We have salmon for dinner about once every two weeks, and last year I had been wanting to throw together a marinade that was a little bit different than my usual go-to salmon recipe.

A little lemon juice and zest, a little honey (or maple syrup!), a little butter, salt, pepper and dijon, and we’re set. Pour it over, bake it up and bite into buttery lemon garlic salmon perfection.

Sidney was one at the time and couldn’t get enough of this one. We had made it with maple syrup because he couldn’t have honey quite yet. He shoved it into his mouth, along with steamed buttered broccoli and delicious creamy coconut rice. Then next to me, Tony took a bite and exclaimed, “Oh WOW!”

One bite in, I knew this recipe absolutely had to make it on the blog for all of you. I love it so much that I had to re-share it! It’s delicious served with pesto pasta, creamy rice or a hearty salad. Lots of suggestions below! Enjoy.

lemon garlic salmon on a baking sheet with lemon slices

Keys to the perfect salmon marinade

Let’s talk about this honey lemon garlic marinade magic. There are a few components to a marinade or glaze that make it perfect for adding to proteins like fish and other meats.

  1. Fat from oil, butter or even a full fat yogurt.
  2. Acid from different types of vinegar or citrus fruits.
  3. Seasonings from spices and fresh or dried herbs.
  4. Bonus: sweetness! I love adding a touch of sweetness to marinades & glazes to balance the flavors.

ingredients for lemon garlic salmon on a baking sheet

Everything you’ll need to make lemon garlic salmon

The best part about this delicious lemon garlic salmon recipe is how such simple ingredients can create such amazing flavors. Here’s everything you’ll need to make it:

  • Wild or Farmed Salmon: you’ll need 1 pound of salmon in this recipe. You can choose wild or farmed — more on this below!
  • Butter: using a fat in the lemon honey garlic marinade is key. I love the savory flavor that butter adds.
  • Sweetener: as I mentioned, I love adding a little sweetness to glazes and marinades. In this recipe I used honey, but you can use maple syrup instead if you prefer.
  • Zing: yes, we’re adding some “zing” with the acidity from fresh lemon juice, lemon zest and a little tang from grainy dijon mustard. This takes it to the next level, trust me!
  • Seasonings: you’ll also mix in garlic (fresh cloves or garlic powder) and plenty of salt and pepper.

What’s the best type of salmon to use?

Feel free to use wild or farmed salmon in this recipe. Farm-raised salmon tends to be milder in flavor and more fatty/buttery in texture, while on the other hand wild salmon can be a little more spendy, but is leaner, pinker, and higher in minerals such as zinc and iron. Both are delicious!

easy lemon garlic salmon unbaked on a baking sheet

How to cook the perfect salmon in the oven

I absolutely love cooking salmon in the oven so that it’s moist, flavorful and stays together well. Here’s exactly how to bake this lemon garlic salmon so it comes out perfectly every time:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Generously season your salmon with the amazing lemon garlic honey marinade.
  3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and grease lightly with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Place salmon skin side down on baking sheet. Pour/brush marinade over the top of the salmon.
  5. For every inch of thickness, bake for 15 minutes. My salmon is usually perfect around 16-18 minutes. Flake salmon with a fork and serve!

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to undercook rather than overcook your salmon so that it does not dry out.

unbaked lemon garlic salmon on a baking sheet

How to grill salmon

This easy lemon garlic salmon recipe would be perfect for grilling, too! Get all of my tips for grilling salmon (two different ways!) here.

Just like with baking, it’s best to slightly undercook your salmon rather than overcook it.

baked lemon garlic salmon with lemon slices on a baking sheet

What to serve with this lemon garlic salmon

This easy lemon garlic salmon is perfect for serving with any of your favorite salads, side dishes or even pasta dishes. We love it with broccoli and coconut rice, but here are some other of my favs:

lemon honey garlic salmon on a plate with pasta

How to store leftover salmon

If you happen to have salmon left over, simply place it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Call me crazy, but I actually love leftover salmon with scrambled eggs. Try it in breakfast tacos or a breakfast quesadilla like this one!

More delicious seafood recipes

Get all of my seafood recipes here!

I hope you love this easy honey lemon garlic salmon recipe! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Honey Lemon Garlic Salmon

Wonderful honey lemon garlic salmon covered in an easy lemon garlic butter marinade and baked to flaky perfection. This flavorful lemon garlic salmon recipe makes a delicious, protein packed dinner served with your favorite salad or side dishes, and the marinade is perfect for your go-to proteins.

  • 1
  • 2
    butter, melted
  • 2
    honey (or sub pure maple syrup)
  • 1
    dijon mustard, preferably grainy dijon
  • ½
    lemon, juiced
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • ½
    garlic powder (or 3 cloves garlic, minced)
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and grease lightly with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray. Place salmon skin side down.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, honey, dijon, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic powder and salt and pepper. Generously brush the salmon with the marinade.

  3. Place salmon in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until salmon easily flakes with a fork. Mine is always perfect at 16-18 minutes. Enjoy immediately.

See the full post for serving suggestions and easy ways to customize your salmon.

Learn two ways to grill perfect salmon here!


Servings: 4 servings

Serving size: 1 serving (based on 4)

Calories: 279kcal

Fat: 17.2g

Saturated fat: 7.6g

Carbohydrates: 9.3g

Fiber: 0.1g

Sugar: 8.2g

Protein: 21.3g

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats

This post was originally published on January 18th, 2021, and republished on May 5th, 2022.


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