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This quick and easy grilled salmon marinade is a flavorful and healthy way to enjoy a seafood dinner — with just 5 minutes of prep! The simple, classic combination of lemon, garlic, herbs and olive oil makes this the best salmon marinade for grilling. Pair the fish with a crusty baguette and a Caesar salad for a delicious meal that suits your busy schedule!

Close overhead shot of a piece of marinated grilled salmon with lemon

Salmon Marinade | 1-Minute Video

Grilled Salmon Marinade

This easy salmon marinade for grilling is a great way to add tons of flavor to your fish! You’ll love the fresh Mediterranean-inspired combination of lemon, garlic and herbs. Best of all, it takes about 5 minutes to shake the ingredients together in a jar, then your job is practically done. Let the salmon soak in the marinade, then cook it on the grill for a total of about 8-10 minutes. It’s simple, healthy, and totally satisfying!

Marinade Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a delicious grilled salmon marinade. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Olive oil: the base of the marinade.
  • Lemon juice and red wine vinegar: the acidic components that tenderize the fish and add a bright, tangy taste.
  • Honey: you can substitute with brown sugar if you prefer. This touch of sweetness balances the lemon juice and also helps with the caramelization so that you get a great char on the grill.
  • Garlic, basil, parsley, rosemary, salt and pepper: all of these ingredients add delicious flavor to the marinade!
A jar of grilled salmon marinade in front of a white wall with lemon and herbs nearby

How to Make Salmon Marinade

This is about as easy as it gets! I love using a mason jar because it has measurement lines on the side of the jar, so I can avoid washing extra measuring cups.

  1. Place all of the marinade ingredients in a jar with a lid.
  2. Give it a good shake until everything is completely combined. Set aside ¼ cup of the marinade to use for basting later.
  3. Place the salmon in a large Ziploc bag or in a glass dish.
  4. Pour the remaining marinade over the fish, seal or cover tightly, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the salmon from the bag and discard the marinade.
Process shot showing how to make salmon marinade

How Long to Marinate Salmon

Since salmon is naturally very tender, you don’t need to leave the fish in the marinade for very long. I recommend about 30 minutes, and not more than 1 hour. Thanks to the lemon juice and red wine vinegar, this marinade is quite acidic. If left in the marinade for too long, the acid in a marinade can start to “cook” the fish (like ceviche) and may result in a mushy piece of grilled salmon.

Can I reuse marinade that salmon was in?

You’ll want to set aside about ¼ cup of the marinade to use for brushing the fish as it cooks, and then discard the rest of the marinade that the salmon was soaking in. This avoids the risk of consuming any potentially harmful bacteria from the raw fish.

How to Cook Marinated Salmon

Salmon is one of my go-to options when it comes to healthy dinners, but eating the same exact meal week after week can get pretty darn boring. That’s why this is truly the best salmon marinade — it adds so much great flavor to the fish, but it requires minimal effort. We always love grilled salmon when the weather cooperates, but you can also use this salmon marinade for baked or broiled fish.

  1. For the Grill: Heat the coals or a gas grill to medium heat. Place the marinated salmon on the grill. Cover and grill for 4-5 minutes per side. Brush the salmon with the reserved ¼ cup of marinade a couple of times as the fish cooks. The salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork.
  2. For the Broiler: Place the marinated salmon on a broiler pan. Put the fish directly under the broiler for 5 minutes. Flip it over and continue to broil for about 4-6 more minutes, or until the flesh flakes easily with a fork.
  3. For the Oven: To bake the marinated salmon, preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the fish on a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 8-11 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. You can put the salmon under the broiler for the final few minutes if you’d like to get the top a bit crispier!
Side shot of grilled salmon on a plate with a side of baguette

What to Serve with Marinated Salmon

The lemon, garlic, and herb-infused salmon is delicious with a wide variety of sides. Here are a few ideas that pair nicely with the fish:

Overhead shot of grilled salmon marinade on a blue and white plate with fresh lemon

Storage

Leftover salmon will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. 

Cooked salmon can also be frozen for four to six months, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Thaw cooked salmon in the refrigerator or immersed in cold water. Use cooked, thawed salmon in salads or as a substitution for canned salmon in casseroles, pasta dishes, sandwiches or wraps.

Overhead horizontal shot of salmon marinade lemon and herbs

Recipe Variations

  • Use brown sugar instead of honey. If you like a sweet marinade, increase the amount of sweetener to at least 2 tablespoons.
  • Try other fresh herbs. Anything goes, so pick your favorites or use what’s available. Swap out the rosemary for thyme, or add chives instead of basil. Dill is also a great companion for salmon.
  • Use freshly-squeezed lime juice or orange juice instead of the lemon.
  • In a pinch, you can substitute dried herbs for the fresh herbs. You’ll need to use less of the dried herbs, so cut it back to about 2 teaspoons of dried basil and 1 teaspoon each of the dried parsley and dried rosemary.
  • Scale the recipe to suit the size of your family. If you’re just cooking for two, cut all of the ingredients in half and marinate just 2 pieces of fish. For a large family, double the ingredients and marinate the salmon in two separate bags.
Close up side shot of a piece of marinated grilled salmon on a blue and white plate with fresh herbs and lemon

Tips for the Best Salmon Marinade

  • A Ziploc bag is a great way to marinate fish because it doesn’t leak and it keeps the marinade close to the fish on all sides so that the salmon can soak up as much flavor as possible.
  • Marinate the salmon for at least 30 minutes so that is has time to soak up all of the delicious flavor, but not more than 1 hour. Marinating for too long can result in a mushy piece of fish.
  • Always marinate salmon in the refrigerator so that it stays fresh.
  • Use fresh herbs and freshly-squeezed lemon juice for the best flavor.
  • Keep a close eye on the salmon while it cooks. You’ll know that the fish is done when the flesh flakes easily with a fork. You don’t want to overcook it or the salmon will become dry.
Overhead shot of a salmon marinade for grilling served with a side of crusty bread

More Salmon Recipes To Try

Close overhead shot of a piece of marinated grilled salmon with lemon

Salmon Marinade with Lemon, Garlic and Herbs

5 from 8 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Marinating Time 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 132.6 kcal
This quick and easy grilled salmon marinade is a flavorful and healthy way to enjoy a seafood dinner — with just 5 minutes of prep!

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ lbs. salmon, cut into 4 pieces

Instructions

  • Combine all of the ingredients (except for the salmon) in a large jar with a lid. Shake vigorously until completely combined (or whisk ingredients together in a small bowl).
  • Set aside about ¼ cup of marinade for later.
  • Place salmon and remaining marinade in a large zip-top plastic bag or in a glass container. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for about 30 minutes (and not longer than 1 hour).
  • Heat the coals or a gas grill to medium heat. Place the marinated salmon on the grill. Cover and grill for 4-5 minutes per side. Brush the salmon with the reserved ¼ cup of marinade a couple of times as the fish cooks. The salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork.

Video

Notes

  • A Ziploc bag is a great way to marinate fish because it doesn’t leak and it keeps the marinade close to the fish on all sides so that the salmon can soak up as much flavor as possible.
  • Marinate the salmon for at least 30 minutes so that is has time to soak up all of the delicious flavor, but not more than 1 hour. Marinating for too long can result in a mushy piece of fish.
  • Always marinate salmon in the refrigerator so that it stays fresh.
  • Use fresh herbs and freshly-squeezed lemon juice for the best flavor.
  • Keep a close eye on the salmon while it cooks. You’ll know that the fish is done when the flesh flakes easily with a fork. You don’t want to overcook it or the salmon will become dry.
  • For the Broiler: Place the marinated salmon on a broiler pan. Put the fish directly under the broiler for 5 minutes. Flip it over and continue to broil for about 4-6 more minutes, or until the flesh flakes easily with a fork.
  • For the Oven: To bake the marinated salmon, preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the fish on a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 8-11 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. You can put the salmon under the broiler for the final few minutes if you’d like to get the top a bit crispier!

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoons of the marinadeCalories: 132.6kcalCarbohydrates: 3.4gProtein: 0.2gFat: 14gSodium: 582.1mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 2.4g
Keyword: grilled salmon, grilled salmon marinade, Herb Salmon, marinated salmon, Salmon Marinade
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in May, 2017. The photos were updated in April, 2021.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Isn’t this weather the best? I’m loving the spring and summer weather we’ve had lately too! This marinade looks perfect, Blair! I make salmon almost once a week, as my husband and I love it, so I will have to try this. Sounds SO good and so easy to make!

    1. Love this time of year!! And any excuse to grill some salmon is welcome. 🙂 Hope you get a chance to try it, Gayle!

      1. 5 stars
        I don’t have any problems marinating salmon overnight. But I don’t have anything acidic in my marinade such as lemon or wine.

    2. 5 stars
      Totally delish!! I could eat this salmon every day of the week. I live alone so I thought that would be two meals for me. So good I kept on eating, but had to stop before it was all gone. My tummy couldn’t hold any more. Still have yummy bit to mix with eggs in the morning. Haven’t made a marinade in awhile and this was an excellent 1st choice.

      1. I’m so glad to know that you’ve found a keeper, Sue! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to come back here and let me know. 🙂

  2. Warm weather makes me soooooo happy! And I’ve been grilling up a storm this spring, but have yet to put salmon on the grill. This marinade sounds like the perfect reason to! 🙂

    1. Hey, Kelsie! The acid in the marinade starts to “cook” the fish if it marinates for too long. The end result would be ceviche! 🙂

  3. Hi, Savannah! Sure! You can marinate the salmon in the same way, and then bake it in the oven at 450 degrees F for 10-12 minutes (or until it flakes easily with a fork). On the stovetop, you can sear the marinated salmon in a skillet. To do so, heat about 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place salmon, flesh-side down, in the hot oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes, and then flip salmon with a spatula. Cook for about 5-6 more minutes, or until skin becomes crispy and fish flakes easily with a fork. Hope that helps, and enjoy!

  4. My nephews love eating fish so I just made the marinade and will bake the fish once my nephews come back from school. Thanks for sharing the recipe with us.

  5. 5 stars
    Great marinade, will try on chicken as suggested and maybe on a pork chop as well.
    Only issue I have is the 5 minute prep time. I don’t have a sous chef to wash and chop all the ingredients.
    Totally happy with the end result!!

    1. Hi, Sarah! You could use white vinegar, cider vinegar, champagne vinegar, or even some extra lemon juice. 🙂

    1. Hi, Gayle! Yes, if you enjoy chilled salmon, there’s no reason that you couldn’t eat this salmon that way, too. It would be good on top of salad greens, in a wrap, or used in a mayonnaise-based salmon salad (similar to tuna salad).