Best Seasonings For Salmon: Top 5 Ways To Season Our Favorite Filet According To Chefs

Salmon is a versatile and popular protein that many home cooks love. Rich with Omega-3 and other healthy fatty acids, salmon is also widely considered among the healthiest choices for dietary protein. Cooking fish can sometimes seem intimidating for beginner chefs, but there’s no reason to worry, as salmon prep can be as simple as sprinkling a few herbs on your filet. For those looking for new recipes to up their cooking game, we have researched 10 expert sources to discover the best seasonings for salmon to ensure a tasty meal.

Speaking of its hefty protein content, a recent study highlights the nutritional value of salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids are an abundant nutrient in fatty fish such as sardines and salmon, though dietary supplements also work to achieve its health effects. While much research connects omega-3s with increased cognition, their relationship to blood pressure is less clear. Some studies have linked omega-3 fatty acids with low blood pressure, though the evidence is inconclusive.

There are also plenty of potential cognitive benefits of salmon consumption. Trying to avoid dementia? Go fish! That’s the takeaway from a recent study by scientists with the Fatty Acid Research Institute. Researchers say that people with high amounts of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are 49 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease in the future than those with low DHA levels in their blood. These potential nutritional benefits are great, but what about the flavor? Let us have a look at some of the most popular seasoning methods for salmon.

Salmon is eaten at breakfast, lunch, and dinner and with our list of the top five best seasonings for salmon, our readers can discover the flavor profiles that they like best. Let us know what combinations you love to add when prepping salmon in the comments below!

someone eating salmon
Salmon dinner (Photo by Travis Yewell on Unsplash)

The List: Best Seasonings for Salmon, According to Cooking Experts

1. Salt and Pepper with Lemon Juice

We need to start this list with the most popular seasoning for salmon. Lemon pepper salmon was the most referenced seasoning for salmon in nearly all our sources. “The possibilities are endless! Lemon pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, dill, mustard seed and salt are just a few popular options. The key is finding a balance that enhances the natural flavor of the fish without overpowering it,” says Mansion on Rush. With a base of salt, pepper, and lemon juice; cooks can create numerous variants by adding their favorite flavors like garlic or ginger.

Lemon and rosemary on a cutting board (Photo by moiranazzari on Pixabay)

“A traditional salmon dish can easily be made at home with these three simple ingredients. The key to this flavor combination is to have a little spice, but still keep it simple and refined. This is truly a timeless baked salmon dish! Considering that a lemon wedge is a staple when serving salmon, it’s never a bad idea to just make it the star of the show. Salt enhances the natural flavors of the fish. While pepper adds a sharp, pungent touch and a good depth to the mix,” says Bluglacier.

Black Pepper plays a big part in this classic flavor profile. “The main source of taste and flavor creation in this is black pepper. It is also known as the king of spices in the Indian subcontinent. It can be fried along with the salmon fillets or you can add it to a bowl with melted butter along with some garlic, salt, and olive oil and pour it over the fish after frying them. You will definitely enjoy its fresh aroma when eating this dish,” writes Speaking of Seafood.

2. Fresh Dill

Dill is a classic herbal companion that is often paired with salmon. “What herbs go with salmon? There are loads of different herbs that go really well with salmon. The fish has a robust flavour and complements many different tastes,” says Family Friends Food.

Fresh dill and olive oil in a carafe (Photo by jyliagorbacheva on Pixabay)

Dill is widely available at supermarkets and produce stores, making it an easy add-on for your favorite recipes. “Dill is the most traditional herb to use on salmon. Its bright, herbaceous notes pair well with the fish and lemon juice. The result is a flavor combination that perfectly accents the salmon flavor without overpowering it. Dill also works well with both mustard and horseradish, thus offering you numerous options for seasoning your fish,” writes Spiceography.

Often lauded as the best herbal pairing for salmon, dill is a must-try for home cooks. “Let’s start off with something traditional! The typical and most common ingredients used for seasoning salmon are dill, lemon, fennel and mustard seed. These ingredients will give your salmon a tangy and aromatic freshness,” writes Just Spices.

3. Glazes and Sweet Sauces

Brushing or coating salmon with sweet sauce like honey mustard or BBQ is another top preparation method. “Glazes: A glaze is a sauce you can apply while the salmon cooks, such as a brown sugar glaze, a lemon glaze, a garlic and honey glaze, or a mustard glaze,” says Masterclass.

Teriyaki salmon
Teriyaki salmon (Photo by Alice Pasqual on Unsplash)

Another one of the most frequently mentioned favorites is teriyaki glaze. “However, a highlight of Asian cuisine is teriyaki sauce. To make teriyaki salmon, you need soy sauce, rice wine (also called mirin) and sugar. You can then glaze your salmon with this sauce. Another sweet and savoury marinade from Asia is the honey and soy marinade. You mix honey, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger together. After you’ve tried this marinade, you won’t be able to go back to anything else,” says Just Spices.

Glazes are a way for home cooks to get creative with their favorite flavors, “If you enjoy a little heat in your food, try mixing together honey and Sriracha sauce for a sweet and spicy glaze for your salmon. Brush it on before baking or grilling for an extra layer of flavor that will leave your taste buds tingling,” says Mansion on Rush.

4. Smoked Paprika Spice Blends

Smoked salmon is an absolute favorite that tops the list with many of our sources. How can home cooks add smoky flavor to their favorite dishes? Smoked paprika is often cited as one of the best ways to add rich smoke flavor without the need for a pre-smoked filet.

Smoked paprika powder and pepper
Smoked paprika powder and pepper (Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels)

“Fan of spicy and smoky flavours? Then a combination of cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, smoked salt and cumin will give your salmon the smoky and earthy aroma you’re looking for,” says Just Spices. The addition of smoke flavoring enhances the richness and fatty texture of perfectly cooked salmon. If you are not able to smoke your own filet, then smoked paprika can be a great addition to recipes.

The flavor of smoke seasoning is even referred to as magical, “This magic salmon seasoning is a must-have for home cooks everywhere. It brings out all the best flavors in seafood … You need smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, celery seed, cumin, allspice, and salt. The flavor is strong with sharp notes from paprika, onion, and garlic. Celery, cumin, and thyme tone it back with their bitter tastes that are surprisingly pleasant. It can’t all be pungent! So, allspice brings the sweet energy to the blend,” says Oshen Salmon.

Smoked Paprika is especially good with high heat cooking methods like grilling or broiling. “Who doesn’t love a good spicy and smoky flavor? This spice works particularly well if you’re going to grill your salmon. The subtle earthiness of the paprika will turn your dish around and give it a strong smokiness, perfect for when you’re craving robust flavors. Be sure to add a tiny bit more of it near the end of the cooking time if you want that vibrant red color to really stand out on the plate,” says Bluglacier.

5. Brown Sugar Spice Blends

Baking a whole salmon filet is one of the easiest ways to cook for a crowd. A simple sprinkle of brown sugar before baking or roasting can create a flavor profile that home cooks and their guests will love. “Cooking salmon fillets in a low oven (around 300°F) results in a hands-off preparation that takes little more than 20 minutes start to finish,” says Epicurious.

Brown sugar
Brown sugar (Photo by Eva Bronzini on Pexels)

Brown sugar spice blends are also easy to make in advance to cut down on meal-time preparation. “…sweet and savory salmon seasoning can be made up to 2-3 days before you plan to use it. Simply store the seasoning in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to season your salmon for cooking,” says Eatwell 101.

Brown sugar seasoning blends are also great for the grill. “This blend is super simple. You mix ‌brown sugar, black pepper, sea salt, dried basil, garlic, paprika, and a little lime zest in a small bowl to create your seasoning. Citrus is always great with fish, especially the rich flavor of grilled salmon. Basil and brown sugar are sweet. Smoked paprika and garlic are bold and lingering. Finally, salt and pepper balances it out with salty and spicy kicks,” writes Oshen Salmon.

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