Oven Baked Lemon Pepper Salmon

A white platter containing four oven baked lemon pepper salmon filets topped with lemon slices.

Looking for a healthy dinner option that doesn’t sacrifice on flavour? Here’s how to create restaurant-quality oven baked Lemon Pepper Salmon right in your own kitchen. Your taste buds will adore the tangy freshness of lemons and the subtle heat of black pepper flavouring these perfectly flaky salmon filets.

In a hurry? Choose salmon for a delicious, nutritious and versatile main protein option. Cook it in a cast iron skillet with lemon and herbs to get that perfect restaurant quality sear on the salmon skin while keeping the flesh moist and tender.

Or, if you prefer to sauce things up a little, brush on a little teriyaki sauce and cook in the air fryer in minutes. Add rice and vegetables to create Salmon bowls for a simple weeknight dinner the whole family will love.

A white platter containing four oven baked lemon pepper salmon filets topped with lemon slices.

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Lemon Pepper Salmon

Nervous about cooking fish on a sheet pan? The key to success is knowing how to choose and cook the salmon. Use this post as a primer full of great tips and tricks designed to help you make perfectly cooked salmon every time.

Friends, this Lemon Pepper Salmon recipe is one of the fish recipes that I make the most often. It’s a simple baked salmon recipe that requires very little thought, ingredients, or effort. Additionally, it is incredibly easy to scale up… or down depending on how many people you need to feed.

This fish recipe requires very few ingredients, allowing the exceptional flavour of the salmon to shine through. The homemade lemon pepper seasoning is a combination of fresh lemon juice with freshly ground black pepper. Using a generous amount of fresh lemon juice brings an extra tangy zip to the fish. 

A table scene with two dinner plates of baked lemon pepper salmon with green beans surrounded by lemons, forks, and napkins.

How to Choose Salmon Filets

Sometimes buying fish at the grocery store can be intimidating. How do you know if it is fresh? Furthermore, how do you make the best choice for the environment? These days we have to make a conscious effort while shopping for fresh fish in order for it to available for generations to come.

  1. Choose filets that have a bright coral pink to vibrant red flesh. Avoid fish with brown spots or bruising near the belly or on curling edges.
  2. Look for filets with a high moisture content and avoid filets that look dry or have begun to flake apart or ‘gape’ near the cut edges.
  3. Smell the fish. It shouldn’t be overpowering or extremely ‘fishy’. Fish should smell pleasantly of the ocean.
  4. When cooking multiple portions, select salmon fillets that are a similar size and thickness for a uniform cook time.
One white dinner plate of baked lemon pepper salmon with green beans.

Generally, up to 99% of Atlantic salmon available in markets is farmed while most Pacific salmon (more than 80%) are wild caught. It is worth noting that wild caught salmon has fewer contaminants, is more nutrient dense and is better for the environment. Their population, so far, remains self sustaining.

While fish that are farmed in a responsible manner remain a decent choice, wild-caught salmon are the best option when looking for a sustainable seafood meal. If you are going to buy farmed salmon, do some research and evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

Ingredients required to make baked lemon pepper salmon.

Ingredients for Lemon Pepper Salmon

The star of this easy baked lemon pepper salmon is the fish while the other ingredients are merely ‘supporting actors’. Ingredients like lemon, garlic, and butter compliment the delicate flavour of the salmon without overpowering it.

  • Salmon Filets
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Black Pepper
  • Salt
  • Fresh Parsley

Choose either skin-on or skin-off salmon filets of similar size and thickness. When cooking with skin-on filets, place them on the baking sheet skin-side down. Once cooked, the skin should slide off easily.

A series of photos showing how to prepare and bake lemon pepper salmon on a baking sheet.

While salmon contains plenty of Omega 3 oils, always use extra fats, like olive oil and butter while cooking salmon to to add extra flavor and help prevent it from drying out.

Fresh garlic always adds bit of earthy grounding flavour to any protein. If you aren’t a garlic lover, feel free to leave the garlic out of this recipe.

Besides salmon, lemon is the second most important ingredient in this recipe. I recommend fresh lemons for the best flavour profile, not bottled lemon juice. Squeeze fresh lemon juice then use fresh slices of lemon to garnish the filets before baking. If you want to add even more lemon flavour, zest the lemon and sprinkle the zest along with the garlic before baking.

A white platter containing four oven baked lemon pepper salmon filets topped with lemon slices.

It wouldn’t be lemon pepper salmon without the pepper. Sprinkle a liberal amount of freshly ground black pepper all over the fish to create your own lemon pepper seasoning without the additives. In a pinch? You can substitute 1-2 teaspoons store-bought lemon-pepper seasoning.

Parsley is the ubiquitous fish garnish. It’s there purely to perk things up visually and provides no actual flavour to the final dish. Use it if you are making this dish for a dinner party or special occasion dinner but feel free to omit it for regular meals.

A table scene with two dinner plates of baked lemon pepper salmon with green beans surrounded by lemons, forks, and napkins.

How to Cook Lemon Pepper Salmon

Cooking salmon is easier than you think. This ocean fish contains natural oils to help it stay juicy and tender. However, like any fish it will dry out if you over cook it. The good news is, I’ve got your back… let’s get cooking!

To begin, preheat oven to 425 F. If you like, line the baking sheet with aluminum foil for easier cleanup. Drizzle the olive oil on a large sheet pan and set aside.

Prepare the salmon filets by inspecting for any rogue bones then pat them dry with a paper towel. Season the top side with salt and pepper then place the salmon fillets on the prepared sheet pan. Squeeze the juice from one lemon over the top of the salmon.

A fork grabbing a bite of flaky salmon off a white dinner plate on a table scene.

Next, sprinkle minced garlic over the salmon, and place a ½ tablespoon pat of butter on top of each filet. Finally, top each filet with 1 – 2 slices of fresh lemon.

Bake salmon on the middle rack in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until fully cooked through. Note: Cooking time may vary slightly depending on the thickness of your salmon filets.

Drizzle the lemon butter pan sauce over the salmon and garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.

A fork holding a bite of salmon over a full white dinner plate of salmon and beans.

How to Know When Salmon is Done Cooking

Perfectly cooked salmon is moist with a slightly translucent center. Use a meat thermometer to determine when salmon is safely cooked at medium rare at (120 F) or medium at 125 F – 130 F. Temperatures past 130 F will cause result in dry, chalky salmon with an unpleasant flavour.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container and add baked lemon pepper salmon to your weekly meal plans. It’s delicious with pasta, on salad, and as a salmon salad sandwich.

Pinterest image featuring lemon pepper salmon filets topped with lemon slices on a white platter and on a dinner plate beside green beans.

Hi! I’m Bernice Hill and am the sole recipe developer, photographer, and writer at Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen. It is my pleasure to share easy-to-follow recipes that are delicious, nutritious, and approachable for the whole family.

If you make this Oven Baked Lemon Pepper Salmon, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section or in a recipe rating. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe, please share your photos and tag me on Instagram. I hope you like this recipe!

Yield: 4 servings

Oven Baked Lemon Pepper Salmon

A white platter containing four oven baked lemon pepper salmon filets topped with lemon slices.

Looking for a healthy dinner option that doesn't sacrifice on flavour? Here's how to create restaurant-quality oven baked Lemon Pepper Salmon right in your own kitchen. Your taste buds will adore the tangy freshness of lemons and the subtle heat of black pepper flavouring these perfectly flaky salmon filets.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Salmon filets (about 6 ounces each)
  • ½ tsp kosher Salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Lemon; juiced (about 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice)
  • 1 Lemon; cut into thin slices
  • 1 tsp minced Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • Parsley, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Drizzle the olive oil on a large sheet pan and set aside.
    2. Pat the salmon filets dry with a paper towel, and season the top side with salt and pepper.
    3. Place the salmon fillets on the prepared sheet pan. Squeeze the juice from one lemon over the top of the salmon.
    4. Sprinkle minced garlic over the salmon, and place a ½ tablespoon pat of butter on top of each filet.
    5. Top each filet with 1 - 2 slices of fresh lemon.
    6. Bake the salmon on the middle rack in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until fully cooked.* Drizzle the lemon butter sauce from the pan over the salmon and garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.









Notes

*Cooking time may vary slightly depending on the thickness of your salmon filets. A meat thermometer inserted into the salmon should read between 125 F – 130 F. Salmon is medium rare at 120 F and medium at 125 F – 130 F.

Perfectly cooked salmon is moist with a slightly translucent center. Temperatures past 130 F will cause the salmon to become dry and overcooked.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 554Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 158mgSodium: 342mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 50g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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20 comments

  1. Moop Brown

    Salmon is one of my favorite proteins to eat for dinner and I like how simple and easy to make this recipe for it is. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      You are so welcome!! Happy cooking Moop.

  2. Sandhya Ramakrishnan

    Lot of tips and tricks to make the perfect salmon recipe! Such a simple recipe but loaded with flavors and thank you for the detailed explanation on hot to cook a perfect Salmon dinner!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I’m glad you find this recipe so easy to follow. So many people are intimidated by cooking fish so I wanted to give as much information as possible.

  3. Carrie Robinson

    I just LOVE salmon! I love the way that you prepared this- so simple, yet so flavorful! 🙂 Can’t wait to try this recipe soon.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      This is our usual way to cook salmon and I’m so glad to share the recipe with you. Happy cooking Carrie.

  4. Molly Kumar

    I love salmon and saving your recipe to try soon. The flavor combinations are fabulous and would be a great addition to weeknight meals.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Lemon and fish were meant to be together!

  5. Megane

    Yo, the Lemon Pepper Salmon is a vibe! Seriously, hit the spot—easy dinner, big flavor and everyone loved it. Cheers. 🍋🐟👌

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I really is! Hahaha. Glad you loved it Megane.

  6. Leslie

    I love these flavors with salmon! It’s such a perfect combination and so easy to make. My favorite way to eat salmon!!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Me too! Thank you for trying my recipe Leslie.

  7. Lauren

    This salmon had the perfect combination of lemon, butter and garlic. We absolutely loved it and it was super easy to make!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Glad you loved this salmon, it’s my favourite way to prepare it too.

  8. Gwynn Galvin

    Such an easy recipe to make and I love the brightness that the lemon adds to every bite of this perfectly seasoned salmon.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Yes! Fish and lemon were meant to be together!

  9. Enriqueta E Lemoine

    My baked lemon pepper salmon is in the oven. I will serve it with blanched broccoli, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Thank you for a recipe that is simply delicious and super easy to make,

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      That sounds delicious! Yes, we often eat this salmon dish with a side of broccoli too. It just seems to work.

  10. Gloria

    I always have salmon in the freezer. Great for dinner any night of the week. Perfect for entertaining too. Baking it is so easy and delicious.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Perfect! We usually do too since we love having it at least once a week.

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