Southern Baked Salmon

Southern cuisine is known for its rich flavors, hearty ingredients, and comforting dishes. Southern Baked Salmon is a delightful fusion of traditional Southern cooking techniques and the delicate, flaky texture of fresh salmon. This dish is perfect for those who crave a taste of the South but are also looking for a healthier, lighter option. The recipe combines a flavorful marinade with the simple elegance of baked salmon, resulting in a dish that is both nutritious and incredibly satisfying. Whether you’re preparing a weeknight dinner for your family or hosting a special gathering, this Southern Baked Salmon will surely impress your guests with its vibrant flavors and beautiful presentation.


For the Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for a spicy kick)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

For the Salmon:

  • 4 salmon fillets (6-8 ounces each)
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)


Prepare the Marinade:

  1. Combine Ingredients:
    In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the olive oil, fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, minced garlic, chopped thyme, chopped rosemary, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper (if using), salt, and black pepper. Ensure that the marinade is well-combined and smooth.
  2. Marinate the Salmon:
    Place the salmon fillets in a large resealable plastic bag or a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over the salmon, making sure each fillet is evenly coated. Seal the bag or cover the dish with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours. This allows the flavors to meld and penetrate the salmon.

Prepare the Oven and Baking Dish:

  1. Preheat the Oven:
    Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). While the oven is heating, take the marinated salmon out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  2. Prepare the Baking Dish:
    Lightly grease a large baking dish with olive oil or cooking spray. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer on the bottom of the dish. The lemons will infuse the salmon with additional flavor and prevent it from sticking to the dish.

Bake the Salmon:

  1. Arrange the Salmon:
    Remove the salmon fillets from the marinade, letting any excess marinade drip off. Place the fillets on top of the lemon slices in the prepared baking dish. Discard the remaining marinade.
  2. Bake the Salmon:
    Bake the salmon in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork. The exact cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fillets and your desired level of doneness. For perfectly cooked salmon, the internal temperature should reach 145°F (63°C).
  3. Broil for a Crispy Finish (Optional):
    If you prefer a slightly crispy top, switch the oven to broil during the last 2-3 minutes of baking. Keep a close eye on the salmon to prevent it from burning.

Garnish and Serve:

  1. Garnish the Salmon:
    Once the salmon is done, remove the baking dish from the oven. Let the salmon rest for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley for a pop of color and added freshness.
  2. Serve:
    Serve the Southern Baked Salmon with your favorite side dishes. It pairs wonderfully with Southern staples like collard greens, cornbread, or a simple side salad. For a complete meal, consider adding a side of roasted vegetables or a hearty grain like quinoa or wild rice.


Southern Baked Salmon is a beautiful marriage of Southern culinary tradition and the light, healthy attributes of fresh salmon. The marinade, bursting with flavors of lemon, garlic, mustard, and herbs, elevates the natural taste of the salmon, creating a dish that is both complex and comforting. The baking process ensures that the salmon remains moist and tender, while the optional broiling step adds a delightful crispiness to the top. This dish is versatile enough for any occasion, whether it’s a casual family dinner or a more formal event. Enjoy the rich, vibrant flavors of the South with this delightful Southern Baked Salmon recipe, and savor each bite of this nutritious, flavorful dish.

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