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This dish is an absolute showstopper. What an explosion of flavor

Perfect Southern Baked Salmon: A Flavorful and Easy Recipe

Anyone can make perfect, super-delicious Southern baked salmon. This recipe uses just a few spices more than the traditional lemon, garlic, and parsley you might be used to. The dish won’t require huge lemon wedges as a garnish, because slicing into the skin and allowing the fish to marinate a bit in the spice mixture means it’s just bursting with flavor all the way through.

As a bonus, it’s ready in just 35 minutes, and most of the ingredients are already in your spice cabinet, making this healthy recipe the ideal weeknight one to have in your back pocket.


What You’ll Need

To make this delicious Southern baked salmon, gather the following ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tablespoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 pounds salmon fillets


Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Preheat the Oven

Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray it with nonstick spray.

Step 2: Prepare the Spice Mixture

In a small pan over medium-low heat, combine the butter, olive oil, garlic, onion powder, dried basil, dried parsley, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir the mixture until the butter has melted and everything is well combined. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice.

Step 3: Prepare the Salmon

Make 4-5 diagonal slits into the salmon fillet on the skin side. This allows the seasoning to penetrate and infuse the fish with flavor.

Step 4: Marinate the Salmon

Place the salmon and the seasoning mixture into a large plastic bag, and allow it to marinate at room temperature for about 15 minutes.

Step 5: Bake the Salmon

Transfer the salmon and the seasoning mixture to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges are crisp and the center is perfectly flaky.

Step 6: Serve

Allow the salmon to cool for at least 2 minutes before serving. Enjoy this flavorful dish with your favorite sides.

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Tips for Perfect Southern Baked Salmon

Enhance the Flavor

  • Fresh Herbs: If you have fresh basil and parsley, use them instead of dried herbs for a more vibrant flavor.
  • Lemon Zest: Add a bit of lemon zest to the spice mixture for an extra citrus kick.

Cooking Tips

  • Don’t Overcook: Keep a close eye on the salmon to prevent overcooking. The fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork.
  • Broil for Crispiness: For extra crispy edges, broil the salmon for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking.

Serving Suggestions

  • Pair with Sides: Serve the salmon with Southern favorites like collard greens, cornbread, or a fresh garden salad.
  • Sauce It Up: A drizzle of homemade tartar sauce or a squeeze of extra lemon juice can enhance the flavors even more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use frozen salmon fillets?

Yes, you can use frozen salmon fillets. Make sure to thaw them completely in the refrigerator before marinating and cooking.

How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftover salmon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in the oven or microwave to avoid drying out the fish.

Can I grill the salmon instead of baking it?

Absolutely! You can grill the salmon over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until it flakes easily with a fork.

What other spices can I use?

Feel free to experiment with other spices such as smoked paprika, cumin, or even a touch of brown sugar for a hint of sweetness.

How can I tell when the salmon is done?

The salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork and the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C).

Can I make this recipe dairy-free?

Yes, you can substitute the butter with a dairy-free alternative such as coconut oil or a vegan butter spread.

By following these steps and tips, you’ll create a Southern baked salmon dish that is flavorful, easy to prepare, and perfect for any weeknight dinner or special occasion. Enjoy!