Simple Garlic Butter Salmon Recipe

Salmon is a delicious fish packed with heart-healthy Omega 3 fats. Using garlic butter and lemon to create the sauce adds an amazing depth of flavor. We’ll show you how to make this baked salmon recipe easy for clean up by wrapping the fish fillets in foil packs and baking them in the oven!

This recipe was first published in March 2017. New content and images were added to this post in June 2018 and again, in October of 2019.

wild salmon fillet with lemon slices and garlic butter

Which type of salmon is best for you?

This topic comes up for discussion a lot, especially when comparing the wild salmon fillets from Alaska and the farmed Atlantic salmon.

Farmed salmon:

  • are raised in fish farms, also known as aquacultures
  • eat a diet of processed feed
  • contain Omega-3 fatty acids as well as Vitamins A and D

On the other hand, wild salmon:

  • are raised in a natural habitat, such as rivers and oceans
  • eat organisms and other food found in their natural environment
  • have a color that is more vibrant and intense than farmed salmon
  • pack more nutritional benefit per ounce than farmed fish

baked salmon in foil

Is fresh salmon better than frozen for this recipe?

You can make this salmon recipe using either fresh or frozen salmon. I normally use fresh salmon fillets because they are easier to find at my local grocery store.

Most seafood is flash frozen, meaning that it is frozen at its prime peak of freshness. Technically,  the quality will be the same with fresh and frozen fish; there’s just the issue of whether or not to thaw frozen salmon.

You can cook frozen salmon in a pan, in the oven, and even on the grill, but you will need to add a few minutes to the cooking time. Remember to pull the frozen fillets from the freezer in the morning and put them in the fridge to thaw. They’ll be perfect to use for making this salmon recipe at dinnertime.

Can I use parchment paper instead of aluminum foil to make this salmon recipe?

Yes and no. Let me explain. For this salmon recipe, we’ll steam the salmon fillet, and then we’re going to broil it.

If you want to skip the broiler step, you can use parchment paper. Just remove the salmon from the oven and make sure it reaches the internal temperature of 145ºF. Please, remember to always insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the salmon.

If you prefer to bake and broil the salmon, you need to use aluminum foil. Foil is more resistant to high temperatures.

The steaming step is great to keep the salmon moist and flavourful. That’s why this is the most important step. And, the broiling step gives this salmon recipe a crisp and caramelized crust. Yum!

making a salmon recipe in the oven

Can I use clarified butter (ghee)?

Before answering this question, let me explain what ghee is. It’s a kind of clarified butter that is made by melting regular butter over a medium-high temperature.

The butter separates into liquid fats and milk solids. When the milk solids are removed, what is left is known as clarified butter. Because the milk solids are removed, ghee contains less lactose than regular butter. Besides that, ghee has a high smoke point, which is great for cooking. It’s also great for whole30 and paleo.

It’s easy to make homemade ghee (watch this great tutorial on how to make it). But I normally buy ghee online at Amazon since it’s more convenient.

See this list of ghees to buy. And yes, you totally can use ghee to make this recipe, although regular butter is also delicious in this recipe. You can also use olive oil if you prefer.

What is the best seasoning for this salmon recipe?

I think salmon goes really well with almost any spice blend for fish that you like to use.

My favourite seasonings to use for this garlic butter salmon in foil are garlic, salt, and black and red pepper. If you want to switch things up, these seasonings are also delicious on fish:

  • Italian seasoning
  • fresh parsley
  • fresh dill.
  • oregano
  • tarragon

Mmm… The best! Simply delicious!

How long do you cook salmon in the oven at 375ºF?

It depends on the size and thickness of your salmon fillet. If your fillet is very thick, I would say about 15 minutes in the oven at 375ºF. But if it is a normal size, I would say about 12-13 minutes or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork.

What vegetables go well with salmon?

When it comes to salmon, or any other type of fish, there are a lot of tasty options for vegetable side dishes. A few favorites of mine are:

Other salmon recipes to try:

Garlic Butter Salmon in Foil

This Garlic Butter Salmon in Foil is an ultra-easy and flavourful dinner to make during your busy weeknights. It’s ready in less than 30 minutes and is delicious with salads and roasted veggies.
4.03 from 250 votes


  • pounds salmon fillet
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or melted ghee
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼  teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley - for garnishing
  • lemon slices - for garnishing


  • Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil. The piece of foil should be large enough to fold over and seal the fish.
  • In a small bowl, add lemon juice, garlic, and melted butter or melted ghee. Whisk everything together.
  • Place the salmon on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Pour the butter mixture over the salmon.
  • Season with salt, pepper, oregano, and red pepper flakes.
  • Fold the sides of the foil over the salmon. Make sure it is well sealed so that the sauce does not leak.
  • Place the pan into the oven, and bake until cooked, about 12-16 minutes. The cooking time depends on the thickness of the fillet.*
  • Open the foil, and broil the fish for 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to burn the fish!
  • Remove from the oven. Using a spoon, pour some of the butter sauce left in the foil onto the salmon before serving. Then, garnish with parsley.



*Cook the salmon until it reaches an internal temperature of 145ºF.
Suggested sides: Easy Mediterranean Salad, Mashed Cauliflower recipe, Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries, Roasted Green Beans with Tahini SauceCauliflower "Potato" Salad, and this Garlic Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower.
If you have salmon leftovers, make this Salmon Chopped Salad recipe. So good!!
And if you love salmon recipes, I have a  list of other delicious salmon recipes for you to try.
Serving: 1/4, Calories: 250kcal, Carbohydrates: 0.5g, Protein: 29.6g, Fat: 18.1g, Saturated Fat: 6.9g, Cholesterol: 105mg, Sodium: 201mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 0.1g

If you make this recipe, follow @primaverakitchen on Instagram, snap a photo and hashtag it #primaverakitchen. I'd love to see what you're making!

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As a memory, I kept the original photo from 2017!

Garlic Butter Salmon in Foil Recipe - Primavera Kitchen