Impressive, yet super easy to make, this Spicy Brown Sugar Salmon is ready in under 20 minutes!
This recipe was originally published May 9, 2019. It was updated on July 13, 2021.
In this post we will be making spicy brown sugar salmon with a mango salsa. I will share illustrated steps on how to make the salmon as well as serving suggestions, recipe pro-tips, and more.
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- This spicy salmon recipe is...
- Recipe ingredients:
- How to make brown sugar salmon:
- Brown sugar salmon recipe pro-tips:
- Recipe FAQ's:
- How to cut a mango:
- Serving suggestions:
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- Tools needed to make this recipe:
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This is one of my best oven baked salmon recipes-- and I don't say that lightly. Chris and I have been eating salmon at least once a week since the day we met.
This recipe, however, is one that I've been making steadily since I was 14 years old. Tweaked over the years to land on my perfect version of the recipe, it started with a brown sugar and chili powder rubbed salmon with a simple mango salsa.
Being a nerdy teenager has its perks, though. Hanging out in front of the stove every night after school, I tinkered with seasoning, added new spices, and discovered the secrets to perfect fresh mango salsa.
What I landed on is a baked salmon that is sweet, spicy, and tender and a mango salsa that is fresh, juicy, cooling, and balanced. It's a combination that's easy enough to serve for a weeknight dinner but fancy enough to serve for your next dinner party.
Quite possibly, the best thing about this recipe is how quick it is. Just whisk together the rub and pat it on the salmon. While the salmon roasts, toss together the mango salsa and then dinner is served!
Easily double this recipe for a crowd, substitute pineapple or peaches for the mango, and adjust the heat in the salsa to your liking.
This spicy salmon recipe is...
Make this salmon for those nights you want to eat gourmet but don't want to slave in the kitchen!
- Salmon fillets - with or without skin
- Mango - fresh is best but frozen and defrosted cubed mango can also work
- Baby tomatoes
- Cilantro - omit if you don't like cilantro
- Red onion
- Lime juice
- Brown sugar
- Spices - chili powder, cumin, coriander, and cayenne pepper
- Jalapeno - optional
- Fish - salmon brings a certain richness to this dish, but many other hearty fish should substitute fine for it. Cod, halibut, and mahi mahi would all be great.
- Fruit - to change up this recipe or to make it with in-season produce, diced pineapple, peaches, or plums can be used in place of the mango.
- Onion - finely minced sweet yellow or white onion can substitute for the minced red onion.
How to make brown sugar salmon:
- Preheat the oven and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the brown sugar and spices together until combined.
- Sprinkle the salmon with the brown spice mixture. Rub the spices onto the salmon.
- Bake the salmon until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
- While the fish bakes: add all the mango salsa ingredients to a mixing bowl. Stir until combined.
- Serve the salmon hot with the mango salsa.
Brown sugar salmon recipe pro-tips:
- Use high quality salmon - since salmon is the blank canvas we will be starting with, it's important to use a high quality fish. I recommend wild salmon if you can find or afford it, fresh (i.e. with a great expiration date) at the grocery store, or ordering high quality salmon through a butcher delivery service like Rastelli's.
- Make the mango salsa while the salmon is in the oven - save on time by making the mango salsa while the salmon bakes.
- Adjust the salsa spiciness to taste - to add a little kick, add minced jalapeno to taste to the salsa. Otherwise, the cool and mild salsa will balance out the heat of the brown sugar rub.
I recommend 6-8 ounces of salmon per adult and about 4 ounces for per child.
You know salmon is cooked through when it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit and when it flakes easily with a fork.
How to cut a mango:
- Slice the mango lengthwise twice on either side of the pit. The pit runs through the widest part of the mango when looking down on the stem. Slice on either side of it.
- Slicing through the flesh and up to, but not through, the skin, gently cut in a crisscross pattern into each side of the mango.
- Using two hands, gently press the skin of the mango up, or through to the cut side, or until the flesh pops up and the cubes of mango stick out.
- Slice the cubes of mango off at the base, where the flesh meets the skin.
- Side off any remaining flesh around the mango pit. Skin it and cut into cubes.
This brown sugar glazed salmon is delicious with many different sides. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Roasted sweet potatoes
- Tortilla chips
- Blistered green beans
- Rice pilaf
- Air fryer zucchini
- Roasted broccoli
- Corn on the cob
Leftovers last covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. They do not freeze well.
Tools needed to make this recipe:
- Rimmed baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Silicone spatula
- Serving spatula
More salmon recipes:
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Adjust the amount of cayenne pepper to taste and use jalapeno in the salsa only if you'd like an extra kick.
- 1 ¼ lbs salmon, sliced into 6 or 8 oz. fillets
- 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt, DIVIDED
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ⅛ - ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 large mango, pitted and cubed
- 1 cup baby tomatoes, halved
- 3 tablespoons minced red onion
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
- ½ lime, juiced (or 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice)
- ½ jalapeno, minced (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar. ½ teaspoon salt, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and cayenne pepper together until combined.
- Sprinkle the salmon with the brown spice mixture and rub the spice mix evenly onto the salmon.
- Bake the salmon for 10-12 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork and registers an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- While the fish bakes: add the mango, baby tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and jalapeno (if using) to a mixing bowl. Gently stir or fold together until combined.
- Serve the salmon hot with the mango salsa.
- Leftovers last covered in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. They do not freeze well.
Serving Size⅕ of the recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 314Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 71mgSodium 517mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 2gSugar 17gProtein 26g
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.