These three different variations on Easy Baked Salmon will have you eating within half an hour tonight.
Okay, maybe 40 minutes if you roast fresh veggies you need to chop up, but this is solidly under 30 minutes if you use either frozen or a vegetable like baby carrots that doesn't need cut up.
Salmon is one of my all time favorite meals. It is super easy, super fast, and super healthy.
It's also super versatile, and is great with either a quick and simple homemade sauce or with a store bought one. Using a sauce as a glaze on top of the fish helps keep in moisture so that it is flaky and delicious. Both glazes on this page are at most three ingredients, and all of them are common pantry staples.
So let's get to it!
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The 3 Glaze Options
The first glaze for this easy baked salmon is equal parts butter, dijon mustard, and honey. Melt the butter in a microwave safe dish or mug, and then add the other two and stir with a fork until the mixture is fully combined. To glaze about a pound of salmon start with 1-2 tablespoons of butter, which yields around 3-6 tablespoons of sauce with the dijon and honey. I personally always start with 2 tablespoons, then before glazing reserve half of it for dipping or eating with the rice.
The second glaze is a simple butter lemon sauce, 2 parts butter to 1 part lemon juice. Melt the butter in a microwave safe dish or mug, then add the lemon juice (either fresh squeezed or the bottled stuff is fine) and stir with a fork until fully combined. I like to add some black pepper to this as well to make it a lemon-pepper sauce. For glazing one pound of salmon, 2 tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon of lemon juice should be plenty, but I always double it and add half of the glaze to my rice.
The third glaze for this easy baked salmon is the easiest. It is literally taking a store bought sauce and pouring it over the salmon. My mother in law turned me onto this sweet chili sauce I now use a lot of the time, but a lemon pepper marinade, honey mustard, teriyaki or other asian-inspired sauce (my favorite is Trader Joe's gyoza sauce), or italian dressing all work well. Once you have decided what glaze you want to use, you're ready to get cooking!
Let's get started! Here's what you'll need:
1 lb salmon (approximately, about 6 oz per adult is a good serving size)
Glaze (either store bought or one of the two detailed above, plan on 3-4 tablespoons per pound of fish, plus more if you want any for dipping or adding to your rice).
You'll also need a sheet pan for baking the salmon, and I highly recommend using aluminum foil to make clean-up a breeze. Foil can also be used to keep sauces on one portion of salmon from touching the others if you decide to do more than one glaze option.
The only real "kitchen tool" I use making this meal is the silicone brush in this set to apply the glaze to the salmon, but you can use the back of a spoon if you don't have one. You will of course need potholders, and if you're making a glaze you'll also need a microwave safe dish (I use a mug) and a fork. Super off the wall gadgets here, I know.
Cooking Steps for Easy Baked Salmon
- If you want to roast fresh veggies with this meal, start those first. They'll need to cook 5-10 minutes longer than the salmon. You can absolutely put these in the same oven as the fish, just on a separate oven rack.
- If you'd like rice with your meal, start it now. Yes, this meal is that quick. Go ahead and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line your baking sheet for the salmon with aluminum foil. Excess glaze that drips off the fish is a pain to clean.
- Place the salmon filet on the aluminum foil with the skin side down on the foil.
- Make the glaze of your choice and coat the salmon with it. A pastry brush is ideal if you have one, the back of a spoon is good if you don't.
- Bake for about 17 minutes (14-20 depending on the size and thickness of your filet, use a kitchen thermometer to verify it is 145 F in the thickest part if you're unsure it is done). If you're using a frozen veggie, nuke that while the salmon bakes.
- Serve dinner!
A side note on rice
Fish and rice just go together for me. I can't recall a time in recent memory that I made this easy baked salmon and didn't make rice as a side dish.
I recently met a young woman who mentioned to me she'd never made rice, and always bought it precooked. Precooked is convenient, but generally pretty high in sodium and price for what you get. In case this is you and you'd like to try your hand at it, making rice is super simple and doesn't take long. Rice should simmer either on the stove or in a rice cooker with twice as much water as dry rice grains.
Measure out your dry rice- I typically use ⅔ cup of dry rice grains for this meal- and then fill the same measuring cup with water twice. White rice takes about 20 minutes at a low simmer, some fancier grains like basmati take a bit longer. Once the water starts to boil turn the burner to low. You don't want to see a rolling boil, because that water needs to absorb into the rice.
To cook in extra flavor, you can add a tablespoon or two of sauce before cooking the rice. A tablespoon of butter and a squeeze of lemon (about a teaspoon) work great, as do most soy-sauce based marinades.