Slow Roasted Salmon with Lemon Pepper
Looking for an easy foolproof method for cooking salmon? Try meltingly tender, slow roasted salmon with lemon pepper for perfectly cooked salmon every time!
Why you’ll love it: This recipe takes the stress out of cooking salmon and gives you plenty of time to prep side dishes.
How long it takes: 45 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: rimmed baking sheet, parchment paper (optional)
Servings: depends on how much salmon you have, it’s very easy to adjust the recipe
Tired of dry tough overcooked salmon? Have you tried a variety of cooking methods and not been happy with any of them? I find that even pretty good restaurants often overcook salmon, and then try to cover their mistake with a rich sauce.
Sauce is good, but I really love salmon. When I heard about slow roasted salmon, I’ll admit to being kind of skeptical. I mean, salmon isn’t exactly pot roast, right? While some meats need to braise to break down tough fibers, I don’t usually put salmon into that category.
But I’ll try anything at least once. And boy, am I glad I gave slow roasted salmon a try! Quite honestly, it’s the best way to make salmon (although air fryer salmon also has my heart, and my stomach). There’s a scientific explanation for it but I won’t go into all that. Suffice it to say, slow roasted salmon is juicy and melt-in-your-mouth tender every time. And there’s nothing tricky about it.
If you’re looking for a crisp outside, this isn’t the recipe for you. However, everyone should really try this method at least once.
I really think you’re going to love slow roasted salmon. If my husband is any indicator, it’s the only way you’ll be making salmon from now on!
About This Recipe
Don’t be discouraged by the word “slow.” We’re not talking eight hour slow. Not at all! Your salmon will be ready to eat in forty minutes or so. You can wait that long, right?
In fact, one of the advantages of slow roasted salmon is that it’s pretty forgiving. If you leave it in the oven an extra five minutes, no problem! Isn’t that a relief? You don’t have to be a kitchen magician, timing everything to the minute.
The extra time also gives you a little space to come up with side dishes to serve with the salmon. We love these air fryer Brussels sprouts or this Mediterranean style green bean salad with sun dried tomatoes, walnuts, and olives.
I’ll get you started on this recipe and give you lots of helpful tips. If you prefer, go directly to the printable recipe card found near the bottom of the post. It has complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- Salmon: A serving of salmon is typically four to six ounces. Buy as much salmon as you need. The recipe can easily be adapted. If the salmon is frozen, thaw according to package directions.
- Lemon Zest: For lots of lemony flavor without all the juice.
- Olive Oil: This heart-healthy oil adds flavor and locks in moisture as the salmon roasts.
- Salt & Pepper: Just simple seasonings that let the flavor of the salmon really shine through.
How To Make This Recipe
Let’s get roasting. Turn your oven on and preheat it to 275°F. It’s what you call a “slow oven.” Seriously. Slow oven = slow roasted salmon.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (no pans to wash either!). Aren’t you loving it already? The parchment paper is optional but who doesn’t like easy clean ups?
Place your salmon fillet skin side down on the parchment paper. You can cut it into serving size fillets, or keep it whole. Keep in mind, if you keep it whole, it will take slightly longer to cook and it can be a little difficult to cut into attractive serving size fillets after it’s cooked.
In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, lemon zest, and salt. Spread it over the salmon, and then grind a bunch of black pepper over that.
Put the salmon into the oven, and bake it. Depending on the thickness of your fillet and how accurate your oven temp is, the salmon will take about 30-40 minutes to reach an internal temperature of 135-140°F.
Remove the salmon from the oven and let it rest five minutes or so. The temperature will continue to rise a bit.
How To Tell If The Salmon Is Done
If you don’t have an instant read thermometer, how can you tell if the salmon is done? Try poking it with a skewer or a fork. It should slide in pretty easily, the salmon should flake easily, and be easy to separate from the skin.
Gasp! What if I overcook the salmon? Let me reassure you: because the salmon is slow roasting in a slow oven, it’s pretty hard to overcook it. Just relax and enjoy!
Cooking Salmon Medium Rare
You may want to experiment with cooking times. Some folks enjoy salmon less well done, with a darker orange soft center. If so, take the salmon out of the oven when the internal temperature reaches 120°F and let it rest for five minutes or so.
It’s a very easy way to cook salmon! It takes the pressure off the cook because it really just turns out well every time. The salmon is baked at a low temperature, anywhere from 180°F to 300°F until it’s done. It doesn’t dry out and has a wonderfully tender texture.
Don’t worry if there’s white stuff on top of the salmon when you roast it. That’s albumin, a type of protein that coagulates and rises to the surface of the salmon when you cook it. It’s perfectly safe to eat, but scrape it off if it bothers you.
Salmon tends to be dry and tough when it’s overcooked. The slow roasting method really is great for beginners or for those who are looking for a more relaxed cooking experience. Give it a try! I think you’ll be happy with the results.
Make It Your Own
This recipe is basic on purpose. Once you learn the slow roasting method, you can dress up your salmon however you like best. I do want to say that this salmon doesn’t need sauce or extra flavors which are often used to mask poorly cooked salmon. It’s perfect just the way it is!
However, here’s a few suggestions that you may want to try:
- Try adding chopped herbs. Chopped fresh dill (or dried dill), parsley, chives, lemon balm, and basil are good choices.
- Love garlic? Sprinkle the fillet with minced garlic.
- Add a sauce after baking or serve it on the side. I love tzatziki cucumber yogurt sauce with salmon. Try salsa verde or pesto. Homemade ranch dressing is good, too (it’s good on everything!). Garlicky chimichurri sauce or roasted red pepper sauce by Pinch of Yum really add amazing flavor.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Leftover salmon? I envy you! Refrigerate leftovers, tightly wrapped, for up to three days.
You’ll find that this salmon is perfect for salads, pasta dishes, or sandwiches.
I wouldn’t recommend freezing cooked salmon, as it will likely lose its excellent texture.
More Salmon Recipes
While I absolutely love this cooking method, there are other fish in the sea (wasn’t that punny?). Try:
- Soy Glazed Salmon
- Easy Baked Salmon with Lemon and Chives
- Salmon with Tomatoes and Fennel — a one pan dinner
- Best Grilled Salmon with marinade
- Baked Salmon with Maple Mustard Glaze
- Easy Lemon Salmon with Dill
- Walnut Crusted Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner — with video
- Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner with asparagus and potatoes
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @rachelcooksblog on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!
- 1 ½ pounds fresh salmon fillet, skin on, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest (from one lemon)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 275°F. Line bottom of rimmed baking pan with parchment paper. If desired, cut salmon fillet into serving size portions (see note). Place salmon on parchment paper, skin side down.
- In small bowl, mix olive oil, lemon zest, and salt. Brush mixture over salmon fillets. Sprinkle liberally with freshly ground black pepper.
- Place in oven; bake 30 to 40 minutes or until internal temperature of salmon reaches 135°-140°F. Remove from oven, and serve.
- It’s more difficult to cut the salmon into neat serving size portions after it’s cooked. The meat tends to flake and crumble.
- Refrigerate leftovers, tightly wrapped, for up to three days.
- If desired, add fresh herbs to the oil mixture. Finely chopped chives, dill, parsley, or lemon balm are good choices.
- Parchment paper is optional.
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.
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