This salmon marinade features bright flavors and doesn't require a long list of ingredients. You can use this marinade for baked or grilled salmon.
Salmon is our favorite fish and we try to have it at least once a week. Our easy baked salmon with lemon and broiled salmon are weeknight staples and everyone loves this simple Mediterranean style Dijon salmon that’s bursting with flavor in every bite. We're prepared to argue that today's recipe is quite possibly the best salmon marinade ever made. Read through for tips, notes and a how-to video.
Cooking salmon at home
Salmon is an easy fish to work with. It’s juicy and flavorful, which makes it a family favorite. Better yet, it's available at just about any supermarket. There are so many ways to cook salmon. Some common recipes are baked salmon, pan seared salmon and grilled salmon kebabs.
When it comes to wild caught vs farmed salmon, it’s always best to shop for wild caught since it has better flavor and is healthier.
A marinade with a Mediterranean twist!
I love marinating salmon before cooking it because it makes the fish more tender and also brings out great flavors. This easy homemade marinade for salmon is made with ingredients that you probably already have on hand, and the best part is that you have control over what goes into your marinade. This means no extra sugar, preservatives or additives!
A good marinade is made with a few components:
Extra virgin olive oil: You need some kind of oil to make the marinade. Extra virgin olive oil is a smart choice because of all its health benefits. You can also use avocado oil.
Honey: You definitely want a source of sweetness. Honey is a good option here because the sweetness is not overpowering.
Lemon: An acidic component adds so much brightness to the marinade and ultimately to the dish you’re cooking. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is an easy and flavorful choice. However, oranges are also common and can work well. You can check out my orange glazed salmon recipe, it's so good!
Spices and flavors: This recipe uses a few simple spices such as salt, black pepper and Aleppo pepper since the marinade already has a lot of flavor and we don’t want the flavors to get mixed and lose their character. Garlic is also a very good addition to this marinade.
Herbs: This is where all the Mediterranean flavor lies. Dried dill and oregano work well for this salmon marinade. You can also use fresh herbs if you have some on hand.
Marinated salmon has so much flavor and making it is so easy. Just complete two simple steps and your salmon dinner is ready!
Marinate the salmon
In a bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic, oregano, dill and spices. Pour the marinade over the salmon and let it marinate. You can let it sit for as little as thirty minutes or as long as four hours.
Bake in the oven
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the marinated salmon on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the salmon is flaky and cooked through.
I served this Mediterranean style marinated baked salmon with a quick tomato salad made with tomatoes, red onion, parsley and mint. Other side dish suggestions include:
- Mediterranean salad
- Greek salad
- Turkish white bean salad
- Instant pot brown rice
- Greek potatoes
- Mediterranean oven roasted vegetables
Frequently asked questions
For this particular marinade I don't advise using garlic powder because it won't add as much flavor as garlic cloves do.
Yes. Turn the grill on to medium high. Place a grill mat on the grates and place the marinated salmon skin side down on the mat. Grill for 5-7 minutes. Flip and grill until the salmon is opaque and flakes easily, about 5 more minutes.
Salmon is very tender and if marinated and then frozen, it can break and become mushy because of the acidic components. It's best to marinate salmon 30 minutes before cooking.
Notes and tips
- Salmon is very tender, so it’s best to marinate it for one to four hours. Since this marinade has lemon juice which is an acidic component, marinating for more than four hours might break the flesh and affect the texture.
- You can add other spices and herbs to this marinade such as coriander, cumin or thyme.
- Don’t overcook! This is a common mistake when it comes to cooking salmon. Perfectly cooked salmon flakes easily but is juicy and not dry at all. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends cooking salmon until it reaches the temperature of 145°F.
Best Salmon Marinade Mediterranean Style
- 2 lb salmon
- 2 lemon juice of
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp honey
- 6 cloves garlic sliced
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried dill
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- Pat dry the salmon and place it on a baking sheet or a container.
- In a bowl mix lemon juice, olive oil, honey, sliced garlic, salt, oregano, pepper, dill and red pepper flakes. Pour the marinade over salmon.
- Cover and refrigerate to marinade for 30 minutes to 4 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or coat it with non stick cooking spray.
- Take the salmon out of the fridge and transfer it to the baking sheet.
- Bake the salmon in the oven for 20 minutes. The salmon is ready when it flakes easily and is opaque.
- Serve with a side salad.
- Salmon is very tender therefore it’s best to marinade it for one to four hours. Since this marinade has lemon juice which is an acidic component, marinating for more than four hours might break the salmon and affect the texture.
- Salmon is very versatile and there are different methods of cooking you can use to make marinated salmon. Baking, grilling and roasting work best for marinated salmon.
- You can add other spices and herbs to this marinade such as coriander or thyme.
- Don’t overcook! This is a common mistake when it comes to cooking salmon. Perfectly cooked salmon flakes easily but is juicy and not dry at all. The USDA recommends cooking salmon until it reaches the temperature of 145°F.