When it comes to marinating fish like salmon, the sky is the limit. A marinade can be simple or complex, well thought-out or just a great way to finish off the last of the herbs and citrus you have lying around. Every marinade starts with an oil base. The oil adds flavor, but it also adds a protective element. Oil helps salmon retain its moisture, and it also helps evenly distribute the more flavorful marinade ingredients. We keep salt out of our salmon marinades, since it can dry the fish out over time. We recommend seasoning the fish with salt right before cooking.

How long should you marinate salmon?

How long you should marinate depends on what is in your recipe and how potent it is. You shouldn’t marinate salmon in anything with a high acid content for too long, or else it will break down. If you leave salmon in a marinade with a lot of lemon juice for hours it will break down the salmon and make for a mushy dish. If your marinade contains citrus juice, it’s best to keep the salmon in it for no more than 30 minutes.  

Our favorite salmon marinades:

These are formulated recipes but there are no rules. Feel free to substitute what you’ve got on hand or use these recipes as a guide to create a recipe of your own!  

Place the salmon in a shallow pan and cover with your marinade of choice. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes – 2 hours. If the marinade contains citrus juice, marinade for no more than 30 minutes.

Sesame Orange Salmon Marinade

  • 4 Tbsp. Grapeseed Oil or another neutral oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Sesame oil
  • 1 Orange, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Honey
  • ½ Tbsp. grated fresh Ginger (ground Ginger will work too)

Lemon Thyme Salmon Marinade

  • 4 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Lemon, sliced
  • 1 small bunch fresh Thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves, Minced
  • ½ Tbsp. Ground Black Pepper

Harissa and Lemon Salmon Marinade

  • 4 Tbsp. Grapeseed Oil or another neutral oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Harissa Paste
  • 1 Lemon, Sliced
  • Handful of flat leaf Parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground Cumin

Chimichurri Salmon Marinade

This recipe doubles as a great sauce.

  • 1 cup Olive Oil
  • Handful of Cilantro
  • Handful of flat leaf Parsley
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 1 Jalapeno (deseeded if you prefer mild heat)
  • Juice of 1 Lime

Add all these ingredients to a blender and process until smooth. Since this recipe makes a large amount of sauce, reserve half the mixture to serve alongside the salmon.


Even more salmon recipes:

Cedar Wrapped Salmon with Shallots & Asparagus

Cedar wraps are a great way to jazz up a simple meal. This recipe includes some seasoning and just 3 ingredients. Couldn't be easier! Total Time: 25 minutesServings: 4 Ingredients: Cedar Grilling Wraps 4 6-8 oz Salmon Filets, skin and bones removed 2 Shallots, peeled...

Cedar Planked Togarashi Salmon with Nori Pesto

This unique dish can be paired with rice, pasta, soba noodles, or ramen. It’s incredibly flexible and packed with umami. Feel free to add poached eggs for an extra rich touch, or roasted vegetables to keep it healthy.Total Time: 30 minutesServings: 4 Ingredients:...

Open Fire Cedar Planked Salmon

Bottom line, a plank needs to be covered when cooked on a grill, it’s the only way to get heat on the top side. Here is a technique that will allow you to cook a plank on an open fire and still get adequate heat on your ingredients. Total Time:...

Cedar Planked Sockeye Salmon

Cedar, salmon, lemon, and dill were made to go together. This classic combination of flavors will always leave you satisfied and your guests wanting more. Keep this recipe in your back pocket for dinner anytime. Total Time: 20 minutesServings:...

Cedar Planked Salmon Burger with Saffron Pickled Fennel

If you haven't made a salmon burger before we highly recommend you give it a try! Pickled fennel and a zesty paprika mayo add a ton of flavor, and made this recipe an instant favorite around the office.  Total Time: 45 minutesServings:...

Alder Smoked Salmon

Smoke salmon over alder chips for an extra smokey flavor.

Paleo Cedar Planked Salmon Dip in Endive Cups

It can be hard to feed friends and family who are on the Paleo diet, but this salmon dip makes a great appetizer everyone will enjoy. Coconut cream and paleo mayonnaise replace cream cheese to keep this recipe clean. Total Time: 2 hours Servings: 4 Ingredients: 1...

Hibiscus Glazed Cedar Planked Salmon Recipe

If you've never mixed the flavors of hibiscus and salmon, you're missing out. This recipe is easy to make, but it's sure to impress dinner guests. It'll be one of your go-to salmon recipes in no time! Total Time: 30 minutes Servings: 4...