After years of making unsatisfactory, overcooked salmon, I finally figured out the best way to cook salmon and am sharing the foolproof recipe that yields restaurant quality “medium”, melt-in-your mouth salmon.slow cooked salmon with lemon slice As someone who was pescetarian for 18 of her (almost) 32 years, seafood has always been one of the staple protein sources in my diet. I’ve also always really enjoyed the taste of seafood too. I remember when I decided to give up meat at the ripe age of 12, I asked my Mom if being a vegetarian meant I had to give up seafood too as the words “clam chowder” stared me dead in the face on a restaurant menu. I was relieved when she said of course, not (and I believe she too was relieved as a concerned mom of a vegetarian teen would be). And go figure now I live in New England – one of the best areas in the country for fresh seafood and clam chowdAH.

salmon on sheet pan

My Mom really did an awesome job cooking for our divided family growing up considering I was the only pescetarian in the household. This basically meant she had to cook a separate piece of fish for me every time she cooked meat for the rest of the gang (rockstar Mom status). And that piece of fish 90% of the time was salmon.slow cooked salmon with lemon slice

And I continue to eat salmon regularly today. The only difference being now I make it for myself ;). Salmon has become our welcome home meal. Whenever I come back home after being away on a trip somewhere, I always want the same meal – salmon, brown rice, and kale. It’s easy, simple, tastes good, and feels good in my body. He doesn’t even bother asking anymore, he just knows to stock the fridge appropriately upon my return. Bonus points for salmon being a nutritional powerhouse too: it’s packed with healthy omega-3 fats, protein, vitamin D, B-vitamins, and antioxidants.

slow cooked salmon with lemon slice

But my problem with salmon, up until a few years ago, was that I ALWAYS overcooked it, without fail. It didn’t matter if I pan seared it, baked it, or poached it. It never had that texture and consistency that I could only find at a good restaurant. Until, one day, all hail Chef Jeremy Sewall and the folks at Stop & Shop for hosting a cooking class where he taught us his preferred slow cooking method for salmon. By cooking salmon at a higher heat for a shorter amount of time, the proteins coil up and are constricted, causing the oils to secrete, making the fish dry, chewy, and chalky. When you cook salmon at a lower temperature, it coils the proteins more slowly, allowing the fish to retain its moisture and oils, giving it that melt-in-your-mouth texture.

slow cooked salmon with lemon slice

Ever since I started cooking salmon this way, Steve now requests it weekly. Seriously, once you try slow cooking salmon, I can guarantee you won’t be cooking it any other way.

Print

Slow Cooked Salmon


  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 22 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2-4 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh salmon
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground cracked black pepper
  • Lemon
  • Herb of choice (thyme, parsley, rosemary)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Pat salmon dry with a paper towel and place on baking sheet.
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper over salmon.
  4. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon dried herb or place a couple sprigs of fresh herb over top.
  5. Bake salmon until salmon flakes easily with a fork and is slightly opaque, about 20-25 minutes.

  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Bake

Keywords: salmon, slow cook

This recipe was retested, reshot and revamped to bring you the most delicious (and most beautiful) dish! The original post was published in February 2015.

Last Updated: September 2019

You May Also

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Blackened Salmon Tacos with Corn Avocado Salsa

Sheet Pan BBQ Salmon Dinner

Sheet Pan Salmon Fajitas

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69 Comments

  1. I never thought to slow cook salmon! Such a great idea, it was so tender!

  2. Stefen

    Thank you for this Recipe.Every time I make salmon it comes out perfect.One of my favorites.Thank you

  3. Zha

    Epic failure! Chalky feel, and much more of the white protein material. I will go back to my tried and true method – 400 degrees for 11 minutes.

    • Lara

      You might try testing variations in your oven temp, especially according to thickness of filet. Ever since I’ve started cooking my salmon this way, it’s my absolute favorite. Leftovers shine even more! Never could stand leftover salmon previously.

    • Great point, Lara! Oven temps do vary. If I have a very thick piece of salmon, I often have to cook it for closer to 25 minutes. Lara, I’m so glad you enjoy this method!

    • Sorry to hear that it didn’t work for your tastebuds, Zha!

  4. Katie

    Do I need to use fresh or dried herbs for this recipe?

  5. Kendall

    THE BEST RECIPE OF ALL TIME! After I made it once… I’m hooked! Now, every time I have salmon in a restaurant it seems really dry and over cooked. This is the only way I like it now because it’s SO DELICIOUS! I’m so thankful I found your recipe. Thank YOU! 🙂

  6. Hi Kara,

    I’m a fellow dietitian and I want to make this for a cooking class at an outpatient facility. I’ve cooked it twice at home now and both times couldn’t get it up to the food safety temperature recommendations of 145 degrees. It kind of hovers at 133-135 degrees after 30 minutes. Even if i pop it back in for 5-10 at 275 degrees, I can’t get it up to temp.

    However, it does look done on the inside- opaque and flakes with a fork.

    Have you tried to temp this?

    -Sarah

    • Hey Sarah, thanks for asking. I haven’t tried to temp it. If it flakes easily with a fork after sticking it at its thickest point and has lost its translucence, it should be done. Sorry I can’t help more!

  7. Shawn

    For this recipe, is it recommended to pre-cut the 1 lb of salmon into individual filets before baking? Or do you always cook it whole no matter the size?

  8. Hi! I was wondering if you’d alter this any for a toaster oven? (I was also looking at your Greek style salmon and the temp there is higher than you recommend here, is there a reason for that?)

    Also, I’m concerned about the albumen coming out of the fish when I slow cook it. Have you found that to be a problem?

    Thanks!

    • Hey Ivan – good catch on the Greek style salmon recipe! The reason for that temp change is I changed apartments and ovens and the lowest setting on my current oven is 300 degrees F. Temperatures and cooking times always vary between ovens so be sure to keep a close eye on the salmon. Cooking time will also vary depending on how thick the piece of salmon is. Toaster ovens heat up quicker because they’re much smaller so the cooking time should be reduced by 30%. So for 20 minute recipe, I’d try 14 minutes in a toaster oven.

      Some albumin will come out of the salmon whether you slow cook it or over cook it. The remedy to this is marinading the salmon in a quick brine solution prior to cooking.

      Thanks for the Q!

  9. June

    Thank you so so so much!
    I am a fish lover. I just had my best salmon tonight! I almost finished 2lb at dinner:-)

  10. Margie

    Made this tonight and it was perfection! This is only the 4th time I ate Salmon and now I will make it more often! I didn’t have any Thyme or Parsley but it was still delicious!! I got already skinned thick pieces of Salmon and put it on parchment paper. I had the oven preheated at 300 degrees because the store said use that temp. Then I found your slow cook method and used the reduced 250 degrees at 25 minutes! Oh my gosh it was the taste and texture I was looking for!!! Thank you!

  11. This is so helpful! Thank you, Kara! I am the only fish eater in the house and will be trying this slower cooking method. I usually throw salmon in an omelette or sushi when it is just me. Now I will be trying this for myself with a side salad!

  12. R Gibbs

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! My daughter loves salmon in restaurants, but I could not replicate it at home— until now. So grateful to add this to her weekly diet.

  13. Liz

    Hi Kara,

    I too love salmon. I place mine in parchment paper, pour olive oil on top and add seafood seasoning. Fold parchment paper so nothing oozes out and place it in microwave for 1 minute. So yummy!
    I don’t order it in restaurants because its always too overcooked for my taste.

  14. Steven

    How do you cook salmonella in a convection microwave?

  15. Jackie

    Can you use frozen salmon?

  16. Ginger

    I am planning on making this. Just wondering if I need to debone the salmon or if the bones will cook soft. My kids love the canned salmon bones and I would love to be able to cook the bones to be that soft. I have not seen anything online yet to tell me how to cook the bones to eat. And the salmon bones at the farmers market are so cheap! Thanks!

  17. Bon

    Didn’t work ended up cooking it for an hour

    • I’m so sorry to hear that, Bon! What temperature did you cook it at? How much salmon were you cooking? What type of oven?

    • Patricia Schneider

      I don’t know if you ever resolved your issue, but if you live at a high altitude if will take longer to cook things. We live at 7500 ft. above sea level and sometimes it takes twice as long to cook certain meats, That, and the size of fish you are cooking will have a big impact on length of time.

    • That’s a great point, Patricia! Thanks for sharing.

  18. I NEVER slow cook it…I usually fast cook it! HA! Definitely going to have to try this 🙂

  19. Oh man..to this day I still remember how good Boston clam chowder was..that was nearly 8 years ago!! Now onto the salmon..keep the temp low..keep the temp low..I unfortunately don’t have any salmon on hand right now, but I’ll def remember this trick next time I prepare it! Thanks, Kara 😉

    • Haha! It’s the best! When I was a kid, I used to judge and rate all the clam chowders when on summer vacation in Boston :). Hope you enjoy the tip the next time you prepare it!

  20. Ah the salmon love! I am the worst RD, I don’t eat salmon like ever! I need to break out of this but I think a lot is because we never had it as a kid! Your mom is a superwoman- I love it!

  21. Mary

    Or you can bake it at 350 degrees for 10 minutes to obtain the exact same results. I cook it that way every time and it’s perfect! Usually a temp of 145 degrees using a food thermometer is good to ensure doneness.

  22. Nance

    Best salmon recipe. Ever.
    Thank you so much ~ I’ll never need another salmon recipe ~ if you haven’t tried it yet, do!!

  23. Rachel

    This recipe is awesome! Only way I’ll eat salmon now 🙂

  24. Crystal

    I made this last night and it was amazing. I had to turn up the temperature just a little because I cooked a whole side cut up into pieces and it needed more time. The only question I have is about the skin: the skin was a little too soft so I’m wondering if it would be possible to do a quick sear to crisp the skin a bit, then pop it into the oven to cook. I’ll try it some time with a much smaller piece of fish, but was curious if it’s anything you have tried.

  25. Joanna

    This was my first time cooking Salmon and I used your method which made the perfect piece of fish! Thank you!

  26. Brenda Parker

    Can you you use a slow cooker?

  27. Jena Mackey

    I was wondering if I could use foil or wax paper instead of parchment paper…. I don’t have any

    • You could use foil but I wouldn’t recommend wax paper as it’s not heat resistant. You could also just place your salmon on a baking sheet or dish without any parchment paper – you’ll just have a little extra clean up! 🙂

  28. THIS LOOKS AHHHH! I WANT – RIGHT NOW!!! OMG I can’t even…..

  29. You weren’t kidding this method was a total game changer! It was so delicious. I kept commenting to my husband the rest of the evening, “wasn’t that salmon the best?”. I was pretty proud of myself that I cooked it that well because I always over cook it too and it becomes a dry mess.
    Thanks for the great recipe!

  30. Nicole Rodriguez

    I made this last night with kale and lemon-garlic farro. The slow-cook method is a total game changer. Thank you for the inspiration!

  31. Elizabeth Lydon

    Thanks for the shout out Kara:) The salmon looks delicious… I’ll have to try it this way next time I cook it.

  32. YUM! Salmon is one of my favorite foods but I never know how to cook it. Can’t wait to try this!

  33. I could eat salmon everyday! But I actually like it a bit overcooked 😉

  34. As a West Coaster at heart, I love love love salmon; however, it is so easy to overcook. I’m going to try this recipe soon (I bet my man will beg for it too) 🙂