Baked Sockeye Salmon


5 from 107 votes
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This baked sockeye salmon recipe yields tender and flaky fish every single time. Ready in just 20 minutes, it’s seasoned with a simple garlic lemon butter.

Love simple salmon recipes? Try my keta salmon, firecracker salmon, and stuffed salmon next.

baked sockeye salmon.

My family eats salmon at least once a week, but for special occasions or when I find it at the fishmonger, I love to prepare my baked sockeye salmon recipe. It’s rich in flavor and buttery in texture, and needs just a few minutes of prep. If you think standard salmon is delicious, wait until you try this!

What is sockeye salmon?

Sockeye salmon is a variety of salmon found throughout the west coast of the U.S. and Canada (Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska). They have vibrant orange-red flesh and a smaller body (not pink or light orange). This salmon is often called “red salmon” because their bodies become bright red when they return to their spawning grounds (source).

Table of Contents
  1. Why I love this recipe
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to bake sockeye salmon
  4. Arman’s recipe tips
  5. Storage instructions
  6. Frequently asked questions
  7. More easy seafood dinners
  8. Baked Sockeye Salmon Recipe (Recipe Card)

Why I love this recipe

  • Perfect for summer. It’s not always available year-round, so it’s a specialty during the warmer months.
  • The texture and flavor are on point. This particular kind of salmon is always buttery and rich and has a mild flavor, which is perfect if you don’t want a fishy taste.
  • Pantry staple ingredients. I love to really let the natural flavor of the fish shine, so keep seasonings to an absolute minimum.
  • SO fast. From prep to plate, this fish cooks in under 20 minutes!

★★★★★ REVIEW

“The best sockeye salmon recipe ever 🙂 So good!”Ellie

how to cook sockeye salmon.

Ingredients needed

  • Sockeye salmon filet. Wild-caught sockeye salmon is easy to find along the west coast of North America, from Oregon to Alaska, during the harvesting season from May to September (source). I find my fishmonger stocks this from around the end of April up until November. Opt for a large, whole fillet that is bright red in color.
  • Butter, olive oil, and garlic. The butter is melted and mixed with the olive oil and garlic, then poured over the salmon to infuse it with fat and flavor. For the garlic, opt for fresh garlic cloves instead of bottled or dried ones.
  • Lemon. The fish is cooked on top of and dressed with fresh lemon slices. The acidity from the lemon adds balance to the rich and fatty fish.
  • Kosher salt and black pepper. To taste.

Seasonal fish tip

As mentioned earlier, sockeye salmon isn’t available year-round, so I typically buy extra fillets and freeze them to enjoy throughout the year (I also do this with grouper and Chilean sea bass).

Once you buy the fillets, place them in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Label the date to six months in the future, and you can enjoy seasonal fish year-round!

How to bake sockeye salmon

I’ve included step-by-step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step 1: Prepare the flavor boosters. Lightly grease a baking tray covered with foil and add half of the lemon slices. Whisk the melted butter, oil, and minced garlic in a small bowl.

sockeye salmon marinade.

Step 2: Season the salmon. Pat dry the salmon with paper towels to soak up excess moisture. Place the sockeye salmon on top of the lemon slices in the baking dish (lined with aluminum foil). Pour the garlic butter mixture over top, then garnish with salt and pepper.

raw sockeye salmon in baking dish.

Step 3: Bake the salmon until it’s tender and flaky. Take the fish out of the oven and top it with the remaining lemon slices and the fresh dill. Tent it in foil and let it rest for 5 minutes (this seals in the juices and flavor), then slice and serve.

baked sockeye salmon.

Alternative cooking methods

While I prefer baking this fish, I’ve tested it on the grill and in the skillet, so you have options! If you do choose either of these options, I suggest using sockeye salmon fillets (vs a whole sockeye salmon).

Pan-seared method: Place the seasoned fillets on a hot skillet (over high heat) and cook for 4-5 minutes per side or until the fish reaches an internal temperature of 145F.

Grill method: Heat a charcoal grill on high heat. Once hot, lightly grease the grill grates and place the salmon on top, skin side down. Cook for 5 minutes, then carefully flip the fish and cook for another 5 minutes.

Arman’s recipe tips

  • Allow the salmon to come down to room temperature before baking. You can do this by letting the filet rest on the kitchen counter for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • You can make this recipe with frozen salmon, but the filet will need to be thawed completely in the fridge before you begin.
  • You’ll know the salmon is done baking when it flakes easily and has an internal temperature of 145ºF (use an instant-read thermometer).
  • Enhance the flavor by dressing the salmon with a tangy gremolata sauce or fresh herbs and capers, wrapping it completely in foil, and baking as normal.
  • No sockeye salmon? Try this recipe with coho salmon or chinook salmon.

Storage instructions

To store: Keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

To freeze: Once cool, place the leftover salmon in an airtight container and freeze it for up to 2 months.

Reheating: Reheat it in the microwave for 30 to 40 seconds or until warmed through.

sockeye salmon recipes.

Frequently asked questions

Sockeye salmon vs. regular salmon

Sockeye salmon is almost always harvested in Alaska or in the Pacific Northwest from May to September. Regular salmon is farmed year-round and worldwide. Sockeye salmon is almost exclusively sold fresh or frozen, whereas regular salmon can be canned, smoked, etc (source).

More easy seafood dinners

sockeye salmon recipe.

Baked Sockeye Salmon Recipe

5 from 107 votes
This sockeye salmon recipe yields tender and flaky fish every single time. Oven baked in 20 minutes and seasoned with lemon garlic butter. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!
Servings: 8 servings
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 17 minutes
Total: 19 minutes



  • 2 pounds sockeye salmon skin on
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large lemon sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill


  • Bring the salmon to room temperature.
  • Preheat the oven to 190C/380F. Line a large baking tray with tin foil and lightly coat it with cooking spray. Add half the sliced lemon to the base.  
  • Whisk together the melted butter, olive oil, and minced garlic. 
  • Transfer the salmon to the baking dish. Pour the garlic butter oil mixture over the fish and season with salt and pepper.
  • Roll the sides of the foil up slightly and bake the salmon for 17 minutes, or until tender on top (you can also check the internal temperature and make sure it is 145F).
  • Remove the sockeye salmon from the oven, top it with remaining lemon slice and fresh dill, and cover with foil. Let the fish rest for 5 minutes, before serving. 


TO STORE: Keep the leftover baked salmon in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
TO FREEZE: Once cool, the leftovers can be placed in an airtight container and frozen for up to 2 months.
TO REHEAT: Reheat it in the microwave for 30 to 40 seconds or until warmed through.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 221kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 23gFat: 13gSodium: 230mgPotassium: 584mgFiber: 0.4gVitamin A: 184IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 2g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Originally published February 2023, updated and republished April 2024

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Salmon turns out perfectly every time. I just adjust the time to the size of fish. Leftovers are turned into either salmon patties or a spread with capers.
    My go to recipe, thanks for keeping it simple!

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe is delicious. I had to make it without the dill but it was delicious anyway. Thank you.

  3. 5 stars
    fantastic flavor! I shortened cooking time for 1/2 pound salmon to 13 minutes , adjusted spices accordingly…
    will make this recipe again Thank you!!

    1. 5 stars
      I tried this, this evening and it was delicious had to cook mine less time as it was a thin piece of whole salmon served with a Mediterranean salad.