Garlic Caper Butter Baked Salmon

This easy baked salmon recipe takes about 30 minutes to make, requires one pan, and tastes amazing. If you’re going to save one salmon recipe for life, make it this one. Tender, flaky, soft salmon baked in butter with garlic and capers. It’s one of the best things we’ve made recently. Jump to the Easy Baked Salmon Recipe

Easy Garlic Butter Baked Salmon

How to Make the Best Oven Baked Salmon

We’ve been making a variation of this salmon recipe for ages — in fact, the method comes from my Mom. Salmon is quick to cook, delicious, and healthy. I know I’m biased on this one, but I honestly think my Mom’s method is the best way to cook salmon.

Oven Baked Salmon

We’ve used my mother’s method for cooking salmon before. See our Baked Salmon with Lemon and Dill — Instead of butter in the pan, the salmon bakes on top of some stock (or wine, if you like). It’s excellent.

My Mom’s Method for Cooking Salmon

Salmon is easy to bake, promise. Perfectly cooked salmon should be tender, moist, and soft in the middle while being well seasoned on the outside. This recipe achieves all of that and bonus, it’s easy.

To make the salmon, we use one pan. (Hello easy cleanup!) A large, oven-safe skillet is best — a cast iron skillet is perfect for this. If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, don’t worry. You can use a baking dish. We’ve shared notes for using a baking dish in the notes below. A sheet pan works, too, but use a rimmed baking sheet. You don’t want to lose any of the butter sauce.

Here are the easy steps we follow for cooking salmon:

  • Add seasoned salmon fillets to an oven-safe dish — in our case, we are using a skillet.
  • Add a bit of liquid, which can be in the form of stock, wine or in this case, melted butter.
  • Cover the salmon with foil or parchment paper.
  • Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 15 minutes.
  • Uncover the salmon, check for doneness and continue to bake uncovered until done.

Covering the salmon with foil for most of the bake time keeps the salmon moist inside. The fillets don’t dry out and instead, turn soft and tender.

How Long To Bake Salmon

I know you don’t want to read this, but the time it takes to cook salmon depends on a few things. First, what type of salmon do you have? Atlantic or King salmon are often thicker and fattier than Pacific Sockeye or Coho. The thickness will change the cook time quite a bit.

In our recipe, we use a 325-degree Fahrenheit oven. That’s a little lower than a lot of salmon recipes, but we truly prefer the results when cooked at a lower temperature. The salmon doesn’t dry out and stays soft in the middle.

A 1-inch thick, middle cut fillet of salmon takes about 20 minutes. For thinner or end pieces, check the salmon a bit earlier. For thicker fillets, you may need an additional 5 to 10 minutes of bake time.

Garlic Caper Butter Baked Salmon

How to Tell When The 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

Garlic Caper Butter Baked Salmon

  • PREP
  • COOK

For the best oven baked salmon with a soft and tender texture, cover the salmon with aluminum foil or parchment paper and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Then uncover and continue to bake until done. Depending on the type and thickness of the salmon you cook, cook time may vary. Check the notes below for our tips.

Makes 4 servings

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, preferably wild-caught

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons drained capers

Chopped or torn fresh herbs like parsley, chives or dill

Half of a lemon, quartered


    Heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Season both sides of the salmon with salt and pepper (we use about 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt for 1 1/2 pounds of salmon).

    Melt 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. Take the skillet off of the heat. Add the salmon fillets, skin-side down, to the skillet. Tilt the pan so that butter pools on one side, and then spoon garlic caper butter over each fillet.

    Cover the skillet with a sheet of aluminum foil or cover with parchment paper by loosely tucking it around the salmon. Bake the salmon, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover, and then spoon more of the butter over the salmon. Continue to roast, uncovered, until your desired doneness, 5 to 10 minutes more, depending on how thick the salmon is.

    We cook salmon until an instant-read thermometer reads 125 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted into the thickest part. Alternatively, you can finish cooking the salmon under the broiler for some extra color on top. Watch closely so the fish does not overcook.

    Squeeze 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

  • How to make oven-baked salmon in a baking dish: Add the butter, garlic, and capers to a baking dish. Slide into the oven and cook until the butter is melted and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Take the dish out of the oven then add the salmon fillets and spoon the butter mixture on top. Bake, covered, as directed in the method above.
  • 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.
  • Cook time: Depending on the type and thickness of the salmon you are baking, cook time will vary. The cook times suggested above are for middle cut fillets, about 1-inch thick. For thinner fillets or end pieces, check the salmon a bit earlier. For thicker fillets, you may need an additional 5 to 10 minutes of bake time.
  • 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 1 (6-ounce) fillet / Calories 357 / Total Fat 21.7g / Saturated Fat 9.3g / Cholesterol 107mg / Sodium / Carbohydrate 1.6g / Dietary Fiber 0.4g / Total Sugars 0.2g / Protein 37.3g
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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19 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Felipe O Yanez Gonzalez February 7, 2021, 9:22 pm

    I had never cooked salmon before. But following your recipe gave me and my partner the best fish we’ve ever had! Thank you!

  • Dana Jae Labrecque January 17, 2021, 11:36 pm

    THIS! Tender, tasty, yumminess–now my favorite fish dish. THIS is now my go-to recipe. I used a baking dish and followed the recipe for baking in a baking dish. DELIGHTFUL and thank you for the extra tip if not using an oven skillet.

  • Kay December 13, 2020, 8:28 pm

    Oh man! I never leave reviews but this recipe is so amazing. This was my first time in my life trying capers down I was definitely hesitant. This will definitely be my go to recipe as I feel like salmon is so bland. I decided to take a risk and I’m glad I did.

  • Emily October 23, 2020, 5:21 pm

    Best salmon I’ve ever cooked. My 4 year old enjoyed it too, normally we have bland boring salmon but this was soooo much better than I normally manage. My ‘go to’ website for recipes now. Thanks 🙂

  • Jo H Shen September 1, 2020, 9:35 am

    Yummy and extremely simple recipe. I didn’t want to use so much butter so I used 1/2 butter needed and 1/2 olive oil.

  • Hannah July 14, 2020, 7:41 pm

    This recipe was delicious. My whole family including my 3 year old thought it was tasty. I loaded the cooked fish up with fresh dill and just a little lemon. Kudos and thank you for this recipe.

  • Laura June 11, 2020, 11:10 pm

    Excellent I’d like to post my picture of it

  • Jeanie June 8, 2020, 4:18 am

    Hi, What could I possible substitute for Capers? Capers are not readily available in my country 🙁

    • Adam December 8, 2020, 2:42 pm

      Hi Jeanie, there really isn’t anything quite like capers but this dish would be nice if you served it with your favorite pickled vegetable.

  • Linda August 21, 2019, 7:02 pm

    ❤ it!!!. Super easy to make and delicious. I always have a hard time with salmon drying out but this was perfect cooking without the white residue. I never leave comments but loved the recipe so much I had to leave a thank you!!!

  • Yelitza Dinzey April 29, 2019, 9:45 pm

    Didn’t have much time and got home late from work so I cooked it on the stove instead of the oven. I added like a Tbsp of butter and some extra virgin olive oil to make it a little bit healthier. I also added the herbs to the pan turned the heat to low and covered. It came up delicious! with all the flavors from the herbs the garlic, butter, capers sauce on top! Yummy! Wish I could use less fat but it’s an amazing recipe!

  • Rose April 28, 2019, 5:39 pm

    We loved this recipe …very tasty. I had the sauce and fish ready to go in the oven when hubs came home and said he wasn’t hungry I put it in the fridge overnight. We’ll definitely have this again. Great recipe!

  • Melissa April 18, 2019, 8:27 pm

    I am a Midwestern who grew up on steak and potatoes. Thankfully my husband came home with salmon tonight and we found this recipe. Clean plates for all of us!

  • S. Bradford March 18, 2019, 6:07 pm

    Cant wait to try this salmon caper recipe.

  • Tara December 10, 2018, 7:03 pm

    Fantastic recipe! The salmon flavor was mellow and the cooking method is perfect! A new family favorite. thank you!

  • Lynn November 6, 2018, 10:16 am

    Delicious! Your recipe for Garlic Caper Baked Salmon. Thank you. The first baked salmon recipe I’ve found that we truly love.


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