The best grilled salmon recipe for summer and beyond! Enjoy juicy filets marinated in a mouthwatering ginger, soy, garlic, and brown sugar salmon marinade, grilled until flaky and tender.
Why you’ll love it: Learn how to grill salmon that’s ridiculously juicy and flavorful with an irresistible, garlicky Asian-inspired marinade. You’ll never want to cook salmon any other way.
How long it takes: 40 minutes from marinating to serving.
Equipment you’ll need: you’ll need a dish for marinating and a grill. We use our Traeger grill, but gas or charcoal works too!
- 1 Recipe Overview
- 2 Perfect Grilled Salmon (With the BEST Marinade!)
- 3 Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- 4 What Is a Traeger Grill?
- 5 Recipe Ingredients
- 6 How to Grill Salmon
- 7 How to Tell When Salmon Is Done
- 8 Tips for the best grilled salmon
- 9 Make This Recipe Your Own
- 10 What to Serve With Grilled Salmon
- 11 Storing and Reheating Leftovers
- 12 More Easy Salmon Recipes
- 13 Get the Recipe: Best Grilled Salmon Recipe and Marinade
Perfect Grilled Salmon (With the BEST Marinade!)
We have salmon about every other week in our house. Ben loves it, I like it, it’s healthy (hello, omega-3s) and there are actually so many ways to enjoy it. My lemon salmon with dill is one of my go-to recipes, as is this walnut crusted salmon for special occasions.
When summer rolls around and grilling season begins, naturally, salmon is on the menu. We’ve officially deemed this the best grilled salmon. This juicy grilled salmon is marinated in a flavorful combination of fresh ginger, garlic, and soy, with a hint of sweetness from brown sugar. The Asian-inspired flavors are totally irresistible, and the filets cook up crazy-juicy and tender on the grill.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
When Traeger sent me one of their beautiful grills, I just knew that I needed to create a grilling recipe that was worthy. I was blown away by how amazing this salmon turned out. Here’s why you’ll love it, too:
- Flavor-packed. The salmon marinade is a flavor powerhouse. You don’t need to let your fish marinate for hours to achieve tons of delicious, sweet-savory flavor. I usually have my salmon marinated in the time it takes to preheat the grill.
- Tender and flaky. I’m sharing my easy, fail-proof technique for perfectly grilled salmon that’s moist, flaky, and fall-off-your-fork tender.
- Great for leftovers. Save your leftover salmon to use in salads, wraps, omelets, or frittatas the next day.
You’ll need about two pounds worth of salmon filets with the skin left on, along with a handful of ingredients for the marinade. This easy salmon marinade is so simple, yet SO mouthwatering. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Soy Sauce: I prefer to use low-sodium soy sauce, but regular soy sauce will work, too.
- Olive Oil: You’ll want to use a good-quality extra virgin olive oil or another mild-flavored oil with a high smoke point.
- Brown Sugar: Dark brown sugar offers a richer, more caramelized flavor. If you have light brown sugar, that will work too.
- Fresh Ginger: Emphasis on fresh! Trust me, you’re going to want to get your hands on some fresh ginger root to grate for this marinade. It makes all the difference.
- Garlic: What marinade isn’t made better with freshly grated garlic?
How to Grill Salmon
If you’re new to cooking fish on the grill, salmon recipes are a wonderful place to start. Here’s how easy it is to make this succulent grilled salmon and the zesty brown sugar salmon marinade to go with it.
- Marinate the fish. In a large baking dish, whisk together the marinade ingredients. Arrange the salmon filets into the marinade, skin facing upwards, and place the dish into the fridge. You can leave the filets in the marinade anywhere between 15 to 45 minutes.
- Grill. Let the grill preheat for 10 to 15 minutes, to get it to 350ºF or medium heat. Once your grill is ready, transfer the salmon filets from the marinade onto the grill, skin-side-up. Cover and leave the fish to cook for 4 minutes, then carefully loosen and flip the filets over. After, cook for another 20 to 25 minutes to get the salmon flaky and tender.
How to Tell When Salmon Is Done
If you’re unsure whether your salmon is ready to come off the grill, the easiest way to tell is to use an instant-read thermometer. The temperature at the thickest part of the salmon should read between 135ºF and 145ºF, and the flesh will be opaque and easy to flake. See more tips for grilling salmon below.
Tips for the best grilled salmon
Grilling salmon isn’t complicated, but it can be a little tricky. Flaky fish has the tendency to fall apart on the grill if you’re not careful. But I’m here to help! Here are my best tips for cooking salmon on the grill with 100% success:
- Cook the salmon skin-side-up first. Make sure to get a good sear on the pink flesh in those first 3 to 4 minutes. Not only does this allow you to get those beautiful grill marks, but you’ll also have just enough grilled flavor without your salmon falling through the grates. Afterward, carefully flip and cook your fish skin side down for the remainder of the time.
- If you don’t have a Traeger grill, you can still prepare your salmon over medium heat on a gas or charcoal grill instead.
- Halve the recipe. This recipe serves 6, but you can easily scale it down to serve 2 to 3 people. Simply cut the ingredients in half.
- Discard the used marinade. I know, it hurts to throw all that flavor away. But sadly, leftover marinade that’s touched the fish is a breeding ground for bacteria, and should not be used.
Make This Recipe Your Own
I love how simple this recipe is because it also leaves plenty of room for improvisation. Here are some ideas:
- Add spice. If you like your ginger soy glaze with a bit of kick, add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes or chili powder.
- Use honey. In place of brown sugar, use honey or maple syrup to naturally sweeten the marinade.
- Use foil. Another easy method for grilling salmon is to wrap your marinated filets in a foil packet for easy clean-up. I also love my garlicky grilled salmon for this reason.
- Baked salmon. No grill? No worries. I have recipes for baked Salmon and air rryer salmon that you can make with this marinade, too.
What to Serve With Grilled Salmon
In warmer weather, nothing beats juicy grilled salmon and a side of dill potato salad or this spring orzo salad with arugula, asparagus, and pine nuts. Or, round out a seafood dinner with seasoned grilled potatoes.
Make the occasion festive with a white wine spritzer with berry ice cubes. Homemade strawberry shortcake with freshly whipped cream is a perfect summer dessert. It’s perfect with other in-season fruits, too, like sliced peaches or fresh raspberries.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
This grilled salmon makes fantastic leftovers. I love flaking it over a green salad the following day or freezing it for another meal. Here’s how to store leftover salmon to enjoy cold or reheated:
- Fridge. Store your grilled and cooled salmon fillets airtight and refrigerate them for up to 2 days. Reheat the salmon in the microwave, in the oven, or in a covered pan on the stovetop until warmed through.
- Freezer. Once your cooked salmon is completely cooled, store it airtight or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to freeze for up to 2 to 3 months. Thaw the salmon in the fridge overnight before reheating and serving.
- ½ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 inch section fresh ginger root, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 pounds salmon, cut into fillets
- Mix together marinade ingredients in a baking dish: soy sauce, olive oil, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic. Add salmon fillets skin side up into the marinade and place in the fridge for 15 to 45 minutes.
- When ready to grill, start your Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until you see smoke appear (takes 3 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 350°F and preheat with the lid closed for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove salmon from marinade and place skin side up on grill. Cover (close the lid of the grill) and cook for 4 minutes. Flip carefully using a spatula. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes longer until fish is flaky. Serve immediately.
- You can halve this recipe to serve 2 to 3 people.
- If you don’t have a Traeger grill, this can be prepared on a gas or charcoal grill over medium heat (350°F) as directed in recipe.
- This salmon is great leftover. I love to flake the cold salmon on a leafy green salad.
- Nutrition information isn’t entirely accurate since much of the marinade is discarded.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
Disclosure: Traeger sent me a grill to try out but I was not monetarily compensated for developing this recipe or writing this post. All opinions are ALWAYS my own!