How to cook salmon

Learn how to cook the perfect piece of salmon, whether it's baked, roasted or pan-fried. Our guide reveals the best way to crisp skin plus five different ways to cook this versatile fish.

Fillet of salmon topped with rye crumble with pesto sauce, on a plate

Salmon is the easiest of fish to cook – pieces of fillet tend to be relatively thick and this makes them robust enough to move around and turn over halfway through cooking should you want to. The skin also comes off easily, so if you cook pieces with the skin on, you can lift it off when the fish is cooked before serving. You can buy whole salmon (especially good value at holiday times), sides of salmon (half a fish), large pieces of fillet and individual pieces. Choose what suits you best.

How to cook

Salmon can be baked, roasted, pan-fried, stir-fried, cooked ‘en papillote’ (wrapped in foil or paper) and steamed. The easiest way to cook it is in a baking dish in the oven. This causes the least mess and also - if it bothers you - less of a fishy smell in the house. You will however need to add a little oil to stop it sticking to the dish. If you’d prefer not to use any oil then steam your salmon by putting it on a plate with any flavouring you want to use inside a steamer, or wrap it in foil or paper, then steam or bake it. If you want a crisp skin then pan-fry the salmon skin-side down to make this happen.

Two fillets of salmon on top of vegetables in an oven dish

Oven-baked salmon

Serves 4

  • 4 pieces of salmon fillet
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or melted butter
  • Chopped herbs, a slice of lemon or a sprinkle of spices
  1. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Brush each piece of salmon fillet with oil or butter and season well. Add any flavourings.
  2. Lay the pieces of salmon in an ovenproof dish and either cover the dish if you want the salmon to stay tender on top, or leave it uncovered if you want the flesh to roast slightly.
  3. Cook for 10-15 mins. The best way to gauge how long to cook for is to base the initial time on 4 mins per 1cm of thickness in the centre. When the salmon is cooked it will look opaque and the flesh will flake if you poke a fork into the centre. Try not to overcook salmon. It can easily dry out and should be only just cooked in the centre.

5 great salmon recipes

Ginger & soy salmon en papillote

Two salmon fillets with spiralized veg, wrapped in parcels

Wrap your salmon to seal in all the flavourings that you add. The steam will be extra fragrant as you unwrap the parcels.

Ginger & soy salmon en papillote

Poached salmon with pink grapefruit & basil sauce

Poached salmon in basil sauce

Cook salmon gently in flavoured water and serve it with this flavourful sauce for a special dinner.

Poached salmon with pink grapefruit & basil sauce

Roast salmon with peas, potatoes & bacon

Roast salmon fillet with roast potatoes in a roasting tray

A whole side of salmon makes a fantastic centrepiece for a meal and a lovely alternative to a Sunday roast.

Roast salmon with peas, potatoes & bacon

Salmon with greens & crème fraîche

Salmon with creme fraiche and peas in a pot

This gorgeously creamy salmon dish makes the most of frozen veg and is super quick to stir up.

Salmon with greens & crème fraîche

Steamed salmon & veg rice bowl

Steamed salmon with veg and rice in a bowl

A quick dinner that uses a steamer to good effect.

Steamed salmon & veg rice bowl

Try more delicious salmon recipes...

Salmon recipes
Salmon pasta recipes
Best ever healthy salmon recipes
Smoked salmon recipes

How do you like to cook salmon? Leave a comment below...

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
Be the first to comment...We'd love to hear how you got on with this recipe. Did you like it? Would you recommend others give it a try?
Be the first to ask a question about this recipe...Unsure about the cooking time or want to swap an ingredient? Ask us your questions and we’ll try and help you as soon as possible. Or if you want to offer a solution to another user’s question, feel free to get involved...
Be the first to suggest a tip for this recipe...Got your own twist on this recipe? Or do you have suggestions for possible swaps and additions? We’d love to hear your ideas.