This brown sugar glazed salmon recipe is pan seared to perfection with a mouthwatering sweet & savory sticky sauce.
I like salmon pretty much any way I can get it, but if you have a picky eater on your hands, this sauce may be just the thing that turns them into a salmon lover!
How to make brown sugar salmon (overview):
For best results, let the salmon warm up on the counter for at least 15-20 minutes. Cut it into 4 pieces and season it with salt & pepper. Preheat your skillet for a few minutes prior to searing the salmon (skin-side down) for 5 minutes, then flip it and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Add in the rest of the butter, pour the sauce in between the salmon pieces and let it thicken for 20-30 seconds, then take it off the heat (important - you don't want the sauce to burn!). Flip the salmon pieces over and spoon the sauce over the salmon. (Full instructions & ingredients are in the recipe card below)
Cooking salmon in a skillet success tips:
- Most salmon fillets (Atlantic salmon in particular) that you buy from the grocery store will be about 1" thick, and the cooking time in the recipe below will work, but in general it's a good idea to watch the color of the salmon change (the light pink color moves up slowly as it cooks) - this will give you an idea of how close it is to being finished. It will still cook for a little bit after you remove it from the heat. It's easy to overcook salmon, so keep that in mind.
- Ensure you heat the pan up enough before you add the salmon, and don't crowd the pan. It's better to cook the fish in two batches than stuff all the pieces in at once if they're a tight fit.
- Don't move the salmon around the skillet. It needs to cook undisturbed to get a good sear.
- When you want to flip the salmon, if it's sticking, give it a little more time to release naturally.
Recipe notes & tips:
- I don't find this sauce too sweet, but you could definitely add a little more lemon juice to the salmon once it's cooked if you want to cut the sweetness a bit.
- As with any recipe, sub ingredients at your discretion. Recipe has been tested with ingredients as listed (I find the flavors to be quite balanced).
- This salmon is great cold - I enjoyed some the following day in a salad.
- I added a bit of chopped parsley before serving, but that's totally optional. It adds a little more freshness and a pop of color.
- I use cooking tongs to easily turn the salmon, and a splatter guard helps with clean-up.
- Here's a fun cooking trick: the ginger is much easier to grate if it's frozen. I always keep some fresh ginger in the freezer (I freeze the whole thing in a ZipLoc bag and it lasts in there for months). I use my Microplane grater/zester to easily grate it, then pop the ginger back in the freezer!
- This recipe should be good stored in the fridge for 3-4 days (but I like to eat leftover fish within a day or two).
You may also like...
What to serve with brown sugar glazed salmon?
This salmon is delicious served with rice, mashed potatoes, or steamed veggies.
Questions about this brown sugar salmon? Let me know in the comments below!
Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon
- 1 pound fresh salmon cut into 4 pieces
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter divided
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger grated
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons chicken broth or water
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Take the salmon out of the fridge 15-20 minutes prior to starting the recipe if possible. Cut the salmon into 4 equal pieces and pat it dry with paper towel. Season with salt & pepper.
- Add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter to a skillet over medium-high heat. Heat the pan for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the sauce ingredients to a bowl and whisk together.
- Cook the salmon (skin-side down) for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium and flip the salmon over and cook for another 2-3 minutes (should be almost cooked through).
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet and let it melt, then pour in the sauce (just pour it in between the salmon pieces). Let it bubble/thicken for 20-30 seconds or so, and then take the pan off the heat (the pan will still be hot and the sauce will continue to thicken, but this avoids burning it). Flip the salmon over & spoon the sauce over top.
- Serve immediately. The salmon skin will be nice and crispy and is delicious when you eat it right away, but feel free to peel it off it you prefer.
- The salmon I used in this recipe was approx. 1" thick. If your salmon is thicker or thinner, you may need to adjust cooking time a bit (see blog post for tips).
- It's fine if you've got a bit more than a pound of salmon, just make sure it's not too much over or the salmon pieces will be crowded in the pan and not cook properly (then sear it in two batches).
- Pro tip: the ginger is much easier to grate if it's frozen. I always keep some fresh ginger in the freezer and I use my Microplane grater/zester to quickly grate it.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.