This Simple Grilled Salmon recipe is your complete guide to preparing quick and easy salmon on the grill with lemon, garlic, and herbs.
Cooking salmon on the grill is a fast, easy, and tasty way to add rich, smoky flavor to the fish. The key to keeping the simple grilled salmon nice and moist with a perfectly charred top is searing the fish over direct high heat first, then finishing the fish over indirect heat until it is heated through.
When I am preparing salmon for the grill, I love to use a very simple marinade that lets the flavors of the buttery fish and the smoky charred grill lines shine.
If you love cooking salmon recipes, you might also enjoy this air fryer salmon recipe.
Making grilled salmon requires only a couple of simple ingredients to prepare. Here's what you need:
- Salmon fillets
- Extra vrigin olive il
How to Cook Salmon on the Grill
Here's step-by-step with images of how to make this simple grilled salmon recipe.
To get started you want to prepare the grill. If you have a gas grill, turn it to high heat. If you have a charcoal grill, set it up for partial direct high heat.
When the grill is hot, clean the grates and wipe with cooking oil to prevent the fish from sticking.
Then while the grill is heating up you can prepare the salmon by drizzling olive oil on each filet and spreading it around with a brush.
Sprinkle each salmon fillet with salt, pepper, and garlic. Squeeze lemon over each filet.
Place salmon pieces skin side up (flesh side down) on the grill and sear on direct high heat for 1-2 minutes.
Use a spatula to flip salmon over and place it over indirect medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
Cook until the fish reaches 145 in the thickest part of the filet. The salmon should be opaque and flake easily with a fork.
How to Cook Salmon on a Gas Grill
This salmon grilling recipe is great for a gas grill because it is very easy to control the temperature. Every gas grill is different, so you may want to check your manual. For most gas grills, you simply turn the outside two burners to the "medium" or "medium-low" position and turn the inside burner (or burners, if there are more than one) off.
How to Cook Salmon on a Charcoal Grill
If you are using a charcoal grill to make this easy grilled salmon recipe, push the charcoals to one side of the grill. The side on top of the charcoals will be used for direct heat for searing. The side without the charcoals will be used to slowly finish the fish once you flip it.
For more information on grilling salmon, check out Weber which is my go-to grilling guide!
I love simply seasoned salmon on the grill, but if you are looking for a change you can try the following changes.
- Lemon Salmon: Use lemon pepper instead of plain pepper and top the fish with lemon slices after searing.
- Spicy Salmon: Top your salmon filets with pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper for a spicy and smoky flavor.
- Sesame Soy: Brush the salmon with equal parts brown sugar and soy sauce then sprinkle on some sesame seeds right before the fish finishes.
Be sure to only cook on direct heat for 1-2 minutes to avoid overcooking the fish.
Make sure to clean the grill before placing the salmon on it. It's easiest to do this once the grill is heated.
Lightly wipe oil on the grill grates before adding the salmon to keep it from sticking.
Use a long, fish spatula to easily move the salmon on the grill to keep it from breaking.
Salmon is done when the thickest part of the fish reaches 145 degrees. You can check the temperature using a meat thermometer if you want to be sure, but the easiest way to check if fish is done is by using a fork. When salmon is finished, it will become opaque and flakes easily when you place a fork in it. To test for flakiness, start by checking the thin end and finish by checking the center.
On average I find that it takes about 10 minutes to cook a piece of salmon on the grill though the time may vary depending on the thickness of your salmon fillets and the temperature of the grill. You will want to check it using a thermometer. It should register 145 degrees F in the thickest portion of the fish.
You want to grill the fish on indirect heat skin side up first for just a couple of minutes. This will give the top of the fish nice grill marks before you flip it over and finish cooking it skin-side down.
No, it is best to cook salmon with the skin left on. It melts a little as the salmon cooks helping to give the salmon moisture and keep it from drying out. After cooking, the skin should easily slide off.
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Simple Grilled Salmon
- 4 4 oz salmon filets
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ lemon
- Prepare the grill. If you have a gas grill, turn it to high heat. If you have a charcoal grill, set it up for partial direct high heat.
- When the grill is hot, clean the grates and wipe with cooking oil to prevent the fish from sticking.
- Prepare the salmon by drizzling olive oil on each filet.
- Add the salt, pepper and garlic. Squeeze lemon over each filet.
- Start with the skin side up (flesh side down) and sear on direct high heat for 1-2 minutes.
- Use a spatula to turn the fish and place over indirect medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
- Cook until the fish reaches 145 degrees F in the thickest part of the filet. The salmon should be opaque and flake easily with a fork.