Garlic butter baked salmon in no time at all! Start with a simple lemon garlic butter sauce that’s super fancy but also really easy to make. Then we just pour this on top of a filet of salmon and bake it off in the oven wrapped in foil. The salmon is flakey and tender this way and the garlic butter flavor is out of this world!
I mean, if that’s not convincing enough to make this recipe, let me also mention that my garlic butter baked salmon takes roughly 25 minutes to make from start to finish and requires just a few simple pantry staple ingredients.
When I tell you this recipe is simple, I mean it is really the simplest. If you can combine a few ingredients in a small saucepan and then baste your fish (salmon in our case), you can make today’s recipe. The lemon garlic butter sauce is so delicious; you’re going to want to put on every kind of protein you can think of. And guess what? Clean up is a breeze because we’re wrapping the salmon in foil and tossing it in the oven or the grill!
As a bonus, it’s keto-friendly, gluten-free, paleo-friendly, and so it’s ideal for when you’re serving guests that may have different dietary restrictions.
Making salmon at home doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s one of the easiest things to cook if you bake salmon in foil. This recipe is adapted from one that my mom and I came up with together. We’ve been making it for almost two decades now, and the only thing I did differently here is to mix the lemon and butter and make a sauce beforehand. Before, my mom and I used to brush the salmon with a little oil and drizzle the lemon juice and then sprinkle the remaining ingredients on top. Though it tasted delicious, I find that making the garlic butter sauce and allowing the garlic to simmer with the lemon juice makes a more flavorful and slightly thicker sauce that won’t run down the sides as much as the drizzle-on-top sauce does.
Also, in the summertime, we just place the salmon in foil on a hot grill that’s at around 375ºF. And it’ll cook up in about the same time, give or take a minute or two. Barbecued garlic butter salmon is sooo good.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THE GARLIC BUTTER SAUCE FOR THE GARLIC BUTTER BAKED SALMON?
The best part is, this whole recipe calls for less than ten ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need to make the sauce:
- lemon juice
- minced garlic
- seasonings (red pepper flakes + Italian seasoning)
- salt + pepper
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST GARLIC BUTTER SAUCE FOR GARLIC BUTTER BAKED SALMON:
- Start by heating the lemon juice, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, and the red pepper flakes together in a small saucepan.
- Let the lemon juice reduce by half, so you’re left with one tablespoon.
- Add one tablespoon of cold, cubed butter at a time and let it melt into the saucepan. Grab the handle and swirl; it melts so quickly this way. Repeat with remaining butter.
- Add salt and pepper and stir. DONE.
If you’ve made this recipe before you may notice it has changed slightly. In the past, I suggested sprinkling the Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper on top. But after making this recipe countless times since then, I just find it easier to just toss it into the sauce and pour it on top of the salmon!
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THE GARLIC BUTTER BAKED SALMON?
- chopped parsley, for serving
WHAT DO I DO ONCE THE SAUCE IS READY?
- Place the salmon on a large piece of foil, one large enough to wrap the entire salmon filet in.
- Slowly drizzle the sauce over the salmon using a spoon. Cover the salmon with soil so that all the sides are properly closed and the sauce doesn’t leak out.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes. This amount of time works for most recipes, however, if your filet is super thin, check closer to the 10-minute mark. If it’s very thick, check around 14-16 minutes. Remember, we’re going to broil it for the last couple minutes, so you don’t want it to be completely cooked when you check on it.
CAN I USE GARLIC BUTTER SAUCE ON OTHER TYPES OF FISH AS WELL?
Sure, you can! You can marinate raw shrimp in this sauce for 10 minutes and then cook the shrimp in a hot skillet. You could also use this with tilapia, cod, or mahi mahi. Just remember that the baking time for various types of fish will vary depending on the fish and the thickness of the filet!
WHAT KIND OF SALMON WORKS BEST FOR GARLIC BUTTER BAKED SALMON RECIPE
My biggest tip for this baked salmon in foil recipe is to use good quality salmon. I find wild-caught salmon works best. Pink salmon or ‘farm-raised salmon’ sometimes leaves the fish wet and gross, because, let’s face it, we’re steaming it in foil. I encourage you to use Sockeye or Coho salmon if you can find it.
This baked salmon recipe is straightforward to make and perfect for those that might be at a beginner level for cooking fish. There’s so flipping, sautéing, or any other fancy techniques required. It also happens to be the perfect 20-minute meal for when you need dinner on the table in a heartbeat.
These are the type of recipes I’d email to my husband, for when I just need him to cook dinner. I encourage you to do the same with your SO.
Whether you make this yourself or have someone make it for you, either way, you need to get some garlic butter sauce lovin’ in your life.
ORIGINAL RECIPE SHARED MARCH 2015, UPDATED WITH MINOR INSTRUCTION CHANGES AND NEW PICTURES JULY 2019.
Garlic Butter Baked Salmon in Foil
Garlic butter baked salmon in no time at all! Start with a simple lemon garlic butter sauce that’s super fancy but also really easy to make then we just pour this on top of a filet of salmon and bake it off in the oven wrapped in foil. The salmon is flakey and tender this way, and the garlic butter flavor is out of this world!
- 1 ¼ pound sockeye or coho salmon (preferably wild caught)*
- 2 tablespoons EACH: lemon juice AND cold butter, cubed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon EACH: Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes AND black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, for garnishing (optional)
- PREP: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF. (see notes)
- SAUCE: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the lemon juice and minced garlic, allow the lemon juice to reduce to 1 tablespoon. Add in 1 tablespoon of butter, remove pan from heat and swirl so the butter starts to melt. Place back on the heat for a few seconds, removed and continue to swirl until butter completely melts. Repeat with second tablespoon of butter. When butter is completely melted, add the Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Then, remove sauce from stove.
- BAKE: Place the salmon filet in a piece of foil large enough to fold over and seal. Using a brush or spoon, brush the salmon with the garlic butter sauce. Cover with foil so that all sides are properly closed so the sauce does not leak. Bake the salmon for 12-14 minutes or until mostly firm to the touch. Open the foil and allow the fish to broil under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, keeping an eye on it so the fish does not burn. Remove from oven, top with parsley. Serve immediately.
- Baking time may vary slightly due to thickness of fish. Feel for firmness on the thickest part of the filet to make sure your fish is cooked through.
- I suggest using a good quality salmon for this recipe. Try to avoid using ‘pink salmon’ as this type of salmon is quite watery and will release lots of water in the baking process causing the fish to be wet and not flakey.
- The salmon can also be wrapped in foil and barbecued at 375º-400ºF for about the same amount of time give or take a minute or two. Allow the salmon to ‘broil’ the same way you would in the oven, by opening the foil and allow the fish to dry out for just 1-2 minutes.
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