Grilled salmon recipe with fresh salmon fillets brushed with garlic butter sauce for a juicy, golden finish. 5-minute prep and 10 minute grill time makes the juiciest grilled garlic butter salmon. Serve with Cucumber Tomato Salad for the perfect dinner.
Salmon might be the most overcooked and underrated dinner entree of all time. When I first learned how to properly grill salmon, I realized why I had never enjoyed it. It was always dry and crumbly, and even the best sauce wouldn't make it lovable. Here's the thing. Properly cooked salmon doesn’t need to be hidden under a sauce. If you're trying to like grilled salmon but it's not happening, it's probably overcooked. Just remember, practice, and a few simple tips, makes perfectly grilled salmon.
How to grill salmon (an overview)
- Pat the salmon dry, remove any bones, and rest at room temperature about 15 minutes to remove the chill.
- Preheat and prepare the grill.
- Melt garlic butter sauce and brush over the salmon.
- Grill salmon, flesh side on the grill, to sear.
- Flip salmon, skin side on the grill, and reduce heat to finish.
- Transfer to a platter, allow to rest, garnish, and devour.
How to season salmon for grilling
I love a simple garlic butter salmon any day of the week! There's no marinating or planning involved. When it comes to grilled salmon seasoning, the sky really is the limit. Here are some examples of other ways to season salmon.
- garlic granules
- onion powder
- chili powder
- cayenne pepper
- Old Bay seasoning
- blackened seasoning
- pesto sauce
- Italian marinade
- Asian marinade
Do you grill salmon on both sides?
I prefer to grill salmon on both sides to get those beautiful grill marks that add color and browning you can only get from grilled salmon. This means more flavor. It's not a requirement and, if using whole skinless salmon, it's almost guaranteed to fall apart, so I prefer using skin-on salmon fillets.
Which side of salmon do you cook first?
I prefer to cook the fleshy side of salmon first to get those beautiful, caramelized grill marks. Some prefer to grill the skin side first to get crispier skin. It's totally up to you.
How do you keep salmon from sticking to the grill?
When you first lay salmon (or any animal protein) on a properly heated and oiled grill, “sticking” is natural because the proteins grab the hot surface. However, it will release in time, which is a signal that it's time to flip or adjust the filet.
Can I put salmon directly on the grill or should I use foil?
If the idea of grilling salmon without foil intimidates you, by all means, use foil. It's common to use foil on skinless salmon because it's easier to handle, especially if it's a whole side of salmon. However, if the salmon has skin (my personal favorite) or you're using salmon fillets or steaks, it's easier to keep them intact on the grill as long as they're handled properly.
How long to grill salmon?
Grill salmon 4-6 minutes per ½" of thickness for medium and 6-8 minutes for well-done. This is a point of reference and grilling times and outcomes may vary, so don't be afraid to experiment more than once!
How do I know when salmon is cooked?
Grilled salmon is cooked when you can press a utensil in between the white lines of the flesh and it separates easily. Additionally, the flesh will be semi-translucent (med-rare) in the center of the thickest part of the salmon, or fully opaque for well-done. To each his/her own on this one. I prefer med-rare salmon myself.
What to serve with grilled salmon
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- THE BEST Potato Salad
- Broccoli Bacon Salad
- Garlicky Oven Roasted Mushrooms
- Macaroni Salad
- Loaded Baked Potato Salad
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
- Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
- Tortellini Pasta Salad
More easy entree dinner recipes
- Easy Broiled Salmon Recipe
- Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass
- King Crab Legs
- Greek Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs
- Baked Chicken Thighs
- Baked Chicken Legs
- Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
- outdoor grill
- paper towels (to pat salmon dry)
- sauce pot for garlic butter
- pastry brush
- fish turner (or tongs)
Garlic Butter Grilled Salmon Recipe
- 2 (4 ounce) Salmon Fillets
- Pinch Salt and Pepper
- 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- Fresh Dill, or parsley
- 1 Lemon, zested and sliced
- Pat the salmon dry, remove any bones, season with SALT and PEPPER, and rest at room temperature about 15 minutes to remove the chill.
- Preheat grill to MEDIUM-HIGH (about 400°F).
- Melt BUTTER, GARLIC, and DILL in a 2 qt sauce pot over medium heat until infused (3-5 minutes).
- Brush garlic butter over salmon (flesh side).
- Place salmon flesh side down in the center of the preheated grill and brush garlic butter over the salmon skin.
- Close grill lid, turn heat dials to M-O-M (medium-off-medium), and grill salmon until it easily releases from the grill (about 4 minutes).
- Gently flip salmon over, brush the flesh with more garlic butter, and grill until it flakes easily with a fork (about 3 minutes for medium or 5 minutes for well-done).Note: Medium-cooked salmon will be very tender and juicy. Well-done salmon will not be juicy.
- Transfer salmon to a platter, allow to rest a few minutes, and serve garnished with lemon zest, lemon wedges, and fresh dill. Serve with Cucumber Tomato Salad.
Traci's Recipe Notes
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.