Glazing is one of the yummiest ways to cook salmon, and this Bourbon Glazed Salmon is the latest, greatest way to land a healthy serving of fish on your plate.

Maple bourbon glazed salmon on a plate

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Brushing a sauce over salmon, then finishing it in the oven (the glaze + bake method) is versatile and near foolproof.

From Balsamic Glazed Salmon to Teriyaki Salmon, the flavor profile options are wide and will keep your dinner routine exciting.

Bourbon isn’t only for sipping—it’s lightly smoky, buttery flavor makes it an excellent ingredient for cooking too! (Just ask this Bourbon Chicken.)

Bourbon gives this maple glaze pizzaz, richness, and backbone.

It balances the brown sugar and keeps it from tasting too sweet.

Tip!

For more about salmon baking times and temperatures, check out my Salmon Temperature Guide.

Fish on a baking sheet with green onions

If you are new to cooking or eating fish, this is an excellent beginner fish recipe.

  • It’s easy. You don’t need to marinade the salmon in advance, unlike many of the bourbon salmon recipes I found online.
  • It’s foolproof. The worst thing you can do is overcook salmon. If you are new, Pan Seared Salmon might be a bit advanced, so I recommend starting with a baked salmon recipe like this one or my gold-standard Baked Salmon in Foil. It’s nearly impossible to mess up!
  • It’s DELISH. The sticky, lightly smoky maple glaze gives this recipe serious crowd appeal.
A plate of bourbon glazed salmon and broccoli

5 Star Review

“This recipe was very easy and so tasty! My husband who really doesn’t love salmon even approved. Thank goodness because I robbed his man cave for the bourbon!”

— Gail —

How to Make Bourbon Glazed Salmon

This bourbon salmon recipe is simple enough for a quick weeknight, while also tasting elevated enough for a special occasion.

For even more tips, check out this essential guide to How to Cook Salmon.


The Ingredients

  • 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 and alluring, 8 tablespoons bourbon takes this salmon from basic to mouth-watering.

Substitution Tip

No bourbon on hand? Try a similar liquor like rum or cognac.

Leftover bourbon? Use it to make Bourbon Balls.

A baking sheet with a fillet of bourbon glazed salmon
  • 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.

Substitution Tip

For a different twist, swap the maple syrup in this recipe for the same amount of honey (I love it in this Honey Glazed Salmon). Again, don’t omit the brown sugar, as it’s key to reaching the right consistency. Honey will thicken more quickly than maple syrup, so keep an eye on the glaze as it cooks.

  • 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.

Dietary Note

To make this a gluten-free salmon recipe, use tamari instead of soy sauce (be sure to double check your other ingredient labels too).

  • Apple Cider Vinegar. Adds much-needed acidity and brightens up the glaze.

The Directions

A saucepan filled with sauce
  1. Bring the glaze ingredients to a boil, stirring consistently. Remove the mixture from the heat.
Glaze being brushed on a piece of salmon
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and foil. Lay the salmon skin side down on the foil. Season with salt and pepper, then brush the glaze over the top.
A fillet of salmon with a maple bourbon glaze
  1. Drizzle any remaining glaze on the salmon.
A sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet
  1. Fold the aluminum foil over the salmon to create a sealed packet. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes at 375 degrees F.
A large piece of fish on a baking sheet
  1. Open the foil packet. Place under the broiler for 3 to 4 minutes. Garnish, cut into individual salmon fillets, and DIG IN!

Tip!

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.

A fillet of salmon cut into pieces

Equipment Note

Here are the best ways to tell when your salmon is done:

  • The best way to know salmon is done is to use an instant read thermometer like this one. The FDA recommends cooking fish to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
  • Salmon (and other fish) will continue to “cook” as it rests after removing it from the oven. I usually remove my salmon between 135 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.
Healthy bourbon glazed salmon with green onions

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftover 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, in a small skillet on the stove, or enjoy at room temperature.

Leftover Ideas

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!).

Broccoli and salmon on a plate

What to Serve with Maple Bourbon Salmon

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

The Best Baking Sheets

These baking sheets are heavy-duty, high-quality, and perfect for all your baking and roasting needs.

Maple bourbon glazed salmon on a plate

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Kind of Bourbon Should I Use for Cooking?

Any mid-range bourbon you enjoy mixed into cocktails works well for cooking. A few of my go-tos are Bulleit, Maker’s Mark, Buffalo Trace, and Four Roses.

Can I Make Bourbon Glazed Salmon without Bourbon?

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.

What If I Prefer Not to Bake with Foil?

My recommendation is to line your foil with parchment paper. This will keep the fish from touching the foil, but you’ll still be able to form a packet to insulate the fish as it cooks.

Maple bourbon glazed salmon on a plate

Bourbon Glazed Salmon

5 from 7 votes
Bourbon Glazed Salmon features a sweet, smoky maple bourbon glaze spread over salmon fillets. Bake, then broil salmon for perfect results!

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 27 mins
Total: 37 mins

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 448kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 45gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 125mgPotassium: 1168mgFiber: 1gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 91IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. This recipe was very easy and so tasty! I was so worried about overcooking it I forgot to broil it ! I took it out at 141 like the recipe stated a d skipped the broiler! It was still tasty just not as thick and gooey on the top. My husband who really doesn’t love salmon even approved. Thank goodness because I robbed his man cave for the bourbon!5 stars

  2. I haven’t tried this yet but it looks like it might be what I’m looking for…I have friends coming to dinner tomorrow night as I was wondering if this would take away the “fishiness”. They don’t like fish and I’m trying to broaden their palate. I love Salmon!5 stars

    1. Beverely, if you get good quality salmon it won’t taste fishy. King salmon is amazing if you can swing it. Atlantic salmon isn’t as high quality but it’s certainly not fishy. I hope you all enjoy it!

  3. So easy and so helpful. I also find it super inspiring to find other bloggers out there doing the damn thang! Thank you Erin and keep up your hard work. Cant wait to see more!5 stars

    1. Hi Jessi! I’ve only tested this recipe as written, so I am not sure how it would work with frozen. If you decide to experiment with it, let me know how it goes!

  4. I would first like to say that I am not a cook and have only minimal cooking skills. My wife bought some salmon from one of the shopping channels. I had previously had Burbon glazed salmon at restaurants so decided to look up a recipe and fortunately I discovered this one. I made the bourbon glaze using some Old Charter from behind my bar which must have been 25 years old. The outcome was awesome. It was so easy. We used the times provided and baked it in the oven since we did not have an instant read thermometer. We put it over rice. It was delicious. We are having company tonight, so we are going to have it again.5 stars