Thanks to this 5-star, menu-quality Honey Garlic Salmon, you can never order salmon from a restaurant again. When you can achieve sweet, savory, sticky baked salmon perfection at home, why would you ever need to go out? Bonus: This easy weeknight recipe is done in just 20 minutes!
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Why You’ll Love This Honey Garlic Baked Salmon Recipe
- Restaurant Quality at Home. Crispy on top, succulent inside, and bathed in a smoky-sweet honey garlic sauce, this baked salmon recipe outshines much of the salmon you’ve ordered at restaurants. Once you taste it, I bet you’ll think twice about ordering salmon from someone else’s menu too!
- 20-Minute Dinner. Even if you’ve never cooked salmon before, I promise you can make this recipe—and my Pesto Salmon—with rip-roaring success. (For an excellent overview of baking salmon, check out my How to Cook Salmon). This dish comes together in just 20 minutes, so it is a great weeknight recipe.
- Seared and Baked. Best of both worlds! Seared on the stove, then finished in the oven, the presentation of this healthy and easy salmon recipe is spectacular (as is this Salmon Wellington).
- That Glaze, Though. While I rarely repeat meals—with salmon variations ranging from Teriyaki Salmon to Broiled Salmon, we have plenty to choose from—this honey garlic glaze has become a regular. The glaze is deep and sassy with smoked paprika, honey, and a heap of fresh garlic, and this recipe makes plenty of it.
5 Star Review
“Just made this salmon tonight, and it was delicious! Very tasty, quick and easy. Will definitely make it often!”— Danielle —
How to Make Honey Garlic Salmon
- Salmon. With a tender, flaky texture and delicious flavor, salmon fillets are an excellent lean, low-carb protein option. Plus, the glaze will make them appealing to the fish skeptics at your table (sway them with this Bourbon Glazed Salmon or Garlic Salmon next).
- Honey. Honey adds scrumptious natural sweetness to the glaze and helps it caramelize to perfection. (I also love it in both this Miso Glazed Salmon and this Honey Glazed Salmon with soy sauce.)
- Lemon Juice. For acidity and brightness.
- Minced Garlic + Spices. Minced cloves of garlic, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt add wonderful flavor to the glaze. The smoked paprika adds a nice smokiness (it’s also a key ingredient in my Salmon Seasoning!), and the cayenne brings just a touch of heat. For an extra kick, add red pepper flakes or sriracha to the sauce. If you enjoy spicy salmon, try this Blackened Salmon, too.
- Parsley or Green Onion. I love to finish off this salmon dish with a shower of freshness. Both parsley and green onion are tasty choices.
- Prepare. Let the salmon fillets come to room temperature, and pat dry.
- Make the Glaze. Whisk the honey garlic glaze ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Sear. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Heat an oven-proof skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat to high heat. Start cooking the salmon skin side up.
- Flip. Once browned, flip each fillet over (so it’s now skin side down). Turn off the heat.
- Bake. Baste the salmon fillets with the honey-garlic mixture. Move the skillet to a 450 degree F oven, and bake for 4 to 5 minutes. Serve with parsley or green onion and lemon. ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
- To Reheat. Honey garlic salmon can be very gently reheated in a skillet over medium-low heat.
Meal Plan Tip
Whisk the glaze ingredients together up to 1 day in advance, storing the mixture in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook.
What to Serve with Honey Garlic Salmon
- Vegetable Sides. Keep it simple with easy sides like Grilled Broccoli, Sautéed Green Beans, or Roasted Eggplant.
- Salads. Pair your honey garlic salmon with Asian Cucumber Salad on the side, or serve the fillets atop Asian Cabbage Salad.
- Grains. White Rice and Brown Rice will soak up all that delectable glaze, or make a pan of Egg Fried Rice.
- Asian-Inspired Dishes. I love this salmon with Cabbage Stir Fry or Zucchini Stir Fry, too.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Oven-Safe Skillet. The ideal tool for this recipe.
- Instant Read Thermometer. A foolproof way to know when your salmon is done.
- Liquid Measuring Cups. You can mix and measure your ingredients all in the same cup.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Salmon 101. If you are new to the salmon game, you might want to start with this million-dollar Baked Salmon and use my Salmon Temperature Guide for extra tips and tricks. From there, move onto Baked Spicy Salmon, Broiled Salmon, Cedar Plank Salmon, Grilled Salmon in Foil, and Poached Salmon.
- Thaw Frozen Salmon First. While frozen salmon fillets are excellent for Air Fryer Salmon, for this salmon recipe, where you will sear and glaze the fish, you need to thaw it first so the glaze adheres and the outside can crisp.
- Get the Perfect Sear. The secrets to the perfect salmon sear are two-fold: 1. Get that skillet nice and HOT (don’t rush it and add the salmon when the skillet’s only at medium heat), and 2. Don’t disturb the fish while it cooks. See this Pan Seared Salmon for more tips, and watch the recipe video below for an easy visual.
- Put the Extra Glaze to Use. Extra glaze? Spoon it over the fish before serving or enjoy it over Instant Pot Brown Rice or cauliflower rice (my favorite).
Honey Garlic Salmon
- 4 (6-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 tablespoons hot water
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 6 cloves minced garlic about 2 tablespoons
- 1 1/4 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 3/4 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Chopped fresh parsley or green onion for serving
- Lemon wedges optional, for serving
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Let the salmon rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. With paper towels, pat it dry on both sides.
- In a small mixing bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, hot water, lemon juice, garlic, smoked paprika, ¼ teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper. Keep near the stove.
- Heat an ovenproof skillet (cast iron is ideal) just large enough to hold the salmon comfortably over medium high—you don't want the salmon to overlap, but you also don't want there to be too much extra room around the salmon or the sauce may burn.
- Sprinkle the salmon with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (wait to season the fish until just before adding it to the pan).
- Once the skillet is hot, add the olive oil. Swirl to coat the pan, then add the salmon, skin-side up/flesh side down. When lowering the fish into the pan, move it in a direction away from you so that you aren’t splattered with oil. Sprinkle the skin side of the fish with a generous pinch of additional salt.
- Cook the salmon for 4 minutes without disturbing it, until it is browned and releases easily from the pan. With a thin spatula (a fish spatula is perfect), carefully turn over each fillet. Turn off the heat.
- Pour the honey mixture over the salmon fillets. With a spoon, baste the top of the fish with the sauce for 1 minute.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until the salmon flakes easily with a fork, about 4 to 5 more minutes for 1-inch fillets; if your salmon is thicker or thinner, you will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Salmon is done when it reaches 145 degrees F on an instant read thermometer and flakes easily with a fork. Do not overcook or the salmon will be dry (once I get close to 145 degrees F, I remove the salmon to a plate then cover it and let it rest a few minutes so the carryover cooking finishes the job).
- Sprinkle the salmon with parsley or green onion and squeeze additional lemon over the top if you like. Enjoy hot with more pan sauce spooned over the top.
- INGREDIENT NOTE: If your honey starts to get very dark, don’t panic! It is just the sugar caramelizing, and your fish should not taste burned. If this happens, it may be that your skillet is too large (so the honey cooks more quickly) or too hot. Take it as a learning for next time and enjoy your salmon.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover salmon in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days.
- TO REHEAT: Honey garlic salmon can be very gently reheated in a skillet over medium-low heat.
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