5 Best Ways to Cook Salmon

When cooking salmon, there are several different ways to prepare this delectable fish. A handful of methods offer versatility in terms of seasoning options and allow you to customize the flavor according to your preferences.

We tried the five best ways to cook salmon, complete with tips, and benefits.

The Best Way to Cook Salmon - We Tried 5 Methods

There are several popular and delicious ways to cook salmon. Here are some of the best methods:

1. Grilling

grilled salmon

Photo from: Bon Appétit

Grilling salmon imparts a smoky flavor and creates beautiful grill marks. The heat from the grill caramelizes the exterior, creating a delicious crust while keeping the flesh tender and moist.

Because grilling is a relatively quick cooking method, it retains the fish’s nutritional value. In addition, it’s versatile – you can enjoy grilled salmon as a standalone main course, add it to salads, sandwiches, or tacos, or even flake it to incorporate into pasta or rice dishes.

You might also opt to grill salmon because of this method’s health benefits. Grilling salmon is considered a healthier alternative to frying or deep-frying because it requires less oil. The excess fat in salmon drips away during grilling, reducing the overall calorie content.

Tips for grilling salmon:

  • Grill at medium-high heat, between 375 and 400 degrees F.
  • Let your salmon rest for a few minutes to seal flavor and juices.
  • Grill using foil packs to ensure minimal cleanup.
  • Use a meat thermometer to endure your salmon isn’t overcooked.
  • Always dry your fillets beforehand – wet fillets don’t grill evenly.
  • Grill smaller pieces of salmon, as they are easier to manage.
  • Work with flexible tongs instead of spatulas, which may stick to the fish.

Related: 10 Simple Sauces for Your Grilled Salmon at Home

2. Oven-Baking

oven-baked salmon

Photo from: The Kitchn

Oven-baking is a simple and reliable method for cooking salmon. Compared to other techniques, oven baking provides an even char, with the oven’s dry heat resulting in a tender and moist texture.

Not to mention, the effort required to oven-bake salmon is minimal, making it a convenient cooking method. It’s also easy to clean, as you’ll have no pans to scrub and soak.

Unlike pan-frying or sautéing, oven-baking salmon requires little to no additional oil. The natural fats in the salmon help to keep the fish moist, and the dry heat of the oven helps to create a slight caramelized exterior without excessive oil.

Tips for oven-baking salmon:

  • Most salmon take 10 minutes of baking per inch of thickness.
  • Always defrost your salmon properly.
  • The best temperature for baking salmon is about 450 degrees F.
  • Place your salmon on a bed of celery or onions to prevent it sticking to the baking tray.

3. Pan-Searing

pan-seared salmon


Photo from: The Kitchn

Pan-searing salmon results in a crispy skin and moist interior. If you love a golden-brown crust, pan-searing is the way to go.

It also requires minimal preparation and is relatively quick, making it a reliable and convenient cooking method. Plus, it provides greater control over cooking temperatures, enabling chefs to easily achieve their desired doneness.

For fans of versatile seasoning, pan-seared salmon makes an excellent vessel for spices, herbs, and marinades.

Tips for pan-searing salmon:

  • Always sear your fish on medium-high heat.
  • Pat the fish dry before searing.
  • Use an oil with a high smoke point to prevent your salmon from burning.
  • Flip your fish carefully using a metal fish spatula.

4. Poaching

poached salmon

Photo from: Delish

Poaching is a gentle cooking method that keeps the salmon moist and tender. The low and steady simmering temperature ensures that the fish cooks evenly without drying out.

People with caloric restrictions will be pleased to know that poaching requires minimal added fat. It is a low-fat cooking method that allows the fish to cook in its own juices or a minimal amount of liquid. This helps to keep the calorie content lower compared to methods like frying or sautéing.

Fans of aromatics will love the poaching method, as it infuses well with lemon slices, herbs, spices, and vegetables.

Tips for poaching salmon:

  • Never let the water boil, as your fish may overcook.
  • Get your water to the right heat before adding the fish.
  • Score the fish to prevent curling.
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure the fish cooks at a perfect 140 degrees F.
  • Try different poaching liquids like water, butter and wine, court bouillon, or broth.

5. Steaming

steamed salmon

Photo from: Foodcentric Life

Steaming is another gentle cooking method that preserves the delicate flavor of salmon. Its gentleness also preserves the salmon’s nutritional value.

Steaming is yet another low-fat cooking method, ideal for people watching their weight or with dietary restrictions.

Tips for steaming salmon:

  • Place chopsticks or spring onions under the fish to ensure proper air circulation.
  • Most fish take about six minutes to steam. Pay attention to thickness.
  • Know the common ingredients to use when steaming salmon, such as spring onion, chicken oil, mushrooms, other meats, and lemon.
  • Completely scale your fish every time.


The best way to cook salmon fillets depends on your preferences, skill level, and health requirements. If you’re looking for a convenient cooking method with minimal clean-up, baking is the way to go. On the contrary, pan-searing is an excellent option for convenience and versatility.

Whatever cooking method you choose, salmon will always remain a go-to for health-conscious eaters who love something buttery, versatile, and absolutely delicious.

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