How to grill salmon well

How to grill salmon well
This is not as simple as it might at first appear. A properly grilled piece of salmon should be crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. This soft interior is achieved by very strict timing (cooking fish just right is a sign of a true chef), as undercooked it is unpleasant, and overcooked the salmon dries out.
367,1634.0/5 for 167 ratings
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Last modified on: October 13th 2010

For 4 people, you will need:

Change to the quantities for: 2 people 4 people 8 people 12 people

How long does it take?

Time required for this recipe:
PreparationRestingCookingStart to finish
11 min.5 min.6 min.22 min.
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Step by step recipe

Stage 1 - 5 min.
How to grill salmon well : Photo of step #1
Heat a plate.

Get salmon portions that are fairly thick (about 2 cm or 1"), with skin, and of as even thickness as possible. The best part for this is the back of the salmon.

Wash and dry them.

Put a non-sick pan on medium heat, and when hot, add the salmon skin side downwards, without any fat or oil.

Stage 2 - 3 min.
How to grill salmon well : Photo of step #2
Leave to cook like this for 3 minutes, season with salt and pepper then turn over.

Stage 3 - 2 min.
How to grill salmon well : Photo of step #3
When turned, pull off and discard the skin, which should now come off easily.

Stage 4 - 3 min.
How to grill salmon well : Photo of step #4
Scrape the top of the salmon with a serrated knife to remove all the grey part and discard it. This is the fat which is unattractive and tasteless.

Stage 5
How to grill salmon well : Photo of step #5
Remove the fat completely. Be thorough, especially around the central backbone where it is thicker, as shown by the green arrows.

Stage 6 - 1 min.
How to grill salmon well : Photo of step #6
Salt and pepper the top side, then turn over again.

Stage 7 - 3 min.
How to grill salmon well : Photo of step #7
Now comes the tricky moment: knowing when to stop cooking.

the simplest method is to stick an thermometer into the middle, and to stop when the temperature reaches 60°C (140°F).

Stage 8
How to grill salmon well : Photo of step #8
If you don't have a thermometer, you can watch the cut end of the pieces for the change from translucent pink (red arrow): undercooked, to opaque (green arrow): cooked.

Remove from the heat immediately as soon as the centre turns opaque.

As a general rule, you should allow 3 minutes cooking per side.

Stage 9
How to grill salmon well : Photo of step #9
It's quite likely that a sort of white paste will form on the slice during cooking, as shown by the green arrow. This is normal, and you can remove it by scraping with a small spoon. Once again it's unattractive and adds nothing to the flavour.

Stage 10 - 5 min.
How to grill salmon well : Photo of step #10
Place the salmon pieces on a hot plate, then cover with aluminium foil.

Leave covered like this for 5 minutes which will tenderize the salmon.

Stage 11
How to grill salmon well : Photo of step #11
The salmon is now ready to be used in your recipe,for example salmon with sorrel as in this photo.

For a simple healthy meal, you can serve it as it is with just a sprinkle of lemon juice. This is also the best way to judge how well you have cooked the salmon.


Use white pepper rather than black if possible, it's less visible on the salmon.

Pay attention to the cooking time. If your are watching for the change from translucent to opaque, don't hesitate to remove the fish from the heat while it is still very slightly translucent, as it will finish cooking while standing.


To eat right now.

Nutritional information

Whole recipe
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
1,360 Kcal or 5,694 Kj160 gr0 gr80 gr
68 %62 %0 %12 %
Per 100 g
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
170 Kcal or 712 Kj20 gr0 gr10 gr
9 %8 %0 %2 %
Per person
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
340 Kcal or 1,424 Kj40 gr0 gr20 gr
17 %15 %0 %3 %
% are calculated relative to a Recommended Dietary Intake or RDI of 2000 k-calories or 8400 k-joules by day for a woman (change to a man).

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Home made.

More recipes?

This recipe uses (among others)
Salmon filletSalmon fillet: You can check-out other recipes which use it, like for example: Gravlax, Grilled fillet of salmon with corn salad cream, Fillet of salmon meunière, Cretan-style salmon , Baked salmon fillet, ... All

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