Perfect Poached Salmon

This amazing poached salmon recipe makes the most tender, mouth-watering salmon you’ll ever have. It’s also easy and practically no-fail. This is truly one of the best ways to cook salmon.

Poached Salmon Recipe Video

I can’t stop making this poached salmon recipe, and I know the moment you try it, you’ll feel the same way. Poaching salmon is so easy to do.

Poached salmon with water, salt, and pepper is delicious, but I love using my favorite aromatic poaching liquid (shared below). Enjoy your salmon on salads, flaked over toast, with creamy grits, or serve with roasted veggies.

Perfect Poached Salmon with Lemon and Dill

Key Ingredients

  • Salmon: I use salmon fillets around 1 inch thick because thicker fillets will stay more tender and succulent when poached. I also like fattier varieties of salmon, such as King, Coho, and Sockeye. We also love Steelhead in this recipe (similar to Atlantic salmon).
  • Wine or broth: I use a combination of wine and water for this poached salmon recipe. A splash of white wine adds a lovely flavor. I’ve even used leftover Lillet Blanc with excellent results (I usually have it on hand to make this French onion soup)! If you’re out of wine, broth is a delicious substitute. Vegetable broth or a light chicken broth works well, and seafood stock is even better.
  • Lemon: Sliced lemon is the classic choice for poaching salmon. Try limes or oranges for a fun twist.
  • Shallot: I prefer shallots over onion for poaching. They have a gentle sweetness that works well with the salmon. Smashed garlic cloves or sliced sweet onion are great alternatives.
  • Fennel: My favorite aromatic for salmon! Fresh fennel adds a lovely licorice flavor. I wish more people cooked with fennel. If you’re feeling fancy, toss some extra fennel into your cart to make our fennel and apple salad (it pairs perfectly with this poached salmon).
  • Fresh dill: Dill and salmon are a match made in heaven! I like scattering a lot of fresh dill into the pan. Other herbs like thyme, bay leaf, mint, and parsley are all great options.
Skillet with lemon slices, shallot, fennel and salmon fillets almost ready for poaching

How to Poach Salmon

Poaching is one of the best ways to make salmon, especially if you want moist and tender results. The same is true for chicken breasts and shrimp! To poach salmon, place seasoned salmon fillets in a skillet on top of a bed of aromatics, such as lemon slices and shallots.

Adding fresh dill to the salmon in the skillet for poached salmon fillets

I keep the skin on my salmon fillets. The skin is much easier to remove after cooking and is a barrier to heat from below, protecting the salmon from overcooking.

Add liquid (white wine or broth), and bring to a simmer. Cover your skillet with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and allow the salmon fillets to poach until they flake easily with a fork.

Pouring wine and water into the skillet for poached salmon

What to Serve with Poached Salmon

Poached salmon is fantastic on salads! Try it with broccoli slaw, kale salad, or a classic Caesar. I often serve it next to roasted veggies. I especially love this roasted zucchini with feta and crispy roasted potatoes. For a fresh veggie side, try cucumber (cucumber and salmon are amazing together). I love this creamy cucumber salad.

Poached salmon can also be added to sandwiches and wraps. Consider this homemade pita, salad greens, and a drizzle of Tzatziki sauce!

For something more luxurious, add your salmon fillet to the top of a bowl of creamy homemade grits.

Perfect Poached Salmon with Dill

Perfect Poached Salmon Recipe

  • PREP
  • COOK

Poaching salmon is one of our favorite ways to cook salmon! Poached salmon cooks quickly and stays moist, flaky, and tender. The aromatics (lemon, shallot, fennel, and dill) are optional but add lots of delicious flavor. You can use water, broth, or a combination of water and white wine for the poaching liquid.

Serves 4

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

4 skin-on salmon fillets, 6 ounces each

1 cup water

1/2 cup white wine or broth

1 lemon, sliced

1 shallot, sliced

1 medium fennel bulb, sliced

6 sprigs fresh dill or other fine herb like parsley, cilantro or mint

Salt and fresh ground black pepper


    1Make a bed of lemon slices, shallot, and fennel in the bottom of a wide skillet with a lid.

    2Lightly season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper, then place them, skin side down, on the lemon slices, shallot, and fennel.

    3Scatter fresh dill around the pan and on top of the salmon.

    4Pour in the water and wine. The liquid does not need to cover the salmon. Since we are cooking it with the lid on, the salmon will poach, even if the liquid does not cover them.

    5Place the skillet over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. When the liquid is aggressively simmering, turn the heat to low and cover the skillet with its lid.

    6Cook until an internal temperature thermometer reads between 125°F to 130°F or when you pierce the thickest part of the salmon with a fork, 5 to 12 minutes, depending on how thick the salmon fillets are. Serve.

  • Storing
  • 1Poached salmon lasts in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw frozen poached salmon in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

    2To reheat poached salmon, place it in an oven-safe dish. Add a splash of water or broth for extra moisture. Cover the dish with aluminum foil to prevent drying. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 125°F to 130°F.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Skin-on fillets: The skin is much easier to remove after cooking, and it acts as a barrier for heat coming from below the fillets, protecting them from overcooking.
  • Your poaching liquid does not need to cover the fish: Aim for the liquid to come about a quarter of the way up the sides of the salmon fillet. The gentle heat and the lid will create a steamy environment, poaching the salmon beautifully.
  • Seasoning the salmon: I use a simple seasoning of salt and pepper or this seasoned salt and lightly sprinkle it on both sides of the fish. If you have a favorite seafood rub, feel free to add it.
  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1 fillet / Calories 280 / Total Fat 10.1g / Saturated Fat 2.2g / Cholesterol 76.5mg / Sodium 203.6mg / Carbohydrate 2.6g / Dietary Fiber 0.8g / Total Sugars 1.1g / Protein 37.1g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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16 comments… Leave a Review
  • John May 16, 2024, 6:12 pm

    Great dish! Great recipe! First time making salmon this way. Will definitely recommend this for anyone who likes food.

    • Joanne May 29, 2024, 6:08 pm

      Wonderful, I am so happy you gave our recipe a try!

  • Alfeo Soligo April 24, 2024, 12:44 pm

    I am going to try this next week-it looks really yummy! But, one question: Can I cover the left over salmon with a seran wrap and put it in the fridge til the next day?

    • Joanne May 29, 2024, 6:08 pm


  • Berenice Arriaga February 20, 2024, 6:26 pm

    So amazing!!! Delicious, moist and super easy. Extremely healthy! Thanks

    • Adam February 20, 2024, 6:29 pm

      Yay! We love this recipe. We are so happy you do too 🙂

  • Joan Price January 25, 2024, 5:52 pm

    This poached salmon recipe is out of this world! I’ve been fortunate to have fresh salmon almost all of my life (dad was a fisherman), and this recipe is the bomb! I will never cook salmon any other way. This is a must!

    • Joanne March 9, 2024, 11:41 pm

      What a wonderful comment, Joan! Thank you SO much for coming back and letting us know. We are thrilled that you enjoy the recipe so much.

  • Joan Price October 18, 2023, 12:44 pm

    I try to eat salmon twice a week. I made this poached salmon last night and LOVED it! Best ever! Will always poach my salmon! Thank you for your delicious recipes!!

    • Adam October 18, 2023, 1:06 pm

      Yay! We are so happy that you loved it! 🙂

  • Stella October 18, 2023, 5:24 am

    I will try it tonight. Looks perfect

    • Adam October 18, 2023, 11:45 am

      You are going to love it 🙂

  • CynthiaLynn October 17, 2023, 1:00 pm

    Oh Yeah! I poached a frozen salmon pattie in chicken broth & kale last night! Added it all to my gluten-free millet/rice ramen noodles … YUM!

    • Adam October 17, 2023, 1:40 pm

      Yum! Love the personal tweaks. So glad you enjoyed the recipe 🙂

  • Janice October 17, 2023, 12:52 pm

    That salmon looks delicious! I can’t wait to make that entire meal. Thanks for including sides that go with the main dish.

    • Adam October 17, 2023, 1:41 pm

      You are going to love those sides with the salmon. After you make it we would love to hear about it 🙂


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