Easy Smoked Salmon

Total Time

Prep: 10 min. + marinating Bake: 35 min. + chilling


16 servings

Updated: Nov. 02, 2023
A magazine featured this recipe years ago, and it's still my favorite way to serve salmon. Just add crackers for a super simple yet elegant appetizer. —Norma Fell, Boyne City, Michigan


  • 1 salmon fillet (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • Optional: Capers and lemon slices


  1. Place salmon skin side down in an 11x7-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with brown sugar, salt and pepper. Drizzle with liquid smoke. Cover and refrigerate for 4-8 hours.
  2. Drain salmon, discarding liquid. Bake, uncovered, at 350° until fish flakes easily with a fork, 35-45 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. If desired, serve with capers and lemon slices.
Smoked Salmon Tips

What kind of salmon should you use to make smoked salmon?

You can use any type of salmon to make smoked salmon. We find that the varieties with high oil content work best, such as king (chinook) salmon, coho or sockeye salmon. The high fat content creates a rich flavor and contributes to the buttery texture of the smoked fish. It’s best to use skin-on salmon for this recipe because the skin provides a buffer between the hot pan and the delicate flesh, keeping the salmon juicy as it cooks. Skinless salmon fillets work as well, but you’ll want to keep a close eye on them so they don’t overcook and dry out.

How else can you smoke salmon?

This is a liquid smoke recipe, but there are other ways to smoke salmon. You can use an outdoor smoker or a grill with soaked wood chips. These methods utilize hot smoking, cooking the salmon at temperatures between 250° to 350°. Salmon can also be cold smoked at lower temperatures, typically below 90°. Cold smoking will not cook the salmon, so it needs to be cured with salt so it's safe to eat.

How do you serve smoked salmon?

Smoked salmon is a fantastic salmon recipe for serving as a main course. Then add your favorite sides for salmon, like a fresh salad, potatoes, roasted vegetables or grains like quinoa or couscous. It can also be incorporated into pasta dishes, used in sandwiches or wraps, folded into scrambled eggs for breakfast, added to salads or used as a topping for pizza.

Lindsay Mattison, Taste of Home Contributing Writer

Nutrition Facts

1-1/2 ounces cooked salmon: 95 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated fat), 28mg cholesterol, 324mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 0 fiber), 10g protein.