Citrus-Marinated Salmon Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Marinade for Salmon

Total Time
Prep: 10 min. + marinating Grill: 5 min.
This easy marinade for salmon adds a ton of flavor, whether grilled, pan-seared, broiled, baked or popped in an air fryer.

Updated: Dec. 04, 2023

There’s a lot to love about salmon. A superfood with tons of healthy protein, vitamins and necessary omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a go-to for healthy dinners and lunches. Fresh, frozen, wild-caught, farm-raised, Atlantic, sockeye or king: Whichever type of salmon you prefer, you don’t need much to make the flavorful fish taste even better. But a delicious marinade does the trick!

Marinades for salmon are super easy to make, often utilizing ingredients you already have in the kitchen. A good marinade should add a hit of flavor via citrus, vinegars, sweeteners, herbs, spices and other aromatics, but it shouldn’t overpower the fish. You can remove the skin from salmon before marinating, or keep it on (sometimes the crispy skin is the best part!). And salmon fillets or salmon steaks equally love a good marinade.

Salmon Marinade Ingredients

raw salmon and ingredients for making a marinade TMB studio

  • Orange juice
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • Lime juice
  • Red onion rings
  • Garlic cloves
  • Fresh thyme spring
  • Bay leaf
  • Minced ginger
  • Fennel seed
  • Coarsely ground pepper
  • Salmon fillets

Directions

Step 1: Make the marinade for salmon

hand placing an onion in a bag with marinade for salmonTMB studio

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine all of the ingredients, except for the salmon. Then, add the salmon, seal the bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

Step 2: Drain and discard marinade

marinated salmon on a plateTMB studio

Remove the salmon from the bag and place on a plate or baking dish. Make sure to discard the marinade: It’s not safe to use after touching the raw fish.

Step 3: Grill or broil the salmon

salmon in a grillTMB studio

To grill the salmon, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil, and using long-handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack. Place the salmon skin side down on grill rack. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes. To test for doneness, the fish should be firm and flake to the touch. To broil, place the fish 4 inches from the heat and broil for 10 to 12 minutes.

Step 4: Serve immediately

Remove from the grill or broiler and serve with your favorite side dishes. No need to rest salmon!

Tips for Salmon Marinade

salmon in a clear plastic bag marinadingTMB studio

How long should you marinate salmon?

If you’re using lemon or other citrus juice in the marinade, don’t let the fish marinate much longer than 30 minutes. If you let it sit too long, the acid from the citrus will turn the texture of the flesh from firm to mushy.

Do you rinse off the marinade for salmon before cooking?

Don’t rinse off the marinade before cooking salmon. You worked hard trying to impart that extra flavor, so you don’t want to lose it. However, do discard the marinade after removing the fillets. Because the marinade came in contact with raw fish, it’s no longer safe to use.

What other marinades can you use for salmon?

When thinking about marinade for salmon, you don’t want to overpower the fish. The sweet and zippy pairing of ginger and honey mingle perfectly in this Gingered Honey Salmon. Find more inspiration in our guide to marinades. While most are good for different kinds of proteins, the Northwoods, honey-garlic and orange-spice marinades all make tasty marinades for salmon.

Can you bake marinated salmon in the oven?

Of course! One option is to place the seasoned fillet on a hot pan and place into a 450°F oven. Because the pan has been heated, the initial contact will help sear the skin, giving it an irresistible crispy texture. If you want to leave the skin behind, the flesh will lift away easily (although you can eat salmon skin!)

What do you serve with marinated salmon?

This powerhouse fish is delicious as the main dish. Serve it hot or chilled with: roasted potatoes and asparagus, lemon risotto with peas, or fruit and spinach salad—just a few tasty side dishes for salmon.

Citrus Marinade for Salmon

Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 5 min
Yield 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 3 red onion rings
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh gingerroot
  • 1/8 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 4 salmon fillets (6 ounces each)

Directions

  1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the first 12 ingredients. Add the salmon; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.
  2. Drain and discard marinade. Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack. Place salmon skin side down on grill rack. Grill, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 10-12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Nutrition Facts

1 each: 351 calories, 22g fat (4g saturated fat), 100mg cholesterol, 202mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 34g protein.

"This is the perfect thing to make for a speedy, healthy meal. I sometimes prepare the marinade in the morning and put the salmon in when I get home from work, and within 30 minutes, they're sizzling on the grill. Add a salad and dinner's ready!" Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, TX