How Long Do You Broil Salmon in an Oven?

Karen Frazier
Contributor: Deidre Dykes
broiled salmon

Broiling is an extremely healthy way to cook salmon. Introducing additional fat into the fish by using a little extra virgin olive oil or a pat of butter is an option, but it is not necessary for the success of the dish. Broiled salmon cooks quickly, evenly, and has a simple, delicious flavor.

Timing Salmon in the Oven

It takes an average of 6 to 12 minutes to broil a piece of salmon, but this time will change depending on the thickness of the fillet or steak. A larger, thicker salmon portion (8 to 10 ounces) will take longer to cook through than a smaller one (6 ounces) might. A good rule of thumb is that a fillet will take about 6 to 8 minutes to cook per inch of thickness. The FDA recommends cooking all fish to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to Broil Your Salmon

  1. Measure the salmon fillets at their thickest point. For every 1/2 inch thickness of salmon, place the fish 2 inches from the broiler. So, for a 1-inch thick fillet, place the rack 4 inches from the heat source.
  2. Before pre-heating the oven, place the rack the appropriate distance below the broiler in the top of the oven (in some gas ovens, the broiler is in a drawer below the main oven).
  3. Place the fish, skin side down and rounded pink side up, on lightly greased foil for easy clean-up. If placing the fish directly on a pan, be sure it is oiled or sprayed with nonstick spray.
  4. Drizzle the fish with olive oil and rub it in with two fingers. Sprinkle with herbs (such as dill, thyme, or tarragon) and a little salt and pepper for flavoring.
  5. Place the fish in the oven.
  6. Broil according to the thickness of the fish as outlined above - about 6 minutes per inch of thickness - and check for doneness at this point.

Checking for Doneness

Check the internal temperature of the salmon filets with a digital thermometer. If no thermometer is available, it is possible to check the salmon visually, but it involves sticking a fork into the filets and pulling them apart to check the texture of the fish. It should be flaky if it is done. If appearances don't matter, this is a perfectly acceptable option. If the salmon has to stay pretty, use a thermometer.

Start checking the temperature of the salmon 4 to 5 minutes before it is supposed to be done, according to its size. For instance, begin checking a 1-inch thick fillet at about 4 minutes or a 1/2-inch thick fillet at about 2 minutes. The fish will be done when the pink has changed from translucent to opaque with a little golden brown along the top where the element has caramelized the flesh. Remove the fish from the oven and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes.

Avoid Overcooking

Overcooked fish - even fatty fish such as salmon - becomes dry and extremely unpalatable. Adding fat or moisture by drizzling some olive oil or placing lemon slices atop the salmon can help somewhat to keep the fish from drying out, but it is still essential to watch the salmon closely so that it is not overcooked.

Healthy and Easy

Salmon is a rich source of the long-chain fatty acids called omega-3s as well as B vitamins, protein, and antioxidants. Studies link the regular consumption of salmon to a decrease in heart disease. Mustard, herbs (preferably fresh), or even honey can be added for additional flavoring, but aren't necessary. Sometimes, the simplest preparation is the best.

How Long Do You Broil Salmon in an Oven?