Skip the pricey store-bought seasoning blends and make your own salmon seasoning at home! This rub is savory, smoky, and sweet, giving your salmon a boost of flavor whether you cook it on the grill or in the oven.
Why you’ll love it: This rub is made with inexpensive pantry ingredients that you probably already have!
How long it takes: 5 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: a jar or small bowl
Servings: ⅓ cup
I love a good homemade seasoning recipe!
Whenever I go to a kitchen store, I’m always tempted by the jars and tins of fancy spice blends and rubs, but then I have to remind myself how flippin’ easy they are to make at home. Why spend all that money when I already have all the ingredients on my spice rack?!
This salmon seasoning is a perfect example of how you can take a bunch of everyday pantry staples and make them into the kind of pricey gourmet spice rubs which stock the shelves at your favorite cooking shop.
You can use this salmon rub to make baked, broiled, or grilled salmon. However you decide to cook it, the rub adds just the right amount of flavor to complement the fish without overpowering it. Brown sugar helps form that slightly sweet caramelized crust that’s so good, garlic and onion powder add savory flavor, and smoked paprika gives your salmon a subtle smokiness.
About this Salmon Seasoning
- Quick and easy. It goes without saying that making this salmon seasoning is easy—just mix everything together and you’re done. But cooking salmon is also quick and easy, making it ideal for busy weeknights. (Not sure how to cook salmon? Start with my best grilled salmon recipe, air fryer salmon, or easy baked salmon.)
- Suitable for seafood skeptics. Seafood isn’t everyone’s cup of tea especially if you have some picky eaters in the house. The beauty of this salmon rub is that it has an understated sweetness from the brown sugar that’s enough to coax even the most ardent salmon haters to give it a try.
- Layers of flavor. Skip the bottle of expensive, overly sweet. too salty sauce! This salmon seasoning adds so much more depth to your fish.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Brown Sugar: You can use either light or dark brown; dark brown has a more pronounced molasses flavor.
- Paprika: Paprika has a mildly sweet, earthy taste. Use sweet Hungarian paprika for a little more oomph, but skip the spicy varieties unless you want your salmon fiery hot.
- Smoked Paprika: Even if you bake your salmon in the oven, it will have a nice, smoky flavor thanks to the addition of smoked paprika.
- Garlic and Onion Powder: This duo adds a savory element to our salmon seasoning.
- Dried Thyme: Thyme pairs beautifully with salmon, bringing an earthy, woodsy herbal note to this rub.
- Mustard Powder: Ground mustard is bright, sharp, and zippy. It’s a key supporting player in everything from my crockpot mac and cheese to breaded pork chops—and, of course, this salmon seasoning.
- Kosher Salt: The best salt to use for cooking.
- Black Pepper: Freshly ground pepper is more assertive than the kind you buy already ground, which loses its flavor over time.
How to make it
Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl or jar and mix well.
For every eight ounces of salmon, rub a teaspoon of oil into the top, then pat in a tablespoon of salmon seasoning.
Oil salmon before adding the seasoning. The oil will help the seasoning stick. Coating the salmon in oil also ensures that the salmon won’t stick to your cooking surface and helps the salmon brown.
How to Change Up This Salmon Seasoning
- Adjust as desired: You can change the ratios of your salmon seasoning according to your tastes; use more smoked paprika for a smokier flavor, less salt if you’re watching your sodium, etc.
- Use coconut sugar: Coconut sugar is a less-processed alternative to regular sugar and it has a slightly caramelized flavor that’s similar to brown sugar.
- Try rosemary: Rosemary is another herb that pairs well with salmon. Instead of dried thyme, try using crushed dried rosemary instead.
Make Ahead Idea
Make a batch of salmon seasoning ahead of time and keep it on hand in your pantry or another cool, dry place. It will keep for up to 6 months. Then, whenever you’re making salmon for dinner, you’ll have your seasoning ready to go!
- In a small bowl or jar, blend together brown sugar and spices until well combined.
- For 8 oz. of salmon: Rub 1 teaspoon olive oil into top side of salmon (skin side down). Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of seasoning onto salmon; lightly pat with fingertips to adhere.
- Broil, grill, or bake salmon as desired.
- Single batch makes ⅓ cup. Nutrition information is for rub only.
- Store rub in a tightly covered jar or container. Small recycled jars work well. It will keep for up to 6 months in your pantry.
- If you’re watching your sodium intake, feel free to use less salt. It’s easy to make this salmon rub just the way you prefer.
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.