions tightly in cling wrap. Then place the wrapped piece in a freezer bag, squeezing out any excess air. Remember to label the bag with the date. The USDA recommends eating your cooked, frozen fish within three months.
This easy foolproof technique creates tender, buttery fillets every time.
Preheat the oven to 425°F: Heat the oven to 425°F with a rack placed in the middle. Line a roasting pan or baking sheet with foil.
Pat the salmon dry: Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel.
Rub the salmon with oil, salt, and pepper: Drizzle some oil over the top of each salmon — just enough to coat the salmon — and rub it over the salmon with your fingers or a pastry brush. Sprinkle the salmon generously with salt and pepper.
Place the salmon in the roasting pan: Place the salmon in the roasting pan, skin-side down. Transfer to the oven.
Roast for 4 to 6 minutes per half-inch thickness of salmon: Roasting time depends on the thickness of your salmon, as determined by the thickest part of the salmon fillet. For every half-inch of salmon, roast 4 to 6 minutes — 4 minutes will give you salmon that is still a touch rare, 6 minutes will thoroughly cook it.
Salmon is done when easily flaked: You can also check the doneness of your salmon with a fork. When the salmon flakes easily with a fork, it's ready. If you like, you can use an instant read thermometer to check the fish for doneness. The USDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 145°F, which should be measured at the thickest part of the fillet.
Serve immediately: Enjoy your salmon immediately. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for about 5 days, and can be gently reheated in the microwave or used cold.