How To Bake Salmon + Tips You Need To Know

Save precious salmon from being overcooked with these tips.

Baking salmon is one the easiest ways to cook fish. It takes little effort since the cooking is done without any help from you. If you're thinking about how to bake salmon in the oven, these baking tips will ensure that your baked salmon recipes are perfectly cooked every time: 

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1 Preheat your oven. 

This is basic but it's an important step in any recipe that needs to be baked in the oven. Unless the recipe tells you otherwise, you should always preheat your oven to the stated oven temperature. If necessary, place an oven thermometer inside the oven in the center of the middle of rack so you know that your oven is heating the interior properly. So, when you're ready to bake your batter, dough, or, yes, even your chicken or the salmon, the oven is at the optimal temperature to do it right. 

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2 Prepare your baking dish or pan. 

One of the biggest mistakes many home cooks make is that they don't prepare everything properly. This includes preparing the baking dish or pan, too. Using a brush, a paper towel, or even just your fingers to add a layer of oil to the baking dish or pan will help in making sure that nothing sticks to its surface. At the very least, it will make cleaning up after baking the salmon easier since it will be easier to clean because of the stlick surface. Plus, it will help in creating that crisp skin when you place the fish, skin side down, in the oil-slicked pan.  

You can also use either parchment paper (also known as baking paper) or even foil to line your baking dish. Foil is particularly fantastic to keep the heat high as your food cooks but parchment paper with its silicone-coating is the one you want to use to ensure no sticking happens. Whichever you choose, use enough to cover the bottom of the baking pan or dish before placing the fish on top.    

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3 Season the fish well.             

Sometimes, salt and pepper is really all you need to make something delicious. Salt is the ultimate flavor enhancer, and when it comes to fish, it's a delicious seasoning to make the unique taste of salmon taste even better. 

However, you can definitely go beyond just salt! Spices like mustard seeds, coriander, paprika, chili powder, and peppercorns are as much welcome on salmon as are lemon and  calamansi juice to any salmon dish. Herbs such as dill, chives and tarragon are found to be especially delicious when paired with salmon, too. 

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The key to seasoning the fish well is to remember that salt enhances flavors but it needs the spices and herbs to enhance it and make it a delicious pairing with salmon.  

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4 Steam it gently in a packet.   

Once your ready fish is ready to cook, you can place it immediately in the oven or you can gently steam it in there. If you used parchment paper or foil to line your baking pan, you can steam it by wrapping the entire dish up in it.

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Also known as en papillote or "enveloped in paper" in French, this is a method of cooking that can be especially useful for cooking fish. You can gently steam your fish to perfection using this method since this ensures that your fish won't dry out in the moist environment. Learn how to do that by watching this video.  

You can do this technique with any food that you want to cook gently and do not want to dry out. Plus, you can do the same technique as well using foil if that's what you have. Just don't tear the foil! 

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5 Time it but watch for these signs. 

Once the fish is in the oven, you can reliably set your timer to around 10 minutes if the temperature is set to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C. This relies on the fact that your salmon fillets and steaks are thick enough to be cooking in that time. However, not all salmon fillets and steaks are of the same thickness and size. 

A quick timing guide is allow at least 5 minutes for every 1/2-inch thickness. This is useful especially if you baked your fish in a packet and can't watch out for sign the salmon is done cooking. However, you should also keep an eye on the fish, too. Watch out for certain signs that your fish is ready to come out: 

  • • white spots appear on the surface
  • • the fish doesn't easily flake and is hard
  • • the color of the fish, inside and out, is completely opaque

Those white spots, known as albumin, is a protein and while it's okay to eat, when it appears on the surface of your salmon, it also means that your fish is overcooked. Salmon that doesn't easily flake, feels hard when you pierce it with a fork, or has turned a pale pink color inside is another indicator that it's been overcooked. 

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The most foolproof way to know when the salmon is ready to be removed from the oven is to take its temperature. When its internal temperature is 145 degrees F or around 63 degrees C, it's ready. 

When it comes to salmon, it's best to err on the side of undercooking the fish rather than overcooking the fish. Keep these tips in mind when you cook your next baked salmon dish so you can serve the best tasting salmon recipe every time. 

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Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on Yummy.ph by submitting your recipe here.


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