Salmon Teriyaki

published Nov 28, 2023
Salmon Teriyaki Recipe

Roasted and broiled salmon is coated in an easy four-ingredient teriyaki sauce.

Serves4

Prep10 minutes

Cook25 minutes to 30 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Overhead shot of four pieces of teriyaki salmon on white surface, topped with scallions and sesame seeds.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Stylist : James Park

Rich, buttery salmon glazed with a sweet-savory teriyaki sauce is a Japanese restaurant classic. It’s also a nice option when you’re not in the mood for chicken teriyaki. I found this dish surprisingly tricky to make at home because I wanted it all: perfectly cooked salmon, a flavorful teriyaki sauce that didn’t require a lot of time or ingredients to make, and a cooking method that didn’t smoke up my kitchen and make it smell like fish for days.

After testing lots of different sauces and cooking methods, I came up with what I think is the perfect salmon teriyaki. It’s easy to throw together on a weeknight, requires no stovetop searing (and risk of burning), and has a delicious teriyaki sauce that’s as good on the fish as it is drizzled over rice. It all comes together in less than 30 minutes and is great with some steamed rice and a side of cucumber salad, stir-fried bok choy, or cooked broccoli.

Ingredients You’ll Need for Salmon Teriyaki

  • Salmon: Aim for fillets that are the same size and thickness so that they all roast and broil at the same rate.
  • Mirin: This is a Japanese sweet rice wine that offers a nice contrast to the salty flavor of soy sauce.
  • Sake: Containing a higher alcohol percentage than mirin, this Japanese rice wine adds depth and more complex flavors to the teriyaki sauce. 
  • Soy sauce: It’s not teriyaki sauce without soy sauce, and tamari can be used instead if you want to keep the sauce gluten-free.
  • Brown sugar: Light or dark brown sugar will work here.

If you’d like to garnish the salmon teriyaki before serving, you’ll need a scallion and some white sesame seeds.

How to Make Salmon Teriyaki

  1. Salt the salmon. This not only starts the seasoning process, but also gives the salt a chance to penetrate deeper into the flesh, while also firming it up slightly. Let the salmon sit for 20 minutes on a rack, which is the time it will take to heat the oven and make the teriyaki sauce.
  2. Make the teriyaki sauce: Simmer sake, mirin, soy sauce, and brown sugar together until reduced by about half, which will take about 15 minutes.
  3. Roast and broil. Brush the teriyaki sauce onto the salmon and roast at 400ºF for six minutes. Take the salmon out and brush with more sauce. Now, it’s time to broil. Broil until the salmon is browned in spots on top and the flesh in the middle is just starting to flake, which will take three to seven minutes more depending on your broiler and the thickness of the salmon.
  4. Rest the salmon. Let the salmon rest for two minutes before applying one last layer of sauce and any garnishes before serving.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Stylist : James Park

What to Do with Leftover Teriyaki Sauce

This recipe makes about 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but you don’t need much to brush onto the salmon as it’s cooking. Leftover sauce can be used to drizzle over steamed rice, saved for a future batch of salmon teriyaki, tossed with fried tofu, or brushed onto grilled chicken as it’s cooking instead. You can refrigerate the sauce for up to a few weeks, or freeze for up to a few months.

If You’re Making Salmon Teriyaki, a Few Tips

  1. Use a rack. Cooking the salmon on a wire rack means that the teriyaki sauce that drips down onto the foil and burns won’t be touching the salmon.
  2. Err on undercooking. The salmon is ready when it is just firm to the touch and flakes easily, but if you’re not sure, pull it out earlier rather than later. If you cut into it and find that it’s not done, just pop it back into the oven for a few minutes.
  3. Watch out for burning. The sugar in the sauce can burn easily, so keep a watchful eye during broiling and move the salmon to a lower rack to finish cooking if it’s browned but not cooked through yet.
  4. Brush on more sauce at the end. After the salmon is ready, don’t forget to brush it with more teriyaki sauce right before serving so that it’s shiny and there’s an extra layer of flavor.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Stylist : James Park

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Salmon Teriyaki Recipe

Roasted and broiled salmon is coated in an easy four-ingredient teriyaki sauce.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the salmon:

  • Cooking spray

  • 4

    (6-ounce) salmon fillets, preferably center cut

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1

    medium scallion, thinly sliced (optional)

  • White sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

For the teriyaki sauce:

  • 1/3 cup

    mirin

  • 1/3 cup

    sake

  • 1/4 cup

    soy sauce or tamari

  • 2 tablespoons

    packed light or dark brown sugar

Instructions

Salt the salmon:

  1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Fit a wire rack onto the baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Pat 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets dry with paper towels. Season all over with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Place skin-side down on the rack and let sit for 20 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, arrange a rack about 6 inches from the broiling element and heat the oven to 400ºF. Make the sauce.

Make the teriyaki sauce:

  1. Place 1/3 cup mirin, 1/3 cup sake, 1/4 cup soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce is reduced by about half to 1/2 cup, 12 to 15 minutes.

  2. Turn off the heat. Transfer about 2/3 of the sauce into a small serving bowl for finishing and serving. Reserve the remaining for brushing the salmon.

Roast the salmon:

  1. Generously brush the tops and sides of the salmon with some of the sauce from the saucepan. Roast for 6 minutes.

  2. Remove the salmon from the oven. Turn on the broiler. Brush the salmon with sauce again. Return the baking sheet to the oven and broil until the salmon is just cooked through and flakes easily in the thickest part, and the top is browned in spots, 3 to 7 minutes more. For medium-rare salmon, cook to an internal temperature of 120ºF; for medium salmon, cook to 125ºF. Watch carefully during broiling for burning. Discard any remaining sauce left in the saucepan.

  3. Let rest for 2 minutes. Spoon some of the serving sauce over the salmon and garnish with 1 thinly sliced medium scallion and white sesame seeds if desired. Serve with the remaining sauce if desired.

Recipe Notes

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