This easy salmon recipe is incredibly delicious and the sauce comes together with just 3 refrigerator-door ingredients! It will be your new go-to quick healthy meal.
Not only does it taste amazing, but it bakes in the oven in around 10 minutes. It’s also easy to make just one or multiple servings. Make as many or as few pieces as you need depending on the day.
This Easy Salmon Recipe is Healthy, Delicious and Quick to Prepare
This Maple Dijon Salmon is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids to keep your body healthy. Eating salmon once per week is absolutely fantastic for your health.
I make this recipe about once a week and it never gets old. Every time I try another salmon recipe, I wish I had made it this way instead. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to whip it up in no time at all. We like to serve it with perfectly cooked quinoa and a simple green salad, and sometimes just mix chopped greens into the quinoa to make it even easier. Throw it in the oven or on a hot grill outside—it’s perfect every time.
Choosing Easy Salmon Recipe Ingredients:
For each serving, buy four to eight ounces of salmon. I have the fish counter cut the pieces for me to make it even easier.
How Much Salmon Should I Get?
For each person:
Four ounces would be a small but filling piece (I typically fill up on 4-5 ounces)
Six ounces per person is a great general serving size
Eight ounces is usually a pretty filling serving size and is what you would find at restaurants.
I personally feel really full when I eat salmon, so I get one 4 to 5-ounce piece for me and one 8-ounce piece for my boyfriend. If I’m buying for a crowd and I’m serving a few side dishes, I plan on six ounces per person.
What Type of Salmon Should I Get?
Wild-caught salmon is generally best, but also check out newer sustainably-raised farmed salmon. It used to be that all farm-raised salmon was unhealthy, but that’s not the case anymore.
To make this the most budget-friendly, consider sustainably-raised farmed salmon. Newer methods have made farmed salmon healthier and more sustainable—I sometimes buy the farmed Atlantic salmon at Whole Foods because they have a high standard for the fisheries and it has a great mild flavor. It’s a great go-to for a weeknight meal.
Frozen salmon can be great, too. Fresh salmon from the fish counter is easiest to work with and you don’t have to think ahead to defrost it, but frozen can be even more budget-friendly. Let it defrost in the fridge or on your counter and pat it dry before using it for the best texture.
Choosing which type of salmon you want based on flavor:
Atlantic salmon is usually the mildest in flavor.
King salmon is the ultimate when it comes to incredible flavor and texture and practically melts in your mouth—use it if you find it at a good price.
Coho and sockeye salmon are also great options and tend to be a little stronger in flavor. There are many types of salmon, talk to the person at the fish counter to find something you like.
What’s the Best Salmon to Get?
In general, buy the best salmon that fits in your budget. Talk to the person at the fish counter at your store for your best options and ask how the salmon is raised. Depending on where it came from, how fresh it is and what’s available, it’s best to be a little flexible and get the freshest / best price available.
Easy Salmon Recipe Sauce:
The savory tamari (wheat-free soy sauce), sweet maple syrup, and tangy Dijon mustard make the perfect glaze sauce. Whisk it together while the oven preheats and you’ll have a gourmet-like salmon dinner done in less than half an hour total.
Tamari is wheat-free soy sauce. You could also substitute the tamari with low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos (a coconut product that has a savory flavor like soy sauce) if you avoid soy.
Easy Salmon Recipe Steps:
When you get home from the store, refrigerate the salmon until you cook it. Thirty to sixty minutes before you cook it, take it out of the refrigerator to let it come up to room temperature. If using frozen, let it defrost according to the package instructions (usually 12-24 hours in the fridge or about 6-8 hours at room temperature). Protein is best cooked when it’s close to room temperature if possible.
When you’re ready to cook, let the oven preheat while you whisk together the 3-ingredient sauce (see the two options below for how to bake it). The recipe is written depending on how many pieces you’re cooking. Use 1 teaspoon of each sauce ingredient per piece. For example, if you’re cooking two pieces of salmon, use 2 teaspoons of each sauce ingredient.
Place the salmon pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in a cast-iron pan. Pat them dry with a paper towel if they are wet. Sprinkle the tops of each salmon piece with a generous pinch of fine sea salt or kosher salt, then give them each a turn of freshly ground black pepper.
Coat each piece with the sauce. I like to reserve a little bit of the sauce (about 1/2 teaspoon per piece) to drizzle on top when it comes out of the hot oven (but you don’t have to do that.) Coat each piece generously but not so much that the sauce pools all over the pan. Eyeball it, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Put the salmon in the oven. It generally takes about 10 minutes, but the timing depends on how thick your salmon pieces are. Thin pieces less than 3/4 inch thick may take 9-10 minutes, extra-thick pieces over 1-inch may take 10-15 minutes. I prefer salmon slightly rare for the best flavor and texture, but you can cook it to your liking. Once the salmon is opaque it’s done, but you can use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. Salmon should be cooked to 145°F for food-safety standards.
This easy salmon recipe is my all-time favorite. I make it often as a weeknight meal and even use it to entertain guests. It bakes in the oven in just about 10 minutes, so plan on about 20 minutes total to make it. The time in the oven will depend on the thickness of your salmon. Use 1 teaspoon of each sauce ingredient per piece of fish you have. If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating in the comments to help other readers in our community.
2 (6-to 8-ounce) salmon fillets (skin on or off, your preference)
2 teaspoons real maple syrup
2 teaspoons organic tamari (wheat-free soy sauce), OR low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
2 teaspoons Dijon or whole-grain mustard
Fine sea salt or kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Here are three options to cook this easy salmon recipe. Always pat fish dry with a paper towel before using it if it feels wet and let it come to room temperature (or close) before cooking.
Easiest in the Oven:
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (optional for easy clean up). You can also use a seasoned cast iron skillet in the oven. Place the salmon fillets on the parchment skin-side down. Lightly top the fillets with a big pinch of sea salt and a little freshly ground black pepper.
Whisk the tamari (or soy sauce or coconut aminos), maple syrup, and mustard in a small mixing bowl for the marinade. Coat the salmon with the sauce, then place it in the oven (be sure oven is preheated before baking).
Optional: Save a little sauce in the bowl and drizzle it on the hot salmon when it comes out of the oven for even more flavor.
Cook 10-15 minutes until opaque (or use a meat thermometer to cook to 145°F). Salmon is ok to serve a little rare; you can usually tell it’s done when it’s opaque and the white lines (of fat) appear out of the top). Extra-thick pieces of salmon may take a few more minutes to cook. Let the salmon cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Variation 1 – Crispier Top (Advanced in Oven):
Position your oven rack approximately 6 inches below the broiler. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Once the oven is preheated, turn it off and turn the broiler on. Line a broiler-safe baking sheet with a small sheet of parchment paper (optional for easy cleanup, but parchment can burn under the broiler so watch it carefully and don’t allow excess overhang). Place the salmon fillets on the baking sheet skin-side down. Lightly top the fillets with a big pinch of sea salt and a little freshly ground black pepper.
Whisk the maple syrup, tamari, and mustard in a small mixing bowl for the marinade. Coat the salmon with the sauce, then place in the oven and broil for 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through. Let the salmon cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Watch it carefully under the broiler.
Variation 2 – On an Outdoor Grill:
Preheat the grill to 375°F (we use a Traeger smoker, but this works on a grill at medium-high heat). Line a cast iron skillet with a sheet of parchment paper (optional for easy clean up-you can also place the salmon directly on a seasoned cast iron skillet). Place the salmon fillets on the parchment or cast iron skin-side down. Lightly top the fillets with a big pinch of sea salt and a little freshly ground black pepper.
Whisk the tamari (or soy sauce or coconut aminos), maple syrup, and mustard in a small mixing bowl for the marinade. Coat the salmon with the sauce, then place the cast iron skillet directly on the grill. Cook 10-15 minutes until opaque (or use a meat thermometer to cook to 145°F). Extra-thick pieces of salmon may take a few more minutes to cook. Let the salmon cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Easy Weeknight Method: To make this preparation extra simple, I often cook this the evening I buy it. I buy the fish at the fish counter in the late afternoon, then come home and put the groceries away but leave the fish on the counter for an hour (put it in the fridge if longer than an hour). While I put the groceries away I preheat the oven and whisk up the sauce. Then unwrap the fish, assemble the pan, top with the sauce, and put it in the oven while I make a salad. If I’m in a big rush, I may even assemble a salad for 2-4 people at the grocery store salad bar then just quickly make the salmon at home. Use any of these tips to make it easiest for you.