Garlic Caper Baked Salmon

I love this baked salmon with capers and garlic. It tastes incredible. If you save one salmon recipe for life, make it this one. Tender and flaky salmon baked in butter with garlic, lemon, and capers. It’s one of the best things we’ve made recently.

Garlic Caper Butter Baked Salmon Video

Baked salmon with capers, lemon, and garlic is incredibly delicious. For this recipe, I use my favorite baking method, which gently bakes the salmon at a low temperature to guarantee it’s tender, moist, and soft in the middle.

For another recipe with fresh lemon and herbs, try this lemon dill salmon.

Garlic Caper Oven Baked Salmon

Key Ingredients

  • Salmon: Any salmon fillet will work for this recipe. However, I especially love those with a higher fat content, like sockeye, king, and coho. When baked, these types of salmon stay soft and moist.
  • Butter: The base of our lemon caper sauce. The salmon gently bakes in the butter, which you can spoon over the baked salmon fillets before serving (it’s incredible).
  • Garlic: I love garlic butter and use a tablespoon of minced garlic to make our butter sauce.
  • Capers: Salmon and capers are such a classic combination! I use drained capers to make this recipe. 
  • Lemon: If salmon and capers are classic, adding lemon makes it even more so! Use fresh lemon for this recipe. It makes a difference.

How to Make Garlic Caper Baked Salmon

We’ve been making a variation of this salmon recipe for ages. The method comes from my Mom, and I know I’m biased on this one, but my Mom’s method is the best way to cook salmon. She gently bakes her salmon covered at a low temperature with some liquid so that the salmon doesn’t dry out. In this recipe, we use melted butter for the baking liquid, and it’s incredible.

To make this salmon, we use one pan. (Hello, easy cleanup!) A large, oven-safe skillet is best. I use my cast iron skillet.

Garlic Caper Butter Baked Salmon

You’ll melt butter in the skillet and stir in the garlic and capers. When the butter is bubbling and smells like garlic butter, take it off the heat and place your seasoned salmon fillets into the pan.

Spoon a little butter over the salmon (yum), and then cover the skillet with foil. Covering the salmon like this creates a steamy environment so it doesn’t dry out when baking in the oven.

You’ll bake the salmon for covered 15 minutes and then uncover it and bake a little longer until it is done in the middle. If you have an internal thermometer, use it and aim for 125°F. Or, use a fork and try to flake the salmon. If it flakes and is a little pink in the middle, it’s ready to come out of the oven.

Before serving, squeeze in some fresh lemon juice, then spoon the delicious lemon garlic caper butter over the salmon. Serve with some fresh herbs sprinkled on top.

What to Serve with Garlic Caper Salmon

The garlic caper butter tastes incredible, and you’ll want to spoon it over as many things as possible. I love this salmon with rice, quinoa, or creamy grits. To round out the meal, add some veggies. I love these easy sautéed veggies or sautéed cabbage.

For a really special meal, serve this delicious salmon on top of risotto. Try our easy mushroom risotto or this vegetable risotto.

Easy Garlic Butter Baked Salmon

Garlic Caper Baked Salmon

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

This garlic caper baked salmon recipe is one of my favorite ways to cook salmon. It’s so flavorful, and I love the garlic caper butter sauce! For the best salmon with a soft and tender texture, we cover it with aluminum foil and bake it in the oven for 15 minutes. Then, for a bit of color, we uncover it and continue to bake until it’s done. The cooking time may vary depending on the type and thickness of the salmon you cook. Check the notes below for our tips.

Makes 4 servings

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

1 ½ pounds salmon fillets, 1-inch thick, preferably wild-caught

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

4 tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter

1 tablespoon minced garlic, 3 to 4 cloves

3 tablespoons drained capers

Chopped or torn fresh herbs like parsley, chives or dill

Half of a lemon, quartered

Directions

    1Preheat the oven to 325°F (162°C).

    2Season both sides of the salmon with salt and pepper (we use 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt for 1 ½ pounds of salmon). (Optionally, cut the salmon into four 6-ounce fillets.)

    3Melt the butter in a wide oven-safe skillet over medium heat. When the butter is bubbling, stir in the garlic and capers. Cook, stirring, until warm, about 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat.

    4Add the salmon fillets, skin-side down, to the skillet. Tilt the pan so butter pools on one side, then spoon garlic caper butter over each fillet.

    5Cover the skillet with aluminum foil or parchment paper, loosely tucking it around the salmon. Bake the salmon for 15 minutes, covered.

    6Uncover and spoon more of the butter over the salmon. Continue to bake, uncovered, until your desired doneness, 5 to 10 minutes more. The best way to prevent overcooking is to check the temperature of the salmon using an internal thermometer. The thickest part of the salmon should read 125°F.

    7Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the baked salmon, sprinkle with lots of fresh herbs, and serve with another spoonful of the garlic caper butter on top.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • No oven-safe skillet: Cook the garlic and capers in butter in a regular skillet, and then add to a baking dish with the salmon.
  • How to tell when salmon is cooked: We cook salmon to 125°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. You should also be able to flake the salmon with a fork.
  • Cook time: Cook time will vary depending on the type and thickness of the salmon you are baking. The cook times suggested above are for middle-cut fillets about 1 inch thick.
  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1 (6-ounce) fillet / Calories 357 / Total Fat 21.7g / Saturated Fat 9.3g / Cholesterol 107mg / Sodium 524.mg / Carbohydrate 1.6g / Dietary Fiber 0.4g / Total Sugars 0.2g / Protein 37.3g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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29 comments… Leave a Review
  • Ayla Slessor-Lutz June 24, 2024, 9:12 am

    This was absolutely delicious!! SO happy I stumbled on this recipe. Made it in my briaser dutch oven and ended up with a restaurant quality dinner that was so simple it will be on our weeknight meal rotation.

    Reply
  • Dave June 4, 2024, 12:42 pm

    Super easy, super delicious. Followed recipe and came out perfect- OK maybe I added a little more garlic 🙂

    Reply
    • Adam June 20, 2024, 5:00 pm

      We can never get enough garlic. Love it 🙂

      Reply
  • Lois March 26, 2024, 5:50 pm

    Hi, I want to make a salmon half to be served room temperature or cold at Easter. I love capers and lemons, would this be a good recipe to serve at room temp?

    Reply
    • Joanne March 26, 2024, 6:17 pm

      Hi Lois, I think this would be delicious cold. Keep in mind, though, that the butter will harden and you won’t have the butter sauce shown in the photo.

      Reply
  • Chantal September 17, 2023, 8:38 pm

    OMG this was the best salmon I ever tasted. I rarely write a review but this recipe is definitely a keeper. That sauce is heavenly. Thank you so much for sharing !

    Reply
    • Adam September 18, 2023, 12:15 am

      Yay! Thank you so much for coming back to let us know that you loved the recipe 🙂

      Reply
  • Janelle March 2, 2023, 9:12 pm

    This came out delicious! I used green onion and cilantro since I didn’t have any other fresh herbs on hand. I also added shallots to the garlic and Capers mixture.

    Reply
  • Bill December 26, 2022, 2:22 am

    I made this for the family and everyone loved it. The capers added a briney flavor that was perfectly balanced with the butter and garlic. I didn’t add the lemon so I didn’t follow the recipe exactly but I highly recommend this recipe.

    Reply
  • Linda September 17, 2022, 7:00 pm

    I made this for my husband and we both love it and its. so easy to make

    Reply
  • Mark July 9, 2022, 10:51 am

    Made this last night and it was amazing. Had a couple of at least one inch thick pieces of salmon and cooked it for ten mins covered in parchment then four mins without (used cast iron skillet)- absolutely delish! Used fresh chives, thyme and parsley cut straight from the garden.

    Reply
  • Kent September 11, 2021, 1:13 am

    Amazingly good! I kept thinking that I was eating awesome garlic bread, which is my specialty.

    Reply
  • Arpad July 24, 2021, 5:27 pm

    I love salmon and cook it often, but I have dried it out a number of times. This recipe I will use many times in the future. Because I did not have a large enough cast iron pan, I used an enameled cast iron dutch oven and instead of foil, I put the lid on it askew leaving a 0.25″ opening. The salmon was very moist (but not poached) and the fatty parts between the meat and the skin were especially tasty, as was the skin. Didn’t have any fresh herbs but next time I try that too.

    Reply

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