A tender salmon with a spicy-sweet glaze, this Bourbon Glazed Salmon is flavorful and ready in under 25 minutes!
This recipe was originally published on February 20, 2020. It was updated on June 7, 2021.
Dinner doesn't have to be complicated in order to be delicious and this Bourbon Glazed Salmon Recipe shows just that! This recipe is ready in under 25 minutes and makes a great weeknight dinner but it still special enough for a dinner party or Sunday family dinner. In this post, I share the recipe, recipe pro-tips, serving suggestions, and more.
To skip straight to the recipe, just click "jump to recipe" at the top left of this post. To browse the different sections of this post, just click the headings in the table of contents below.
Table of contents
- What does bourbon salmon taste like?
- How to make bourbon salmon:
- Bourbon salmon recipe pro-tips:
- Bourbon glazed salmon FAQs:
- What to serve with bourbon glazed salmon:
- Dietary preferences:
- Storage directions:
- Tools needed to make this recipe:
- Other seafood and quick dinner recipes:
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My friends, Andi & Zach, at A to Z Running recently asked me to share one of my favorite running foods for their upcoming blog post about the best foods for running. Check out this post to see which food I shared, but in the wake of that post I decided to share my other favorite running food: salmon!
Now, it's worth sharing that I'm not a dietitian -- I just simply love salmon, it's flavor, and how energized I feel when I eat it.
It turns out that good feeling is for a reason, however: nutritional sources share that it's a very nutritious and healthy food, too!
Thankfully this fish is super easy-to-make. 6-ounce salmon fillets bake up in under 20 minutes and shine even with minimal seasonings.
If we can add big flavor with minimal fuss, we shall, though! We quickly mix up and simmer a combination of brown sugar, spices, lemon juice, and bourbon to create a saucy sweet and spicy sauce that makes even salmon that much better.
What results is a tender and juicy salmon that's perfect on everything from a rice bowl to a dinner plate. It's just calling for you to make it. Run, don't walk, to the kitchen to bake it for dinner tonight!
What does bourbon salmon taste like?
This salmon is tender and flaky with a sweet and lightly spicy bourbon-accented glaze. The glaze just has a touch of bourbon flavor in it; it doesn't taste boozy or strongly of alcohol.
Furthermore, the bourbon also cooks off in the glaze, meaning so alcohol remains in the final recipe.
- Salmon fillets - with or without skin are just fine. I love ordering my salmon from Rastelli's!
- Light brown sugar
- Chili powder
- Smoked paprika
- Cayenne pepper
- Bourbon whiskey - Maker's Mark and Old Elk are two of my favorite bourbons
- Lemon juice - fresh or bottled both work!
- Maple syrup - maple syrup can work in place of the packed brown sugar. The glaze will be a bit more syrupy but the flavor will still be delicious.
- Bourbon - to make this recipe alcohol-free, substitute an extra tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon water for the bourbon.
- Spices - an additional ¼ teaspoon chili powder can work in place of the smoked paprika, though the paprika it does add a delicious smoky finish to this recipe if you have it
How to make bourbon salmon:
- Preheat the oven and prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk the bourbon glaze ingredients together until combined in a small microwave-safe mixing bowl or cup.
- Microwave the glaze on 75% heat in the microwave for 45 second intervals, stirring between intervals, or until the sauce is thickened.
- Place the salmon on the baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes.
- Brush the salmon with the bourbon glaze. Bake for 6 more minutes, or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork. Serve hot!
Bourbon salmon recipe pro-tips:
- Use uniform size pieces of salmon - this helps the fish cook evenly and quickly. To get uniform pieces of fish you can ask your butcher (or fish mounger) to cut the fish into equal 5-6 oz. fillets, you can purchase pre-cut or frozen fillets, or you can cut them yourself.
- Preheat the oven - an evenly hot oven also helps the salmon cook evenly. Make sure your oven is fully preheated before roasting the salmon in it.
- Use fresh salmon - this keeps the salmon fresh and non-fishy smelling. If you are using fresh salmon, buy salmon with a great expiration date or that doesn't smell fishy. If you are using frozen salmon, use it within 12 hours of defrosting.
Bourbon glazed salmon FAQs:
You know that the salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork or reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Both skin-on and de-skinned salmon work for this recipe. The cooking time will be the same and the skin won't affect the flavor. Choose either based on your preferences or by what's available where you shop (Rastelli's sells de-skinned salmon).
Yes, you can eat salmon skin. If you prefer not to eat it, it is also safe to feed to your dog. Just wipe or thoroughly rinse off the bourbon glaze before doing so.
This bourbon glaze would also be delicious brushed over grilled shrimp, pork chops, or chicken thighs. Just add it on at the end of the grilling time so the sauce doesn't burn.
As I mentioned above, I love using frozen salmon for this recipe. To defrost it before making this recipe, place the packaged salmon in a bowl of lukewarm water for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours until thawed.
What to serve with bourbon glazed salmon:
This salmon is such a versatile main dish recipe. It serves well with a variety of side dishes, like:
- Steamed rice
- Quinoa salad
- Air fryer brussels sprouts
- Stir-fried veggies
- Blistered green beans
- Baked sweet potatoes
- Gluten-free: this recipe is naturally gluten-free
- Processed sugar-free: to make this recipe sugar-free, substitute maple syrup for the brown sugar
- Keto: easily make this recipe low carb and keto by using a brown sugar substitute (like Swerve) in the place of the brown sugar
Leftover salmon keeps covered in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days. The earlier you can consume it the better, however, as this will keep the fish fresh and from getting stinky.
Tools needed to make this recipe:
Other seafood and quick dinner recipes:
- Spicy Brown Sugar Salmon with Mango Salsa
- Air Fryer Salmon
- Sweet & Sour Shrimp Stir-Fry
- Turkey Sloppy Joes
- Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry
- Healthy Orange Chicken
- Crispy Herbed Panko Chicken
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Adjust the amount of cayenne pepper to your taste. ⅛ teaspoon gives the salmon a kick without too much heat; ¼ teaspoon adds a bit of heat.
- 1 ¼ pound salmon, cut into four 5-6 oz. fillets
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- ¾ teaspoon chili powder
- ⅛-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, depending on your preference
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
- 1 ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- Additional lemon slices, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Space the salmon fillets at least 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.
- In a small microwave-safe mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, salt, cornstarch, chili powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, bourbon, and lemon juice together until combined.
- Heat the brown sugar mixture in the microwave on 75% heat at 45-second intervals, stirring between intervals, or until the glaze thickens up.
- Bake the salmon in the preheated oven for 6 minutes.
- Brush the glaze evenly over the salmon fillets. Bake for another 5-7 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork or reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Serve the salmon hot drizzled with pan juices and glaze and lemon slices to garnish (if desired).
- Aluminum foil sprayed with non-stick spray can substitute for the parchment paper.
- Salmon leftovers will last covered in the fridge for 1-2 days, but are best consumed fresh.
- To make this recipe processed sugar-free, substitute maple syrup for the packed brown sugar.
Serving Size1 salmon fillet with ¼ bourbon glaze
Amount Per Serving Calories 353Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 89mgSodium 370mgCarbohydrates 12gFiber 0gSugar 11gProtein 31g
This nutrition breakdown is just an estimate of the nutritional value of this recipe and cannot be taken as facts. The owners of Mae's Menu are not nutritionists or dietitians and therefore cannot be held accountable for this nutrition estimate. Please contact your nutritionist or medical professional for a nutritional breakdown of this food. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.