This Easy Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon recipe is the perfect way to make a restaurant-worthy dish at home. The fish is tender, flaky, and moist while filled with a smoky and woodsy flavor. The dish is ready in under 15 minutes and perfect for weeknight dinners!
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What is a Cedar Plank
It’s a piece of cedar wood that is used as a cooking surface when grilling or smoking food. It adds a smoky flavor and aroma to the food. Cedar planks are usually used for fish, but you can also use them for other meat and vegetables.
They are available in different sizes and can be found at most kitchen supply stores (I love to grab them in bulk from Costco!) or here on Amazon.
Soak it First
Soak it in water for at least 1 hour before using it to prevent it from catching fire on the grill. Cedar is a natural wood and when it is heated it can combust. This will help regulate the temperature of the wood and prevents it from getting too hot.
Soaking the plank also helps to add moisture to the food, which can help to keep it from drying out and keep the salmon tender while it cooks.
What Type of Salmon to Use/Skin-On or Skin-Off?
The best type to use is a matter of preference. The most common types of 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 personal 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.
Both individual fillets and a full fish plank will work for this recipe.
Cooking salmon with the skin on can help to add flavor and keep the fish moist. The skin will also protect the flesh of the salmon while it cooks, this helps prevent it from over-cooking or drying out. When the skin is left on, the fish can be seared, grilled, or baked without sticking to the pan.
Cooking salmon with the skin off will allow the fish to cook more evenly, and the flesh will be exposed to more heat which can be desirable for some cooking methods. Keep in mind the flesh will be more delicate and may dry out more easily without the skin to protect it.
How to Grill Cedar Plank Salmon
- Soak the cedar plank in water for at least one hour before using it.
- Preheat grill.
- Place the salmon on the cedar plank. Rub olive oil over the salmon and season with spices.
- Rub the spices into the fish.
- Grill the salmon.
Spices and Seasoning
You can use your favorite fish rub, salmon rub, or BBQ rub. I like to make my own using:
- Chili powder
- Smoked paprika
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Brown sugar or sweetener
- Salt and Pepper
How to Tell When it’s Finished Cooking
- 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.
Can You Reuse the Plank?
The planks can be reused for grilling as long as they are properly cleaned and maintained. You should still soak the plank in water for at least an hour before reusing it. The flavor of the wood will become more subtle over time, so the plank may not provide as much smoky flavor over time.
Eventually, the cedar plank will need to be replaced as it will become too charred and hard to be used for grilling.
Baked Cedar Plank Salmon
You can bake the plank and salmon at 375 degrees for 15-25 minutes until tender and opaque at the center.
How to Store Leftovers
Store the salmon tightly covered in the fridge for 3-4 days.
How to Reheat
In general, I recommend you avoid the microwave when you reheat seafood. Seafood and fish are super delicate and microwaves cook at super high temperatures.
Since the fish is fully cooked, even a few minutes of additional cooking at a high temperature will result in dry overcooked salmon.
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 on 200 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until warm.
If you use the microwave, be swift! Don’t leave it in too long.
More Salmon Recipes
Maple Glazed Salmon
Salmon Fried Rice
Smoked Salmon Benedict
Air Fryer Salmon (15 Minute Recipe)
Baked Salmon in Parchment Paper
Baked Salmon Stuffed with Crab Meat
Salmon Rice Bowl
Easy Salmon Bites
Pair With These Side Dishes
Smoked Baked Beans
Smoked Mac and Cheese
Top the fish with my Pineapple Mango Salsa recipe.
Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon
- 1 pound fresh salmon filet Skin-on or skinless. I use wild caught. You can use one large piece or smaller portions of fish.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Homemade BBQ Rub
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1-2 teaspoons brown sugar or sweetener
- Soak your cedar plank in water for at least one hour before using it. Ensure it’s completely submerged in water.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat at 400 degrees.
- Place the salmon on the cedar plank (if using skin-on, skin side down). Rub the olive oil over the salmon and season with the spices. I like to reserve the brown sugar or sweetener for the end and sprinkle it on the very top.
- Rub the spices into the fish. This ensures the spices don’t just sit on top and they actually penetrate for additional flavor.
- Grill the salmon for 12-15 minutes until the center of the salmon has turned opaque. Use a meat thermometer to ensure doneness. Ensure the salmon has reached an internal temperature of 135-140 degrees.
- You can use any seasoning or BBQ rub you wish.
- Using olive oil adds flavor and helps the spices adhere to the fish. You can also use avocado oil.
- The salmon will turn opaque at the center and will reach an internal temperature of 135-140 degrees when it has finished cooking (for medium doneness). Use a meat thermometer to test the temperature.
- The easiest way to see if your salmon has finished cooking is to gently press down on the top of the fillet with a fork. If the flesh of the salmon flakes, it separates easily along the white lines that run across the fillet, it’s finished cooking. Take it off of the heat immediately.
- Soaking the cedar plank is important. If you place a dry plank on the grill grates, the flames and direct contact will likely cause a fire. Give yourself an hour of time to soak the plank first. It should be recently soaked.