I am officially ruined. Thanks to this 5-star, menu-quality Honey Garlic Salmon, I can never order salmon from a restaurant again.
Crispy on top, succulent inside, and bathed in a smoky-sweet honey garlic sauce, this baked salmon recipe outshines much of the salmon I’ve ordered out.
Do I sound insufferable? Learning to cook perfect salmon at home will do that to you.
Even if you’ve never cooked salmon before, I promise you can make this recipe (and my Pesto Salmon) with rip-roaring success.
Once you’ve tasted it, I bet you’ll think twice about ordering baked salmon from someone else’s menu too!
If you are new to the salmon game, start with this million-dollar Baked Salmon in Foil (and take a moment to read this pro guide to cooking healthy salmon recipes). Even if you don’t make those recipes right away, they have some great tips.
Then, when you are ready to WOW, come back to this honey garlic salmon.
It sears on the stove, then finishes in the oven. The presentation is spectacular.
The glaze is deep and sassy with smoked paprika, honey, and a heap of fresh garlic, and this recipe makes plenty of it.
You’ll love having the extra glaze for spooning over the fish. I especially enjoy it over rice.
Ready to feel like a total salmon master? OWN IT.
Let’s make some honey garlic salmon!
How to Cook Honey Garlic Salmon
The secret to the perfect salmon sear is to get that skillet nice and HOT and don’t disturb the fish while it cooks.
Be sure to watch the recipe video for an easy visual.
- Salmon. With a tender, flaky texture and delicious flavor, salmon fillets are an excellent lean protein option. Plus, the glaze will make them appealing to the fish skeptics at your table. They’re also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins.
- Honey. Honey adds scrumptious natural sweetness to the glaze and helps it caramelize to perfection.
- Lemon Juice. For acidity and brightness.
- Minced Garlic + Spices. Minced garlic, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt add wonderful flavor to the glaze. The smoked paprika adds a nice smokiness, and the cayenne brings just a touch of heat.
- Parsley or Green Onion. I love to finish off this salmon dish with a shower of freshness. Both parlsey and green onion are tasty choices.
- Let the salmon come to room temperature, and pat it dry.
- Whisk the honey garlic glaze ingredients together.
- Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to a hot skillet, then add the salmon fillets skin-side up. Sprinkle the fish with salt.
- Once browned, flip each fillet over. Turn off the heat.
- Baste the salmon fillets with the honey garlic mixture. Move the skillet to the oven, and bake for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Serve with parsley or green onion and lemon. ENJOY!
Serve this honey garlic salmon with Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, or Chardonnay.
- 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.
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.
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.
While I rarely repeat meals—with salmon variations ranging from Teriyaki Salmon to Blackened Salmon to Bourbon Glazed Salmon, we have plenty to choose from even in the salmon family—this honey garlic glaze has become a regular.
Fortunately, when you cook it yourself, it can be the nightly special any time you feel like ordering it up.
Honey Garlic Salmon Recipe Video
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Honey Garlic Salmon
- 4 (6-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
- ¼ 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 ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ 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.
- If your honey starts to get very dark, don’t panic! It is 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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