Smoky, succulent 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.
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Why You’ll Love This Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon Recipe
- The Best Smoky Flavor. Cedar planking 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, and a great alternative to Smoked Salmon if you don’t have a smoker!
- Easy Salmon on the Grill. 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).
- Versatile. You can use the cedar plank method with just about any marinade or spice rub such as Salmon Seasoning or Salmon Marinade. And 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!
How to Make Cedar Plank Salmon on the Grill
- 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. You can buy cedar planks at most grocery stores.
- 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.
- Prepare. Soak the cedar planks.
- Season. Remove the skin from the salmon and season.
- Sauce. Brush the salmon with a honey Dijon mixture or your sauce of choice.
- Get Started. 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 and add the salmon.
- Finish. Continue grilling (no need to flip the salmon on the cedar plank). Place the salmon on a serving platter to rest. ENJOY!
- 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. You can freeze cedar plank salmon. Freeze salmon in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
What to Serve with Cedar Plank Salmon
- Rice. Lemon Rice would pair nicely with this salmon. Or keep it simple with Brown Rice.
- Vegetables. While the salmon cooks, make Grilled Broccoli, Grilled Asparagus, or Grilled Potatoes.
- Salad. Watermelon Salad and Arugula Salad are wonderful options.
- Pasta. For a slam-dunk meal, pair this salmon with Garlic Pasta or Pesto Pasta. Or use it for Salmon Pasta.
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.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Remove the Skin. If you leave the skin on, it will block the smoke flavors from the wood, and you’ll miss the point entirely. Unlike Grilled Salmon Fillets, since it’s on the plank, you don’t need to worry about the skin acting as a buffer to keep the salmon from falling through the grates.
- Soak the Planks in a Flavorful Liquid. We love apple juice or white wine. This infuses the salmon with even more goodness!
- Don’t Flip the Salmon. While some fish you need to turn on the grill (like Grilled Swordfish), cedar plank salmon does not need to be flipped; it will fall apart.
- Cook Salmon to 135°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.
- Don’t Reuse the Salmon Planks. 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.
- Keep a Spray Bottle with Water Handy. If the planks catch fire at any point, you can quickly spritz it out.
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° 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° 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° 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.
- TO MAKE CEDAR PLANK SALMON IN THE OVEN:
- Soak the planks and prepare the salmon fillets as directed. Preheat the oven to 375°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 cedar plank salmon in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
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