Make a Baked Salmon Dinner in Less than 20 Minutes

Casey Archibald

Being from Seattle, fish is something I absolutely cannot live without. And salmon is one of my favorite main dishes of all time. I love the natural flavor, and I love how versatile it is. I have experimented with these fillets in a variety of ways: slathering fillets in raspberry chipotle sauce, sprinkling it with sea salt dill and lemon, baking it on an alder plank, stuffing it with a crunchy crab and shrimp concoction, or smothering it in a walnut honey glaze. Each experiment turned out delicious, thanks to the unique flavor of this wonderful fish.

Salmon goes with most side dishes. I like to compliment my salmon with wild rice and steamed vegetables. Corn on the cob, asparagus, potatoes, sweet potato fries, or edamame are also great with salmon.

Preparing and Baking Salmon

My favorite way to prepare salmon is to bake it in the oven. I like to remove the skin before I bake it, though it can be baked skin-attached. Use a sharp, thin-bladed knife to cut between the skin and the flesh starting at the tail. Once you start the cut, it is usually easy to pull the two apart.

Be adventurous when you decide how to flavor your fish.  You can use a marinade or your favorite sauce. Just pour the sauce over the fish before baking.  If you prefer to marinade, place the skinned fillets in a zipper-type bag with the marinade and refrigerate for several hours. In the past, I have tried coating my salmon in almond meal before putting it in the oven with a sweet honey sauce on the side. It was delicious. Use your imagination, the options are endless.

Because salmon is a fatty fish, it usually doesn’t dry out when baked. Your average fillet only takes about ten to 15 minutes at 400 degrees to bake. I should flake easily with a fork when it is done. If you like your fish to be less fatty, try baking it on a rack over a baking sheet so you can catch the fat that drips off and throw it out. Salmon contains enough fat and moisture that it will remain moist if you choose to bake it this way. For easy clean-up, line your baking sheet with foil before you bake your salmon.

To avoid soggy salmon, remove your fillet(s) from the pan and onto a plate immediately after it is done.

If you like making your sauce or glaze from scratch, try this maple-glazed salmon with spicy maple cream syrup. We tried it, and it is delectable. Enjoy!

Maple Glazed Salmon with Spicy Maple Cream Syrup


1 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 salmon filets with the skin removed, about 10 ounces each
salt and pepper
1/4 cup walnut pieces
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/3 cup heavy cream


  1. Mix the maple syrup, lemon juice, soy sauce, ginger, and mustard together.  Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture in the refrigerator.
  2. With the remaining mixture, marinate the fish by placing the fillets in a sealable plastic bag with the mixture, sealing, and refrigerating for several hours.
  3. To prepare the fish, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the fish in a shallow baking dish.  Baste the fish with the marinade from the bag.  Salt and pepper each fillet.  (The soy sauce in the marinade will add a bit of sodium but not much.)
  4. Bake the fish for a total of 12 to 16 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.  After the fish has baked for 8 minutes, open the oven door and sprinkle the fish with nuts.  Close the door and continue baking.  Do not over bake.
  5. While the fish is baking, prepare the sauce from the 1/2 cup set aside mixture.  Place the cornstarch in a small bowl or cup.  Add just enough marinade to make a thick paste of the cornstarch.  Gradually stir in the rest.  Remove the sauce mixture to a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a whisk, until the sauce begins to bubble and is thickened.  Stir in the cream.  Set aside.
  6. When the fish is done, immediately remove the fillets to serving plates and drizzle with the prepared sauce.

Serves 4.

Check out a similar article in our free book Easy Weeknight Dinners from the new Prepared Pantry Bookstore.