Grilled salmon is a meal I frequently requested when I came home from college, as you do. College dining courts just didn't do food justice, especially fish, and so it was a special treat to have it at home. Just the name grilled salmon sounds flavorful, doesn't it? Baked salmon, on the other hand, doesn't have the same ring. 

That said, nowadays, we're apartment dwellers, living on the third floor of our building. Although there are grills in a common area of our apartment complex, most often, I cook food in the oven or on the stovetop. Grilled salmon is still a favorite meal of mine, but I'd argue that this recipe (if you want to call it that) works very well for when we want to stay in and have really good salmon. It's a frequent appearance on the menu plan when we need a break from chicken, beef, or pork. And it's great for off-season use, in case grilling in January doesn't sound appealing.

I've tried several oven-baked salmon recipes with varied results—some were too dry, some too oily, some required too much prep, or were too finicky. Even though I enjoy cooking, at the end of the day, I usually prefer reliable, simple, straightforward recipes with little to no fuss. So, this recipe fits the bill. This method has never failed me. I love that I can pop the salmon in the oven, do a load of laundry while it cooks, then pull the fish out of the oven, ready to eat!

Foolproof Oven-Baked Salmon

  • salmon, thawed (we prefer wild-caught, fresh or frozen), I usually make a few extra servings*
  • olive oil, a few teaspoons
  • salt + pepper

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place salmon fillet(s) on parchment (our's usually still have the skin on). Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on the salmon, then spread with a pastry brush to evenly coat the fillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place prepared fish in a COLD oven. Preheat to 400 degrees fahrenheit, and set a timer for 25 minutes. (The twenty-five minutes includes the preheating time). When the timer goes off, check the fish. It should be a lighter pink, opaque, but not dry, and easily flake with a fork. Remove fish from skin and enjoy!

*We like it best served warm with rice and roasted veggies, or cold the next day for lunch, right off the fork.