This whiskey glazed salmon is made with pan-seared fish and topped with a sweet whiskey glaze. It’s a quick and easy dinner that’s full of flavor!
One of my top ways to fix a quick fish dinner is to pan-sear and then mix up an easy, yummy sauce or glaze to go on top.
The fish stays juicy and tender, and the sauce can add a mouth-watering combo of savory and sweet.
Especially when there’s a little something extra in the mix!
Yes, my time spent on Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail convinced me that a good bourbon or whiskey adds a lot to a dinner time recipe.
In this whiskey glazed salmon, we’ll be pan-searing the fish and simmering up a quick glaze, for a meal that’s on the table in less than 30 minutes!
What Type of Salmon Is Best in This Recipe?
Feel free to use this recipe with whatever kind of salmon you’ve bought. Pan-searing is a great option for all the types, and the whiskey glaze will be delicious with any of them.
What Type of Whiskey Should I Use?
You can use any unflavored whiskey.
We like to use bourbon at our house.
If you don’t actually want any alcohol in the glaze, try something like this teriyaki glazed salmon instead.
How to Make Whiskey Glazed Salmon
Start with fresh or thawed salmon fillets. Pat them dry, and season with salt and pepper.
Cold fish doesn’t sear as well, so let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
In a heavy pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat.
I like my Lodge 12″ carbon steel skillet for searing fish.
If your salmon has a skin, place the fillets skin-side down in the pan. (If not, it doesn’t matter which side you start with.)
Cook for two to four minutes. The cook time will vary depending on the thickness of the fish.
Keep an eye on the doneness of the fish.
When it’s turned opaque about halfway up, it should be ready to flip. But check it first by sliding a thin metal spatula under the fish. If it releases from the pan, it’s ready. If not, give it another 30 seconds or so.
For turning fish, I like using the Wusthof fish spatula. A lot of people also love this Toadfish fish spatula.
After flipping the fillets, cook them for another two to four minutes, or until there are no more translucent patches and they’re fully opaque.
Move the fish to plates and cover them, or set them in a low-heat oven while you prepare the glaze.
Add brown sugar, whiskey, and Worcestershire sauce to the excess butter left in the pan.
Bring the mixture to a simmer, and let it cook for one or two minutes.
Then drizzle the glaze over the fish, and serve right away!
It’s up to you whether to eat the skin or not. If you want the skin to stay crispy while you’re making the glaze, keep it skin-side up on the plate.
Whiskey Glazed Salmon
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 ounces unflavored whiskey (such as bourbon)
- 2 ounces Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 8 ounces salmon (2 fillets)
- Pinch sea salt
- lemon slices or wedges, for serving (optional)
- Pat salmon dry. Sprinkle fillets on both sides with salt and pepper.Allow fillets to rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes. (Cold salmon is more difficult to sear.)
- Add olive oil and butter to a heavy pan. Melt butter over medium heat.Place the fillets skin-side down in the pan and cook 2-4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. (If your salmon fillets don't have skin, it doesn't matter which side you cook first.)As the salmon cooks, the flesh will begin to turn opaque from the bottom up. When the fish has cooked halfway through, it's ready to flip.Avoid touching the fish until the fish is ready to flip.
- Use a thin metal spatula to test the fish. If you can slide the spatula under the fish without the fish sticking to the pan, it's ready to flip. If the fillets won't release, give them another 30 seconds. They'll release when they've finished cooking.Cook fish another 2-4 minutes until done. Timing will depend on the thickness of the fillet. (Watch the sides of the fillets to see when the fish is done cooking. It's finished as soon as there are no more translucent patches and it's fully opaque.)
- Transfer the fish to plates, leaving the excess butter in the pan. Cover fish to keep warm, or set fish in a 200ºF oven.Add all sauce ingredients to a small sauce pan and heat over medium high heat until the sauce comes to a simmer. Simmer 1-2 minutes, and then remove from heat.Spoon sauce over fish and serve.
- Make sure to pat the fish dry. Wet fish won’t develop a crispy skin.
- Make sure to let the fish rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Cold fish tends to stick to the pan.
- Test the fish with a thin metal spatula before attempting to flip. If the fish doesn’t release, give it another 30 seconds and try again.
- If your butter and oil begin to smoke, lower the heat slightly.
- Have all your ingredients prepared before beginning so that you can watch the fish carefully while it cooks. I prep everything while the fish rests at room temperature.
- The skin is edible!
- Salmon may be plated skin-side up or skin-side down.
- To keep the skin crispy longer, especially if holding the fish in a warm oven before serving, store cooked fillets skin-side up to keep the skin from becoming soggy.