This lemon pepper salmon is easy to make with just 5 ingredients! It's coated with olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and lemon pepper seasoning, then baked until flaky and tender.
Why You'll Love It
This lemon pepper salmon recipe is a no-fuss main that takes 2 minutes to prep! Throw it over roasted veggies, onto a salad, or use it as the protein for a rice bowl. It's versatile, healthy, and delicious.
I've always loved salmon, even growing up as a young kid. My dad smoked salmon on a regular basis and my siblings and I always waited for it in anticipation.
While I still live for smoked salmon, lemon pepper baked salmon wins my vote these days. It's just TOO simple and too good.
Salmon fillets - You need 1.5 pounds of salmon fillets. Mine were cut into two portions but one large portion works just fine too! Look for salmon with a bright pink-orange hue and avoid pale, discolored salmon. Skin-on or off both work.
Lemon - For an extra zip of lemony flavor. I highly recommend fresh lemon juice!
Olive oil - Helps the seasoning adhere to the salmon and encourages it to caramelize under the broiler.
Lemon pepper seasoning - I used Kinder's lemon pepper seasoning from Costco. It's affordable and it tastes great! It has a little bit of cane sugar in it which caramelizes nicely under the broiler.
Kosher salt - Just a sprinkle. Lemon pepper seasoning already contains salt so you don't want to be too generous with the salt.
How to Make Lemon Pepper Salmon
Before you start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prep your sheet pan.
Line a quarter sheet pan with foil, then spray with nonstick cooking spray. This prevents the salmon from sticking to the sheet pan and makes cleanup a breeze! All you have to do is fold up the foil and toss it in the trash.
Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto each fillet, to amplify the lemon flavor! I highly recommend fresh lemon juice, since it has a much brighter flavor than bottled.
Rub olive oil onto each fillet. I used a teaspoon per each fillet. Just add enough to coat the entire surface.
Add lemon pepper seasoning. I used a teaspoon per fillet and gently rubbed it in with my hands. Again, use enough to coat the surface of each fillet thoroughly.
Season with kosher salt - Sprinkle both fillets with kosher salt. Remember, lemon pepper seasoning already has salt in it, so don't go crazy!
Bake - Place the sheet pan in the preheated oven and bake until the salmon is almost cooked through, about 18 minutes.
Broil - Change the oven setting to broil and broil the salmon until the top is golden brown and caramelized, about 2 to 4 more minutes.
Serve - Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, then enjoy!
- The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the salmon. The salmon is done when it's opaque and flakes easy. Do not overcook the salmon! Overcooked salmon tastes dry and chewy.
- If in doubt, check the salmon with a fork. If the flesh separates easily and looks opaque, it's done!
- Once the salmon is cooked, it separates easily from the skin. You can scoop it directly off the skin or eat around it.
This baked salmon recipe is versatile! You can swap the lemon pepper seasoning with any spice mix or combo you like. Try one of these delicious combinations:
- Brown sugar + paprika - Try a mixture of brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and kosher salt.
- Cajun - Swap the lemon pepper with Cajun seasoning for a bit of heat.
- Old Bay - I love Old Bay! It tastes great on shrimp, salmon, and even chicken!
- Store leftover lemon pepper salmon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It tastes great on salads!
- Reheat in the microwave in individual portions on low heat. You don't want to overcook it, you just want it to get hot.
Yes, salmon is a good source of high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids which benefit the brain and heart! It's also rich in key nutrients like phosphorus, selenium, and B vitamins. It's also low in calories! A 100 gram serving provides 200 nutrient-dense calories.
This is truly a matter of preference, but I find it's easier NOT to overcook salmon when you bake it in the oven. I like to broil the salmon at the end of cooking to caramelize the top! The result is juicy perfectly cooked salmon.
The time varies depending on the thickness of the salmon fillet. It can take anywhere from 15 to 22 minutes in a 350 degree oven. The salmon is ready when it's opaque, flakes easy, but is still tender and juicy!
More Quick Dinner Recipes
- Juicy Pan-Seared Shrimp
- Pistachio Crusted Salmon with Lemon Basil Sauce
- Seared Shrimp and Avocado Salad
- Blackened Swordfish with Cajun Butter
- Baked Swordfish with Lemon Basil Butter
Lemon Pepper Salmon
- baker's half sheet pan
- aluminum foil
- 1.5 pounds salmon fillets two fillets weighing .75 lbs. each
- ½ lemon
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning
- kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Line a baker's quarter sheet pan with aluminum foil, then spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Arrange the two salmon fillets on the prepared sheet pan, skin side down.
- Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice on top of each fillet, then add one teaspoon of olive oil to each. Use your hands to spread the olive oil around evenly.
- Sprinkle one teaspoon of lemon pepper seasoning evenly on each fillet. Use your hands to carefully rub it on.
- Add a sprinkle of kosher salt to each fillet. Remember lemon pepper seasoning does contain salt!
- Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake until the fillet is almost completely cooked through, about 18 minutes.
- Change the setting on your oven to broil and let the salmon broil for 2 to 4 minutes. Watch it carefully so it doesn't burn!
- Once the top of the salmon looks golden brown and caramelized, remove it from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes, then enjoy!