There’s no healthier, tastier or easier summer dish than grilled salmon. Grab a few filets, season them up and throw them on the barbecue for a delicious meal that can be enjoyed any day of the week. This fresh fish is simple to prepare and great for cooks of any level. No reason to be intimidated by grilling salmon. Especially if you know how to season salmon filets for grilling. It’s almost foolproof and always tastes delicious.
There are so many different ways you can season your salmon to grill. Salmon has a delicious flavor profile. So it can be seasoned simply with fresh salt and pepper. Or get elaborate with a fresh marinade. You can even top salmon with a mango habanero salsa. No matter which way you go, you’re guaranteed to have a healthy and flavorful feast!
Follow our easy salmon seasoning tips and there’s no doubt you will have the perfect piece of grilled salmon every single time!
How to Season Salmon Filets for Grilling:
Use Fresh Herbs
Using fresh herbs is the best way to get incredible flavor with minimal ingredients. Rub your fish with a little bit of olive oil to give the herbs something to stick to. Season your salmon filets with minced garlic, lemon zest, chopped fresh rosemary and a little salt and pepper. Fresh parsley, dill and basil are also great choices. Using lemon zest is a great way to add lemon flavor without using lemon juice, which can sometimes “cook” the fish. Don’t forget about minced ginger, orange zest, or lime zest, all great aromatic additions to your salmon.
Try a Marinade
Marinating your salmon for grilling is ridiculously easy. It will likely become your favorite way to prepare salmon. You can make your own marinade, or buy it pre-made at the grocery store. Some easy flavors that pair well with salmon are teriyaki, citrus herb and barbecue. Try creating your own savory marinade by combining soy sauce, olive oil, garlic as a base. Add in dijon mustard and parsley, or brown sugar and ginger for an asian flare.
Once you have your marinade, throw it on your salmon (can use a large ziplock bag for easy cleanup) and let it rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to two hours. Throw it on the grill and voila!
Create Your Favorite Spice Rub
Spice rubs are packed with flavor and a great way to combine various flavor profiles to give depth to your salmon. The rub also gives your salmon a crispy top when grilled, adding to the magic of your meal. First, combine your spices in a bowl. Then, prep your salmon filets with olive oil and then rub the mixture onto the flesh side of the filet. Grill the salmon, flesh side down, until charred (4-5 minutes). Flip the salmon, and cook for another 5-6 minutes or until you reach desired doneness. For well done fish, add 1-2 minutes.
For salmon that will give your taste buds a sweet and savory kick. Combine brown sugar, chili powder, ground cumin, salt and pepper.
If you like a spicier flavor with more heat, try Blackened Salmon with a cajun style kick. Cayenne, paprika, fresh thyme and oregano paired with the zest and juice of a couple lemons…wow.
A quality piece of salmon is delicious on its own and may only need some sea salt and pepper to compliment the natural richness of the fish. Using your hands or a brush, rub a dollop of quality olive oil on the flesh side of your salmon filet. Next, season generously with kosher sea salt and pepper.
For a classic flavor, try adding garlic powder, dried basil, dried parsley and onion powder. If you want a smokier taste, use paprika, chile powder or cumin. For a lemony kick, dress with fresh lemon juice and lemon slices. If you like your salmon on the sweet side, add honey, maple syrup or brown sugar to your seasoning.
Take your simply grilled salmon and dress it up! Add some color and texture using different fruits, vegetables and seasonings. Grilled salmon, seasoned with salt and pepper, tastes delicious topped with a mango avocado salsa, or a sauteed medley of diced tomatoes, onion and garlic. Make it greek and top it with diced cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, olive oil and kalamata olives. Make a classic grilled teriyaki salmon, and dress it up with toasted sesame seeds and green onions!
Get creative with your toppings!
Season Your Salmon & Grille It In Foil:
This may sound counterintuitive, grill the salmon IN foil? Or maybe you’re not quite the grill master (yet). This is a great trick to make grilled salmon perfectly, each time. Make a foil “pocket” for your salmon and throw it on the grill. This method will ensure your salmon turns out moist and perfectly flakey, avoiding dry salmon that falls apart and gets stuck to the grill grates.
To use the foil grilling method, I suggest using heavy duty foil. Create a “pocket” for your salmon to sit in. I suggest creating a base of citrus slices (lemon, orange or lime) and fresh herbs of your choice (dill, parsley, basil, rosemary and cilantro). The fresh citrus and herbs will infuse so much delicious flavor into your fish!
Next, layer the salmon on top.
Now, top the salmon with more citrus, fresh herbs, minced garlic or ginger, and a generous amount of salt and pepper. (Note: the stronger the herb, the less you need)
Seat the foil packet and GRILL! Grill the salmon over medium heat for about 14-18 minutes.
Tips For Grilling Seasoned Salmon:
- Rub your salmon filets with olive oil before seasoning them. This will prevent the fish from sticking to the grill and give the fish a crispy finish.
- Make sure your grill grates are extra clean. If there’s any old food residue, it increases the chances of your salmon sticking.
- Rub your grill grates with oil before placing the salmon on to ensure it doesn’t stick.
- Preheat your grill before cooking the salmon.
- Leave the skin on! While you may be anxious to get the skin off, dont. It helps keep the filet together while cooking and adds great flavor.
- Cooking with skin: place the salmon skin side up on the grill grates to start, flipping when seared. DO NOT move the salmon until you are ready to flip!
Grilling is just one of many ways to cook salmon. You can view some of our favorite ways to cook salmon filets HERE. Grilling salmon is so easy, and gives your fish that essence of smokey barbecue. Now you know how simple it is to season salmon for the grill! Sea salt, pepper and olive oil is all you need to start. Be adventurous with what you choose to add from there. Remember that sweet and spicy pair well. Citrus fruits add great flavor and look beautiful as a garnish. Fresh herbs are an easy and effortless way to add flavor. Top your grilled fish with fruits and vegetables like avocado, mango, tomatoes, and peppers.
Follow our seasoning tips and let us know how your salmon turns out!
If you’re looking for more grilled salmon recipes, check out this Pinterest board for grilled salmon recipe inspiration.