This simple lemon pepper salmon recipe features baked potatoes and an amazing lemon butter sauce. Another exquisite choice to satisfy your salmon obsession.
Fish, especially salmon, goes very well with lemon, and today's dish is no exception.
Salmon is delicately spiced with lemon juice, butter, salt, and pepper, then oven-roasted to perk up the flavors. The inside is incredibly tender and juicy, while the edges give just the slightest bit of crispiness, creating a perfect texture contrast.
Is This Recipe Healthy?
Yes, it is.
This lemon pepper salmon is packed with healthy fats and protein, especially omega-3 fatty acids. The flaky and juicy salmon is basted with a buttery, tangy, sweet-and-sour syrup. Tender baked vegetables are also added for more fiber and fresh flavors.
In this lemon pepper salmon recipe, the citrus flavor is complemented by the pepper. The browned butter is mixed into the lemony sauce and adds a nice kick of flavor to the salmon without making it too greasy.
If preferred, you can add some lemon zest to maximize the citrus flavor. Also, consider adding a drop of honey if you want to balance the acidity and tartness of the lemon.
If you enjoy bold and tangy flavors, you may also want to try Lemon Dill Salmon. For those craving something a bit more herby and savory, Pesto Salmon is the way to go.
Ways to Cook Frozen Salmon
For this lemon pepper salmon, you can use either fresh or frozen salmon.
To prepare frozen salmon, simply wrap the frozen fish fillets tightly in cling film and put them in a large mixing bowl. Fill the bowl with enough water to cover the fillets, and wait for at least 30 minutes until they’re defrosted.
How to Tell If Salmon Is Done?
No matter if raw or cooked, salmon always delivers a beautiful and mild taste without a fishy smell. This time, we want to give it a richer taste with an extra layer of smokiness.
Since salmon cooks quickly, baking it in the oven helps retain the heat but still maintains the short cook time. The oven-baking method ensures the salmon is cooked evenly from the inside out while adding little or no fat to it, especially when the top of the fillets are brushed with the sauce.
If you want to make sure the salmon is cooked through, pierce it with a fork to check if it flakes easily and the inside flesh is opaque and slightly pink.
To make it easier, simply invest in an instant thermometer. As long as the thickest part of the salmon reaches 150℉, you're good to go.
Note that when the flakes are easily separated, but the meat is translucent, it means the salmon is rare but edible. So, what you need to do is decide which degree of doneness you want your salmon cooked to and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
How Long to Bake?
In this lemon pepper salmon recipe, we baked the salmon twice at 350℉ for 15 minutes each time, making it 30 minutes of baking time in total.
Cooking time always varies depending on the thickness of the fish fillets. For large, thick ones, you will probably need to add another 10-15 minutes to the cooking time.
To be safe, always put the baking sheet on the middle rack to avoid burned or unevenly cooked salmon. If in doubt, simply pause the bake and check the salmon with a fork as instructed in the above section.
What to Serve with
This meal is perfect for feeding your family a vibrant and nutritious meal. To create a filling meal with lemon pepper salmon for your family, consider our below combinations.
1. Pesto Pasta Salad
For a refreshing and hearty side dish, try pairing lemon pepper salmon with this pesto pasta salad. Al dente pasta is tossed with an herby, savory Italian sauce and then mixed with Parmesan cheese, cashews, black olives, cherry tomatoes, basil, and spinach.
Everything comes together in 25 minutes. It's simply bursting with great flavors and textures!
2. Lemon Water
After all those big flavors, why don’t we wrap it up with invigorating lemon water? We highly recommend taking small sips of this lemon water to reset your taste buds when enjoying your meal.
For salmon dishes, there is absolutely no need to remove the skin, as long as it’s prepped clean without scales remaining. In other words, the choice is completely yours; you can bake salmon with skin either on or off.
As salmon skin helps lock in moisture, if you wish to keep the skin on, it's important to choose wild-caught salmon rather than farm-raised. Farm-raised salmon is comparatively more watery, so keeping the skin on could make the whole dish mushier than it should be.
In reality, after the salmon is cooked, the skin peels off very easily. So, if you prefer a baked salmon without skin, simply discard it before serving. Otherwise, select skinless salmon at the grocery store or remove it during prepping.
This lemon pepper salmon has 480 calories per serving.
3. How Long Does It Last?
Cooked lemon pepper salmon can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3-5 days in the fridge. You can reheat it in the microwave in individual portions after letting it warm to room temperature.
In addition, you can also mix the cold salmon with some mayo, herbs, and spices, and enjoy it as a cold seafood salad.
4. Can You Freeze?
Yes, you can.
This lemon pepper salmon can freeze for up to two months— though, obviously, freezing salmon will affect its texture significantly. One day prior to serving, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating it the next day.
This lemon pepper salmon recipe features flaky, juicy salmon and a buttery, tangy, sweet-and-sour sauce to give your body fuel and nourishment for a self-motivated day. Don't forget to add some freshly baked vegetables to pair with the salmon!
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Lizzie Streit is a Minneapolis-based dietitian and founder of It’s a Veg World After All. She completed her MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel University, and is an expert in culinary nutrition, recipe development, and nutrition communications. Lizzie’s philosophy is centered around making nutrition recommendations, and especially the advice to eat more vegetables, approachable and realistic. She is excited to be working with the team at Healthy Recipes 101 to ensure that their recipes are both nutritious and delicious.