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How to Grill Perfect Salmon (plus recipes!)

Learn exactly how to grill salmon that’s flavorful, moist and perfect for using in your favorite recipes or as a main dish protein! In this easy tutorial for making the best grilled salmon, you’ll learn the direct grilling method and the foil pack method so that you can have delicious grilled salmon in under 30 minutes. Seasonings, marinades and recipes included!

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
22 mins

SUMMER = all things grilling! I’m so excited to be launching a FREE comprehensive guide to grilling that you can use all summer long, including this resource for grilling perfect salmon every time.

I’ve got two different methods for you for learning how to grill salmon: directly on the grill and using a foil pack method. Use all of my tips, tricks, marinades and recipes below to enjoy perfectly grilled salmon all summer long.

Sign up for our FREE Ultimate Guide to Grilling

This comprehensive email series and FREE, printable e-book has all of the tips, tricks and tutorials you’ll need to gain confidence behind the grill this summer (and all year round!) You’ll learn:

  • Exactly how to operate your gas grill + get all of our recommended grilling tools
  • How to grill amazing proteins to use in your fav recipes (like this salmon!)
  • The best way to grill any types of veggie
  • And even how to make desserts on the grill!

What are you waiting for? Sign up here and enjoy a full summer of delicious grilling!

grilled salmon on a plate with a salad

Fall in love with grilled salmon

Salmon is one of our favorite proteins to grill all summer long because it’s:

  • Fast & easy. You’ll have flavorful grilled salmon in under 30 minutes with just a few super simple steps. Dinner win!
  • Delicious. There are so many different ways to season and flavor salmon that you’re guaranteed to never get bored. Have fun experimenting!
  • Packed with nutrition. We love having salmon for lunches and dinners and get excited that Sidney loves it, too, because it’s packed with lean protein, healthy fats and omega-3s. Amazing for growing kiddos and adults!

Types of salmon to choose from

  • Wild or farmed? You can choose wild or farmed, it’s up to you. Farm-raised salmon tends to be milder in flavor and more fatty/buttery in texture, while on the other hand wild salmon can be a little more spendy, but is leaner, pinker, and higher in minerals such as zinc and iron. Both are delicious!
  • Skin on or off? Choose a salmon with the skin still on it. This will help keep the salmon extra flavorful, plus it’s easier to grill.
  • Different varieties of salmon. The most common types of salmon you’ll find at the grocery store are King/Chinook, which is large with a high fat content, Sockeye, which is more red/orange in color, Coho/Silver salmon, which has bright red flesh, and Atlantic Salmon, which is always farmed.

grilled salmon on a plate with a salad

Our fav salmon marinades & seasonings

The key to flavorful grilled salmon is of course adding a delicious marinade or seasoning. Our fav marinades and seasonings have three necessary components:

  1. Fat from oil or even full fat yogurt or buttermilk
  2. Acid from vinegar or citrus fruit
  3. Seasonings like your fav spices and herbs

Ready to try one? Here are the best marinades for salmon:

salmon in a bowl with a marinade

How hot should your grill be to cook salmon?

I recommend grilling salmon at a medium-high heat, or 375 to 400 degrees F so that it gives the salmon a nice char while sealing in all of the moisture. This will prevent the salmon from overcooking.

How to grill perfect salmon: two simple methods

Method 1: directly on your grill

The traditional way to grill salmon is just like you would with any of your favorite proteins. You’ll add the filets directly to your grill, cook them, then flip and cook them again:

Step 1: marinate your salmon. Pour or generously brush your favorite marinade over the salmon. You can also marinate it in the fridge in a bowl or shallow dish for a few hours before cooking.

Step 2: prep your grill. Preheat a gas grill over medium-high heat, around 375 to 400 degrees F. Use a grill brush to scrape off anything left over from previous cooking. Brush the grill with oil to prevent sticking.

two pieces of salmon on a grill

Step 3: place your salmon. You’ll start by grilling your salmon skin-side up for about 6-8 minutes. This helps to seal in all of the flavors and makes it easier to flip. No peeking under the lid while it’s cooking!

two pieces of salmon on a grill with a spatula

Step 4: flip & finish. Flip the salmon with a fish spatula and cook for another 6-8 minutes until the salmon is just cooked through and flakes easily. Feel free to brush with more of the marinade here, too. It’s best to slightly undercook rather than overcook your salmon filets. Salmon is done typically when it reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees F.

brushing salmon with a marinade on a grill

Step 5: let it rest. Once you’ve removed your salmon from the grill be sure to let it rest for a couple of minutes to seal in the flavor and juices. The salmon will also cook more as you let it rest, so it’s okay if you removed it a little bit early.

two pieces of salmon on a grill

Method 2: grill salmon in foil packs

Looking for a no-fuss, minimal cleanup way to grill salmon? Throw that baby in a foil pack! That’s right, grilled salmon in foil is foolproof and makes perfect, juicy salmon. This is a great method to use if your salmon does not have skin on it, too.

salmon in a foil pack with a fork

  1. Marinate your salmon. If you’re using a salmon marinade, let your salmon filets sit in the marinade for at least an hour before grilling it.
  2. Prep your grill. Preheat a gas grill over medium-high heat, around 375 to 400 degrees F. Use a grill brush to scrape off anything left over from previous cooking.
  3. Create your salmon foil pack. Spray a large piece of tinfoil with cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil. Once your salmon is done marinating, add it onto your piece of foil. Seal the edges by folding the piece of foil together or adding another piece of foil on top and sealing the edges. Use a fork or knife to poke a hole at the top of the foil to allow some steam to escape.
  4. Grill the foil pack. Place your whole foil pack directly on your preheated grill, close the lid and grill your salmon foil pack for 14-20 minutes. Usually salmon takes 15 minutes for every inch of thickness.
  5. Remove foil pack & let it rest. Remove the whole foil pack from your grill and let your salmon rest for a few minutes before cutting into it. If you check your salmon and it needs a couple more minutes to cook, you can cover it back up with foil and let it finish cooking off of the grill.

flaking grilled salmon with a fork on a plate with a side salad

How do you know when grilled salmon is cooked?

There are a few ways to tell if your salmon is fully cooked or not, and once you get the hang of cooking and grilling salmon you’ll become more and more comfortable with judging it based on the look.

  1. By temperature. This is the most technical method for testing if your salmon is fully cooked. Fish should technically be cooked to an internal temp of 145 degrees F using a meat thermometer. However, your salmon will continue to cook a bit more as you let it “rest” after grilling.
  2. By time. As a general rule, I’ve found that you should bake salmon for 15 minutes for every inch of thickness.
  3. By texture. Salmon is fully cooked when it can easily be flaked with a fork and is an opaque, soft pink color instead of bright pink.

As I mentioned, it’s better to undercook rather than overcook your salmon, and remember that it will continue to cook as it “rests” after you grill it!

firecracker grilled salmon topped with peach avocado salsa on a plate

What to serve with grilled salmon

Perfect grilled salmon is amazing all summer long. Here are some of our favorite summer sides and dishes to serve it with:

Get all of our amazing salmon recipes here to try with these grilling methods!

healthy salmon taco bowl topped with avocado and greek yogurt

How to store leftover grilled salmon

If you happen to have salmon leftover, simply place it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Call me crazy, but I actually love leftover salmon with scrambled eggs. Try it in breakfast tacos or a breakfast quesadilla like this one!

Fire up the grill for more delicious recipes & tutorials

Get all of our amazing grilling recipes here, and don’t forget to sign up for the AK Ultimate Guide to Grilling here! See below for the perfect, printable guide for grilling 4 different proteins.

I hope you love this amazing, easy method for how to grill salmon! If you try it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo! 

How to Grill Salmon (two different ways)

grilled salmon on a plate with a salad
Course Dinner, Gluten Free, Grain Free, How to, Low Carb, Lunch
Cuisine American
Keyword how to grill salmon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Serves 4

Learn exactly how to grill salmon that's flavorful, moist and perfect for using in your favorite recipes or as a main dish protein! In this easy tutorial for making the best grilled salmon, you'll learn the direct grilling method and the foil pack method so that you can have delicious grilled salmon in under 30 minutes. Seasonings, marinades and recipes included!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh salmon
  • Firecracker marinade
  • Optional: any of your other favorite seasonings or marinade.

Instructions

  1. Method 1: direct grilling

    Pour or generously brush your favorite marinade over the salmon. You can also marinate it in the fridge in a bowl or shallow dish for a few hours before cooking.

    Preheat a gas grill over medium-high heat, around 375 to 400 degrees F. Use a grill brush to scrape off anything leftover from previous cooking. Brush the grill with oil to prevent sticking.

    Place salmon skin-side up and close the grill lid. Grill salmon for 6-8 minutes.

    Carefully flip the salmon and cook for another 6-8 minutes until the salmon is just cooked through and flakes easily. It's best to slightly undercook rather than overcook your salmon filets.

    Once you've removed your salmon from the grill, let it rest for a couple of minutes on a plate or cutting board to seal in the flavor and juices.

  2. Method 2: the foil pack method

    If you’re using a salmon marinade, let your salmon filets sit in the marinade for at least an hour before grilling it.

    Preheat a gas grill over medium-high heat, around 375 to 400 degrees F. Use a grill brush to scrape off anything left over from previous cooking.

    Spray a large piece of tinfoil with cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil. Once your salmon is done marinating, add it onto your piece of foil. Seal the edges by folding the piece of foil together or adding another piece of foil on top and sealing the edges. Use a fork or knife to poke a hole at the top of the foil to allow some steam to escape.

    Place your whole foil pack directly on your preheated grill, close the lid and grill your salmon foil pack for 14-20 minutes. Usually salmon takes 15 minutes for every inch of thickness.

    Remove the whole foil pack from your grill and let your salmon rest for a few minutes before cutting into it. If you check your salmon and it needs a couple more minutes to cook, you can cover it back up with foil and let it finish cooking off of the grill.

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats

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guide with how to grill different proteins

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