The sauce for this Jalapeño Lime Salmon combines hot jalapeños with tart lime juice, sweet honey, and a spark of garlic and red onion to make an impressive, easy salmon you'll find yourself making over and over again to impress your friends and family.
To serve, top with (optional) freshly minced cilantro.
Why this Recipe Works
Salmon is one of my favorite fish to cook with because it's so easy to imbue with wonderful flavor from a sauce with a variety of ingredients. The subtle, spicy kick is a great match for salmon and in this sauce. It is complemented by the acidic tartness of the lime juice and the sweetness of the honey.
The sauce is added just before putting the salmon in the oven so the acid does not prematurely cook the surface of the fish.
Salmon comes in different shapes, sizes, and thicknesses. Instead of cooking to a time, cooking to an internal temperature guarantees your salmon is cooked perfectly.
Ingredients & Substitutions
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Salmon - You can use any variety of salmon in this recipe including Sockeye, Coho, and King. Each requires different cooking times because of the varying thicknesses (more information below). I have a resource here if you need help choosing the right salmon for you.
Note: My go-to salmon since I live in the Pacific Northwest is Copper River and Prince William sound salmon. The wild salmon there are protected, and there are great efforts and laws in place to make sure the salmon population remains strong in the Copper River. Read more about how to choose fish to fit your needs here.
Olive oil - I prefer the taste the olive oil adds to this dish. However, you could substitute out with a flavorless oil such as avocado oil, canola, or sunflower seed.
Honey - Look for local honey at your farmers market, if possible. You can substitute with agave nectar in this recipe.
Garlic - use fresh garlic in this recipe. You can substitute ¼ teaspoon of dried garlic for each clove.
Jalapeño - I use green jalapeños for a subtle addition of heat. If you're looking for something with more of a kick, you can use serrano peppers.
Salt - I use sea salt in this recipe, but any natural salt can be used as a substitute.
How to make this recipe
Pre-heat your oven to 350F. Then, start by preparing the items for your sauce:
- Juice 2 limes
- Mince 2-3 cloves of garlic
- Finely dice a few tablespoons of red onion
- Thinly slice the jalapeño using a mandoline.
Add the prepared items to a small bowl. Then, add mix in the olive oil and honey.
Season the salmon with sea salt, then top with the sauce only just before transferring the salmon to the oven.
Important note: Do not top the salmon with the sauce until you are ready to place it in the oven. The acid in the lime will begin to cook the salmon if you add it in advance.
Cook the salmon for 15-30 minutes in the oven. The exact time depends on the thickness of the fish, so it is most helpful to check for done-ness with an instant-read thermometer.
When your fish is cooked, the internal temperature should read 145F per the FDA. However, most chefs prefer cooking salmon to 125F for a moist, flaky fish.
Another sign that it's ready is that the salmon should easily flake when you cut or poke into the center.
Top the jalapeño lime salmon with a heavy dose of minced cilantro just before serving.
Salmon cooking FAQs
Look for two clear signs that your salmon is cooked: 1. the internal temperature should read 145F per the FDA, even though most chefs cook fish to 125F for a moist, flaky finish. 2. the salmon should flake easily in the middle when you cut or poke into it.
Do not leave salmon out for more than 20 minutes before cooking it or it can be a food safety risk.
There are many amazing and delicious fish recipes on this blog for you to try. Here are some salmon recipe ideas I think you'll love that you can check out next!
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Jalapeño Lime Salmon
- 1 ½ lb. salmon sockeye, coho, king, etc.
- 2 limes juiced
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 jalapeño sliced thinly on a mandolin
- 2 tablespoon red onion finely diced
- 1 bunch cilantro minced (optional)
- Pre-heat your oven to 350F.
- Prepare your sauce items: Juice the 2 limes, mince the garlic, finely dice a few tablespoons of red onion, and thinly slice the jalapeño using a mandoline.Add the prepared items to a small bowl. Then, mix in the olive oil and honey.
- Season the salmon with sea salt, then top with the sauce only just before transferring the salmon to the oven*.
- Cook the salmon for 15-30 minutes in the oven. The exact time depends on the thickness of the fish, so it is most helpful to check for done-ness with an instant-read thermometer**.
- Top with a heavy dose of minced cilantro just before serving.
This post was originally published in October of 2017 but was republished with new photos, step-by-step instructions, FAQs, an updated video, and tips in August of 2022.