How to Cook Salmon in the Oven

Oven-cooking salmon is not only a convenient method but also yields delicious results. The controlled temperature of the oven helps cook the salmon evenly, resulting in a tender and flaky texture that many find appealing!

Additionally, oven cooking provides chefs and adventurous home cooks the opportunity to enhance the salmon's taste with various seasonings, such as herbs, garlic, lemon, or marinades.

However, achieving perfect oven-cooked salmon requires a precise process. From selecting the right temperature and cooking time to understanding when the salmon is perfectly done, each step leads to a flavorful outcome.

If this is your first time oven-cooking salmon, this article will serve as your helpful guide.

How to Cook Salmon in the Oven

When cooking salmon in the oven, remember to always start with fresh or properly thawed salmon fillets. Freshness is important for optimal flavor and texture.

Now, here’s a simple step-by-step process to ensure a perfectly baked salmon dish:

  1. Preheat your oven to the desired temperature, typically between 375°F to 425°F (190°C to 220°C), depending on your recipe.
  2. Season the salmon with your preferred seasonings. Common options include salt, pepper, garlic powder, lemon zest, fresh herbs like dill or parsley, and olive oil. Rub the seasoning onto both sides of the salmon fillets, ensuring even coverage.
  3. If desired, marinate the salmon for added flavor. Salmon marinades can include ingredients like soy sauce, honey, ginger, and citrus juices. Place the seasoned salmon fillets in a shallow dish or a resealable plastic bag, cover with the marinade, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse. Some people opt for longer marinating times for a more flavorful dish.
  4. Choose an oven-safe baking dish or sheet pan large enough to accommodate the salmon fillets without overcrowding. You can line the baking dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easier cleanup.
  5. Place the seasoned salmon fillets in the prepared baking dish, skin-side down if they have skin.
  6. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake the salmon for about 12-15 minutes per inch of thickness. The salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork and has reached an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). Avoid overcooking to prevent the salmon from becoming dry.
  7. If you like crispy salmon skin, you can switch the oven to broil during the last few minutes of cooking. Broil the salmon for 1-2 minutes until the skin is crispy and slightly charred.
  8. Once the salmon is cooked to your desired doneness, remove it from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh herbs, lemon slices, or your favorite sauce if desired.

Remember to adjust the cooking time based on the thickness of your salmon fillets and your preferred level of doneness. As a helpful rule, thicker fillets may require slightly longer cooking times, while thinner fillets may be done closer to the minimum time.

With this simple oven cooking process, you can enjoy healthy and well-cooked salmon every time!

Frequently Asked Questions

Discover more oven-cooking tips by reading our FAQs below:

How long does it take to cook salmon in the oven?

The cooking time for salmon in the oven typically ranges from 12 to 15 minutes per inch of thickness at a temperature of 375°F to 425°F (190°C to 220°C). For example, if your salmon fillet is 1 inch thick, it will take approximately 12 to 15 minutes to cook.

For those who prefer baking salmon at 400°F, check out this guide.

It's important to monitor the salmon closely and check for doneness by testing it with a fork. The salmon should flake easily when it's cooked through. Apart from flakiness, observe the texture of the salmon. It should be opaque and moist.

Should I cover or uncover salmon when cooking in the oven?

When cooking salmon in the oven, it's generally recommended to leave it uncovered. Cooking salmon uncovered allows for better heat circulation and helps to achieve a nicely browned exterior.

However, if you're concerned about the salmon drying out or if you're using a marinade or sauce that you don't want to evaporate too quickly, you can cover it loosely with aluminum foil for part of the cooking time, then remove the foil towards the end to allow the salmon to brown.

Do I need to flip the salmon while it’s baking?

No, it's typically not necessary to flip the salmon while it's baking in the oven. Baking salmon on one side allows it to cook evenly. The heat from the oven circulates around the fillet, cooking it from both sides simultaneously.

By baking the salmon on one side only, you also minimize the risk of it falling apart or losing its shape during cooking.

Simply place the seasoned salmon fillets in the baking dish with the skin side down and let them cook until they reach the desired level of doneness.

What’s the recommended seasoning for oven-cooked salmon?

A simple yet flavorful seasoning for oven-cooked salmon involves brushing the fillets with olive oil and then sprinkling them with salt, black pepper, and fresh herbs like dill or parsley.

A squeeze of lemon juice before serving adds brightness and complements the natural richness of the fish!

Can I cook salmon in the oven with the skin on?

Yes, you can. Cooking salmon with the skin on in the oven is not only common but also helps retain moisture and flavor.

Make sure to place the salmon skin-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in a baking dish to prevent sticking. This method allows the skin to crisp up nicely while the flesh remains tender and juicy.

If you prefer to remove the skin from the salmon before cooking, note that this can change the texture and presentation of the salmon. Without the skin, the salmon fillet will have a different appearance and mouthfeel.

Can I cook frozen salmon in the oven?

Yes, you can cook frozen salmon in the oven. It's best to thaw it in the refrigerator overnight if possible, but if you're short on time, you can cook it directly from frozen.

Increase the cooking time by about 50% compared to fresh salmon, and make sure to check for doneness with a fork before serving. Brushing the frozen fillets with a bit of olive oil can help prevent them from drying out during cooking.


Cooking salmon in the oven is a straightforward method that anyone can master. One of the best things about oven-baked salmon is its versatility in flavors and preparations!

Follow the steps outlined—such as preheating the oven, seasoning the salmon, and monitoring its doneness—and you can get impressive results every time. For beginners, these steps provide a solid foundation to cook salmon with confidence.

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