Need to throw together a quick seafood dish with the simplest ingredients? This parmesan crusted salmon recipe will satisfy your criteria and your appetite.
This baked salmon filet is coated in a garlicky, cheesy herb crust. It is one of my favorite fish recipes, along with this lemon butter salmon.
And since you only need to bake a large salmon filet once (instead of individually cooking a filet for everyone at the table), you can use the spare time to complete the meal with side dishes, like:
- A side of roast potatoes and cauliflower (a source of healthy carbohydrates)
- Asparagus stuffed pastry (vegetable bundles that you can bake simultaneously)
- A fresh berry salad (with raspberries, blueberries, and candied almonds – yum!)
Welcome to your complete guide to baking a well-seasoned parmesan crusted salmon, from shopping tips to recipe variations and storage suggestions.
- Skinless salmon filet – Purchase one large salmon filet (about 7oz to 8oz heavy). See the next section on how to pick the best salmon filet for this baked salmon recipe.
- Breadcrumbs – Get a bag of plain breadcrumbs or gluten-free breadcrumbs. See the Variations section on other substitutes.
- Parmesan cheese – Grate ¾ cup of parmesan cheese (or more, depending on your love for cheese).
- Flat-leaf parsley – Finely chop the leaves of flat-leaf parsley. Also known as Italian parsley, this leaf has a slightly peppery taste. You can also use regular parsley, dill, basil, or rosemary.
- Garlic – This recipe calls for 6 cloves of minced garlic, but use as much as you’d like. Garlic powder also works very well here.
- Unsalted butter – To melt and mix with garlic to make a lovely garlic butter for the crust.
- Pepper – To taste. (You can also season with salt if desired.)
- Lemon – Slice one lemon into wedges and squeeze lemon juice over the salmon before serving. This trick makes any fish taste better.
How To Pick The Best Salmon Filet For This Recipe
People have come to me saying they don’t know how to pick the best salmon for the job, and that’s so true for me when I was starting out too. There is a dizzying variety of factors to consider: salmon species, farmed or wild-caught, fresh or frozen, whole fish or filets (filets are undoubtedly the easier option to work with).
The great news is that there is no one best species of salmon and it is very subjective to each individual. When I started out cooking with salmon, I would experiment using a different one each time and eventually stuck with what tasted the best to me.
Now, pink salmon and Atlantic salmon are my go-to choices for any salmon dish including this recipe. But I’ll say this over and over again: Don’t stress about it. The best species of salmon for this parmesan crusted salmon recipe is the one you like most.
Here are some key pointers to look out for when you’re shopping for salmon.
How do I tell if the salmon is fresh?
Let’s start with the telltale signs that salmon is spoiled: soft and crumbly flesh, milky residue, dark spots, and a rancid smell are good indicators of salmon gone bad. Salmon that’s safe to eat looks rosy and shiny, and it should also feel firm and elastic when pressed.
What size of salmon filets should I get?
This recipe works for one very large salmon, a couple of medium-sized filets, or even several small, individual filets. See what you can find and work from there.
Should you cook salmon with skin or without skin?
For this recipe, I’ve baked salmon without the skin. Cooking salmon with skin may pose some health risks, though I have friends who don’t mind keeping it on.
You can find more information about salmon skin in my lemon butter salmon recipe post.
The steps to making this baked salmon recipe are quite straightforward. Essentially, we want to coat a fresh salmon with crispy breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, then bake it in the oven.
Step One: Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place salmon on a prepared baking sheet and pat dry with a paper towel.
Step Two: Combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and parsley. In another bowl, melt butter together with garlic and stir. Mix the breadcrumbs and melted butter with a pinch of pepper.
Step Three: Pour the mixture over the salmon, pressing it into the top until the filet is fully covered. Lightly spray salmon with cooking oil spray for a golden crumb.
Step Four: Bake the salmon for 20 to 25 minutes (this depends on the thickness of your filet). Once the crust is golden, check that the salmon is cooked – it should flake easily with a fork. Serve with lemon wedges and a squeeze of lemon juice.
This parmesan crusted salmon goes well with roasted potatoes and asparagus lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. See how easy that was?
Check out these pro tips to make your parmesan crusted salmon even more delicious!
How to get a crispy parmesan crust
After baking, your breadcrumbs may turn out soggy (which is so not what you want in a baked parmesan crusted salmon). Follow these tips and your crispy parmesan crust will always turn out beautifully crunchy.
First, make sure you don’t add the melted butter too soon. Mix it into the breadcrumbs just before you’re ready to coat the salmon so that the butter is not entirely soaked into the crumbs.
Secondly, the salmon has to be very well-coated. Press the breadcrumbs to the salmon so it sticks, and when you think you’re done, pack on even more breadcrumbs and press it in again.
Keep an eye on the oven when baking
With each oven having different settings and sizes, the cooking time and temperature may differ. My settings may not work for your oven.
The goal is to get a beautiful golden brown crust (this should take around 20 minutes). A golden brown crust is a good indicator that your dish is ready, but it doesn’t always mean that the salmon has fully cooked through.
If you find the crust is browning too quickly or starting to get burnt, remove it from the oven, cover the dish with tin foil and resume baking. On the other hand, if the breadcrumbs aren’t browning fast enough, I like to move the oven rack closer to the heating coils in the oven to speed up the cooking process.
Baked fish variations
Can you repeat this recipe on another fish? Absolutely! If fresh salmon is not accessible in your region, head over to your market and ask for their freshest catch of the day. It could be cod, halibut, tilapia, or any type of white fish). Just be sure to buy them in filets instead of whole.
A gluten-free baked salmon variation
If plain breadcrumbs don’t work for you or your guests, use a food processor (or a rolling pin and Ziploc bag) to finely crush these gluten-free alternatives:
- Gluten-free crackers or pretzels
- Plain unflavored potato chips
Alternatives to oven-baking
If you don’t have an oven at home, you can modify this recipe by using an air-fryer. Simply cook individual salmon filets at 390°F for 12 to 15 minutes. You can also deep fry them in oil heated to 390°F for 8 to 10 minutes. Place the fish on a plate lined with paper towels to drain the oil before serving.
This baked salmon will keep in the fridge for 2 to 3 days, covered tightly. When ready to serve, reheat the salmon in a 350°F oven until warm. Do not microwave as this turns the fish soggy.
For meal-prepping, store individual breaded filets in a Ziploc bag or an airtight container. When ready to serve, simply thaw it to room temperature and bake following step four above.
Parmesan Crusted Salmon Recipe
- 1 large skinless salmon fillet
- 3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
- pinch freshly-cracked black pepper
- Lemon wedges to serve
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place salmon on a prepared baking sheet and pat dry with a paper towel.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and parsley. In another bowl, melt butter, add garlic and stir. Add melted butter and garlic to the breadcrumb mixture with a pinch of pepper. Stir well for about 1 minute.
- Pour the mixture over the salmon, pressing it into the top until the filet is completely covered. Lightly spray salmon with cooking oil spray for a golden crumb.
- Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fillet), until the crust is golden and the salmon is cooked and flakes easily with a fork.
- Serve with lemon wedges and a squeeze of lemon.