You have to be careful when baking salmon that you don’t overcook it or dry it out. Because fish filets like salmon tend to be very thin, it’s easy to cook them too much. Fish cooks quickly, so you don’t need the long cook times of a denser meat like chicken.
In this article, I will show you how to bake salmon and make it taste fantastic every time you make it. Maybe you’ve never made fish before, and if that’s the case, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how simple this meat is to cook. You can usually tell just by looking at the outside how done salmon is rather than needing to stab it with a kitchen thermometer like you do chicken or pork.
How Long to Bake Salmon For?
The temperature you use to cook salmon at and the cooking time will vary. These two factors are dependent on one another. That’s why you can find different answers about how long to cook salmon for and what temperature to cook it at.
How long to bake salmon at 400 degrees? If you’re using this high temperature, you only need to cook it for 15 minutes. Any longer than that and it may dry out or burn.
What about if you want to cook at a lower temperature? How long to bake salmon at 375 degrees? Cooking at a lower temperature takes longer, but it can give you a more succulent, tender, and juicier piece of meat for your meal. The lower temperature also makes it easier to ensure the fish is not overcooked.
If you accidentally leave the fish in the oven for a little longer when you cook at a lower temperature, there’s less risk that it’s going to be dried out, burnt, or unusable. When cooking at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, you should cook for about 20 minutes. That’s if you’re cooking an entire side of salmon.
For smaller pieces, you may be able to get away with 12 or 13 minutes. The thicker the filet, the more cooking time it will need.
How long does it take to bake salmon? That depends on the size of the salmon, whether it’s thawed already, and what temperature you’re cooking it at.
How Do You Tell When Your Salmon Is Done Cooking?
There’s an easy way to tell when your salmon has finished cooking. Take a fork to it and prod the salmon a little bit. See if the fish starts to flake apart easily. If it does, that means it’s done cooking, but if it’s a little tough and hard to flake, it could probably use a little more time in the oven.
There’s no need to use a cooking thermometer when baking salmon, but some people like to check just to be on the safe side and to make them feel at ease. If that’s you, check for a temperature that’s 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. This should give you salmon that isn’t overly cooked and is still moist and tender.
How to Bake Salmon in the Oven
Salmon doesn’t take long to cook at all. While pan frying is faster, baking in the oven only takes about 15 minutes. Of course, if you’re cooking a lot of fish once or using a different temperature, that can change how long it takes to cook the salmon thoroughly.
Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees and bring fully thawed salmon out of the fridge so that they can reach room temperature. They should rest on the counter for about 15 minutes before you start cooking them.
What if you forgot to thaw the salmon the night before? There’s no need to worry, as you can run the salmon under cold water until the ice has melted off of them. You can also put frozen salmon to defrost in the microwave for a few minutes, but that’s the least preferred way to do it.
My simple preparation for salmon just requires a few ingredients. I like to brush the salmon with melted butter, and you can add lemon or lime juice as well when you brush. Before popping the salmon in the oven, you can add your seasonings, like black pepper, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, or lemon pepper. Place the fish in the middle of the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. You may want to pull your fish out at 12 minutes to check it, just to be sure you’re not overcooking it.
This method for how to bake salmon filet is really simple and foolproof, and you shouldn’t have any trouble with it. If you want to wrap your salmon in foil to really trapped in the moisture in the flavor, you can do that.
How to make salmon in foil? Just put your butter and seasonings on the salmon and then wrap foil loosely around it. Bake according to the instructions I gave you above, and then take the fish out of the oil to let it breathe as soon as it’s done cooking. Be careful, though, as the foil will be hot.
How to Bake Frozen Salmon
If you’re pulling the salmon straight from the freezer, the cooking process will be a little bit different. It will have to cook for longer because the heat needs to melt the ice before it can start cooking the meat. If you want to save time on this dish, make sure it’s thawed out ahead of time.
You can do that by placing it from the freezer into the fridge the night before you plan to cook. Depending on how much salmon you’re putting in the fridge at once, it may take a few hours or an entire day to thaw.
How long to bake frozen salmon? It’s going to need an extra three to five minutes at least to cook all the way through and melt that ice. So, just add that much more time on to however long you’re cooking the salmon for.
You can start at three additional minutes, check the fish to see if it’s done when the timer is up, and then put it back in if it needs a little longer. So, you’re not just checking for a changing color, but also tenderness, juiciness, and flakiness. Most people want their salmon to be a little moist, so make sure you’re not cooking yours so long that you dry it out.