This easy salmon recipe is a beautiful main course that's easy enough for weeknight dinner! The pecan and brown sugar glaze is delish. Includes air fryer option.
Sometimes, my Missouri shows. I can't help it. You can leave it to me to take a beautiful piece of fresh salmon and essentially top it with the best part of pecan pie! Regardless, this to this baked brown sugar salmon recipe is a DELICIOUS WAY to serve up dinner!
I'm sorry and you're welcome (should this be my new tagline)? Is it any consolation that it's delicious? My son calls this easy baked salmon recipe "salmon candy," and my Mom loves it so much she submitted it to our church cookbook! Even if you aren't a fan of salmon, I think you will like this dish!
In this recipe, we do a quick broil of the salmon, then top it with a sweet basting sauce made of pecans, light brown sugar, melted butter, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. The sweetness of the brown sugar is balanced perfectly with the nutty pecans, tart lemon juice and savory mustard.
Most people associate pecans with the South, but Missouri actually has plenty of pecan production going on!
My husband smokes meat with pecan wood (try it!) and I incorporate them into recipes as much as possible, like this Baked Brie with Honey, Candied Pecans, and Cranberries or these other pecan recipes:
- Pecan Pie Cheesecake
- Cranberry Pecan Brussels Sprouts Salad
- Pecan Pie Cobbler
- Honey Roasted Pecans
- Cinnamon Pecan Breakfast Bundt Cake
A photo of baked salmon with pecan brown sugar glaze
Additions or Substitutions:
- Make a Garlic Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon by omitting the pecans and adding 2 cloves of chopped fresh garlic to the glaze.
- Add a teaspoon of fresh ginger and a tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce, and omit the Dijon mustard.
- Garnish with fresh herbs and lemon wedges.
Can I air fry the salmon?
Yes, you can make this salmon recipe in the air fryer! Instead of broiling it, air fry the salmon pieces for 7-10 minutes at 390 degrees. Do not flip it. Remove from the air fryer, then pour the pecan glaze over the top. Voila! An easy dinner everyone will love.
What type of salmon should I use?
We prefer wild caught salmon over farm raised. But, I know it's harder to find and pricier at the grocery store. So, use what you have! Our favorite cuts are wild sockeye salmon and king salmon.
Should I remove the skin from the salmon filet?
Removing the skin is totally optional, and it's your preference. If you don't remove the skin, place the salmon skin side down when cooking. If you do leave the skin on, make sure to line your baking tray with aluminum foil and spray it with cooking spray so the skin does not stick.
What should I pair with this salmon recipe?
This salmon makes a delicious meal when paired with:
- Sauteed Green Beans with Bacon and Mustard Glaze
- Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts
- Julie's Italian House Salad'
- Caramelized Onion and Bacon Mashed Potatoes
- 2 6-ounce salmon filets
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
For the pecan brown sugar sauce
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Rinse each piece of salmon with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle the outside of the salmon fillets with salt and pepper.
- Place salmon skin-side down on a prepared baking sheet. For easy clean-up, you can line your baking sheet with a piece of aluminum foil and cooking spray.
- Set oven to broil on high.
- Place baking tray with salmon in oven on top rack under the broiler. Broil for 5-6 minutes. Remove from oven, turn fish over. Return to oven, broil for another 2-3 minutes.
- While the salmon is cooking, fill a small saucepan with the pecans, brown sugar, butter, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Set to low-medium heat until the mixture begins to bubble, then turn the heat down to low, stirring frequently. Allow to simmer until reduced to a glaze.
- Remove salmon from oven. Check for done-ness of salmon. It should flake easy. You can also use an instant read thermometer in the thickest part of the salmon. I like to cook my salmon to about 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Serve warm with brown sugar pecan sauce over the top. Garnish with fresh herbs (optional).
And yes, you can make the salmon in the air fryer! Instead of broiling it, air fry the salmon pieces for 7-10 minutes at 390 degrees. Do not flip it. Remove from the air fryer, then pour the pecan glaze over the top.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 2
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 321