This baked sesame ginger salmon is my answer to a lunch meal-prep or a simple weeknight dinner alongside some brown rice and steamed vegetables. This Asian-inspired seafood dish is marinated in sesame oil, ginger, garlic, white wine vinegar, and brown sugar. We will also make a thick honey ginger glaze that tastes sweet, tangy, and a little spicy.
Sesame oil is a key ingredient in this salmon recipe. It is normally stocked in the international foods aisle in the supermarket. Just a little splash of it imparts a deep nutty flavor that makes this salmon pretty irresistible. You’ll start to smell it as soon as you open the bottle of oil, and when your fish has started baking in the oven… ooh, that’s when the aroma really fills the kitchen.
This salmon is so flavorful, but there’s more – it is also baked to juicy perfection. In my early days of cooking, I had my fair share of dry salmon. But I’ve finally perfected it – read on to learn how to make this easy salmon recipe and my tips for cooking the best salmon!
How Do I Know What Salmon to Buy?
From choosing the right salmon species or buying whole fish or filets, buying salmon can be a challenge. Luckily, I’ve got some key pointers to make your shopping experience easier.
- Looking for fresh salmon – Salmon that is safe to eat looks rosy and shiny instead of dull and murky with dark spots. When pressed, the fish should feel firm and elastic instead of soft and crumbly.
- Salmon filet size – Don’t worry about the size of the filets as 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.
- Salmon skin – Cooking salmon with skin may pose some health risks, which is why I’ve opted to go without it. Ask for your salmon skin to be discarded so that you don’t have to do it yourself at home.
The amounts listed here will make 6 servings of sesame ginger salmon with the most fragrant Asian-inspired marinade.
- Skinless salmon filet – We will use 1 large salmon filet. I prefer to use skinless salmon. Not sure how to buy the best-sized salmon? See the Expert Tips & Tricks section for my salmon-shopping rules of thumb.
- Olive oil and sesame oil – This recipe uses ¼ cup of olive oil and 2 ½ tablespoons of sesame oil (the real star of the show!).
- Garlic and ginger – Mince 6 garlic cloves and grate 3 tablespoons worth of ginger.
- Pro Tip: If you struggle with peeling the skin off ginger, try scraping it with a teaspoon. It’ll come right off, and a spoon is really handy to get into those cracks that are usually hard to reach with a peeler.
- Low sodium soy sauce – Measure 2 tablespoons of soy sauce for some saltiness. You can also replace this with fine salt.
- White wine vinegar – White wine vinegar smells and tastes amazing. It marinates your salmon with a special type of zing. We will use 2 tablespoons of it.
- Brown sugar – 3 tablespoons of brown sugar lends a touch of sweetness.
Mix the following ingredients to make a glossy honey ginger glaze:
- Honey – Grab 2 tablespoons of honey (or maple syrup).
- Ginger – Grate ginger, getting a teaspoon’s worth of it. You can use a box grater or a mandoline to do this.
- Sriracha – The secret ingredient in the honey ginger glaze is just ½ teaspoon of sriracha hot sauce. We use very little of it so its spicy flavor is subtle enough. Other than sriracha, you can use chili flakes or chili paste.
- Low sodium soy sauce and sesame oil – Soy sauce and sesame oil sound delicious and taste even better. They will pull together the honey, ginger, and hot sauce.
Garnish with the following simple ingredients that will make the baked salmon look more colorful and appetizing:
- Green onions – Thinly slice 4 green onions. A pop of green always makes any dish look tastier.
- Sesame seeds – Since we’ve already been using lots of sesame oil in this recipe, why not finish off with some sesame seeds too?
Step One: Marinate the salmon.
In a large bowl or baking dish, combine olive oil, sesame oil, low sodium soy sauce, garlic, ginger, white wine vinegar, and brown sugar. Whisk well until combined.
Place salmon filets in the dish, then refrigerate and marinate for at least 30 minutes, flipping the filets occasionally. Or, place it in a Ziploc bag.
- Pro Tip: You can even leave the fish in the fridge for as long as 24 hours to get all the flavors in.
Step Two: Bake the salmon.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking dish with parchment paper or tin foil. Lightly coat with nonstick spray. The last thing you want is to have to clean up pesky salmon flakes that are stuck to your baking dish.
Place the salmon filets along with the marinade onto the prepared baking dish. Bake until the salmon is cooked through (this should only be about 25 minutes).
Step Three: Make the honey ginger glaze.
In a small bowl, whisk together honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha sauce, and grated ginger. Set aside.
Step Four: Serve.
Drizzle the honey ginger glaze over each salmon filet. Top with sesame seeds and green onions. Serve immediately.
Optional: Steam broccoli florets and cook brown rice to go along with the salmon, making it a complete dish. Yum!
Expert Tips & Tricks
How to tell when salmon is cooked:
Since salmon filets can vary in size, keep an eye on the salmon towards the end of the cooking time. A thinner filet will roast faster, while a thicker one (like a fattier farmed salmon, or a thick wild King salmon filet) may take longer to roast. The internal temperature of the thickest part of the filet should be 145°F.
Adjust the marinate according to taste:
One of the things I’ve learned growing up in a Persian family is that recipe amounts are never final, especially when it comes to sauces and marinades. For the salmon marinade and the honey ginger glaze, taste it after you have mixed them together. Then, adjust the flavor according to how you would like it to taste.
Storage & Reheating
To store freshly baked ginger salmon filets, allow them to cool to room temperature (no longer than two hours after baking time to prevent bacteria growth on the fish).
Store filets in an airtight container. If proper precaution is taken, the filets will last for 3 to 4 days in the fridge and are best for no more than 3 months in the freezer.
To reheat the salmon from the fridge or freezer, thaw it for 10 minutes at room temperature (not in the microwave as that will dry out the fish). If the filets are coming out from the freezer, place them in the fridge overnight first. Be careful to only reheat what you need, as you shouldn’t be thawing salmon and returning it to the freezer again.
Place the salmon filets on a baking dish and add some lemon juice or olive oil over the filets. Cover the dish with tin foil. Preheat the oven to 300°F and bake the filets for about 15 minutes. We want to create a moist, slow-cooking environment in the oven so that the salmon remains juicy and tasty.
Sesame Ginger Salmon Recipe
- 1 large skinless salmon filet
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 ½ tablespoons sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 3 tablespoons ginger freshly grated
- 4 green onions thinly sliced
- sesame seeds
Honey Ginger Glaze
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon sriracha
- 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon ginger freshly grated
- In a large bowl or baking dish, combine olive oil, sesame oil, low sodium soy sauce, garlic, ginger, white wine vinegar, brown sugar and whisk well until combined. Add salmon to the dish or place everything in a ziplock bag, then refrigerate and marinate for at least 30 minutes to overnight, flipping the filets occasionally.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking dish with parchment paper or line with tin foil and lightly coat with nonstick spray.
- Place salmon filets along with the marinade onto the prepared baking dish and bake until the salmon is cooked through, about 25 minutes.
- To make the glaze, whisk together honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha and ginger in a small bowl; set aside.
- Serve salmon immediately with honey ginger glaze and top with sesame seeds and green onions.