Broiling salmon is one of the quickest, most efficient and reliable ways to cook salmon. The outer layer gets crispy while the inside stays melt-in-your-mouth flakey and buttery. In addition, adding a glaze or rub on top and broiling the fish, rather than baking, gives you that gorgeous caramelized crust on top of your perfectly cooked salmon. 

If you’re nervous about cooking salmon, learn how to broil salmon. It’s the easiest and most foolproof way to get perfect salmon every time.

raw salmon fillet on a baking sheet with salt and pepper arranged around it

How Long to Broil Salmon

Debating how long to broil your salmon depends entirely on the thickness of the fish and how far from the heating element your oven rack is placed. There are three critical factors in determining your perfect filet:

Cook by Temperature

The easiest way to make sure your salmon is cooked fully under the broiler is by using a thermometer. We recommend setting the rack about 6-inches from the heating element to ensure quick and even cooking without burning. Notably, the FDA recommends internal salmon temperature be 145ºF, though we prefer to cook it to an internal temperature of 125ºF.  

Cook by Time

This is where the thickness of your fish fillet comes into play the most. Wild-caught salmon is typically thinner, therefore would need to be cooked for less time, around 6 minutes. Farm-raised salmon can be much thicker, 1 to 1 ¼ inches thick or more, and can take up to 12 minutes to cook thoroughly.

large salmon fillet on a baking sheet with salt and pepper sprinkled over top

Cook by Visual  

It’s not all thermometers and timers. Sometimes you need some good old-fashioned eyes on the prize. Check the thickest part of the salmon when checking for doneness. The flesh of the salmon should have turned from translucent to opaque. Additionally, the edges of the fillet should be crisp or starting to crisp when the salmon is almost done.

When salmon is fully cooked, it will change from its raw state of translucent orange to a more opaque pink color. If you’ve ever seen the tv show Friends, you’ll know the great salmon-colored shirt debate. So if your salmon is cooked entirely through, it will be the color of Ross’s t-shirt. Does that help?

browned salmon fillet on a baking sheet

Know Your Broiler

We’re sorry to say that all broilers are not created equal. Using the broiling setting, in its simplest form, just means that the oven is only engaging the top heating element. It also means you’ll be using the open flame to cook and brown the food.

Some broilers run hotter than others; if you aren’t sure where yours lands, be sure to keep a close eye on the fish as it cooks (and rotate the sheet pan as needed). 

Many ovens have two broiler lettings, “High” and “Low,” use the high setting. If it doesn’t, you can assume it only has a high setting. 

While the information above is an excellent guide on how to broil salmon, other factors may influence the outcome. If your range doesn’t have a “Broil” setting, don’t fret! Setting your oven at a high temperature, around 500ºF, will yield similar results. 

Test Kitchen Tips

  • For the best results, seek out fillets that are at least 1 inch thick—this gives you a little more wiggle room and is likely to not overcook as quickly.
  • If your fillets have really thin ends, consider tucking them under the fillet to promote oven cooking.
  • If you’re using a sweet glaze or brown sugar, consider broiling the salmon on the middle rack instead of the upper-middle (which is generally 6-inches from the element) to avoid burning. Or, alternatively, add the glaze in the last 4 or so minutes.
  • We don’t recommend marinating salmon in general, but if you are, avoid marinating it for more than 30 minutes or the texture will start to change.
  • For easy cleanup, line the baking sheet with foil before arranging the salmon on top.
  • We like to use skin-on salmon for just about everything, but especially when we are pan-searing or broiling. The skin keeps the fish nice and moist. It also usually sticks to an ungreased baking sheet or layer of foil, which makes for easy serving.

Put it Into Practice

With the guide above, we are positive that you will elevate your salmon game with a crisp, caramelized crust and a buttery, flaky inner fillet. Our Broiled Honey-Glazed Salmon & Snap Pea Sheet Pan Dinner is your holy grail if you’re ready to entertain and impress tonight.

Fair warning—cooking this recipe for friends and family will make you the salmon cook forever!

More Easy Salmon Recipes to Try

  • Our Pan-Seared Salmon is one of our most popular recipes to date. And for a good reason—it’s absolutely foolproof!
  • These Salmon Patties are the perfect addition to your meal prep—easy to make, adaptable, and versatile. 
  • Our Sheet Pan Miso Salmon will blow you away with how savory it is. 

How to Broil Salmon

Print Recipe
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 17 mins
Yield 4 servings
Category Fish and seafood
Cuisine American
Author Lauren Grant

Description

Your go-to recipe for broiled salmon—a foolproof cooking method for the king of fish.

Ingredients

  • 1 (1-pound, 1-inch thick) skin-on center-cut salmon fillet
  • Morton kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper

Instructions

  • Heat broiler to high with rack set 6-inches from element.
  • Arrange salmon fillets skin-side down on prepared sheet; pat dry and season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
  • Broil salmon until mostly opaque but center still looks undercooked, tops are charred, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the centers registers 125ºF (48–52ºC), 10–12 minutes.

Notes

If you’re using Diamond Crystal kosher salt, use ¾ teaspoon. 
For the best results, use a thick salmon fillet, preferably center-cut, at least 1-inch thick. You will likely need to buy farm-raised instead of wild-caught for this recipe. In that case, look for USA farm-raised salmon with no added coloring. 
The USDA recommends cooking salmon to an internal temperature of 145ºF (63ºC). We prefer to under-cook it a bit and remove salmon from the heat when it reaches an internal temperature of 125ºF (52ºC).

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 poundCalories: 150kcalProtein: 22gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 340mg
Keywords Broiled Salmon, How to Broil Salmon
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment below and tag @ZestfulKitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #zestfulkitchen!
broiled salmon fillet on a baking sheet

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About The Author

Kaitlan Foland has spent the better half of a decade traveling the states writing for food and beverage publications. An amateur chef in the kitchen, her love of all things culinary has motivated her desire to always know more and, in turn, be able to enlighten others. Recently having taken her travels overseas, she hopes to bring more experience and cultural exploration into future adventures, on paper and off.

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