Perfectly Baked Salmon with Lemon and Dill
Our easy baked salmon recipe takes less than 30 minutes and makes perfect, tender salmon. By gently baking salmon in a small amount of liquid, the fish stays moist and tender. It practically melts in your mouth. Jump to the Baked Salmon Recipe with Lemon and Dill or watch our quick video below to see how we make it.
Watch Us Bake Salmon with Lemon and Dill
How to Make the Best Salmon in the Oven
This quick and easy recipe never fails! The inspiration comes from my mother, who made and continues to make this all the time. It’s her go-to dish — especially when entertaining. And you know what? Everyone loves it.
The trick to perfectly cooked salmon is to bake the fish in a little liquid — you can use wine, stock, and even water. After adding the liquid, cover the fish and bake until just cooked. The salmon basically poaches in the liquid. You could also call this recipe oven poached salmon. It’s practically no-fail.
Three Easy Steps For Perfect Salmon
Step 1: Season the salmon with salt and fresh ground black pepper. I’m generous when it comes to the salt and make sure that I season both sides of the salmon fillets.
Step 2: Layer sliced lemons and fresh herbs at the bottom of a baking dish. In our photos, we’ve used fresh dill, but almost any tender herb will work in its place. Think about parsley, cilantro, thyme or even mint.
Step 3: Place the salmon fillets on top of the herbs and lemon then cover with foil or parchment paper. After about 20 minutes of baking in the oven, the salmon will be perfectly cooked, tender, and delicious.
How to Tell When Salmon is Cooked
Your best bet for checking if salmon is cooked is a thermometer — we cook salmon to 125 degrees F, which means it will be soft, tender, and slightly pink in the center. The texture at this temperature is much better than when cooked to a higher temperature.
For a visual cue, look for the flesh to be somewhat opaque. Also, when inserting a knife into the salmon, it should slide through easily.
Note that the USDA recommends cooking salmon to 145 degrees F. Interestingly enough, Cooks Illustrated suggests that the ideal internal temperature of salmon (especially wild varieties) is 120 degrees F. Everyone has an opinion on this one, but for now, we are sticking to 125 degrees F.
More Easy Salmon Recipes
- For a different spin, try our Garlic Caper Butter Baked Salmon Recipe. We use the same method as this lemon herb salmon, but replace the stock with butter!
- For a different spin, try our Easy Sour Cream Baked Salmon. We slather a mixture of mustard, sour cream, and parmesan on top of salmon fillets and bake until done.
- Our Grilled Salmon is easy and is served on a bed of couscous and topped with grilled nectarines and crumbled goat cheese. Great for summer!
- Another favorite way to cook salmon is by grilling on a cedar plank. Try our Sweet Citrus Rubbed Cedar Plank Salmon.
- Adam loves these Pan-Seared Salmon Burgers. Thanks to a little agave, they brown nicely in the pan and taste amazing.
Recipe updated, originally posted August 2009. Since posting this in 2009, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne
Perfectly Baked Salmon with Lemon and Dill
The trick to perfectly baked salmon is to gently bake the fish in a little liquid — such as wine, stock, or water. Then cover the dish and bake until just cooked through. You could call this oven poached salmon. It’s practically no-fail. If your fish is quite thick, expect that the cooking time will be a few minutes longer than what we share below.
You Will Need
One 1 1/2-pound salmon fillet, or two 12-ounce fillets, preferably wild-caught
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut into slices 3 to 4 sprigs of fresh dill, plus more for serving
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon blanc (substitute: fish stock, chicken stock, or water)
Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
Lightly oil and season both sides of the salmon with salt and pepper.
Arrange lemon slices and fresh herbs on the bottom of a baking dish large enough to fit the salmon, and then place the salmon, skin-side down, onto the bed of lemon and herbs.
Pour wine (or stock) into the baking dish, and then cover with aluminum foil. Bake the salmon until the fish flakes and white bubbles of protein appear on the surface, 12 to 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Check the salmon after 10 minutes to see its progress.
Checking the temperature of the salmon using an internal thermometer is the best way to prevent overcooking. You want the thickest part of the salmon to read 125 degrees F. Take the salmon out of the oven and loosely cover with foil for 5 minutes (the fish will continue to cook during this time). Serve, scattered with chopped fresh herbs on top.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- How to tell when salmon is cooked: Your best bet for checking if salmon is cooked, is a thermometer — we cook salmon to 125 degrees F, which means it will be soft, tender and slightly pink in the center. For a visual cue, look for the flesh to be somewhat opaque. Also, when inserting a knife into the salmon, it should slide through easily.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.