Healthy salmon recipes for weight loss + other nutritional benefits


Nagina Abdullah


October 19, 2018

how long to bake salmon_ here is how

I’ve always LOVED salmon. I used to order it a lot when I went out to eat at restaurants. Knowing it was better to make it myself at home, for some reason, I found it intimidating. I wasn’t sure how long to bake salmon, or what kind of seasonings would go well with it.

Thankfully, once I pushed past my initial fear, I discovered that salmon is actually one of the easiest meals you can possibly make — and there are several healthy salmon recipes. Salmon is one of my go-to-lunches because it’s filling, packed with healthy Omega 3s and super easy to make.

There’s always a fear of drying fish out because of how flaky and thin it can be. Salmon is packed full of healthy fats that help keep it moist. Cooking it for the right amount of time and with a few tricks, you can have delicious satisfying salmon at home (like I do!) in under 25 minutes.

All flavor and health benefits, without any mystery sauces or creamy dressing to cancel out all the fat-burning power of salmon. I’m excited to share my salmon baking tips with you!

In this post I’ll go over:

  • How salmon boosts your health and shrinks your waistline
  • Why you need to prioritize Omega 3s in your meals
  • How Omega 3s target belly fat
  • What to look for in choosing the best, freshest salmon
  • How long to cook salmon (guidelines for cooking every half-inch of thickness)
  • 2 incredibly fast (and yummy!) salmon recipes for the oven

Health Benefits of Eating Salmon

Salmon is a best-loved superfood. Maybe the most famous characteristic of salmon is its high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are excellent for heart health. It also has high levels of potassium, which lowers blood pressure and takes the strain off of your heart, too. (1)

Omega 3s are “essential” nutrients, this means your body can’t make it, you have to get it from the food you eat. Salmon is also highly anti-inflammatory for the whole body. It’s known for reducing cancer risk and improving arterial cell lining. (1)

Healthy Omega 3 fats are a type of powerhouse belly fat burning food. These healthy fats nourish your cells and keep your energy levels on a slow burn. This helps your body’s fat-burning engines to focus on layers of excess fat (around the midsection in particular) that can be eliminated.

Salmon is also an easy-to-digest source of protein to help you feel satisfied and full. This empowers the body to lose weight the healthy way by signaling that it’s safe, and has enough sustenance to live off of. With the safety net of lean, nutritious protein, your body can shed extra pounds and you won’t suffer through hangry afternoons.

Eating enough healthy protein also keeps me productive. I can focus my energy on whatever project I’m tackling, rather than battling with a growling tummy and guilty feelings after binging on a bag of chips.

Add black pepper to your salmon for flavor and to burn as many calories as a 20-minute walk! Get more hot pepper tips in this FREE Black Pepper Cheat Sheet.

How to Choose Salmon

Before we jump into cooking salmon, let’s talk briefly about the differences between wild caught vs. farmed salmon.

Generally speaking, wild caught salmon is more nutritious because it has a more varied diet. Wild also tends to be lower in saturated fat. Sometimes (because of the fortified fish feed) farmed salmon can have high levels of Omega 3s. (2)

Wild salmon tends to be lower in contaminants because it’s not swimming in a contained pool. The sustainability of salmon depends on the particular fish. You can ask your fishmonger, and look for sustainability verification on the packaging.

So overall, fresh and wild caught is preferable. But if you can only find farmed or frozen salmon where you are, you will still get lots of nutrition and health benefits from these options. Even canned salmon is a cheaper alternative and it still has the healthy fats that make it so desirable.

Salmon is naturally a lower mercury fish, too. So it’s ideal for a healthy meal many times in one week and even for pregnant or breastfeeding moms.

What fresh salmon looks like

Here are some tips for picking fresh, quality salmon.

Fresh salmon fillets

  • Don’t smell fishy
  • Have brightly colored moist flesh
  • Have no discoloration along the edges

A whole fresh salmon

  • Should have bright, clear eyes
  • The skin should be silvery, shiny, and bounce back when you press into it (3)

How to make salmon in the oven

A good guideline is to cook salmon for 4 to 6 minutes for every half-inch of thickness at 400-425 degrees F. Most fillets are about 1 inch thick in the center. You’ll know it’s cooked all the way through when it flakes with a fork and the flesh in the center looks opaque. (4)

As a rule-of-thumb, I spray a baking tray with cooking spray and bake my salmon on it in the oven at 400 F (200 C) for 25 minutes, skin side up so that it doesn’t stick.

2 Tasty Healthy Salmon Recipes

Salmon has so much natural flavor and healthy fat, that you don’t need much. You can use olive oil, salt, pepper, and different spices to mix it up. Maybe squeeze some lemon or lime over the top, and you’re all set!

Here are a couple of healthy salmon recipes with my go-to methods for cooking salmon that’s fast and flavorful.

Easy Baked Salmon

This Perfectly Baked Salmon from Sweet Phi takes just 5 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes of hands-off cooking time. She recommends getting about 4-6 oz (113-170 grams) of salmon per person.

Lining the baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper makes cleanup easy, too. You just have to do a quick wash down and you’re free to go read a book before bed instead of scrubbing in the kitchen for another 15 minutes.

For even juicier salmon, I recommend wrapping the fish in foil or parchment paper like a taco and pinching the edges shut. This keeps the moisture and flavor in even better.

Easy Baked Salmon

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 lb center cut salmon (about 16 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon mediterranean sea salt, (or regular sea salt) (McCormick brand makes this, I find it in the spice aisle)
  • 1/2 Lemon, sliced and slices halved


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Place salmon (skin side down if skin is on) on the lined baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil on the filet, sprinkle with Mediterranean Sea Salt, place lemon slices on top.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 2 minutes, then cut into fillets and enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Even Quicker Broiled Salmon (Ready in 3 minutes!)

If you want a salmon recipe that’s so quick, you can’t even leave the kitchen, try broiling it like in this All Recipes Lemon Pepper Salmon Recipe.

All you have to do is turn the oven to broil, and place seasoned fish on a sheet pan or untreated cedar plank soaked in water. Slide it onto the top rack of the oven under the broiler — about 3 inches from the heat source.

Check the fish after 3 minutes. If it’s done on the outside but you like it slightly more well done in the center, turn the broiler off and let the salmon sit in the oven for a few more minutes.

Here’s the full recipe!

You can substitute butter for olive oil or use coconut oil to make it even healthier.

Lemon-pepper salmon

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings


  • 4 4-ounce salmon fillets
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • Lemon pepper, to taste


  • Preheat the oven broiler. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  • Place salmon on the baking sheet. Mix the melted butter and soy sauce in a small bowl, and brush over the salmon. Sprinkle salmon with lemon pepper.
  • Broil salmon 6 to 8 minutes, depending on thickness, or until easily flaked with a fork.


Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

What’s your favorite way to cook salmon? What are your favorite salmon side dishes and what spices do you like on it best? Let me know in the comments!

Get 5 more way to add this calorie-busting spice every day in this Black Pepper Cheat Sheet.

Avatar photo

Nagina Sethi Abdullah, BA, MBA

Nagina Abdullah is a health coach for middle-aged women and professionals. She coaches women to boost their metabolism naturally, shed pounds and keep them off. Her work with weight loss clients led to the creation of Masala Body, an online weight loss platform that provides an easy and accessible system that helps women sustainably lose weight. She has helped over 1200 women successfully lose from 10-80 lbs and create a sustainable lifestyle change. Nagina earned her degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley.

Reader Interactions


  1. Aldona says

    Nagina, I first heard you on Million Pound Mission podcast with Adam. I’m lucky enough to live here in Bloomington and work out at NGPT, Adam’s studio. With his program, I’ve lost 30lbs since Dec, 2017 and have kept it off. I’ve really appreciated all your knowledge over the last few months. Love cinnamon and ginger in my daily coffee or tea. Your blog on salmon is right on for me – now I’ll bravely cook it more often. Thank you for ALL you do for others to live calmer and healthier lives. Warmest regards????

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

See The Before And After Photos Of My Midlife Women Clients

Get my Black Pepper Cheat Sheet and learn its powerful calorie busting properties!