If you are looking for a healthy recipe with incredible flavor that you can prepare quickly, you need this Lemon Pepper Salmon recipe in your life! Seasoned with the essence of lemon, pepper, and dill this dish is elegant enough for a dinner party but simple enough for any night of the week.
I think of salmon as the ultimate super food. It is a healthy and incredibly versatile fish that is delicious oven baked, pan seared or grilled (try my Salmon Burgers). It makes an awesome appetizer, like my Hot Honey Salmon Bites or a delicious meal. I love it paired with Grilled Eggplant or asparagus for a quick, light summery dinner.
I know a lot of people don’t like to cook fish at home or may be intimidated to try making it themselves. If that is the case with you, then this recipe is the perfect way to easy into it. Follow my cooking tips below and you will have delicious, flaky, perfectly cooked salmon every time!
Baking is my favorite way to prepare fish because I can set the timer and step away to do something else while the oven does all of the work for me. Whole Oven Roasted Branzino is another delicious baked fish recipe that you might want to try.
This recipe requires a few minutes of prep time and delivers a flavorful, tender piece of salmon that is easy to pair with almost any side dish. The seasonings for this delicious baked salmon are simple but high in flavor. You can use your own lemon pepper seasoning or follow my lead and make it really easy on yourself and use your favorite store bought blend.
What I love about this recipe:
- It is super easy to make – nothing complicated about this recipe!
- It requires simple ingredients but delivers big flavor! Lemon, pepper and dill pair beautifully with the subtle flavors of salmon.
- The fish is tender and moist
- It is on the dinner table in under 30 minutes and if that is not enough…
- Salmon has so many health benefits. It is high in protein, a good of source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and it is rich in vitamin B-12. This article in Healthline breaks down all of the health reasons for including salmon in your diet.
How to make delicious Lemon Pepper Salmon
Ingredients you will need:
- Salmon fillets or one large piece of skin-on salmon. Buy the freshest salmon available from your fish monger or the local grocery store. You can use wild salmon or any kind of salmon you like for this recipe.
- Lemon pepper seasoning blend – store bought or your own blend,
- Dill – fresh, chopped,
- Lemons – sliced
- Kosher salt, and olive oil.
- Brush the top of the salmon fillet with olive oil and evenly distribute the lemon pepper, dill, and salt over it.
- Place 4 lemon slices on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray or brushed with olive oil. Then lay each piece of salmon on top of two of them.
- Bake until the salmon is tender and flaky, about 20 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the salmon registers 130-135°F for medium. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the salmon and the doneness that you desire. Smaller pieces will cook in less time.
- Give the cooked salmon a squeeze of fresh lemon juice before serving it.
Tips for cooking lemon pepper salmon or any other salmon dish perfectly every time
Salmon cooks very quickly, so it can be easy to overcook it resulting in a dry, chalky disappointment. Here are some tips to make sure your salmon is moist, tender and perfectly flaky.
- Pat the fish down with a paper towel to absorb any excess liquid. This will allow the oil, butter, or other fat that you brush on the fish to adhere to the flesh and create a crispy top
- Don’t salt the salmon before you are ready to cook it. Salt draws moisture out of the fish and can dry it out.
- If you are using a marinade, don’t let the fish sit in it for more then an hour. And if the marinade is especially acidic, 30 minutes should be tops. The acid will start to break down the flesh making it mushy, and we want nice firm fish.
- Don’t cook salmon beyond medium. This is the point when salmon is it’s juiciest and most flavorful. These are the easiest ways to tell if it is cooked to the right temperature:
- Insert an instant read thermometer or a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the salmon. If the internal temperature measures between 130-135°F it is medium. 135-140°F is medium well. You do not want to go over 140°F or it will be over cooked.
- Salmon will change color from the bright rosy, orange or pink to an opaque peachy orange color when it is cooked. You can insert the tip of a knife into the center of the fish and if the outer part of the fish is opaque, but the center is slightly translucent, the fish is done. If the center is still very translucent then it needs more time.
- Use a fork or a knife tip to gently press on the surface of the salmon, when it separates or flakes easily it is done.
Storing leftover salmon
Salmon is one of my favorite types of fish because it tastes just as good cold as it does warm. I love it as part of a crips fresh salad, rewarmed over a rice bowl or added to pasta. Left over salmon should be stored in an airtight container or wrapped tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator. Properly stored your salmon will be good for up to 3 days.
What to serve with Baked Lemon Pepper Salmon
This easy recipe has become one of my favorite weeknight dinners because my whole family loves it and it pairs easily with so many side dishes. Rosemary Sweet Potatoes, Parmesan Potatoes or a Green Bean and Potato salad are all easy to make and delicious side dish options. You can also enjoy this flaky salmon recipe with rice, pasta, or a simple vegetable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Salmon skin is perfectly safe to eat if the salmon is fresh and also safe to eat. The question of whether you should eat it really comes down to personal preference, but there may be nutritional benefits from adding it to your meal. This article from Medical News Today does a good job of explaining the pros and cons so you can decide for yourself.
That white substance is called albumin. It is a perfectly safe liquid protein that is found in the fish. When salmon is cooked at a high temperature the albumin congeals and you may see large amounts of it form on the fish.
The USDA warns against rinsing any fish, poultry or meat before cooking it as it can easily result in the spread of harmful bacteria and germs. Cooking the fish to a safe temperature is the best way to kill any germs or bacteria that may be present.
Here are a few ways to tell if your salmon has gone bad:
1. Fresh salmon should be a bright pink or rosy, orange color. If the flesh looks dull, gray, or discolored it is probably not safe to eat.
2. Raw salmon should not have a strong fishy smell. If it does, this is a sure sign that it is no longer fresh and should be discarded. Fresh salmon should have a mild scent.
3. You can also tell that salmon is fresh if there are clearly defined white lines running through it. If the lines are gray or subtle that is a sign that the fish may be spoiled.
4. Fresh salmon will have firm flesh that bounces back when you press on it. If you touch it and the flesh remains dimpled or the flesh breaks apart, then it has gone bad.
Other easy dinner ideas
Lemon Pepper Salmon with Dill
- 2 Salmon fillets
- 2 tsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Lemon Pepper Seasonng
- 1 tsp Dill fresh, chopped
- ¼ tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 Lemon sliced
- Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or brush with oil.
- Place 4 slices of lemon on the baking sheet and lay each piece of salmon on two of them.
- Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle the lemon pepper, salt and dill evenly over the fish.
- Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the fish registers 130-135° for medium.