This easy Pesto Salmon is covered in basil pesto and then oven-roasted. It’s delicious, ready in minutes, and is perfect for weeknight dinners.
Is it obvious that I cook a lot of fish?
Is that clear? My little fishy corner of the internet should make that obvious.
Baking fish, however, makes me a little nervous. Why?
I find it trickier than any other method. And I blame it, a little bit, as the reason that people seem to be scared of cooking fish.
“Stick it in the oven,” they say. “It’ll be great! It’ll be easy!” they say.
Well you know what?
If you aren’t careful– it’ll also be DRY.
This Pesto Salmon is different. This is a baked fish that is juicy and tender– not dry!
And it is easy, I promise!
How Can I Keep My Fish From Drying Out in the Oven?
My favorite way to keep my fish tender and juicy when I baked is to smother it in sauce.
The sauce seals in the moisture, and the fish doesn’t dry out.
For this easy pesto salmon, we’re smearing basil pesto all over the salmon.
Want to learn more about cooking salmon? Read this: How to Cook Salmon
Can I Use Store-Bought Pesto?
I love using my homemade dairy-free basil pesto, but store-bought will work perfectly too.
When you’re shopping, check the label and look for a pesto that lists basil above oil on the ingredients list.
How to Make Pesto Salmon
Simply smear pesto on your salmon, bake it, and… that’s it! I also like to squeeze a little lemon juice over it right before serving, and top it with fresh herbs.
Serve your pesto salmon right away, and bon appetit!
What Kind of Salmon Should I Use?
I like to make this with pink salmon fillets. It’s affordable, and the extra-lean fish works well with the oil in the pesto.
Want more pink salmon ideas? Try these: Salmon Caesar Salad, Salmon Sandwich with Dijon Sauce, and Pink Salmon Recipes.
Learn more about salmon: Wild Salmon vs. Farmed Salmon and Types of Salmon.
- 2 salmon fillets (~4 oz each), patted dry
- 2 tablespoons basil pesto
- pinch salt, ground pepper
- To Serve: fresh basil, lemon wedges (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 F
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and place salmon fillets skin side down. Drizzle with salt, and pepper. Spread pesto over the top of fillets with a spoon or small spatula (try to cover them as evenly as possible). Sprinkle thyme over the pesto.
- Roast the salmon 4-6 minutes per ½ inch thickness. The fish should flake easily with a fork when it’s finished.
- If the salmon has skin, remove it now if desired. It should peel off easily. Serve with lemon wedges and fresh basil (optional).
Liz @ Ready to Yumble
YUM! What an easy way to get all that salmon goodness in my mouth as quickly as possible! ?
Haha yes!! The quicker the salmon is ready, the better!!
Megan @ Meg is Well
I’m always so sad when I overcook salmon. Awesome tip, I’ve never tried pesto with salmon before!
Thanks! And me too- overcooked salmon is a tragedy!
I have been cooking salmon for my husband like this for sometime now. But never thought of adding pesto to it. I usually go with indian spices. New dinner ideas are always welcomed!
Dawn - Girl Heart Food
Pesto is such a magical ingredient, isn’t it? Throw that stuff on anything and, BOOM, dinner!! Love the pairing with salmon (cause salmon). Can’t beat a healthy and delicious dinner like this and so easy to whip up (my kinda meal) 🙂
I was feeling extra, so not only did I add extra garlic and Parmesan to the pesto, I used a lot more of it on the salmon too! I picked the garlic and basil fresh from the garden this morning. So green and so good!
Yummm extra pesto is always a good idea!! I’m glad you loved!