Pesto Salmon is a light and healthy option for a quick weeknight meal! The tender salmon fillets are slathered in a delicious homemade pesto and baked to perfection!
A Simple Baked Pesto Salmon
The blend of herbs, pine nuts, olive oil, and garlic into a light and creamy pesto is the perfect addition to these seared salmon fillets! You have the option to add as much or as little of the pesto as you like, but we highly suggest piling it on because it is so delicious! We have also used this quick and easy cooking technique for our Blackened Salmon. The process of doing quick sear in a cast iron skillet and then finish cooking in the oven results in a slightly crisp outside while still keeping the inside nice and juicy.
What You Will Need
- fresh salmon fillets – we love using fresh fillets with the skin-on that are about 1 inch thick. You can use frozen salmon, but make sure you fully thaw before cooking.
- kosher salt & pepper – a simple seasoning that is perfect when cooking any fish.
- olive oil – a drizzle over the salmon to help with the quick sear!
- pesto – we love our easy homemade pesto or you can grab your favorite from the store.
How Do You Know When Salmon Is Done
The best way to know if your salmon is done cooking is to gently press down on the top of the fillet with a fork to see if the salmon flakes, meaning that the flesh easily separates from each other at the white lines that run across the fillet. You could also use a meat thermometer to check the temp. Cooked salmon should be about 125-130 degrees when fully cooked for a medium finish or 145 degrees F. for a well-done finish.
Should You Eat The Skin On Salmon
This is totally up to you! It is completely safe to eat the skin. Some people eat it and some people choose not to eat it. We like to cook it with the skin on, but then we remove it from the skin when eating. You could also cut the skin off the salmon fillet before cooking, if you want.
How To Store Pesto Salmon
The salmon fillets can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. You can simply reheat them in the microwave or oven until warmed throughout.
How To Make Pesto Salmon
Mix up your pesto in a food processor.
Pat your salmon fillets dry with a paper towel.
Drizzle some olive oil on the salmon fillets.
And sprinkle on the kosher salt & pepper.
Drizzle some olive oil in your cast iron skillet and get it nice and hot. Place your salmon fillets in the skillet with the skin-side up, sear for 2-4 minutes, and flip.
Brush the pesto on top and place in the oven for 10-14 minutes or until the salmon is done cooking.
Remove from the oven and enjoy as is!
Or feel free to add even more of that delicious pesto on top before serving.
Made this recipe and loved it?! We would love it if you would take a minute and leave a star rating and review – it is also helpful if you made any substitutions or changes to the recipe to share that as well. THANK YOU!
Pesto Salmon – a light and delicious pesto salmon recipe that is packed with flavor! Perfect for a busy weeknight dinner!
- 4–6 4oz pieces of salmon, skin-on and about 1 inch thick
- kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup of your favorite pesto (we love this homemade recipe)*
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place salmon on a plate and pat dry with clean paper towel.
- Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and rub all over.
- Sprinkle with kosher salt and ground black pepper.
- Bring a large cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil; swirl to coat.
- Add salmon skin-side up and let cook 2-4 minutes.
- Flip and use a spoon or brush to add pesto on top of each piece of salmon (you can really use as much or as little as you like).
- Place in the oven, middle rack and uncovered, for 10-14 minutes or until the internal temperature is 145 degrees F – for thinner piece of salmon it may take a little less than 10 minutes).
- Remove and let rest 5 minutes.
- Serve immediately and feel free to put extra pesto on top after cooking if so desired.
- Salmon: I recommend using fresh fish, purchased the day you plan on cooking it for best results. Frozen fish works too, but just make sure it is fully thawed and there isn’t any excess moisture and the resulting dish will be watery.
- *Pesto: we love this homemade dairy-free pesto, but feel free to use something else if you prefer!
- Serving: we love serving it with some Greek Orzo Salad and Steamed Asparagus.
Keywords: pesto salmon