Perfectly Broiled Salmon

By Ann Fulton

Perfectly cooked salmon with a golden crust is endlessly versatile and can be on your plate in less than 10 minutes, start to finish.
Jump to Recipe

Perfectly cooked salmon with a golden crust is endlessly versatile and can be on your plate in less than 10 minutes, start to finish.


In my early days of cooking salmon, I always broiled it. As a young mom trying to get a good dinner on the table fast, I appreciated the speed and ease of this method.

But it was the golden-brown crust and tender, juicy interior that made me return to this method time after time. Everyone loved it, and though salmon cooked this way needs only a brush of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, it can be spiced up with any number of seasonings.

Over the years, I began branching out. Restaurant-Style Pan Seared Salmon cooks quickly on the stovetop, and Slow Roasted Salmon, Crispy Skin Salmon, grilled salmon, and Salmon in Foil all have their place and special attributes – plus it’s fun to mix things up! But the simple broiling technique has never lost its luster.

Positioning the salmon close to the hot upper element allows the top of the fish to quickly brown while the center cooks more slowly, greatly reducing the chance of overcooking. The whole process takes as little as four minutes for leaner, wild fillets and not much more than five minutes for most Atlantic salmon. Fast food for sure!

Broiling can lead to burning, however, so how do we guarantee success each and every time? 

Following is a short list of helpful tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years. Until I actually measured, I would have guessed wrong on the first tip, so don’t hesitate to get out a ruler.

Humble alliums pair with two pantry staples for a tangy, crisp salsa that adds something special to perfectly broiled, 5-minute salmon. 

Perfectly broiled salmon is shown here with scallion salsa and smashed green peas. The components of this meal are incredibly simple yet together form a restaurant-quality meal.

Tips for broiling salmon to perfection:

  • Place the salmon on a rack that is six inches from the top element (measure if you’re not sure) or within an inch either way depending on oven.
  • If your broiler has multiple temperature settings, use high.
  • Use a quick-read thermometer to gauge the level of doneness that is perfect for you.
  • No thermometer? It’s fine to cut into the thick part and look. I like to see a hint of uncooked flesh, as carryover heat will continue to cook the fish for several minutes after being removed from the oven.
  • Because certain varieties of wild salmon (like Sockeye and Coho) are very lean, I recommend abiding by the lower temperature recommended for these fish. The result will be far more tender.

Why is there variance in cooking time?

  • First and most obvious, the thickness of the fillets will vary somewhat from one variety to another – and from the center to the end cuts in the same fillet. Helpful hint: When purchasing fillets, choose similarly sized pieces whenever possible.
  • Leaner varieties of salmon cook faster than fattier varieties. To illustrate the vast difference, a 6-ounce fillet of Coho has about 9 grams of fat, while the same size piece of Sockeye contains 15 grams. King salmon has 20 grams while farmed Atlantic salmon contains about 18 grams. All have beneficial, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, so absolutely choose based on availability, price, and what you enjoy.

What to do with the thin end of a fillet?

You can fold the thin end under to make a fillet of more even thickness. This works better with skinless fillets; otherwise, you end up with skin on skin. With skin-on fillets, I like how the really thin end gets a little crispy.

This shape, however, is less common with Sockeye fillets, which tend to have a more even thickness. Because this variety is also leaner, I take greater care to not overcook it, which will result in a dry, tough texture.

Should you broil with the oven door open or closed?

It used to be widely recommended to leave the oven door ajar when broiling. Nowadays, however, it depends on the oven. My best recommendation is to consult your oven manual. Short of that, if you notice that your oven cycles the broiler on and off (some do this to manage the heat), you probably want to keep the oven door cracked open. This will ensure the heat is constantly on while the fish is under it – you want the quickest, most consistent blast of heat you can get with this method.

Perfectly cooked salmon with a golden crust is endlessly versatile and can be on your plate in less than 10 minutes, start to finish.

You could add additional spices, but coarse salt and freshly ground pepper will yield a delicious end result, enhancing the flavor of the fish beautifully.

Perfectly cooked salmon with a golden crust is endlessly versatile and can be on your plate in less than 10 minutes, start to finish.

One of the faster ways to get a delicious protein on your plate, for added convenience, this method can also be used to cook one fillet or many.

Perfectly cooked salmon with a golden crust is endlessly versatile and can be on your plate in less than 10 minutes, start to finish.

With its simple seasoning, crispy top, and tender interior, perfectly broiled salmon is delicious as is. It also makes an excellent protein topper for a salad or bowl meal – and cleanup is as easy as crumpling the foil!


If you make this recipe, please comment and give it a 5-star review if you deem worthy. I always appreciate the feedback!  

Perfectly Broiled Salmon
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Yield: as many servings as needed
Learn how to quickly sear and brown the top of the salmon without overcooking the inside. Perfect as an entrée or salad topper and ready in less than 10 minutes!
  • 1 or more fillets of boneless, center-cut salmon, with or without skin (see notes)
  • Olive or avocado oil
  • Kosher or flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the broiler and set oven rack to 6 inches below broiler element (or as close to that as possible).

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. If your fillets have the skin on and you want to remove it, don’t oil the foil. The skin will stick to it, and you can slide your spatula in between the skin and the flesh as you are removing the cooked fish to a plate for serving. Then the skin can be crumpled up in the foil and discarded. Prefer to keep the skin on? Spray or grease the foil to prevent it from sticking.

Meanwhile, brush the top and side of the fillets with the oil, and season all over with salt and pepper. Place the salmon on the prepared baking sheet.

Broil the salmon until golden brown on top and just short of cooked through the center, about 5-6 minutes for most farmed Atlantic salmon and fattier wild (like King/Chinook) and 4 to 5 minutes for leaner wild salmon (like Coho and Sockeye). Wild salmon is most tender when cooked to 120℉, while farmed salmon is at its best when cooked to 125℉.

Helpful hint: If the fillets become sufficiently browned on top before they are cooked to your liking in the center, either move the baking sheet down a rack or drape a piece of foil over the top of the fish. This shouldn’t take more than 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Transfer the salmon to a plate and serve as is or with a sauce or salsa of choice. Broiled salmon also makes an excellent protein topper on a salad or bowl meal.


Single serve fillets versus larger cut of salmon: You can broil a whole side of salmon or a larger fillet that you will cut after cooking. You may need to extend cooking time by a minute or three. Do keep in mind that, once cooked, a large piece of salmon won’t cut cleanly.

Skin or no skin? This recipe works equally well with skin-on and skinned salmon. It’s really a matter of personal preference.

Spice it up: Feel free to sprinkle the salmon with spices of choice along with the salt and pepper. Complementary options include curry powder, cumin and smoked paprika, and blackened or Creole seasoning. Or experiment with other spices you enjoy. Do be careful of anything that may burn under the broiler, like minced garlic.

A thin layer of mayonnaise may be used instead of the olive or avocado oil. In this case, you may stick with the simple seasoning of salt and pepper, or any of the spices mentioned above. You could also stir in a small amount of Dijon, harissa paste, or curry paste.

More On YouTube More on Instagram
Tried this recipe?Post a picture on instagram and we will repost it! Mention @fountainavenuekitchen or tag #fountainavenuekitchen!
The Fountain Avenue Kitchen


Leave a Reply

Make it? Rate the recipe:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *