Salmon is one of our best foods for weight loss because it’s filled with anti-inflammatory fats, metabolism-revving protein, and energizing B vitamins. However, both seasoned and amateur chefs alike can concur that cooking a perfectly moist piece of fish is no easy feat. To prevent your oven from leaving you with lackluster salmon, we consulted Claudia Sidoti, the Head Chef and Recipe Developer at HelloFresh, on how to bake salmon perfectly every time. See her step-by-step instructions and go-to tips, and get ready to finally have a delicious fish meal at home. Plus, see our 25 Favorite Salmon Recipes You’ll Love!
How to bake salmon:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Lightly oil or spray a baking sheet.
- Pat the salmon fillet dry with a paper towel and lay it skin side down. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake until the salmon is opaque in the center, around 10–12 minutes.
Unsure about how long to leave your fillet in the oven? “A good rule of thumb is to allow the fish to bake for 4–6 minutes for every half-inch of salmon,” Sidoti says. “Four minutes is best for people who prefer salmon on the more rare side, and six minutes will thoroughly cook it. Fish should still be slightly translucent and pink in the center. Although it’s totally harmless, when you start to see white gunk seeping out of the salmon, you’ve probably overcooked it. But don’t worry, it’s just the protein (aka albumin) coagulating.” Sidoti says that doing your best to avoid overcooking the fish will help bypass the protein coagulation. “Salmon’s ideal internal temperature range is 125–140oF, depending on the desired doneness. The key to success is to watch the time carefully so the fish stays moist and doesn’t dry out.”
The benefits of baking salmon over other cooking methods
While you can totally throw the pink fish on the grill or pan-sear it for extra flavor, Sidoti says that baking is the best method to cook salmon. “The dry heat of baking works best with salmon fillets. Salmon cooks in the oven super quickly, so it’s a great way to get a delicious and satisfying dinner on the table in less than 15 minutes. Baking also requires less oil, and you can make an easy sheet-pan dinner by roasting your veggies and potatoes on the same pan!” Sidoti says. Try seasoning salmon fillets, chopped white onions, and asparagus spears with salt, pepper, rosemary, and some fresh lemon juice before baking for a balanced and scrumptious supper.