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Easy, flavorful and healthy, this Baked Salmon with Brown Sugar recipe is one to keep! Caramelized brown sugar crust, an ensemble of Italian seasonings, a hint of paprika, a dash of garlic, and just a touch of spice results in a perfectly cooked salmon with a sweet, and slightly spicy glaze that provides a delightful contrast to the fish’s natural flavors. A salmon recipe doesn’t get much easier than this!

Easy baked salmon recipe on a platter.
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This Easy Baked Salmon recipe is savory and simple. It’s fresh and flavorful so everyone likes it. I get excited when I find recipes I know my family will love as much as they love ordering out. Add in some fried rice and sautéed vegetables and your meal is complete. How fantastic is that?

Why I Love This Recipe

  • It’s deliciously flavored. The combination of brown sugar, and spices creates a delightful blend of flavors that perfectly complement the natural taste of salmon.
  • It’s a healthy option. Salmon is a nutritious fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and essential nutrients. Baking the salmon keeps it moist without adding excessive fats or calories.
  • It’s easy to prepare. This recipe is incredibly easy to make, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced cooks. It requires minimal effort and time in the kitchen.

Ingredients

  • Salmon filets: Salmon is the star of this dish. You can use fresh or frozen salmon filets. You may also substitute with other fish like trout or steelhead.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil adds moisture and flavor. You can substitute it with vegetable oil, canola oil, or melted butter.
  • Brown Sugar: Brown sugar provides sweetness and caramelization. A substitute could be honey or maple syrup for a similar sweetness.
  • Italian Seasonings: Italian seasonings typically include a mix of herbs like basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. You can make your own blend or use a ready-made Italian seasoning mix. Herbs de Provence can also be used. 
  • Paprika: Paprika adds a smoky, slightly spicy flavor. You can use smoked paprika or sweet paprika, depending on your preference.
  • Garlic Powder: Garlic powder gives a savory kick. You can substitute it with minced fresh garlic or garlic paste for a stronger garlic flavor.
  • Salt: Salt enhances the overall flavor. You can use sea salt, kosher salt, or any salt you have on hand, but don’t omit. 
  • Ground Pepper: Ground black pepper adds a mild heat. Freshly ground pepper is ideal, but pre-ground pepper works too.
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: Red pepper flakes provide a subtle heat. Adjust the amount to your spice preference or omit them if you prefer a milder dish.
  • Parsley: Parsley adds a fresh, herbaceous element. You can substitute it with cilantro or dill if you prefer those flavors.
  • Lemon Wedges: Lemon wedges are used for garnish and a burst of citrusy freshness. You can use lime wedges or skip them if you don’t have citrus on hand.
Ingredients needed for brown sugar baked salmon.

How To Make Brown Sugar Baked Salmon

Step 1: Prepare the equipment. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a baking tray with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper, then set it aside. Gather mixing bowls. 

Step 2: Prepare the salmon. Pat dry the salmon filets with a kitchen towel and place them on the prepared baking tray. Generously massage the salmon filets with olive oil on both sides.

Fresh salmon filets on a tray.

Step 3: Mix and apply rub. In a small bowl, combine the spices for the rub: brown sugar, Italian seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and ground pepper. Evenly sprinkle the spice rub over the salmon filets and place the baking tray in the preheated oven. 

Salmon fillets rubbed with brown sugar seasoning.

Step 4: Bake salmon. Bake the salmon for 10-15 minutes or until it is cooked through and appears opaque.

Salmon on a baking tray.

Step 5: Top and serve. Once the salmon is cooked, transfer it to a serving plate and generously top with red pepper and chopped parsley. Serve the salmon with lemon wedges on the side and accompany it with a side of greens.

Salmon with brown sugar served with green beans.

Expert Tips

  • Use paper towels to pat the salmon filets dry before seasoning. This helps the seasonings adhere better and promotes a crispier exterior.
  • For even more flavor, marinate the salmon in the olive oil, brown sugar, and seasonings for 15-30 minutes before baking. This allows the flavors to move through the fish.
  • Ensure your oven is fully preheated before placing the salmon inside. This helps with even cooking and a nice crust.
  • After baking, allow the salmon to rest for a couple of minutes before serving. This helps the juices redistribute for a juicier result.

What To Serve With Salmon

This salmon recipe pairs well with a variety of sides. Whether like you like low carb sides or prefer salads, there is always room for any side dish when it comes to this recipe. You can try some of my Side Dish recipes or simply try one of my suggested favorites: Maple Walnut Sweet Baked Potatoes, Air Fryer Potato Skins, Crispy Parmesan Potatoes, Air Fryer Parmesan Asparagus, Mexican Fried Rice, or a Fresh Salad.

Storing and Reheating

Storing: Allow the baked salmon to cool to room temperature. If you plan to consume the salmon within a day or two, place it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.

To reheat: Place in a preheated oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10-15 minutes or until it reaches the desired temperature. Check it after 10 minutes, as salmon can overcook quickly.

Freezing: If you want to store the salmon for a longer period, place it in an airtight container or wrap it in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Label and date the package. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Alternative Cooking Methods

Air Fryer: Cook the salmon in the preheated air fryer at 400°F for about 10-12 minutes.

Stovetop/ Pan Searing: Heat a skillet with oil or butter and cook it skin-side down first for about 5-6 minutes until the skin is crispy. Finish by flipping and cooking for another 5 minutes on the other side.

Grilling: Basically same as the stovetop method. Preheat your grill and cook skin side down first for 5-6 minutes, and then the other side for 5 minutes.

*Note that the exact cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of your salmon fillets.

Salmon with brown sugar glaze.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to tell when Salmon is fully cooked?

Salmon is fully cooked through when the meat is a solid pink through the center and begins to flake easily with a fork, separating along the lines of it’s flesh.

What is the recommended internal temperature for perfectly cooked salmon?

The recommended internal temperature for perfectly cooked salmon is 145°F (63°C). Use a meat thermometer to check the thickest part of the fillet. At this temperature, the salmon will be flaky and tender while remaining safe to eat.

What seasonings are best for Salmon?

There are various seasonings and marinades that work well with salmon, including lemon pepper, garlic, dill, thyme, rosemary, honey mustard, teriyaki, and soy sauce. In the end it’s a matter of preference and you experience with the flavors and see what tastes best for you.

A tray of salmon baked with brown sugar.

Easy Salmon Recipes To Try

Brown Sugar Baked Salmon is the epitome of simple food that tastes great and is great for you. It serves well with sides like rice, potatoes, quinoa, steamed vegetables, or a salad, making it a well-balanced and flavorful meal the whole family will love.

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4.41 from 5 votes

Brown Sugar Baked Salmon

Caramelized brown sugar crust, an ensemble of Italian seasonings, a hint of paprika, a dash of garlic, and just a touch of spice make this dish an experience for your tastebuds. An easy baked salmon recipe doesn’t get much easier than this!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients 

  • 4 center cut Salmon filets, 6 oz each
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a baking tray with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper, then set it aside.
  • Pat dry the salmon filets with a kitchen towel and place them on the prepared baking tray.
  • Generously massage the salmon filets with olive oil on both sides.
  • In a small bowl, combine the spices for the rub: brown sugar, Italian seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and ground pepper.
  • Evenly sprinkle the spice rub over the salmon filets and place the baking tray in the preheated oven. Bake the salmon for 10-15 minutes or until it is cooked through and appears opaque.
  • Once the salmon is cooked, transfer it to a serving plate and generously top with red pepper and chopped parsley.
  • Serve the salmon with lemon wedges on the side and accompany it with a side of greens.

Notes

    • Use paper towels to pat the salmon filets dry before seasoning. This helps the seasonings adhere better and promotes a crispier exterior.
    • For even more flavor, marinate the salmon in the olive oil, brown sugar, and seasonings for 15-30 minutes before baking. This allows the flavors to move through the fish.
    • Ensure your oven is fully preheated before placing the salmon inside. This helps with even cooking and a nice crust.
    • After baking, allow the salmon to rest for a couple of minutes before serving. This helps the juices redistribute for a juicier result.

Nutrition

Calories: 322kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 373mg | Potassium: 883mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 567IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 2mg
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