Brown Sugar Baked Salmon

This brown sugar baked salmon with veggies is a one-pan meal, perfect for busy nights. Rub our brown sugar spice blend over salmon fillets, bake until tender, and enjoy the caramelized brown sugar glaze. Add green beans or your favorite vegetables for a complete meal.

Brown Sugar Baked Salmon with Green Beans

⭐️ Try this maple soy glazed salmon. It’s delicious!

Why we love this easy baked salmon recipe

When I’m short on time, I need recipes that are quick to prepare and taste amazing. This brown sugar baked salmon fits the bill! It takes minutes to prepare and rub our brown sugar spice blend over salmon and only 15 to 20 minutes to bake. If you’ve got some veggies in the fridge, scatter them around your salmon and watch as they roast to perfection, making this a delicious one-pan meal!

Key ingredients

The star of this easy salmon recipe is our easy brown sugar spice rub. You only need four ingredients to make it.

  • Brown sugar adds sweetness, and it lightly caramelizes in the oven. You don’t need a lot — one tablespoon for four large fillets is plenty.
  • Salt seasons the salmon and makes it taste amazing.
  • Lemon zest adds a pop of flavor. We use our microplane to zest the lemon. Then, we use the zested lemon for serving. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice just before serving is a must.
  • Smoked paprika adds a smoky-sweet flavor to the salmon spice rub. It also adds color. For a spicier rub, try a little chipotle powder or cayenne (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon should do it).
Adding Brown sugar spice rub to salmon fillets

What’s the best type of salmon to use?

Any salmon fillet will work for this salmon recipe. I especially love salmon with higher fat content, like sockeye, king, and coho. Salmon with higher fat content stays soft and moist after baking them.

We recommend the same varieties of salmon when making our poached salmon and this baked salmon with lemon.

What veggies are best with this baked salmon?

Since we bake our salmon fillets on a large baking sheet, we have some space left for veggies. Salmon cooks in 15 to 20 minutes, so when choosing the vegetables for this recipe, look for varieties that tend to cook quickly. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Green beans
  • Asparagus
  • Zucchini or yellow summer squash
  • Snap peas
  • Bell peppers and onions
  • Broccolini
  • Cherry tomatoes

If you want to add heartier veggies, you can, but partially bake them in the oven before adding your salmon to the baking sheet. You would add the salmon 15 to 20 minutes before your veggies are finished baking. Here are some suggestions, with baking times to help you out:

  • Broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts take 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and beets take 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Winter squash (like butternut or acorn) cut into cubes takes 40 to 45 minutes.
Baked salmon with veggies

Recipe overview. Delicious baked salmon in 3 easy steps!

Oven-baked salmon is tender, moist, and soft in the middle. Add our brown sugar spice rub, and the outside becomes lightly caramelized and ultra-flavorful. We love it!

  1. Rub salmon with our simple brown sugar spice blend.
  2. Add the salmon and veggies tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper onto a sheet pan.
  3. Bake until the salmon is cooked through. Serve!
Baked Salmon rubbed with a brown sugar spice blend.

When is salmon done?

For this recipe, we bake our salmon in a 400° F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. The baking time depends on the thickness of your salmon fillets.

To tell the salmon is done, use an internal thermometer or visual cues. 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. Also, when inserting a fork into the salmon, it should flake easily.

Brown sugar baked salmon on a baking sheet with green beans

Brown Sugar Baked Salmon

  • PREP
  • COOK

This brown sugar baked salmon with veggies is a one-pan meal, perfect for busy nights. Rub our brown sugar spice blend over salmon fillets, bake until tender, and enjoy the caramelized brown sugar glaze. Add green beans or your favorite vegetables for a complete meal. See the article for more vegetable suggestions.

Makes 4 servings

You Will Need

For the Salmon

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

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or substitute chipotle powder for a spicier version

Half of a lemon, quartered

For the Beans

3/4 pound green beans

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and fresh ground black pepper


    1Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

    2In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the smoked paprika. Pat the salmon dry and rub with the olive oil.

    3Scatter spice rub over the salmon and gently massage into the fish. Swipe the skin-side of the salmon through any spice rub that’s fallen onto the cutting board. (If you have the time, you can set the salmon aside for 10 to 15 minutes to marinate.)

    4Add the green beans to a large, rimmed sheet pan (or baking sheet). Drizzle the olive oil over the beans and season with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a generous amount of fresh ground black pepper. Toss the green beans around the pan. Push them to the outer edges of the pan, leaving space in the middle for the salmon fillets.

    5Add the spice rubbed salmon fillets, skin-side down, to the sheet pan. Bake the salmon until it is cooked through and green beans are crisp-tender, 10 to 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. We cook salmon until an instant-read thermometer reads 125 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted into the thickest part. Serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over the salmon.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • How to tell when salmon is cooked: Cook salmon to 125° F (51° C), 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 fork into the salmon, it should flake easily.
  • Baking 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.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1 (6-ounce) fillet and 1/4 of the beans / Calories 325 / Total Fat 15g / Saturated Fat 2.9g / Cholesterol 76.5mg / Sodium 374.9mg / Carbohydrate 8.7g / Dietary Fiber 2.4g / Total Sugars 5.1g / Protein 38.4g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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13 comments… Leave a Review
  • Donna Spicer January 20, 2024, 6:24 pm

    Made this tonight and it was delicious! Will definitely make again!

  • Carolyn August 15, 2022, 7:49 pm

    Delicious!! I used a sprinkle of chili powder (because that’s what I had in the pantry) along with the brown sugar.

  • Brieanne December 9, 2021, 8:49 pm

    This was so delicious! Thanks so much for this amazing recipe.

  • Km November 10, 2020, 8:03 pm

    Best Salmon recipe I have ever made. I shared with all of my friends and they love it too. So easy. Absolute staple in my repertoire going forward.

  • Kelly June 5, 2020, 9:33 pm

    Delicious AND healthy! I lined my cookie sheet with tin foil…No dishes! I will make again!

  • Marjean February 20, 2020, 9:54 pm

    Wonderful! Have added this to my favorite recipe file.

  • Sorce January 21, 2020, 8:25 pm

    Just made this tonight when I realized I didn’t have all of the ingredients for my regular salmon rub. I added a little more brown sugar to the recipe but other than that, this rub was perfect. Nothing but rave reviews from the fam!

  • Bernie Carney December 29, 2019, 11:02 am

    Delicious.. very tasty and easy.

  • Jessica Evangelista November 20, 2018, 4:45 pm

    Another gem from your website ? This was easy to make and it packs a lot of flavor. 🙂 I didnt have lemons on hand so i substituted with an orange. It turned out great – for some reason, it reminded me of salmon teriyaki. Thanks again. This will be definitely on my rotation of salmon dishes!

  • Carol DeLaurier October 26, 2018, 5:17 pm

    My husband doesn’t eat fish but he loved the flavors of the salmon. Me too! Love your site.

  • Chris October 18, 2018, 10:09 pm

    Awesome! Made with frozen, wild caught salmon filets from Kroger. Followed the recipe exactly, except I used ¼ tsp. smoked paprika and ¼ tsp. chipotle powder, instead of ½ tsp. of one or the other. Chipotle complemented paprika amazingly, just the right amount of heat and smokiness. Served with roasted baby portobello mushrooms tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper, coarsely chopped fresh rosemary from our garden, and coarsely chopped fresh garlic. Also served roasted cauliflower/carrot blend tossed in Harissa spice. All was cooked on sheet pans, at 400 degrees. Started veggies cooking first, then put the salmon in when veggies had about 15 minutes lift to cook. Everything went well together, like it was meant to be… My 7-year old son said, “It’s F’ing awesome!”… we try to not cuss much, but alas! we’re human. Anyway, will definitely make this again. Thanks for a tasty, easy meal!

  • Maxie October 17, 2018, 7:00 pm

    I made this! It was amazing! Perhaps my favorite at-home salmon to date. Thanks so much for this and your other awesome content. I really love that you use traditionally “unhealthy” foods (sugar, for example, in this recipe) but limit it to a very small amount. I do the same with sugar and heavy cream in various recipes and sauces which really amps the flavor without a huge amount of calories. Too many people shy away from these ingredients when it’s really the balance of it all that contributes to amazing food. Thanks again!

  • Beth October 9, 2018, 7:35 pm

    I recently found a recipe for salmon with lemon and dill that is oven-baked, starting in a cold oven. The recipe says to put salmon in a cold oven, turn the temp to 400 degrees, and bake for 25 minutes. It turns out perfectly every time. I’m going to bake your salmon recipe the same way. The brown sugar sounds like a delicious flavor to add. Thanks for your recipe. One more thing –
    I always bake on non-stick foil for easy clean up.


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