Grilled salmon is an easy, good-for-you meal your whole family will enjoy. Not only does grilled salmon taste great even without sauces and seasonings—although there's a world of flavor enhancements you can create with marinades, rubs, and sauces—salmon contains a high amount of an unsaturated fat called omega-3 fatty acids, which is good for maintaining your heart health. The natural oils found in salmon help keep the flesh moist when it's cooked over high heat—another plus that makes salmon such a great choice for grilling. We have easy tips for grilling salmon, and a boat-load of recipes for you to try.
Tips for Grilling Salmon
There are many ways you can grill salmon: Grill it directly on grates, wrap it in foil packets, thread it onto skewers, and even grill it on a plank. Whichever method you choose, here are five simple tips for getting the best results:
2. The Heat is On: Make sure your grill is preheated before you put your salmon on it. High heat will help caramelize the fish and add smoky flavor as well as make attractive grill marks. A hot grill will also make for quick cooking so your salmon doesn't dry out, and will prevent the fish from sticking to the grates.
3. Grate Expectations: To further ensure non-stick grilling, give your grates a good scraping with a grill brush to remove any debris from the last cookout, and finish it off with a light swipe of vegetable oil. See Top Tips for Grilling to brush up on your grilling know-how.
4. Shirts vs. Skins: Should you grill your salmon with the skin on or off? We say "on" because the skin keeps in moisture, adds flavor, and can act as a natural grill pan that prevents the flesh from breaking apart while cooking. Start grilling with the flesh side down, then flip the fish to grill the other side. When the salmon's done cooking, slide a wide metal spatula between the flesh and the skin to release the salmon from the grill. Or you can just go ahead and serve it crispy skin and all.
5. Timing is Everything: How long should you cook fish? A general rule of thumb is to grill your fish for 6 to 8 minutes for every inch of fish. So, if your salmon fillet is one-inch thick, you should grill it for 3 to 4 minutes per side. You'll know it's done when the flesh turns opaque and easily flakes when pressed with a fork.
Top 10 Grilled Salmon Recipes to Try
Fire up your appetite for grilled salmon with these top-rated recipes:
Salmon and fresh herbs are a match made in heaven, and this quick and easy recipe flavors salmon fillets with a 30-minute soak in a simple marinade of fresh rosemary, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and a touch of garlic. Like many cooks, Allrecipes community member, cathy, says she threw the marinade ingredients in the blender "to save time on mincing garlic and chopping rosemary."
Hot diggity! This recipe packs a little heat in the marinade with the help of crushed red pepper flakes. You can always adjust the amounts to suit your tolerance for spice. Set aside some unused marinade and boil it down it in a saucepan for a flavorful drizzle to serve over the cooked salmon. Watch the video to see how to make this popular recipe.
Soy sauce, honey, fresh ginger, garlic, and sesame oil combine to make a super-quick 5-minute marinade for salmon fillets. This recipe can be made in a grill pan or right on your grill grates.
It's worth the effort to find cedar planks for grilling; look for them in the fresh fish section of larger grocery stores and at a fresh fish market. They give your salmon a sweet, smoky flavor and woodsy aroma, while keeping the flesh tender and moist. Plus, the presentation is pleasingly rustic. Read up on what you need to know to plank-grill, and get ready for a whole new level of outdoorsy flavor.
Zesty cilantro is another herb that goes great with salmon. The cilantro-butter sauce and fish are cooked together in a foil packet right on the grill, steaming the fish and infusing it with moistness and flavor.
Bacon and corn relish are served like salsa on top of seasoned salmon. Both colorful and flavorful, it's a showstopper when you have guests over for dinner.
These easy salmon kabobs are glazed with a mixture of soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, and fresh ginger. This is another recipe where you want to hold aside extra marinade to be cooked down and drizzled over the salmon before serving. If you're using wood skewers, make sure to soak them in water for 20 to 30 minutes before cooking, so they don't burn while grilling.
Here's one that'll make a fish-lover out of your most die-hard meat eaters. Salmon fillets are cut into cubes, wrapped in bacon (because everything's better with bacon), marinated in a mix of steak seasoning, brown sugar, and bourbon, and grilled for a mere five minutes. Tammy, who submitted this recipe, says, "I serve this as a main dish, appetizer, or whatever you desire."
Salmon is rubbed with dill and lemon pepper, quickly grilled, and topped with creamy avocado and Greek-style yogurt for a luxurious treat.
Chopped salmon is formed into burger patties with the help of a little egg, herbs, and spices, then grilled and served on buns with a fresh and tangy yogurt sauce. Allrecipes community member, Loosen Up, suggests freezing the patties for about 20 minutes before grilling to help the patty mixture stick together.
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Check out all of our grilled salmon recipes or learn what other types of seafood are great on the grill. Grilling gives a nice smoky flavor to fish, but you can also smoke salmon. If the weather isn't optimal for grilling outdoors, check out a few other ways to cook salmon.