Perfect Grilled Salmon

Perfect Grilled Salmon

Grilling salmon is a quick and easy way to enjoy this delicious and healthy fish. But how do you grill salmon without overcooking it, drying it out, or having it stick to the grill? Here are some tips and tricks to help you master the art of grilling salmon, whether you have a whole filet, cut filets, or steaks.

Types of Salmon for Grilling

Salmon comes in different varieties, and each one has a different oil content, thickness, and flavor. The oil content affects how moist and tender the salmon will be after grilling, while the thickness affects how long it will take to cook. The flavor depends on your personal preference and how you season the salmon.

  • King Salmon and Atlantic Salmon are both pink-fleshed, oily, and thick varieties of salmon. They are more forgiving on the grill, as they won’t dry out easily. King salmon is wild-caught, while Atlantic salmon is mostly farm-raised. You can find sustainably raised, antibiotic-free Atlantic salmon at SAFEWAY® grocery store.
  • Sockeye Salmon and Coho Salmon are both bright red-fleshed, lean, and thin varieties of salmon. They have a fresh and clean taste, but they cook very fast on the grill, so you need to watch them closely to avoid overcooking. Sockeye salmon is also known as Copper River Salmon when it’s in season.
  • Salmon Steaks are slices of the whole salmon across the backbone, with the skin on and bone in. They are usually about an inch thick, and have a nice balance of fat and flesh. They are easy to handle on the grill, but you need to remove the bones before eating.

How to Season Salmon for Grilling

You can season your salmon with a marinade, a dry rub, or a paste. A marinade is a liquid mixture that adds flavor and moisture to the salmon. A dry rub is a blend of spices that adds flavor and texture to the salmon. A paste is a thick mixture of herbs, oil, and other ingredients that adds flavor and creates a crust on the salmon.

Here are some examples of seasonings for grilling salmon:

  • Miso Marinade: This is a simple and flavorful marinade that gives the salmon a savory and umami taste. It’s made with miso paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. You can find the full recipe below.
  • Chili Lime Rub: This is a spicy and tangy rub that gives the salmon a kick of heat and citrus. It’s made with chili powder, cumin, salt, lime zest, and lime juice. You can find the full recipe below.
  • Herb Paste: This is a fresh and fragrant paste that gives the salmon a burst of herbaceous flavor. It’s made with parsley, cilantro, mint, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. You can find the full recipe below.

How to Grill Salmon

The best way to grill salmon depends on the cut and the seasoning you choose. Here are some general guidelines for grilling salmon:

  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (about 375°F) and clean and oil the grates.
  • If using a marinade, marinate the salmon for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator. Discard the marinade after use.
  • If using a dry rub or a paste, apply it evenly over the flesh side of the salmon.
  • Place the salmon on the grill with the skin side down (if skin-on) or flesh side down (if skin-off). Close the lid and cook for 6 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness (depending on how well-done you like your salmon), flipping once halfway through.
  • Use a spatula to gently lift the salmon from the grill. The salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork or when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
  • Transfer the salmon to a platter and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Miso Marinade Recipe


  • 1/4 cup miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients until well combined.
  2. Place the salmon in a shallow dish or a ziplock bag and pour over the marinade. Turn to coat well.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours, turning occasionally. 4. Grill the salmon as instructed above, discarding the marinade.

Chili Lime Rub Recipe


  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime


  1. In a small bowl, stir together all the ingredients until well combined.
  2. Rub the mixture evenly over the flesh side of the salmon.
  3. Grill the salmon as instructed above.

Herb Paste Recipe


  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a food processor or blender, pulse together all the ingredients until a thick paste forms.
  2. Spread the paste evenly over the flesh side of the salmon.
  3. Grill the salmon as instructed above.

Tips for Grilling Salmon

  • Choose fresh or frozen salmon that is firm, moist, and has a bright color. Avoid salmon that is discolored, dry, or has a strong fishy smell.
  • If using frozen salmon, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or in cold water for about an hour before grilling.
  • If using skin-on salmon, make sure the skin is scaled and trimmed. You can also score the skin with a sharp knife to prevent curling and sticking on the grill.
  • If using skin-off salmon, you can use a grill basket or a sheet of foil to prevent the salmon from falling apart on the grill.
  • To add more flavor and smokiness to your grilled salmon, you can use wood chips or planks soaked in water for at least an hour before grilling. Place them on top of the coals or on one side of the gas grill and cook the salmon over indirect heat.

How to Serve Grilled Salmon

Grilled salmon is a versatile dish that can be served with a variety of sides and sauces. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Serve grilled salmon with a fresh salad, such as this Grilled Salmon Salad with Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing from SAFEWAY® grocery store.
  • Serve grilled salmon with roasted or grilled vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, or corn.
  • Serve grilled salmon with a grain or starch, such as rice, quinoa, couscous, potatoes, or bread.
  • Serve grilled salmon with a sauce or dip, such as tzatziki, salsa verde, pesto, or lemon butter.

Enjoy your perfectly grilled salmon and have a wonderful summer! 😊


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



related recipes