Perfect Baked Salmon

Three ingredients and just a little bit of technique make for the perfect baked salmon!

Three ingredients and just a little bit of technique make for the perfect baked salmon!

Salmon is one of those foods that can easily go one of two ways:  It can be amazingly moist, tender, flaky, and delicious....or it can be dry, chewy, and pretty unpleasant to eat.  I've definitely overcooked a lot of salmon in the past, but after much experimentation in the kitchen, I've got a simple technique that's been resulting in perfect salmon every time! 

These are the three steps I use: 

  1. For perfectly moist salmon with a slightly crispy outer layer, lightly coat each fillet in about 1 teaspoon of canola or light olive oil.  Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and that's it.  Trust me, it's amazing!  
  2. Bake at 400 degrees.  I know it sounds hot but it works, and it cooks faster since that oven temp is a little higher. 
  3. Use a meat thermometer to tell when it's done.  Don't play the guessing game, or you will probably overcook your salmon.  For salmon, it's considered food-safe and ready to eat at 145 degrees.  I take it out of the oven at around 140 degrees and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.  I leave the thermometer in the salmon to make sure the temperature comes up to 145, which it will if you give it a few minutes to rest.  

Notes on meat thermometers:  If you don't have a meat thermometer, I definitely recommend getting one; my cooking has improved SO much since using a meat thermometer consistently for all beef, chicken, pork, and fish.  I have a digital one with a cord that can go in the oven which is pretty handy, but I also like my cheaper instant-read thermometer - you can find those for about $5 at most grocery stores.  

And one very important tip on measuring the temperature of flat pieces of meat like salmon fillets, steak, or chicken breast:  put the thermometer into the thickest part of the SIDE of the meat, not down from the top.  This will help make sure you've got the most accurate middle point to measure on the thermometer.  

In the picture above, I have the salmon served with one of my favorite recipes - my farro salad with roasted butternut squash, zucchini, and onion.  The salmon with that farro salad is one delicious, beautiful, and balanced meal.  It's been my favorite go-to meal for fall, so I hope you give it a try! 

May your dinner be delicious and you're salmon be perfectly cooked!  ;) 

Perfect Baked Salmon

Makes 2 servings



  • 2 4-ounce salmon fillets
  • 2 teaspoons light olive oil or canola oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Brush or rub the oil over both sides of the salmon and season both sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until thermometer inserted in the side of the thickest part of a fillet reads 140 degrees.  Remove from the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes, or until the thermometer reads 145 degrees.  

 Happy Eating! 


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