This Brown Sugar Soy Sauce Salmon is seasoned with simple spices, drizzled with butter, and cooked to perfection. This mouthwatering dish transforms ordinary salmon into a masterpiece of sweet and savory perfection, combining the rich notes of brown sugar with the depth of soy sauce. The caramelized glaze and succulent texture of the fish will have everyone wanting more.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Flavorful and Savory Taste: Brown sugar and soy sauce create a delicious combination of sweet and savory flavors, enhancing the natural taste of salmon.
- Easy and Quick Prep: This is a simple and quick recipe, making it a convenient choice for a delicious homemade meal.
- Versatile: This dish can be prepared using various cooking methods such as air frying, baking, grilling, or pan-frying.
- Customize it: You can easily adjust the sweetness, saltiness, or other flavors to suit your taste preferences.
- Family-Friendly: The sweet and savory taste is often enjoyed by people of all ages, making it a family-friendly dish.
- Unsalted Butter
- Brown Sugar or Sweetener
- Soy Sauce
What Type of Salmon to Use
The most common types of raw salmon include:
- Wild and/or Sockeye: Known for its deep red color and rich, oily flavor. It is considered one of the most flavorful types of salmon.
- Atlantic: It is farm-raised and has a milder flavor than wild-caught salmon.
- Pink: It is the smallest of the Pacific salmon and has a mild, delicate flavor.
Ultimately, the best type of fresh salmon to use will depend on your taste preferences.
Salmon that is sourced from the Atlantic is usually farmed. Farmed means antibiotics and food coloring (to give it a pink color) are used. This adds harmful chemical additives to the fish. So I usually try to look for wild-caught salmon.
How to Cook the Salmon
You can bake, pan sear, air fry, or grill the salmon using any of my recipes:
What Type of Sweetener or Sugar to Use
The best type to use is a matter of preference.
- Brown Sweetener (Monkfruit): A zero-calorie, zero-carb option.
- Light Brown Sugar: Has a mild molasses flavor; it adds sweetness without overpowering the dish.
- Dark Brown Sugar: Has a higher molasses content, providing a more intense flavor. It can add a deeper sweetness and a hint of molasses richness to the salmon.
How to Make Brown Sugar Soy Sauce Salmon
Full detailed instructions are below in the recipe card.
- Drizzle melted butter and soy sauce over the fish. Combine the brown sugar or sweetener along with the spices and sprinkle it over the fish. Rub the spices into the fish.
- Bake, air fry, sear, or grill the salmon.
How to Adjust the Sweetness
If you find the marinade too sweet, you can reduce the amount of brown sugar/sweetener used. Start by using less than the recommended amount and taste the marinade. Gradually add more sugar/sweetener if needed until you achieve the desired level of sweetness.
How to Adjust the Saltiness
I use low-sodium soy sauce, so I don’t find the dish overly salty. To adjust the saltiness, you can either reduce or increase the amount of soy sauce. If the marinade is too salty, dilute it by adding water.
Do You Have to Marinate It?
While marinating it will enhance the flavor because it allows the fish to absorb the delicious marinade, it’s not completely necessary. I have made the dish with and without marinating and it’s still tasty.
If you wish to marinate it, you can do so for 30 minutes to overnight covered and stored in the fridge.
How to Tell When Salmon is Perfectly Cooked
- Temperature: Use a meat thermometer and ensure the fish has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Check the temperature in the thickest part of the fish.
- Appearance and Touch: Perfectly cooked salmon will have a light pink color and will be opaque throughout. The flesh will also start to flake when pressed with a fork.
- It’s important to note that salmon can be cooked to varying degrees of doneness, some people prefer it cooked through while others prefer it medium-rare at 135 degrees. Decide what works for you.
Dry and Overcooked Salmon
Overcooked salmon is dry and has little flavor. Fish (along with meat) will continue to cook when you remove it from heat. This is why it’s important to pay attention to how long the fish cooks.
When the fish is done, it will be a translucent pink in the middle. It should also look flaky. You can check out more tips on How to Tell if Salmon is Overcooked here.
How to Store Leftovers
Store the salmon tightly covered in the fridge for 3-4 days.
How to Reheat
I recommend you use the air fryer or oven. If using the oven, place the salmon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover the salmon with foil and place it in the oven at 275 degrees until warm.
If using the air fryer, reheat it at 200 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until warm.
If you use the microwave, be swift! Don’t leave it in too long. It will dry out the fish.
Leftovers can be frozen tightly sealed for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge.
Pair With These Recipes
More Salmon Recipes
Brown Sugar Soy Sauce Salmon
- 1-1 1/2 pounds raw salmon Mine were sliced into fillets 4-6oz each.
- 1 tablespoon melted butter Measured solid.
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar or sweetener
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika Regular paprika is fine.
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- foil (if baking the salmon)
- Drizzle the melted butter and soy sauce over the fish. Combine the brown sugar or sweetener along with the spices and sprinkle it over the fish. Rub the spices into the fish. Ensure the fish is fully coated with spices and add additional spices if necessary.
Air Fryer Salmon
- Spray the air fryer basket with cooking oil. Place the seasoned salmon in the air fryer basket.
- Air fry the salmon for 10-12 minutes at 370 degrees. Mine was ready right at 10 minutes. Use a meat thermometer and test that the inside of the salmon has reached 145 degrees.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Add the seasoned salmon to a piece of foil large enough to hold the salmon and to wrap and cover it.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Unwrap the salmon so it is no longer fully covered. Bake for for another 2-5 minutes. Use a meat thermometer and ensure the fish has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Check the temperature in the thickest part of the fish.
Pan Seared Salmon
- Place a skillet on medium-high heat.
- When the pan is hot, add the seasoned salmon to the pan with the skin side up.
- Allow the salmon to cook for 4 minutes. Do not move the salmon after you have placed it in the skillet.
- Monitor the sides of the salmon to determine the perfect time to flip. When the color of the side of the salmon has lightened about 3/4ths of the way up, it’s time to flip. This usually only takes 3-4 minutes.
- Flip the salmon. I find a silicone spatula works best.
- Cook skin side down for 4 minutes.
- Remove the salmon from the pan.