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How to Make Salmon Taste Good

How to Make Salmon Taste Good

There’s a lot to love about salmon. It’s versatile, relatively affordable (as far as seafood goes), cooks quickly, and is one of the healthiest and most delicious fish you can eat. It’s a fatty fish with little to no fishy taste, making for a decadent and luxurious seafood dish that doesn’t disappoint.

There are 7 types of salmon. Chinook (King Salmon) is known to be the tastiest, while wild-caught Pacific salmon is known to be the healthiest. Wild Atlantic salmon are endangered in the U.S. Therefore, most salmon sold is either imported from Chile and Canada or farmed in Washington and Maine, as it’s illegal to catch them commercially.

Although salmon is a worldwide favorite, some find the fish to be less than desirable. This could be because many have trouble cooking it in ways that meet their personal taste. But when cooked the right way, salmon can have a very delicious and rich flavor — and it’s not nearly as difficult as it seems!

Keep reading to learn how to make salmon taste good so you can enjoy all the flavors and health benefits of this super fish.


What Does Salmon Taste Like?

Salmon is famous for its fatty, oily, rich, and non-fishy taste. Poached, grilled, and baked salmon is citrusy and buttery, while smoked salmon is smokey and mildly fishy, making these flavors excellent for people who usually dislike the taste of fish.

You can easily add more flavor to your salmon by cooking it in a sauce or adding fresh herbs and spices.


Nutrition Profile of Salmon

Salmon is not only rich in taste but rich in nutrients as well! It’s widely known for having a rich source of potassium, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids. These nutrients contribute to heart and brain health as they reduce inflammation in the arteries, lower cholesterol, and maintain healthy blood pressure.

The nutritional value of salmon can vary slightly depending on the type of salmon you eat. For instance, wild-caught salmon is higher in protein, whereas farmed salmons contain healthier fats.

Other noteworthy health benefits of this nutrient-rich seafood are:

  • Selenium: An important nutrient involved in DNA synthesis, thyroid hormone metabolism, and reproductive health.
  • Vitamin B12: Produces red blood cells and regulates the health of the central nervous system.
  • Vitamin B6: Vital for brain development and keeping the nervous system and immune system healthy.
  • Niacin: A type of B vitamin that turns food into energy. It also helps keep your nervous and digestive systems and skin healthy.
  • Pantothenic Acid: An essential nutrient that breaks down fats and carbohydrates for energy.
  • Thiamine: Helps prevent abnormalities in the nervous system, brain, muscles, heart, stomach, and intestines.
  • Phosphorus: Necessary for the growth, maintenance, and repair of all tissues and cells.


How to Cook Salmon

how to cook salmon

There are so many ways to cook salmon, and each method has its own unique and delicious result! The flavor and texture of your fish depend on how you cook it, so it’s best to give every cooking method a shot to decide on which style of salmon is your favorite.

What I love the most about cooking salmon is that it cooks fast, so it’s perfect for busy weeknights when you don’t have the energy or desire to cook. Here are some of the most popular ways to cook good salmon recipes.



Cooking salmon on the grill produces a smokey flavor that pairs super well with this delicious fatty fish. Not only that, it’s super quick and easy! Simply heat your grill, brush the salmon with oil and your desired seasoning or rub, and grill for about 5 minutes on each side until the fish becomes flaky.



Another easy method is roasting your salmon in the oven. The best cuts for roasting are salmon sides and fillets. Just preheat your oven to 425°F, season the fillets with salt, pepper, and desired spices/herbs, and place the salmon—skin-side down—on a lightly greased sheet pan. Bake for approximately 12 to 15 minutes until you see the white protein of the fish begin to ooze out.


Pan Sear

Searing salmon over the stove is simple and only takes a few minutes. Heat oil or melt butter in a skillet at medium-high heat, then place your seasoned salmon on the skillet and bring the temperature up to high to sear the bottom. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes and flip to sear the other side for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. You’ll get a salmon that is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.


Bake in Foil

The foil method is the best way to ensure your salmon always cooks perfectly — and it’s ridiculously easy! First, preheat the oven to 400°F. Then wrap each individual piece of salmon with your desired flavorings in aluminum foil, making foil packs. Be sure to use olive oil or butter to prevent the fish from sticking to the foil. Then bake your salmon for 15 to 20 minutes so that everything cooks together and creates flavor steam for your fish!


How to Make Salmon Taste Good

sauce for salmon

Cook In a Yummy Sauce

Salmon is the perfect sponge for delicious sauces, and there is a variety that you can make yourself to enhance the taste. Sauces best known to pair well with salmon are ones with a garlicky, herby, or vinegary flavor profile, but you can get as creative as you’d like! My favorites are creamy lemon garlic butter, honey mustard, yogurt dill, and teriyaki sauce.


Use Fresh Salmon

When it comes to salmon—or any fish for that matter—the fresher, the better. Cooking with fresh salmon prevents it from having that fishy taste and preserves the natural nutrients and flavors that make it so healthy and delicious.


Add Fresh Herbs

Herbs are great for adding lots of fresh flavor without overpowering the salmon. Herbs like fresh rosemary, parsley, dill, tarragon, sage, thyme, and cilantro with a little oil and citrus juice go a long way, making for a delicious salmon that’ll have your mouth watering!


Coat With Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs aren’t just for chicken. They are excellent coated on salmon too! Turn your salmon into a not-so-guilty pleasure by dipping it in a beaten egg or brushing it with a mustard-mayo mixture. Next, coat the salmon with panko or any breadcrumbs of your choice. Then fry or bake it until it’s a beautiful golden brown. Yum!


Cook With Compound Butter

Let’s be real; anything is better with butter! A mix of butter, lemon juice or zest, and black pepper or Creole seasoning creates a flavorful butter that soaks perfectly with salmon, making a deliciously buttery and juicy salmon you can’t get enough of.


Use A Glaze or Marinade

Make a simple marinade or glaze with the condiments and ingredients already in your fridge! Any glaze or marinade with sugar will carmelize the salmon and create a flavor and texture that’s out of this world.


Brine Your Salmon

Brining your salmon will break down some of the muscle fibers around the surface of the fish and prevent the albumin (the white protein) from pushing out. It also prevents your salmon from getting dry, making it juicy and deliciously tender.


Season With Spices

Spices make everything nice — especially when you are cooking salmon! It removes the fishy taste while adding a new dimension of flavor to your fish. Smoked paprika, parsley, dill, basil, tarragon, thyme, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and citrus flavors are your best bet.


Pan-Sear Your Salmon

Pan searing your salmon is the way to go if you like a nice crunchy texture to your fish. It’s a great way to get a deliciously crispy outside and tender, juicy inside that takes only a few short minutes to cook!


Don’t Over-Cook It

Overcooking salmon is a common mistake many people make, especially if they are newbies. Find a sweet spot where your salmon is moist, flavorful, and succulent. When overcooked, salmon dries out and loses its nutrients and flavor. Remove your salmon from the heat source just before it appears fully cooked, as it’ll continue to cook while cooling.



How to cook salmon

Should I eat the skin on a salmon?

That’s up to you! Salmon skin is safe to eat and contains the same minerals and nutrients as the flesh of the fish.


Can I eat salmon raw?

Yes, but make sure it’s fresh. You can tell salmon has gone bad when it has a gray color, slimy texture, or a strong fishy or ammonia-like smell. You should also never eat undercooked salmon as it’ll most likely get you sick.


Do I need to wash my salmon?

Nope! It’s actually highly recommended that you don’t wash your fish. Many think they should wash their fish to remove unwanted bacteria. However, washing your fish in water does nothing.


Final Thoughts on How to Make Salmon Taste Good

There you have it. That’s how to make salmon taste good! Whether you are a salmon lover looking to improve your craft or someone who swears they don’t like salmon and want to give it another chance, these tips are just what you need to make the best salmon recipes that are equal parts easy, delicious, and nutritious!


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