Busy cooks, you'll love this tender, perfectly flaky baked lemon garlic salmon! It takes little prep and less than 20 minutes to cook! Salmon baked in foil is a smart technique that ensures perfectly cooked, moist salmon every single time. Plus, clean up is a breeze.
Be sure to read on for tips and watch the video below for how to make this garlic baked salmon recipe!
Aside from the fact that salmon is of the good-for-you Mediterranean diet foods, it is a beautiful, tasty fish that makes a "fancy" dinner in a snap. But many people are intimidated by the idea of cooking a large salmon fillet because it can easily turn out too dry or bland. Not the case here!
You'll love this flavor-packed lemon garlic salmon! It is tender, moist, and perfectly flaky. Best part, it's so easy to make, even for less experienced cooks.
Why this Lemon Garlic Salmon Recipe Works? Two Important Tips
Aside from the fact that this salmon dinner is super quick and easy, a couple of things make all the difference for me:
1- Loads of Flavor
Salmon is a hefty, fatty, robust fish, it can stand up to big bold flavors without being overwhelmed. In fact, salmon needs big bold flavors. That's where our tasty lemon-garlic sauce comes in!
This baked salmon recipe begins by making the simple lemon-garlic sauce. What's in it?
- Lemon. Loads of it, actually. Juice of 2 large lemons + lemon zest (so much brightness!)
- Lots of fresh garlic. Make sure the garlic is minced or finely chopped (no one wants to bite on a large piece of garlic!)
- Quality extra virgin olive oil. Many recipes use melted butter, but you don't really need to. Extra virgin olive oil is all you need to finish this sauce, giving the salmon a healthier buttery finish. I used Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil, which is rich with a peppery finish.
- Spices & Herbs. A simple trio of dry oregano, paprika, and black pepper are whisked in the sauce for even more flavor
2- Tender and Perfectly Flaky
This smart technique for baked salmon in foil has been the one I recommend for new cooks or anyone who's not so sure about how to cook salmon in the oven.
Wrapping salmon in foil traps the steam and helps cook the fish well, while keeping it from drying out. The sauce also helps a great deal, because while it infuses the salmon with flavor, it also keeps it nice and moist.
How to Bake Lemon Garlic Salmon In Foil
This garlic baked salmon is as easy as 1, 2, 3
Step 1: Make the lemon-garlic sauce
In a small bowl or jar, mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and spices.
Step 2: Prepare Salmon
Prepare a baking sheet lined with a large piece of foil (foil needs to be large enough to wrap salmon). Brush the top of the foil with extra virgin olive oil. Pat salmon dry and season well with kosher salt, and place on the prepared pan.
Now, pour the tasty lemon-garlic sauce all over the salmon evenly. Add lemon slices (because never enough lemon when it comes to salmon)! Wrap the foil over and fold to secure shut at the top.
Step 3: Bake
Bake salmon (wrapped in foil) in a 375 degrees F heated-oven. Bake for 15 minutes or so, depending on thickness (if your salmon is 1 ½ inches or more in thickness, it may take a little bit longer.)
Remove from oven and uncover, then place under the broiler for a couple more minutes.
Garnish with a little fresh parsley. How tasty does this look?! I've got some ideas below for what to serve along!
How Do I Know If Salmon is Ready?
Once you remove salmon from the oven, if it still appears underdone, you can wrap the foil over the top and let it rest briefly. Don't leave it too long, salmon can easily go from under-cooked to way over-cooked quickly.
When the salmon flakes easily with a fork, it's ready. If you like, you can use an instant read thermometer to check the fish for doneness. The USDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 145°F, which should be measured at the thickest part of the fish fillet.
What to look for when buying a large salmon fillet?
Buying a large side of salmon--like 2 pounds as we have in this recipe that feeds a small crowd--can sound intimating, but it's actually pretty straightforward.
We've talked about this before in an earlier post, but when you're buying salmon, color and smell are basically your best indicators of quality. Look for salmon that has a vibrant pink hue and smells clean and not too fishy. It should not look dry or smell too funky.
When possible, opt for wild salmon. If that's not available, frozen or sustainably raised salmon are good options as well.
What to Serve with This Garlic Salmon?
If you're looking to complete this baked salmon dinner, start by adding a bold and simple salad like this easy Mediterranean tomato and cucumber salad or pea salad with feta and mint.
And as far as sides go, the possibilities are endless! If you're looking for something light and colorful, try Italian roasted vegetables or these Greek green beans with feta.
And for those who like a little something starchy, Greek lemon rice; herbed potatoes; or Greek roasted potatoes will do the trick.
One last tip, because this salmon cooks pretty quickly, be sure to have your sides and salads ready first before you put the salmon in the oven.
Watch The Video for How To Make this Baked Salmon Recipe:
Looking for more fish and seafood recipes? Check out more ideas here.
For more Mediterranean diet recipes, go here.
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Baked Lemon Garlic Salmon Recipe
- Total Time: 28 minutes
- Yield: Serves 6
- 2 lb salmon fillet
- Kosher salt
- Extra virgin olive oil (I used Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil)
- ½ lemon, sliced into rounds
- Parsley for garnish
For Lemon-Garlic Sauce:
- Zest of 1 large lemon
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I used Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil)
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tsp dry oregano
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Make the lemon-garlic sauce. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the lemon juice, lemon zest, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, oregano, paprika and black pepper. Give the sauce a good whisk.
- Prepare a sheet pan lined with a large piece of foil (should be large enough to fold over salmon). Brush top of the foil with extra virgin olive oil.
- Now, pat salmon dry and season well on both sides with kosher salt. Place it on the foiled sheetpan. Top with lemon garlic sauce (make sure to spread the sauce evenly.)
- Fold foil over the salmon (seam-side up). Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until salmon is almost completely cooked through at the thickest part (cooking time will vary based on the thickness of your fish. If your salmon is thinner, check several minutes early to ensure your salmon does not overcook. If your piece is very thick, 1 ½ or more inches, it may take a bit longer.)
- Carefully remove from oven and open foil to uncover the top of the salmon. Place under the broiler briefly, about 3 minutes or so. Watch closely as it broils to make sure it doesn’t overcook and the garlic does not burn.)
- Cook's Tip: Once you remove salmon from the oven, if it still appears underdone, you can wrap the foil back over the top and let it rest for a few minutes. Don't leave it too long, Salmon can easily go from under-cooked to way over-cooked quickly.
- How do you know if Salmon is ready? When the salmon flakes easily with a fork, it's ready. If you like, you can use an instant read thermometer to check the fish for doneness. The USDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 145°F, which should be measured at the thickest part of the fillet
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 18 mins
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: Lemon Garlic Salmon, Baked Salmon, Garlic Salmon, Baked Salmon in Foil
loved the taste of the salmon, will make this again and share with family
Did I do something wrong? Read the reviews and they were raving about this dish, but my finished product tasted overwhelmingly of lemon and was not pleasant at all. Followed the recipe to a T. Served over rice with a side of spinach.
I'm sorry to hear this didn't work for you. Hard to tell what may have gone wrong. Maybe the lemons weren't fresh, or the amount was just too much for your personal taste? It's a super popular recipe, so I hope you give it another shot. Maybe just try cutting back on the lemon next time?
Our second time in a week making this and lemme tell ya this recipe goes in the keeper file. A great unique meal. I love this site.
Yay! Thanks, Mike!
I made this for Easter - DELICIOUS!!! So easy and so good. There were no leftovers as my family ate it all. Almost melted in your mouth. I will certainly make it again. Thank you so this wonderful recipe.
OMG! This is soooo good! Leftovers were great too. I made extra sauce and used the same technique on chicken thighs, good too!
I made this today with your herb roasted potatoes. This one’s going on repeat!
Hi Suzy - plan on making this soon, I have a 1lb piece and like it medium, not well done - 15 minute at 375 ok?
Hi, Mia. I would still cook at 375 degrees. It's hard to say the exact amount of time it will take because all ovens vary just a bit. I recommend checking doneness with a meat thermometer. You'll want to bake it until it reaches and internal temp of 135-140 degrees, and then pull it out of the oven to rest for 3-5 minutes before serving.
My baked lemon garlic was amazing. This was quick and simple with big flavor. I do have leftovers and want to know best way to reheat salmon without doing the microwave thing
Love this salmon! I've made it several times now- it always turns out perfect. I added Dijon to the sauce tonight, I've been on a mustard kick lately- delicious. Thank you for this simple and wonderful recipe. I was always intimidated to cook fish- I seemed to mess it up every time. Not anymore!!!
Dear Suzy, on Christmas Eve I made your KLEFTIKO and it was a big hit, so yummy, so tonight I am making your LEMON AND GARLIC SALMON. I have made this a few times now and it is as you would say EPIC. THANK YOU for all the wonderful recipes, hope that you and your family have a very Happy and Healthy New Year, all the best Diane
PS my daughter and hubby are here with us for the holidays and with all this good food they won’t want to go home!!!!😆 🎉🥂🍾🙋♀️
Thank you so much, Diane! We wish you all the best in 2023!
Wow! Fantastic. So fast and easy. Makes life easier for a working woman. Thank you!
Happy to help :). Thanks, Rita!
Easy, quick and very flavorful.
This was really good. I enjoyed it with boiled small potatoes and Greek salad
Mmmm! Great combo!
Absolutely amazing!! The taste was fantastic! I had a “pot luck” at work so I got this beautiful salmon (whole piece). Than you so much for this recipe.
The recipe seems to say you should pat the salmon dry after oiling. You might want to fix that, unless it is what you intended. 😺
Hi, Kel. Actually, you oil the foil. Then, pat the salmon dry and place it on the foil. Hope that helps!
Recipes look good unfortunately either too much sodium or too high in vitamin K. I am on blood thinners and I have had to reduce my salt to next to nothing. I have substituted Mrs. Dash but it still leaves the food bland. I am not allowed to have anything spicy due to alteration in the duodenum and intestinal metaplasia. I can’t seem to get the right diet that doesn’t interfere with the diagnoses. Also have diverticulitis.
How far in advance can the salmon be prepared and refrigerated until baking? I love all of your amazing recipes. Plan on giving your new cookbook as holiday gifts. Always look forward to your email recipes.
Hi, Eileen! If you want to get a head start on this one, I would prepare only the lemon-garlic sauce ahead of time. If stored in a tightly sealed container, it should be good for 2-3 days. Then, you can just add it to the salmon the day you'd like to cook it.
I typically season and oil my salmon at least 30 minutes before cooking. I also take it out of the fridge at least 15 minutes before cooking to let it come up to room temperature a bit. But you can leave it in the fridge for hours, up to 1-2 days if you want.
I never comment on blogs but this dish was too good to say nothing. I was beyond the ball and googled a quick lemon salmon and picked this one. I am so glad I did!!! It came together quickly with every day ingredients most would have on hand & it saved dinner!! 😉 Everyone (including 3 kids) devoured it. I am excited to explore your site more!! Thank you!!!
Wonderful! Thanks so much, Kristin!
I am a pit master of 40 plus years not Big on Fish but have prepared it for many customers & family. My wife is very picky with her salmon that she loves!!! She always just wants Lemons 🍋 and lemon pepper and freaks out about garlic so I used garlic powder was the only difference from your recipes directions. The salmon weighed 1.77 pounds. Took 25 minutes to get to 145 at 120° I broiled on high for 3 minutes then had to cover and 5 more minutes in 375° and perfect 145° finish I had to drain all the sauce as she is as I said very pick and dipped one bite in it and said nope I love it just the way it is! Don't think I will tell her it was swimming in it the whole time I cooked it! She raved about it so thank you for the successful perfect recipe!
Yay!! Thank you so much, Big Mike!