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pecan-crusted salmon
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5 from 7 votes

Pecan-Crusted Salmon with Bourbon

This easy pecan-crusted salmon is topped with pecans and a maple bourbon sauce, and then baked to juicy, flaky perfection.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time22 mins
Total Time27 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 665kcal


  • 2 salmon fillets (~4oz per person)
  • pinch sea salt
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • ½ cup pecans, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup plain Panko breadcrumbs
  • diced green onion, parsley, and or basil to serve (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 400ºF.
    Pat salmon dry, and then sprinkle it with salt.  Add salmon to a baking dish or lined baking sheet, and set in the fridge until you're ready to use it.
  • Next, pour balsamic vinegar and bourbon together and set aside. Keep the balsamic-bourbon mixture within arm's reach, so that you can grab it quickly when the syrup is ready.
    Pour maple syrup into a small, heavy bottom pot and turn heat to medium. In about 1-2 minutes, the syrup should start to bubble. Stir until the syrup darkens in color and turns amber (about 3 more minutes).
    The caramelizing syrup will be VERY hot. Do not touch it or attempt to taste it at this point.
    Bring Maple Syrup To a Boil + Simmer
  • Carefully, standing back from the pot in case of splash-back, pour the balsamic and bourbon mixture into the pot with the syrup. Stir, and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Take sauce off the heat, and set aside.
    Add Vinegar + Bourbon
  • Pour the pecans and breadcrumbs into the pot with the bourbon sauce, and stir together.  Set the mixture in the fridge for 10 minutes, until it's cooled and hardened slightly.
    Add Pecans + Breadcrumbs
  • Take the salmon out of the fridge, and the pecan mixture out of the fridge or freezer.  Use a spoon to divide the pecan mixture over the top of the salmon, and smooth it out into an even layer.  
    Depending on the size of your salmon, you might end up with extra topping.  Any extra can be put in an airtight container and refrigerated for a few days, or frozen for a few months.
    Spread Pecan Mixture on Salmon
  • Bake salmon on the center rack for about 9 minutes per inch of thickness.  Top salmon with fresh herbs if desired, and serve immediately.
    pecan-crusted salmon


Troubleshooting: My topping isn't getting crispy.
  • Make sure you're using Panko breadcrumbs, not regular breadcrumbs.  Panko breadcrumbs are larger and will crisp up better.
  • If your fish is done cooking but the topping isn't crisp yet, use your oven's broiler for about 2 minutes to crisp up the topping a little.  (Watch the fish carefully while broiling and be careful not to burn the topping.)


Calories: 665kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 374mg | Potassium: 1086mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 83IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 3mg