The best Salmon Marinade for grilled salmon or baked salmon. This easy salmon marinade recipe requires only a handful of ingredients and results in the most flavorful, delicious salmon.
If you’re a salmon lover and are looking for a delicious marinade to inject flavor into the fish, this simple marinade is the ultimate go-to.
For me, a piece of perfectly cooked salmon is my idea of the ultimate dreamy main dish.
It provides savory richness, a little tangy flavor and a touch of sweetness for a full palate experience.
With five simple ingredients, the finished product is the best salmon marinade that wins every time. You can even use it on chicken, pork, steak, and other types of fish!
This recipe makes enough to marinate one and a half to two pounds of fish. You can easily double or triple it if you’re cooking fish for a lot of people.
Let’s discuss the five simple ingredients.
Ingredients for The Best Salmon Marinade:
Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce: Bringing umami flavor to the marinade, liquid aminos or soy sauce goes a long way in injecting flavor into any animal protein.
Because there is a decent amount of sodium in this ingredient, there is no need to add more salt to the marinade. The salt content of liquid aminos or soy sauce helps to tenderize the salmon and enhance its flavor.
Rice Vinegar: Vinegar brings a little acidic bite for the sour portion of the marinade. You can replace it with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or lime juice.
Pure Maple Syrup: Adding a touch of sweetness makes the best salmon marinade. It doesn’t take much to bring a fullness to the recipe for a complete palatable experience.
You can replace the pure maple syrup with brown sugar or regular cane sugar. I don’t recommend replacing it with honey because honey burns at a low temperature, which makes the salmon get too dark too quickly.
Avocado Oil or Olive Oil: A little avocado oil or olive oil brings richness to the marinade and also helps protect the salmon during the cooking process so that it stays nice and juicy.
Garlic Powder: While you can absolutely use fresh garlic cloves in this delicious marinade, I like using garlic powder because it ensures the garlic flavor runs deep throughout the marinade so that the full filet gets plenty of garlicky goodness.
The combination of all of these ingredients yields a sweet, tangy, savory marinade that covers all the flavor bases.
This simple marinade is so delicious, it can be used on chicken, pork, or any type of fish. You can even use it as a steak marinade.
Salmon: You will also need fresh salmon. You can purchase individual fresh salmon fillets or a large salmon fillet. I love wild salmon, but any type of salmon will work. If you use frozen salmon, be sure to thaw it completely before marinating it.
Here are some different ways you can customize the marinade to make it your own.
- Substitute coconut aminos for the liquid aminos for a soy-free version.
- Add 1/2 cup of orange juice to the marinade for citrus flavor
- If you have fresh herbs on hand, feel free to add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of finely chopped herbs.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes or 1 to 2 tablespoons of sriracha for a spicier marinade.
- If you love black pepper, add 1/4 teaspoon to the marinade.
- Feel free to add any salmon seasoning you typically use (such as a spice blend or lemon pepper) to the marinade.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon, up to 1 tablespoon of dried herbs.
Now that we’re familiar with the fresh ingredients, let’s make it!
How to Make The Best Salmon Marinade:
Add all of the ingredients for the salmon marinade to a small bowl or measuring cup and whisk well until combined.
Use the marinade on 1 to 1.5 pounds of salmon. You can easily double, triple, or quadruple the marinade depending on how much fish you’re cooking.
How to Marinate Salmon:
After preparing the salmon marinade, transfer the raw salmon and 1/3 cup of marinade for every one pound of fish to a large zip lock bag. I use a 1-gallon zip lock.
If you’re making two pounds of fish, you’ll use all of the marinade and if you’re making one pound of fish, use half of the marinade.
Seal the zip lock bag, removing any excess air before sealing.
Transfer the marinated salmon to the refrigerator. How long to marinate salmon is up to how much time you have and how much flavor you’re looking for.
I find 1 to 3 hours to be the optimal time to marinate salmon.
For the best results, marinate salmon for 1 hour or longer. At a bare minimum, marinate salmon for 15 minutes.
You can have salmon marinating up to 12 hours, although for the best results, be sure to cook the salmon 12 hours or less after marinating.
How to Cook Marinated Salmon:
Here are some methods you can use for cooking salmon. Pick your preferred method for the perfect salmon! You can simply follow the instructions in these posts (don’t season the salmon with more ingredients).
- Grilled Salmon Recipe for grilling instructions on an outdoor grill.
- Crispy Skillet Salmon for searing salmon in a skillet on the stove top
- Broiled Salmon Recipe for perfectly-cooked salmon in the oven.
- Crispy Air Fryer Salmon for detailed instructions on air frying salmon.
My personal favorite way for cooking marinated fish is broiling it in the oven. I also think oven-baked salmon is the easiest way because you can simply transfer the salmon with the marinade to a baking dish, without having to separate the marinade.
To do so, place your oven on the High Broil setting and transfer the marinated salmon with all the marinade to an oven-safe casserole dish or baking sheet.
Broil on one of the racks that’s close to the top (but not the top rack) for 10 minutes, or until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 125 degrees F or higher.
For pan-seared salmon, heat a large skillet to medium high heat and add enough cooking oil (such as a little olive oil, avocado oil, or vegetable oil) to generously coat the surface. Give the skillet a few minutes to become sizzling hot.
Remove the salmon from the marinade and pat it dry with a paper towel.
Place salmon skin side down on the hot skillet and cook for 4 to 6 minutes.
Carefully flip to the other side and cook for another 4 to 6 minutes, or until salmon has cooked through.
Most salmon filets will need about 10-12 minutes total on a skillet.
Final Cooking Temperature For Salmon:
The FDA considers the safest internal temperature of salmon to be 145 degrees Fahrenheit, but many people cook it to 125 to 135 for perfectly juicy salmon.
To check the internal temperature, insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the salmon filet and wait until the numbers stop moving.
The exact cooking time varies depending on the thickness of the fish and its temperature before you begin cooking it.
The only salmon marinade you’ll ever need, let’s go!
The Best Salmon Marinade
- Add all of the ingredients for the salmon marinade to a small bowl or measuring cup and whisk well until combined. If you own a small blender such as a Magic Bullet or a NutriBullet, feel free to use it to blend the marinade.
- Use the marinade on 1 to 2 pounds of salmon. You can easily double, triple, or quadruple the marinade depending on how much fish you’re cooking.
- After preparing the salmon marinade, transfer the raw salmon and 1/3 cup of marinade for every one pound of fish to a large zip lock bag. I use a 1-gallon zip lock. If you’re making two pounds of fish, you’ll use all of the marinade and if you’re making one pound of fish, use half of the marinade. Seal the zip lock bag, removing any excess air before sealing.
- Transfer the marinated salmon to the refrigerator. How long to marinate salmon is up to how much time you have and how much flavor you’re looking for. I find 1 to 3 hours to be the optimal time to marinate salmon. For the best results, marinate salmon for 1 hour or longer. At a bare minimum, marinate salmon for 15 minutes. You can have salmon marinating up to 12 hours, although for the best results, be sure to cook the salmon 12 hours or less after marinating.
- Prepare the salmon using your favorite cooking method. See blog post above for grilling, baking searing, air frying, and more!
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