Baked Salmon in Foil

Why hello there, may I impress you with my fancy-looking Baked Salmon in Foil?

Never mind that it takes less time to prep (five minutes) than I spent sleepily scrolling through Instagram this morning while brushing my teeth (much more than five minutes).
Never mind that it’s only five ingredients.
Never mind that you can make it with one hand, sip your wine with the other, and pet your dog/kids/loving-but-needy significant other at the same time.

Baked Salmon in Foil tastes INCREDIBLE.
It feels fancy. It looks fancy. It eats fancy.
Nothing about cooking it is fancy.
Be impressed with yourself anyway.

Rarely am I so rewarded for so little effort as when I make easy baked salmon recipes like this Baked Salmon in Foil. It’s dead simple, but so delicious and so good for you too.
The foil locks in moisture and ensures that your beautiful piece of salmon turns out flakey, moist, and tender every single time. You don’t need to have every cooked a piece of fish in your life to make this recipe with success.
The foil also acts as a flavor incubator. Whatever yummy ingredients you place with the fish in the foil infuse their way into every savory bite.

Baked Salmon in Foil – So Many Ways to Love Thee

I’ve cooked Baked Salmon in Foil dozens of different ways. While all you really need for a satisfying piece baked salmon is salt, pepper, and olive oil, the foil method is easy to adapt to different herbs and ingredients. You have plenty of options to keep it exciting and new.
A few of my favorites include:
  • Baked Salmon in Foil with Lemon and Dill. Follow the recipe below, swapping sprigs of dill for the rosemary. You can also use parsley or green onion or both or whatever other herbs is in your refrigerator are threatening to turn brown.
  • Baked Salmon in Foil with Lemon and Butter. No fresh herbs? No problem. Leave them out and brush the salmon with melted butter instead (I usually do half olive oil/half butter). I don’t recommend dried herbs, as they take away from the freshness of the fish.
  • Garlic Butter Salmon in Foil. Is there anything on my dinner plate that these two ingredients don’t make better? I didn’t think so.
  • Baked Salmon with Lemon and Rosemary. The version I am sharing with you today!

How Long to Bake Salmon in Foil

The one major rule of baking salmon in foil is not to overcook the fish. The foil will give you a little leeway, but you want to pull it out when it is almost but not quite done at the thickest part. A quick pop under the oven broiler will give you a nice finish on the top of the fish and cook it through the rest of the way.
If your salmon is almost but not quite cooked and you are worried about overdoing it, you can always remove it from the oven, cover it back up with foil, then let it rest at room temperature for several minutes until it is done to your liking.
Generally when I’m making individual pieces of salmon (about 6-ounce fillets) I turn my oven to 400 or 425 degrees F. HOWEVER, I tried making a large side of baked salmon in foil at 400 (a 2-pound piece like the one you see in these photos) and found that temperature a bit too aggressive.
For my next round, I did baked salmon in foil at 350. It took longer than I’d hoped and didn’t come out *as* moist as I knew it could be.
The final winner: 375 degrees F for a 2-pound side of salmon.
The baking time will vary based upon the size and thickness of your salmon. I like to try to buy wild caught, which in our store usually means sockeye based on inventory. It’s a thinner variety and thus cooks more quickly.
If you are using farm raised salmon (often the case with the popular Atlantic salmon), your side will likely be thicker and need more time.

What to Serve with Baked Salmon in Foil

99.9999% of the time, I serve baked salmon with roasted veggies. It’s so easy to pop a pan of them in the oven right along with the salmon that making anything else feels feel unnecessarily fussy.
If you do the same, note that having the extra pan in the oven can extend the baking time for both the salmon and the vegetables. I’d also recommend switching the pans’ positions halfway through.
If you are looking for an all-in-on salmon in foil with vegetables, I also love this Garlic Salmon. It’s not in foil, but the salmon still turns out perfectly moist and tender.
For a cooler side dish option, Baked Salmon in Foil is lovely alongside a veggie-loaded grain salad like this Italian Farro Salad or a hearty green salad like this BLT Chopped Kale Salad.

Even though Baked Salmon feels like something you should save for a special night in, I am begging you to give it a chance on your everyday/my-life-is-crazy/someone-feed-me hectic weeknights.
These nights deserve balanced, healthy, wonderful-tasting meals just as much as the slower-paced weekend evenings, perhaps even more so. Since Baked Salmon in Foil is so quick and easy to make, it’s the ideal candidate.
To weeknight fancy!


  •  2 pound side of salmon — boneless (skin on or off, depending upon your preference), wild caught if possible
  •  5 sprigs fresh rosemary — or fresh herbs of your choice; do not use dried herbs
  •  2 small lemons — divided, plus extra for serving as desired
  •  2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  •  1 teaspoon kosher salt
  •  1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  •  4 cloves garlic — peeled and roughly chopped
  •  Additional chopped fresh herbs — such as basil, thyme, parsley, dill, or green onion (optional)


  1. Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking dish or rimmed baking sheet with a large piece of aluminum foil.
  2. Lightly coat the foil with baking spay, then arrange 2 sprigs of the rosemary down the middle. Cut one of the lemons into thin slices and arrange half the slices down the middle with the rosemary. Place the salmon on top.
  3. Drizzle the salmon with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Rub to coat, then scatter the garlic cloves over the top. Lay the remaining rosemary and lemon slices on top of the salmon. Juice the second lemon, then pour the juice over the top.
  4. Fold the sides of the aluminum foil up and over the top of the salmon until it is completely enclosed. If your piece of foil is not large enough, place a second piece on top and fold the edges under so that it forms a sealed packet. Leave a little room inside the foil for air to circulate.
  5. Bake the salmon for 15-20 minutes, until the salmon is almost completely cooked through at the thickest part. The cooking time will vary based on the thickness of your salmon. If your side is thinner (around 1-inch thick) check several minutes early to ensure your salmon does not overcook. If your piece is very thick (1 1/2 inches or more), it may need longer.
  6. Remove the salmon from the oven and carefully open the foil so that the top of the fish is completely uncovered (be careful of hot steam). Change the oven setting to broil, then return the fish to the oven and broil for 3 minutes, until the top of the salmon and the garlic are slightly golden and the fish is cooked through. Watch the salmon closely as it broils to make sure it doesn’t overcook and the garlic does not burn. Remove the salmon from the oven. If it still appears a bit underdone, you can wrap the foil back over the top and let it rest for a few minutes. Do not let it sit too long—salmon can progress from "not done" to "over done" very quickly. As soon as it flakes easily with a fork, it's ready.
  7. To serve, cut the salmon into portions. Sprinkle with additional fresh herbs or top with an extra squeeze of lemon as desired.

Recipe Notes

  • This recipe is best enjoyed the day that it is made, as salmon usually dries out when reheated. If you have leftover salmon, try serving it room temperature over a salad the next day or flaking and scrambling it with eggs.