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

Perfectly Baked Salmon with Lemon and Dill

How to Cook Salmon in the Oven So That It’s Perfectly Moist

This quick and easy salmon 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.

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.

The trick for 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 with parchment paper or foil 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

  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.
  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.
  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 Cook Salmon -- For the most tender salmon, bake it on top of lemon slices, herbs, and add a little liquid (like wine, water, or broth).
For the most flavorful baked salmon, bake it on top of lemon slices and herbs.
How to Cook Salmon -- For moist and tender salmon, add a little liquid like water, broth, or dry white wine.
For moist and tender salmon, add a little liquid like water, broth, or dry white wine.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long to cook salmon and at what temperature?

The cook time for salmon depends on the type of salmon and thickness of salmon you are cooking. Use our tips for how to tell when salmon is done as your main guide. In general, salmon will take 12 to 30 minutes to bake in a 325° F oven. I like checking doneness around 10 minutes and then go from there.

How do I tell when salmon is done cooking?

Salmon is don cooking when the flesh looks somewhat opaque and when inserting a knife into the salmon, it slides through easily. An internal thermometer is also helpful. See our tips above for what temperatures you should look for.

What are some more ways to cook salmon?

While we love the ease of baking salmon in the oven as demonstrated by this recipe as well as our sour cream bakes salmon and baked salmon with green beans, you can also cook salmon on the stovetop, on an outdoor grill, and poached in gently simmering water. See our pan-seared salmon burgers and our grilled cedar plank salmon recipe for more ideas.

What should I serve with salmon?

Salmon works nicely when served with a variety of side dishes. Here are some of our favorites:

More Easy Salmon Recipes

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

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

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.

Makes 4 Servings

Watch Us Make the Recipe

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)

Directions

    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.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size 6 ounces / Calories 300 / Protein 37 g / Carbohydrate 1 g / Dietary Fiber 0 g / Total Sugars 0 g / Total Fat 13 g / Saturated Fat 2 g / Cholesterol 91 mg
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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58 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Arlette February 5, 2017, 11:19 am

    I made it 2 weeks ago, i will make it again tonight!! It is delicious. Great recipe.

    Reply
  • Joe January 23, 2017, 5:20 pm

    My salmon fillets were about a inch thick and I did just as the recipe says to do, l had to cook mine at 350 for 30 minutes before the fish started to flake, I really liked this recipe but there should be a chart to cook it at for the thickness of the fillets……

    Reply
  • Teyana s December 23, 2016, 1:36 am

    I literally just made this & I loved it. I was a little nervous about making it but it turned out wonderfully. Thank you so much. ?

    Reply
  • Caitlin November 13, 2016, 8:56 pm

    325 is very low – did you mean 425? I tried it with 325, and the fish was still half raw at 18 minutes. (And the filets were about 1/4″ thick).

    Reply
    • Joanne January 4, 2017, 2:25 pm

      Hi Caitlin, We cook the salmon at 325 degrees. Depending on the thickness of your fish, it may take a little longer to cook all the way through.

      Reply
  • Kim November 1, 2016, 9:38 pm

    Hi guys! I’m currently preggo and want to eat a good healthy fish meal! I’ve searched all day. This has been the best recipe!! Cooking it right now!! Thanks for the recipe!!

    Reply
  • Kathleen October 28, 2016, 5:13 pm

    Could you suggest what to serve with this?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Joanne October 28, 2016, 6:28 pm

      Hi Kathleen, Since the salmon is so light, we usually serve it with a salad or mashed cauliflower.

      Reply
  • Georgeann Smith August 21, 2016, 4:44 pm

    I have used this receip several times and has been very tasty. I just use White Cooking Wine and it does great. My company can’t believe how easy & quick to prepare.

    Reply
  • Karina April 15, 2016, 12:26 am

    Adam and Joanna, thank you for sharing this recipe 🙂 I needed a last minute advice how to cook salmon and I got it 🙂 Despite the fact that didn’t have any white wine and dill at hand, my salmon came out so very delicious!!! Enjoyed 🙂

    Reply
  • Deb Ragno October 29, 2013, 1:10 pm

    I have to come love salmon in the last year. Just had it for lunch today. I am definitely going to try this recipe. I would add that buying “wild caught” instead of “farm raised” salmon will make the dish a little healthier. There is less fat in wild caught salmon.

    Reply
    • Joanne October 30, 2013, 9:33 am

      Thanks for the tips! Hope you love the recipe.

      Reply
      • George Frew December 28, 2016, 10:49 am

        Dec 12th my first salmon/dill meal in dutch oven..Hollandaise sauce/dill
        “Wonderful”
        Tonight will be a repeat performance !! 🙂

        Reply
    • Berma Beal October 28, 2016, 3:00 pm

      I know that wild caught salmon is healthier, but because it has less fat, it is also more dry. I much prefer farm raised salmon because it is so moist and mild tasting!

      Reply
  • marivic July 26, 2013, 9:02 am

    What type of wine would you recommend

    Reply
    • Joanne July 26, 2013, 10:26 am

      Something dry — Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio work well.

      Reply
  • Courtney Smith April 16, 2013, 7:29 pm

    This is just how my granmother used to make it – and it always comes out super moist and delicious! we used to make a sauce out of dill, lemon, S&P and sour cream, but now I substitute non-fat greek yogurt. Both are equally delectable!

    Reply
  • Jayne April 7, 2013, 2:36 am

    This looks really good, great match of flavors. I’ve stuffed a larger piece of salmon with lemon and dill but not thought to cook a smaller piece like that, I will be trying this next time I have salmon!

    Reply
  • TheFoodGospelAccordingtoRuth April 2, 2012, 3:35 pm

    This looks like just what I was looking for! Do you have any favorite sauces that you like to put on top of your fish? Thanks for sharing your recipe. I am going to try it tonight!!!

    Reply
    • Joanne April 4, 2012, 11:26 am

      Try melted butter and fresh herbs, we like things pretty simple 🙂

      Reply
  • Sarah January 15, 2012, 3:38 am

    Hello Joanne and Adam,

    this is a great recipe. I like the pure taste of fish, with a little bit of lemon and dill. It is probably going to become my standard recipe for baking fish in the oven.

    I wish you a lot of inspiration for new recipes!

    Sarah

    Reply
    • Joanne January 15, 2012, 9:46 am

      Thank you! It is one of our favorite ways to enjoy salmon!
      -joanne

      Reply
  • Beverly Lynn February 17, 2010, 10:31 am

    I dont normally enjoy fish that much, but I am definitely going to give this recipe a try.

    Reply
    • inspiredtaste February 17, 2010, 10:42 am

      Beverly – You should give it a try, it really is not super fishy and will turn out very moist.

      Reply

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