Today you will make a recipe that tastes so impressive. You’ll think it came from a restaurant.
Tender, flaky, juicy salmon cooked to perfection in a honey garlic glaze that’s sweet, sticky, and a tiny bit smoky.
The salmon recipe is super easy and it’s super healthy. It is a baked salmon recipe that you start on the stovetop you finish in the oven.
How to Cook Honey Garlic Salmon
Drying the salmon
We start out the recipe by arranging our salmon on a plate and patting it dry with paper towels, making sure that it is really dry on the outside, is critical to making crispy salmon that is as succulent and tasty as the kind that you would order in a restaurant.
Pat it dry on both sides and then you are going to want to let it sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.
That way the salmon cooks evenly and comes out nice and moist.
Making the honey glaze
Garlic, it’s in the name so you know, we gotta have it and we are adding a lot. Take your clove and then whack, that’s a technical term folk that makes the garlic super easy to peel.
We use six whole clubs, Once you have your garlic peeled. enjoy the smell and cut it into a rough mince.
Next step, we are going to be adding garlic to our honey. Honey is going to caramelize into the most fabulous honey glaze for our salmon.
I find this recipe doesn’t need sugar but if you like things a little sweeter you could add a little brown sugar for the brown sugar honey salmon recipe or try my bourbon-glazed salmon.
Now we need our lemon and tool to juice it, but it cut side down. A citrus press will make sure that you get every last drop.
The lemon is essential to add that acid that is going to balance the sweetness that we are getting from the honey.
Now some spices smoked paprika, this is one of my all-time favorites for making food that tastes like it’s been cooking all day, along with a pinch of cayenne pepper.
We are just using a little bit of cayenne but if you want a spicy honey garlic salmon you can add a bit more.
Now, we are going to add a little hot water and then whisk it all together.
How simple was that?
The glaze is already smelling amazing.
Seasoning the salmon
All right, now we are almost there, we wanna season up to our salmon with kosher salt.
And I like to wait to add the salt until just before pan-frying, which makes sure that we don’t accidentally drop too much water out of the salmon, which would make it not turn out as wonderfully crispy as it would in a restaurant. And we are going for restaurant quality here.
Some good old black pepper, give it as many twists as you like, and then some green onion for garnish at the very end.
Cooking the salmon
We’re gonna heat oil in a cast-iron skillet, make sure it’s nice and hot.
The cast iron is my favorite for making pan-seared salmon recipes.
Lower the fillet’s flesh side down, tilting them away from you to make sure that the oil doesn’t splatter. That is the important part.
Be sure to add a little more kosher salt, you want to season the food the whole time you are cooking it.
Now, don’t touch, the key to perfectly crispy salmon is to let it cook undisturbed for several minutes.
When it’s ready, it will lift right off.
Wow, just look at that beautiful color.
Now, it is time to pour on our sassy honey garlic glaze.
You want to get it all over the top of the fish. This is going to infuse our salmon with honey garlic flavor in every single bite and it’s also going to caramelize in the oven so that we have lots of sweet sticky sauce for serving.
You wanna base the fish with it, using a spoon. And at this point, I turn off the heat and let the cast iron skillet continue to bubble the glaze.
This sizzle is irresistible and the smell will have everyone running into your kitchen.
Taking the temperature of the salmon
Once you have finished basing the salmon it is time to finish it off in the oven.
You know, a salmon is perfectly cooked with an instant-read thermometer. It is foolproof and my number one tip for cooking perfect salmon every time.
This recipe would be perfect for a healthy weeknight dinner but it truly tastes, it’s special enough for a date night at home, you got a little anniversary celebration or if you just really want to treat yourself, this baked salmon recipe is absolutely perfect.
This glazed honey garlic salmon recipe has a perfect pan fried crust, then is baked to tender perfection. Quick, easy, and tastes impressive!
- 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 ¼ teaspoons smoked paprika
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ 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.