Sesame Soy Salmon (an easy 4-ingredient marinade)

By Ann Fulton

The easiest, most flavorful, 4-ingredient marinade
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Four simple ingredients come together with ease in this flavor-packed marinade that makes the most of salmon and so much more!


I could hardly let a summer pass without sharing some version of my favorite 3-ingredient marinade. This marinade has been quite popular with my family and friends for at least a decade now, and many readers have made it a regular on their menu rotations.  

The best part is, this flavorful marinade is as easy as it is delicious.

My sister-in-law, Melissa, originally suggested adding a hint of sesame oil when using this versatile marinade on heart-healthy salmon. 

A four-ingredient marinade is still incredibly easy, and the Asian flavors complement the salmon beautifully. They might even make a fan out of the non-fish-lovers in your family.

For the history on this recipe, the 3-ingredient chicken and veggie variation, as well as a list of other great ways to enjoy it, click here or on the photo, below.

This may be the easiest, tastiest, and most versatile marinade you've ever tried, and all you need is equal parts of three basic ingredients!

Notice the grilled scallions in the photo at the top of the page? Dousing green onions or scallions with some of the marinade and grilling alongside the salmon makes for a delicious, quick-cooking accompaniment. Brushing the onions with a little olive oil and then sprinkling with salt and pepper is a good option, too. 

Sesame Soy Salmon
As a general guideline, ⅓ cup of marinade is enough for one pound of fish or meat if marinating in a zipper-top bag which allows the liquid to flow around the meat easily. (Plan on a ½ cup or so when marinating in a bowl.) For an effortless, complete meal, make extra marinade for use with veggies and grill alongside the salmon. The marinade would be excellent with shrimp and tuna as well.

Yield: a typical restaurant serving for salmon = 6 ounces.
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (see notes)
  • 2-3 pounds salmon
  1. Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, soy sauce, and sesame oil together and place in a zipper-top bag along with the salmon.
  2. Allow the salmon to marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  3. Preheat the grill.
  4. Remove the salmon from the marinade, discarding the excess, and grill over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until cooked to your preferred degree of doneness. The salmon will continue to cook for a few minutes after being removed from the grill. (see notes)

This recipe is delicious without the sesame oil, too. If you don’t have any on hand, feel free to omit.

We like to eat salmon just cooked through the middle, so I remove it from the grill when there is just the slightest bit of pinkish, translucent-looking meat in the center. As the salmon rests, it will continue to cook the remainder of the way through. If you are unsure as to whether it is done, cut into the center of the thickest part and take a peek. This will not effect the finished product at all. Also note that wild salmon, like sockeye, is leaner than farmed salmon and will cook more quickly.

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  3. Gail Miller

    Absolutely delicious! If you like salmon, you have to make this. Can’t get any easier – so glad it is good for you too! Served with grilled potato slices and fresh local green beans. Great summer meal.