Cooking Tips

Want Great Salmon? Learn the Dual-Temperature Technique.

Take the stress out of your weeknight salmon with this two-step method.

Published Oct. 14, 2021.

Do you love salmon, but hate cooking it at home? We understand. Cooking salmon at home is needlessly risky. Sometimes the exterior doesn’t get the color you’re looking for. Sometimes the interior is overcooked, chalky, and, dare we say, cat food-esque. Thankfully, we developed a hybrid roasting method that’s guaranteed to give you well browned, yet tender salmon each and every time. Oh, and did we mention it’s also pretty hands off?

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The Best Salmon for Oven-Roasting

We recommend you purchase a center cut, skin-on (more on that later!) piece of salmon and portion it yourself. Individual salmon fillets often vary in thickness and overall size, so cutting the salmon into uniform fillets will also ensure uniform doneness. Salmon skin is pretty thick, so if your chef’s knife isn’t quite sharp enough to cut through, grab your serrated knife—that’ll get the job done.

How to Oven-Roast Salmon

Step 1. Start with High Heat

The key to our dual temperature cooking method is preheating a rimmed baking sheet in a very hot, 500-degree oven. This is where the skin becomes essential: Cut a few slashes along the skin of each piece, being careful not to cut into flesh. Then, transfer your salmon skin side down directly onto the scorching-hot sheet pan. That initial blast of heat firms up the exterior of the salmon, while also rendering some of the excess fat (those slashes give said fat an escape route!).

Step 2. Drop the Oven Temp

Once your salmon is in the oven, it’s time to drastically drop the temperature from 500 to a mere 275 degrees. This allows the interior of the fish to cook slowly and gently. We highly recommend cooking the salmon to medium rare, which is 125 degrees for farmed salmon and 120 for wild salmon (read more about why we cook them to different temperatures). Once the salmon is cooked to your liking, all you have to do is slide an offset spatula between the flesh and the skin and serve deliciously with one of the following:

  1. Tangerine and Ginger Relish
  2. Spicy Cucumber Relish
  3. Fresh Tomato Relish

And if you haven’t already heard, leftovers make for a great salmon rice bowl . . .

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