Quick & Easy Brown Sugar Baked Salmon Recipe with Vegetables | Perfect Dinner

Sabrina Dawson

brown sugar baked salmon
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Welcome to our blog! Today, we’re diving into a delightful and straightforward recipe that will elevate your dinner game—Brown Sugar Baked Salmon. This dish is not only quick and easy to prepare but also promises a deliciously sweet and smoky flavor that will leave your taste buds craving more. Whether you’re cooking for your family or hosting a dinner party, this recipe is sure to impress.

Brown Sugar Baked Salmon

This brown sugar baked salmon recipe is a fantastic option for those looking for a quick, flavorful, and nutritious meal. The combination of brown sugar, lemon zest, and smoked paprika creates a glaze that caramelizes in the oven, giving the salmon a beautiful, sweet, and smoky crust. Plus, with the ability to turn this dish into a sheet pan dinner by adding your favorite vegetables, it’s both versatile and convenient.


Salmon with Brown Sugar Glaze

Here’s what you’ll need to make this delicious brown sugar baked salmon:

For the Salmon

  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, preferably wild-caught
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (or substitute chipotle powder for a spicier version)
  • Half of a lemon, quartered

For the Vegetables (Optional)

  • 3/4 pound green beans or other quick-cooking veggies like zucchini, asparagus, snap peas, or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Step-by-Step Instructions

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Prepping the Salmon

  1. Preheat the Oven: Start by preheating your oven to 400°F (200°C). This temperature is ideal for baking salmon as it ensures the fish cooks through without drying out.
  2. Prepare the Baking Sheet: Set aside a large rimmed baking sheet. Lining it with parchment paper can help with easy cleanup later.
  3. Dry the Salmon Fillets: Pat the salmon fillets dry with paper towels. This helps the rub adhere better and promotes even cooking.

Making the Brown Sugar Rub

  1. Mix the Rub Ingredients: In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika. If you prefer a bit more heat, you can substitute the smoked paprika with chipotle powder or add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  2. Apply the Rub: Rub the salmon fillets with a teaspoon of olive oil. This helps the rub stick and adds a bit of moisture. Then, generously scatter the brown sugar rub over the salmon, massaging it into the fish. Be sure to coat the sides and any areas where the rub may fall off.

Baking the Salmon

  1. Place Salmon on Baking Sheet: Arrange the salmon fillets, skin-side down, on the prepared baking sheet. This position helps keep the salmon moist and prevents the flesh from sticking.
  2. Bake the Salmon: Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven. Bake the salmon for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillets. The salmon is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 125°F (51°C) and flakes easily with a fork.
  3. Serve with Lemon Wedges: Remove the salmon from the oven and serve immediately with lemon wedges. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice enhances the flavors beautifully.

Turning it Into a Sheet Pan Dinner

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One of the great things about this brown sugar baked salmon recipe is that you can easily turn it into a sheet pan dinner by adding some vegetables to the baking sheet.

Choosing the Right Vegetables

Select quick-cooking vegetables that will be ready in the same amount of time as the salmon. Here are some excellent choices:

  • Green beans
  • Zucchini
  • Asparagus
  • Snap peas
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Broccolini

Preparing the Vegetables

  1. Toss with Olive Oil: In a bowl, toss your chosen vegetables with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  2. Add to Baking Sheet: Scatter the vegetables around the salmon fillets on the baking sheet, ensuring they are spread out in a single layer for even cooking.

Adjusting Cooking Times for Heartier Vegetables

If you prefer heartier vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, or root vegetables, they will need a bit more time to cook.

  1. Partially Bake First: Partially bake these vegetables for 10 to 15 minutes before adding the salmon to the baking sheet. This ensures they will be tender and cooked through by the time the salmon is done.
  2. Add Salmon and Continue Baking: After the initial baking time, add the salmon fillets to the baking sheet and bake for an additional 12 to 15 minutes, until both the salmon and vegetables are perfectly cooked.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

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If you have any leftovers, here’s how to store and reheat them to enjoy this delicious meal again.

Storing Leftovers

  1. Refrigerator: Place the baked salmon in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  2. Freezer: For longer storage, you can freeze the salmon in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Make sure to label the container with the date.

Reheating Leftovers

  1. Thawing: If frozen, thaw the salmon overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Reheating: Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C). Place the salmon on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until heated through. Be careful not to overheat, as this can dry out the salmon.

Serving Suggestions

While the brown sugar baked salmon and vegetables make for a satisfying meal on their own, here are some additional serving suggestions to enhance your dinner:

Side Dishes

  1. Corn Salad: A fresh corn salad with cherry tomatoes, red onions, and a light vinaigrette pairs wonderfully with the sweet and smoky flavors of the salmon.
  2. Mashed Sweet Potatoes: The creamy, slightly sweet mashed sweet potatoes complement the caramelized glaze of the salmon.
  3. Cilantro Lime Rice: This zesty rice dish adds a refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of the salmon.
  4. Quinoa Salad: A light quinoa salad with cucumber, tomatoes, and a lemon dressing provides a nutritious and flavorful side.

Wine Pairings

  1. White Wine: A crisp, dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio pairs well with the light, sweet flavors of the salmon.
  2. Rosé: A dry rosé can also be a great choice, offering a balance of fruitiness and acidity that complements the dish.
  3. Light Red Wine: For those who prefer red wine, a light Pinot Noir can be a suitable pairing.

Nutritional Information

Here’s the nutritional breakdown for one serving of brown sugar baked salmon with a portion of green beans:

  • Calories: 325
  • Total Fat: 15g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.9g
  • Cholesterol: 76.5mg
  • Sodium: 374.9mg
  • Carbohydrate: 8.7g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2.4g
  • Total Sugars: 5.1g
  • Protein: 38.4g

These values are estimates and can vary based on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used.


This brown sugar baked salmon recipe is a must-try for anyone looking for a quick, easy, and delicious dinner option. The sweet and smoky glaze, combined with the tender and moist salmon, creates a dish that is sure to become a family favorite. Plus, the versatility of turning it into a sheet pan dinner with your choice of vegetables makes it even more convenient.

We hope you enjoy making and eating this delightful recipe as much as we do. Don’t forget to share your experience and any modifications you made in the comments below. Happy cooking!