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Honey Lemon Salmon

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You can make this Honey Lemon Salmon with only a handful of ingredients and any skillet. It's quick & easy for healthy weeknight dinners or fancy occasions


This Honey Lemon Salmon recipe is sponsored by Fair Trade Certified. As always, all content and opinions are my own 🙂

If you’re like most home cooks, you stay away from cooking fish at home for fear of making it too dry or getting a fishy taste. But this Honey Lemon Salmon recipe might be just what you need. It’s pretty much a fool proof method of cooking salmon on the stovetop with only a handful of ingredients.

This method works with as little ingredients as salmon, salt, pepper and olive oil. But I’ve added a sweet and tangy honey lemon sauce to make it a little more special. Still, the technique is the same and adaptable for any other sauces or seasonings you’d like. Once you cook the salmon, serve it with any sides or on top of a salad like I did.

Plate of kale quinoa salad topped with honey lemon salmon

Ingredients to make honey lemon salmon

You’ll need salmon, honey, lemons, salt and pepper. I’ve also included the ingredients I used to make the salad which are kale, quinoa, feta cheese and pitted cherries. Then I toss it simply with lemon juice and olive oil to serve with the honey lemon salmon.

Ingredients to make the recipe including salmon, lemon, honey, coconut oil, along with kale, quinoa, cherries and feta cheese for the salad

Fair Trade Certified Ingredients

Can we just take a moment to appreciate how beautiful that salmon is? That’s because it’s not just your average salmon from the grocery store. Caught by fishermen in Alaska, it’s the world’s second U.S.-sourced Fair Trade Certified seafood (scallops are the first). The extra fair trade funds go to these fisherman to invest in meaningful projects for their community.

There are thousands of Fair Trade Certified ingredients and there’s usually not much of a price difference to the consumer. You just have to look for seal. The difference is in what these brands give back to the farmers, planters and laborers that help produce the ingredients. Whether it’s quinoa, honey, coconut oil or salmon, the Fair Trade Certified seal is all about sustaining thriving communities by upholding standards that protect fundamental rights and safe working conditions.

So when you go out shopping for this honey lemon salmon recipe, or any other recipe, see if you can spot that Fair Trade Certified seal.

How to make honey lime salmon

  • To start, dry the salmon really well and heat a pan with coconut oil for a few minutes. You want the pan to be hot so that the oil is shimmering, but not smoking.
  • Place the salmon skin side down on the hot pan and cook it for 5-7 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets. When the salmon is golden brown and the skin is crispy, it will release on its own, and you’ll know it’s time to flip the salmon.
  • When you flip the salmon, that’s the time to add the honey and lemon juice mixture. The sauce will thicken and you can use it to baste the salmon in the pan. Leave the salmon only for a couple more minutes and then it’s fully cooked.
Cooking the salmon filets in a cast iron skilet

When you’re ready to serve it, you can garnish it with lemon slices and parsley and then add it to a side salad or serve it with rice, veggies or any other side dish you prefer.

Tips for making honey lemon salmon

  • Dry the salmon with a paper towel. There is a lot of moisture in salmon so you want to make sure to pat it dry and only add salt once it’s on the pan. That will ensure that the salmon doesn’t release too much liquid that could steam the honey lemon salmon instead of sear it.
  • Make sure the pan is hot before adding the salmon. When you heat the coconut oil in the pan, you want to make sure it’s shimmering but not smoking. I recommend heating the oil on medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. If you hear a sizzle when that skin hits the pan, you know it was heated well!
  • Don’t crowd the pan. This tip goes hand-in-hand with the dry salmon. If the skillet is crowded with salmon, there will inherently be a lot of moisture in the pan, which could affect the salmon skin getting crispy. To avoid that, cook in batches or use an extra large skillet so that the salmon fillets are not touching in the pan.
  • Cook mostly on the skin side. I used to think salmon or any protein needed to be cooked equally on both sides. But you’re cooking skin-on salmon, the bulk of the cooking time should be on the skin side. This way the seared skin helps to gently cook the salmon flesh underneath without drying it out.
Flipping the salmon over to sear the skin side

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you cook the salmon skin side up or down

Always cook salmon with the skin side on and skin side down first. The skin creates a barrier between the high heat and the flaky salmon flesh, keeping everything in tact. It also allows you to cook the salmon on higher heat to get the salmon skin to be crispy without drying out the salmon. Plus when you flip it, you’re much more likely to keep in tact if it’s skin-side down.

How do you reheat leftover salmon

You can simply reheat it in the microwave. If you have more time, I recommend heating it on a skillet with the skin side down. When the skin gets crispy, then flip it for just a minute to warm the top.

Can you use frozen salmon

I’m all about the shortcuts especially when baking salmon. But when you pan fry it, I suggest you thaw the salmon first before cooking it. You can thaw salmon or any seafood in large bowl of cold water.

Honey lemon salmon on a bed of greens

This Honey Lemon Salmon recipe is so easy for quick weeknight meals, but also fancy enough to serve guests or family on special occasions. I love how versatile the recipe is to be used with any sauce or any seasoning. And the best part is the crispy salmon skin that gives all the flavor to this salmon recipe. It’s simple, healthy and hella-packed with a sweet and tangy flavor!

And to make it extra feel good, it’s made mostly with Fair Trade Certified produce and seafood! If you want to learn more about what the fair trade seal means or my own experience learning about fair trade in Ecuador, check out my Ecuador trip!

If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Honey Lemon Salmon recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

More salmon recipes:

5 from 1 vote
Flipping the salmon over to sear the skin side
Honey Lemon Salmon
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

You can make this Honey Lemon Salmon with only a handful of ingredients and any skillet. It's quick & easy for healthy weeknight dinners or fancy occasions

Course: Entree
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dinner ideas, easy dinner, family friendly, Seafood
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 369 kcal
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 6 ounces salmon fillet
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together honey and lemon juice, set aside.

  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat two tablespoons coconut oil. Add salmon skin-side down and season with salt and pepper. Cook salmon until golden brown, skin is crispy and it releases easily with spatula, about 5-7 minutes, depending on the thickness.

  3. Add the honey lemon sauce to the pan. Then flip the salmon over carefully and baste the salmon with the sauce. Continue cooking until salmon is just barely pink in the center and easily lifts from the pan, about 2 more minutes.

  4. Garnish with sliced lemon and parsley to serve with a salad, if desired

Recipe Notes

Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last up to 3 days in the fridge. To reheat, place on a pan with the skin-side down and reheat until warmed through.

Sourcing: You can find Fair Trade Certified products at most grocery stores. If you'd like to buy the salmon I used, you can purchase it from Wild Fish Marketing.

Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However here are some common substitutes that would work well in this recipe.

  • Instead of coconut oil, you can use grapeseed oil or safflower oil, both of which have high smoke points like coconut oil. You can also use olive oil, but be careful not to let the olive oil get smokey.
  • Instead of lemon juice, you can use lime juice or another type of vinegar like red wine vinegar.
  • Instead of honey, you can use maple syrup or agave syrup. 

Equipment: I love using the Staub cast iron skillet. It has a thick heavy bottom for even heat distribution that gets the salmon skin nice and crispy without drying out the salmon. You can use any pan you'd like and it doesn't have to be a non-stick pan.

Nutrition: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.  This information should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. The nutrition value is for one serving of the prepared salmon, without the salad.

This Honey Lemon Salmon recipe is sponsored by Fair Trade Certified. As always, all content opinions are my own 🙂

Nutrition Facts
Honey Lemon Salmon
Amount Per Serving
Calories 369 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 28%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 94mg 31%
Sodium 76mg 3%
Potassium 856mg 24%
Total Carbohydrates 18g 6%
Sugars 18g
Protein 34g 68%
Vitamin A 1.4%
Vitamin C 5.3%
Calcium 2%
Iron 8.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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