Crunchy garlic lemon pepper baked salmon is the perfect easily-cleanup weeknight dinner! We’re combining panko with parmesan, lemon pepper seasoning, and tons of garlic to make an oven baked salmon that’s got the most addicting, crispy, crunchy crust!

lemon pepper baked salmon in parchment with spatula

I’ve got your mid-week dinner solution, right here!

This is my crispy, crunchy, panko, and parmesan-crusted salmon recipe that gets all the heart emojis! It’s a meal that’s easy enough to pull off on a weeknight, fancy enough for guests, and delicious enough to make ALL. THE. TIME.

In addition to being all the things listed above, it’s also made almost entirely in the oven. So all you need to do is brush a little butter on the bad boy, sprinkle on that crunchy crust topping, and pop this little number into the oven while dinner preps itself for you. <– My favorite meals usually cook themselves.

And if the minimum prep work and a small list of ingredients aren’t enough to convince you, can I tell you that these salmon fillets are buttery, crunchy, flakey, and tender all at the same time? The flavor is lemony and it pairs beautifully with rice pilaf or a quinoa salad. The lemon zest scent makes the whole thing light as a feather. The fact that this sheet pan dinner practically cooks itself is just the icing on the cake for me.

panko crusted lemon pepper salmon on parchment with lemon wedges

Ingredients for baked lemon pepper salmon recipe:

  • Salmon Fillet: You’ll need a large salmon filet preferably in the 11/2 -2 pound range. I prefer to use sockeye or coho salmon for this recipe and preferably wild-caught when available. Salmon is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids so it’s a great fish to include in your diet on a regular basis.
  • Butter: I like to use salted butter for this recipe so I often omit the kosher salt because, between the butter and the parmesan, there’s plenty of sodium in the dish. If you’re using unsalted butter, feel free to use a 1/2 teaspoon salt with the other breading ingredients.
  • Garlic: We’ll use plenty of fresh garlic cloves to add garlicky flavor to the breadcrumb mixture that goes on top of the salmon.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: Adds a crunchy texture to the salmon without being too heavy on the carbs! It’s lightly crispy and works perfectly with the flaky salmon.
  • Parmesan: Parmesan and panko make the crust on this lemon pepper baked salmon recipe. 
  • Herbs and seasonings: You’ll need red pepper flakes, dried Italian seasoning, dried thyme, lemon pepper seasoning, and chopped parsley. Feel free to add other seasonings like onion powder or cayenne pepper if you’d like. I find the dish works well without them so I usually don’t add any. I like to use fresh parsley as it gives the dish a better flavor. It’s also relatively inexpensive to keep around in the refrigerator for garnishing recipes. If you aren’t a fan of parsley, you could also use cilantro here if you’d like.
wild caught salmon on butcher paper
panko crust for salmon topping

How to make Lemon pepper salmon:

  1. Prep. You want to start by preheating the oven first. Prepping the salmon filet won’t take that long so make sure you start there. You’ll also want to line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I suggest using foil and spraying it with olive oil if you plan on broiling the salmon at the end. Not all parchment paper can be heated above 425ºF. 
  2. Get the salmon ready. Place the salmon skin-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Use a sheet of paper towel and pat dry the filet to make sure there isn’t too much moisture. You won’t want the salmon to come out watery! Brush the filet with just a little melted butter, don’t use all of it. We’ll need the rest for the crumbs. Then in a bowl, mix together the red pepper flakes, garlic, panko, parmesan, lemon pepper seasoning, parsley, Italian seasoning, and dried thyme. When the ingredients are mixed, drizzle in the remaining butter and using a spoon mix these ingredients before sprinkling them onto the salmon and press down gently to help them adhere to the salmon. The crumbs are also going to help lock in the moisture on the salmon so that it comes out perfectly fork-tender!
  3. Bake until golden. Bake the salmon filet uncovered for 12-15 minutes or until the salmon is firm to the touch. You can cook the protein to your desired temperature but for salmon you generally want to cook it to an internal temperature of 1250145ºF based on your preference. Make sure the salmon in not less than 120ºF by using an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the salmon. Feel free to broil the salmon for the last 30 seconds to give the pano crust a little more color. Serve warm with fresh lemon juice squeezed on top and enjoy!
portions salmon filets with panko crust

FAQs about this recipe

Is it better to bake salmon covered or uncovered?

 If the goal is to have a crunchy texture, like this recipe, it’s best to cook the salmon uncovered so that browning occurs. If you are steaming the salmon or are cooking it with delicate herbs on top, it’s better to cover the salmon so that the herbs do not burn.

How long to cook salmon in oven at 425ºF?

It should take about 12-15 minutes to cook salmon at 425ºF. You can tell if the salmon is done by feeling for firmness in the thickest part of the filet.

How do you store leftover salmon?

 I like to store my leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can portion out the salmon into meal prep containers to make it easier. Reheat lightly in an air fryer or in the microwave.

If you like this recipe, you might also like:

lemon pepper baked salmon on spatula
Yield: 5-6 servings servings

Crunchy Garlic Lemon Pepper Baked Salmon

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Crunchy garlic lemon pepper baked salmon is the perfect easily-cleanup weeknight dinner! We're combining panko with parmesan, lemon pepper seasoning, and tons of garlic to make an oven baked salmon that's got the most addicting, crispy, crunchy crust!

Crunchy Garlic Lemon Pepper Baked Salmon


  • 1 1/2 pounds sockeye or coho salmon (preferably wild-caught)*
  • 2 tablespoons melted salted butter*
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon salt-free lemon pepper seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: dried Italian seasoning AND thyme


  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425ºF.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the salmon fillet on the parchment paper and brush the salmon with just a little bit of the melted butter.
  3. In a bowl, combine the red pepper flakes, garlic, panko, parmesan, lemon-pepper seasoning, parsley, Italian seasoning, and thyme. Drizzle in the remaining butter and mix using a spoon, top the salmon fillet with the breadcrumb mixture and press down gently to help it adhere to the fish. Roast the salmon for 12-15 minutes or until almost firm to touch. You can turn the broiler on for 30 seconds to give it a little more color and crunch if you wish! Serve with lemon wedges for a little more of that zing!


  • If you don't have salted butter, no worries, just add a pinch of salt to the melted butter and stir before using.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 274Total Fat: 15gCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 30g

The nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is just an estimate. To get the most accurate information, please input the ingredients you've used into a nutrition calculator.

Have you made this recipe?

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below. You can also share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #LITTLESPICEJAR, I'd love to see what you made!