How To Grill Salmon on a Cedar Plank

updated Jun 12, 2020
4th of july
How To Grill Salmon on a Cedar Plank

A simple and elegant technique to steam salmon for a moist and tender fish with rich, smokey flavors.

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Fresh salmon that’s been rubbed with herbs and grilled slowly over wine-soaked cedar planks: Let me tell you, this right here is some of the best salmon you’ll ever put in your mouth. This is such a simple and elegant technique for cooking salmon. The fish steams gently in the heat of the grill, staying incredibly tender and moist. It also picks up smoky flavors from the grill and woodsy flavors from the cedar, along with whatever was used to soak the planks. So good. Here’s our best recipe for grilled salmon on a cedar plank, step by easy step.

Soaking Cedar Planks

You can use plain water to soak the planks, but it’s much more fun to soak the planks in something like wine, sake, or cider. The heat is low enough that you don’t need to worry about the alcohol in the soaking liquid catching fire. Find the planks themselves at grocery stores with well-stocked grill sections or your local hardware store.

How Much Fish to Grill

There’s no hard-and-firm rule for how much fish you cook. If you have a small grill or are just cooking for yourself, it’s fine to grill a single fillet on one plank. Or you can cook for a crowd, as we did, and pick up a whole side of salmon to grill at once. Small fillets will cook slightly more quickly than the larger cuts.

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How To Grill Salmon on a Cedar Plank

A simple and elegant technique to steam salmon for a moist and tender fish with rich, smokey flavors.

Nutritional Info


  • Salmon fillets, preferably skin-on

  • Olive oil

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Freshly grated lemon zest and lemon juice (optional)

  • Minced fresh dill (optional)

  • Wine, sake, or cider, for soaking the planks


  • Outdoor grill

  • Cedar planks


  1. Soak the cedar planks. One to two hours before grilling, submerge the cedar planks in wine, sake, cider, or water.

  2. Heat the grill. Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium indirect heat, about 350°F.

  3. Lay the planks on the grill. Arrange the planks on the grill grates in a single layer. Leave a little space between planks for heat and air to flow.

  4. Place the salmon on the planks. Coat the salmon with a thin layer of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon zest or juice. Place the salmon skin-side down in a single layer on the cedar planks. Cover the grill.

  5. Grill for 12 to 15 minutes. Grill until the salmon is uniformly pink in the center. Start checking the salmon for doneness after about 12 minutes. Small or thinner fillets will cook more quickly than larger or thicker cuts.

  6. Remove the skin. Transfer the salmon to a cutting board or baking sheet. Use a thin spatula to gently separate the skin from the salmon if desired. The skin should stick to the boards and separate easily.

  7. Cut into portions and serve. Use a sharp knife to cut the salmon into portions if desired. Sprinkle with dill if using and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Reusing cedar planks: Cedar planks can be re-used until they become overly charred, cracked, or impossible to clean. Just scrub off the skin as you would any other dish and allow them to dry until their next use.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days.

(Images: Emma Christensen)