Simple, Oven Baked, Honey Lemon Salmon

It would be rude if I took credit for figuring out the best way to cook a side of salmon. A nasty cold virus, along with America's Test Kitchen should be held responsible.

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You see, it all started the other day when I was down with a dreadful cold. Languishing on the sofa, feeling quite sorry for myself, I flicked on the TV and started channel surfing feverishly. Not much held my attention, until I happened upon the cooking channel featuring a good looking chef from America's Test Kitchen, alongside an even better looking piece of salmon. Promises were made on the show to questions that I had long ago given up trying to find answers to. How long to bake salmon? What temperature should salmon be cooked at? What is the white stuff on salmon when you cook it? How do you get rid of the white stuff on salmon? How to bake salmon to get crispy skin? Blah, blah, blah...

Maybe, just maybe, I might find answers to these elusive questions. So, I discarded my channel surfing activity and started jotting down  notes hastily on my crumpled tissues. I'm glad to report that I learned much more than a thing or two that day.

How to Bake Salmon with Crispy Skin: The ABC Process

Properly preparing a simple, healthy, oven baked salmon is as easy as ABC.

1. A= Assault with Salt

First, pat the fish dry and salt the salmon liberally on both sides. Set it aside for 1-4 hours for the salt to draw moisture out of the fish.

Before baking, dry the salmon with paper towel and brush top with honey.

2. B= Broil on high heat for 10 minutes

Baking is a two-step process. First, broil the fish in the oven for 10 minutes at 500°-550°F until it turns golden-brown. 

3. C= Cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes

Then, lower the oven temperature to 250°F and let it cook slowly for another 10-15 minutes. 

The result is a great looking side of salmon, cooked perfectly in 20-25 minutes. Golden brown on the outside, juicy and succulent on the inside and no icky white albumin leakage in sight. Strangely, for me, the best part of this oven-baked salmon is the super crispy skin.

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A gorgeous side of salmon- golden brown on the outside, soft and juicy on the inside. No icky white stuff in sight.

Honey Lemon Salmon Recipe | A Simple Salmon Oven Recipe

Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen

Bake time: 20-25 minutes


☐ 1 side of salmon with skin (approx. 4lbs.)
☐ 1 tablespoon kosher salt
☐ 2 tablespoons honey
☐ 1 lemon

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1: Salt salmon

  • Wash the salmon and pat dry with paper towel.
  • Liberally sprinkle the  salmon on both sides with kosher salt.
  • Set aside in refrigerator for 1-4 hours.

Salting a side of salmon
Salmon liberally salted on both sides.

Step 2: Prep salmon before baking

  • Heat oven to 250°F.
  • Remove salmon from refrigerator. The salt would have dehydrated the salmon and moisture would have seeped out of the flesh. Pat salmon dry to remove moisture.

Salting a side of salmon
After 1-4 hours of salting salmon, moisture is released. Pat dry.

  • Place the salmon skin side down on a foil sleeve coated with cooking spray.  Place on a rack/ mesh over a baking tray. This allows for good air circulation around the salmon as it bakes.

Baking salmon on foil sleeve
Salmon on a foil sleeve on a rack over a baking tray. Brushed with honey and ready to go in oven.

  • Brush the top of salmon with 2 tablespoons of honey. The honey helps the salmon develop a golden brown colour.

Step 3: Bake

  • Place salmon in pre-heated 250°F oven, 7 inches from top of broiler.  
  • Immediately turn oven to broil (approx. 500°-550°F) and broil salmon for approximately 10 minutes until lightly browned.
  • Lower temperature to 250°F and bake for 10/15 minutes until internal temperature registers 125°F.
  • Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over salmon before serving.

Baked salmon on foil sleeve
Salmon after baking.

Kitchen Tips:

- Salting the Salmon

  • This important step helps prevent the white albumin leaking out of the salmon when baked.

- The Foil Sleeve

  • Once the salmon is baked, the foil sleeve makes it easy to lift and transfer the salmon onto a serving platter. Once transferred, carefully slide the foil out from under the salmon.
  • Baking the salmon skin side down on the foil sleeve, helps the salmon develop a lovely crispy skin.
  • The foil sleeve also makes for easy clean up
- Note: For cleanly sliced pieces of salmon, cut the salmon into pieces after salting it and before baking. 

Pair this baked salmon with an easy to make, delicately fragranced Dill and Lima Bean Rice. 
Persian dill and lima bean rice, baghali polo
Persian Dill and Lima Bean Rice

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