Cedar Plank Salmon is a rite of grilling passage. It’s one of those dishes that sounds tricky and fancy, but once you give it a try, you’ll want to show off and make it for everyone you know.
Go for it!
In my family, half of our text chain is pictures of food we’ve cooked and of which we are proud.
We celebrate our kitchen wins and encourage each other to try the recipes we really loved.
You best bet I sent out a proud picture of my first cedar plank salmon.
You’ll feel empowered to do the same!
This cedar plank salmon recipe is a way of cooking salmon by placing it directly on soaked cedar planks on a hot grill.
- The cedar plank infuses the salmon with a gentle smoky flavor, making the fish taste more rich and complex. It’s fantastic!
- Cooking salmon filets on a cedar plank also means you don’t need to stress over your fish falling through the grates (a reason I also love Grilled Salmon in Foil).
How to Make Cedar Planked Salmon
You can use the cedar plank method with just about any salmon marinade or a spice rub such as Salmon Seasoning.
I especially like the glaze from the 5 Ingredient Maple Dijon Salmon in The Well Plated Cookbook, and have included a yummy honey version for you below.
If you are grill-less (or it’s pouring rain and you don’t want to grill outside), fear not. You can also make cedar plank salmon in the oven.
Salmon Prep and Grilling Tips
- The skin needs to be removed from the salmon prior to using cedar planks. If you leave the skin on, it will block the smoke flavors from the wood, and you’ll miss the point entirely.
- To remove the skin from salmon, place the salmon skin-side down on a cutting board. With the tail end facing you, grab ahold of the end of the salmon and use a very sharp knife (a boning knife works great for this) to cut away from you, removing the skin from the fillet. For ease, you can also ask the seafood counter at your grocery store to remove the skin for you.
- The proper cedar plank salmon temperature is 135 degrees F. Use an instant read thermometer to check for doneness (whether using a gas grill or charcoal grill), then let it rest. The carryover cooking will bring the fish the rest of the way to the internal temperature. For more tips, see my Salmon Temperature Guide.
Cedar Plank Soaking Tips
Heads up! The cedar planks need to soak for at least 2 hours prior to cooking salmon to ensure they do not catch fire.
While you can certainly use water for soaking the planks, an excellent way to up the quality of your dish is to use a more flavorful liquid.
- Apple juice is my favorite liquid for soaking cedar planks, because it’s inexpensive and the apple works well with the cedar notes.
- For a splurge, soak your cedar planks in a dry white wine.
Even with soaking, on a hot grill, the edges of the plank can still catch fire.
Keep a spray bottle (an inexpensive one like this is great) with water or apple juice near the grill to put out any flames.
- Salmon. As far as healthy salmon recipes go (and I have a bunch!), cedar plank salmon is one of my favorites. The flavors are complex and subtly smoky, the salmon is tender and moist, and the plank makes cleanup a breeze. Plus, salmon is also rich in protein and healthy fats like omega-3s.
- Cedar Planks. Grilling salmon on cedar planks is an easy way to make your meals taste like they came from a restaurant.
- Honey. Sweet and sticky, the honey caramelizes on the salmon and helps all the other ingredients adhere to it.
- Dijon Mustard. Tangy, zippy, and delicious paired with the honey.
- Soy Sauce. Adds salty, umami flavor to the salmon.
- Garlic. For scrumptious garlicky flavor.
- Cayenne. An optional sprinkle brings a touch of heat.
- Soak and drain the cedar planks.
- Remove the skin from the salmon, pat it dry with paper towels, and season it with salt and pepper. Stir the honey mixture together.
- Brush the salmon with the honey mixture.
- Cook the soaked planks on the grill grate for 4 minutes over medium-high heat (this will give you a more smoky flavor). Flip them over, add the salmon, and let it cook for about 7 to 12 minutes.
- Check it frequently to make sure the planks don’t catch fire. Place the salmon on a serving platter to rest. ENJOY as it flakes apart with your fork!
How to Make Cedar Plank Salmon in the Oven
To make your cedar plank salmon in the oven, soak the planks and prepare the salmon fillets as directed. When you’re ready to cook the salmon, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Once the oven reaches temperature, place the pre-soaked cedar planks on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven. Let the planks heat up for about 5 minutes, then add the salmon fillets on top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
- To Store. Refrigerate salmon in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze salmon in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Grill Tongs. A must-have for the grill.
- Baking Sheet. I use these to soak the cedar planks.
- Brush. An easy way to add the seasoning mixture to the salmon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, the skin must be removed or you will lose the cedar flavor. See blog post above for tips for removing salmon skin.
You can buy cedar planks from many online retailers (see one option here) and many grocery stores and supermarkets carry it.
While I do not recommend reusing your cedar plank, you technically could reuse it if it’s still in good condition. However, even if your plank isn’t completely charred (it likely will be from the grill), it will likely have lost some flavor after one use. Starting with a fresh plank each time is the best way to ensure optimal flavor.
Cedar Plank Salmon
- 2 cedar planks approx. 6×14-inch in size; each should be large enough to hold two fillets of salmon
- Apple juice, water, or white wine for soaking the planks
- 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets skin removed
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic minced (about 1 teaspoon)
- Pinch cayenne pepper optional
- Spray bottle with water or apple juice for the planks when grilling
- At least 2 hours before cooking, soak the planks in apple juice (or water or wine). I use rimmed baking sheets. Drain.
- Remove the skin from the salmon fillets (if it is not removed already). Pat dry and season on both sides with the salt and pepper. In a small bowl, stir together the honey, soy sauce, mustard, garlic, and cayenne.
- Place the salmon on what (was) skin-side down on a plate. Brush all over the top and sides with the honey mixture.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high (375 to 400 degrees F). Place the planks on the grill and let cook for 4 minutes. Flip the planks over (they should have nice char marks), place the salmon on top, then close the grill. Cook until the salmon reaches 135 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, about 7 to 12 minutes depending upon your grill and the thickness of your fillets.
- Check on it every few minutes and if the edges of the plank catches fire, mist with water. Transfer the salmon to a serving platter. Cover and let rest 5 minutes, then serve. Discard planks after use.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate salmon in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze salmon in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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