‘Tis that time of year… when I need to figure out what to do with all my recently acquired bourbon! I created this flavorful Bourbon Glazed Salmon recipe as an easy, healthy escape from the many festive feasts these winter months. It’s lean, but its rich flavor feels right at home any time of year.
I recently stocked up on bourbon because so many of my favorite holiday recipes feature its warm, buttery charm.
When cooking with bourbon, sweet recipes (like my must-try Bourbon Balls and Sweet Potato Pie) are often the first to come to mind, but bourbon is great for savory dishes too. For today’s recipe, I decided to add it to one of my top versatile and go-to proteins: salmon.
Bourbon gives this maple glaze pizzaz, richness, and backbone without tasting too sweet. It doesn’t require fancy ingredients, laborious effort, or even advance planning!
Most of the online bourbon salmon recipes require marinating the salmon in advance, but I don’t always have that kind of foresight.
That’s why I perfected a glaze here that gives the same intensity of flavor as marinating without having to make it in advance.
The sticky, lightly smoky maple glaze make this a great “intro” fish recipe.
Even if you are new to cooking or eating fish, you’ll love this recipe and can make it with total success (same with this equally delicious Honey Garlic Salmon).
It uses my foolproof method for Baked Salmon in Foil, combined with the allure of a lightly sweet glaze, like this jaw-dropping Teriyaki Salmon, Balsamic Glazed Salmon, and Soy Ginger Salmon. (This Honey Glazed Salmon is another fabulous salmon recipe with a glaze.)
How to Make Bourbon Glazed Salmon
This maple bourbon glazed salmon is simple enough for a quick weeknight, while also tasting elevated enough for a special occasion.
Be sure to use my tips and tricks in How to Cook Salmon, which will certainly transform you from novice to pro in no time!
- Salmon. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, lean protein, and potassium, salmon is incredibly healthy. It’s also extremely versatile and pairs beautifully with the flavors in this bourbon maple glaze. Even fish skeptics will enjoy salmon’s mild flavor and light, flaky texture.
- Bourbon. Warm, cozy alluringness that takes salmon from basic to mouth-watering.
- Maple Syrup + Brown Sugar. Both add delicious sweetness that balances the other flavors and helps the glaze caramelize to perfection. Don’t skip the brown sugar; it’s necessary for the glaze to thicken.
- Worcestershire Sauce. A little savory, a little sweet, and lightly tangy. It gives the glaze depth.
- Soy Sauce. For that irresistible umami goodness and to balance the sweetness.
- Apple Cider Vinegar. Adds much-needed acidity and brightens up the glaze.
- Bring the glaze ingredients to a boil, stirring consistently. Remove the mixture from the heat.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and a large piece of aluminum foil. Lay the salmon on the foil. Season with salt and pepper, then brush the glaze over the top.
- Drizzle any remaining glaze on the salmon.
- Fold the aluminum foil over the salmon to create a sealed packet. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes at 375 degrees F.
- Open the foil packet. Broil the salmon for 3 to 4 minutes. Garnish and DIG IN!
If the bourbon glaze in addition to the smokiness of a grill sounds irresistible to you, make grilled bourbon glazed salmon using the same method as in this Grilled Salmon in Foil while still using this bourbon glaze on the fish instead.
How to Know if Salmon is Done
Here are the best ways to tell when your salmon is done:
- You could check by using a knife to peek into the thickest part of the salmon piece. If it flakes while still having a little translucency in the middle, it is done.
- My preferred option though is to use an instant read thermometer like this one. The FDA recommends cooking fish to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
- However, I find that salmon (and other fish) will continue to “cook” even as it rests after removing it from the oven. I usually remove my salmon between 137 and 140 degrees F, cover the salmon with foil, and let it rest for 5 minutes. This resting time allows the fish to continue to rise to 145 degrees F.
A Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Pinot Noir would pair wonderfully with this bourbon glazed salmon.
- To Store. Refrigerate salmon in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days.
- To Reheat. Very gently rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F.
Use leftover bourbon glazed salmon on a salad (this Caesar Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Crispy Chickpea Croutons would be tasty!). It would also be scrumptious mixed in with scrambled eggs, pasta, or rice (Homemade Fried Rice with salmon sounds delish!).
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Baking Sheet. Enjoy bourbon glazed salmon whenever a craving strikes!
- Instant Read Thermometer. The best way to make sure your salmon is cooked through.
- Saucepan. Perfect for preparing the glaze.
Bourbon Glazed Salmon
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar light or dark; do not omit or the glaze will not thicken
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 2-pound side of salmon (I prefer skin-on for cooking)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Chopped green onions optional for serving
- In a medium saucepan, combine the bourbon, maple syrup, brown sugar, Worcestershire, soy sauce, garlic, and apple cider vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high. Continue to simmer rapidly, stirring almost constantly. The mixture will look very active and almost foamy. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened and reduced by about half, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Position racks in the center and upper third of your oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. For easy clean up in case the glaze leaks, line a large baking dish or rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then place a large piece of aluminum foil on top. Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes while the glaze cools and the oven preheats.
- Place the salmon on top of the foil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Rub to coat, then brush the glaze all over the top.
- Drizzle on any extra.
- Fold the sides of the aluminum foil up and over the top of the salmon until it is completely enclosed. If your piece of foil is not large enough, place a second piece on top and fold the edges under so that it forms a sealed packet. Leave a little room inside the foil for air to circulate.
- Bake the salmon on the center rack for 15 to 18 minutes, until the salmon is almost completely cooked through at the thickest part but still has several minutes to go. The cooking time will vary based on the thickness of your salmon. If your side is thinner (around 1-inch thick) check several minutes early to ensure your salmon does not overcook. If your piece is very thick (1 1/2 inches or more), it may need longer.
- Remove the salmon from the oven and carefully open the foil so that the top of the fish is completely uncovered (be careful of hot steam).
- Change the oven setting to broil, then return the fish to the oven, placing it on the upper third rack. Broil for 3 to 4 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. Watch the salmon closely as it broils to make sure it doesn’t overcook. You also can use an instant read thermometer inserted at the thickest part of the fish; fish is cooked at 145 degrees F (I like to pull mine out a few degrees early, then let it rest a few minutes so that the carry over cooking allows it to reach temperature).
- Remove the salmon from the oven. If it still appears a bit underdone, you can wrap the foil back over the top and let it rest for a few minutes. Do not let it sit too long—salmon can progress from "not done" to "over done" very quickly. As soon as it flakes easily with a fork, it's ready.
- To serve, cut the salmon into portions. Enjoy hot, with a sprinkle of green onions as desired.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate salmon in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days.
- TO REHEAT: Very gently rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F.
- Leftovers would be delicious on a salad or mixed with rice, pasta, or eggs.
- BOURBON TIPS: Any mid-range bourbon that you enjoy drinking is great here! A few of my go-tos are Bulleit, Maker’s Mark, Buffalo Trace, and Four Roses.
- TO MAKE WITHOUT BOURBON: A similar liquor like rum or cognac will also work here. If you prefer to make a non-alcoholic version of this glaze, you could try substituting 1/8 cup of apple cider vinegar plus 1/2 cup apple juice in place of the bourbon.
Join today and start saving your favorite recipes
Create an account to easily save your favorite projects and tutorials.Register