Panko Crusted Salmon features tender and flaky salmon with a deliciously crunchy topping made with panko crumbs, garlic, fresh herbs and lemon zest. Oven baked to perfection, this mouthwatering panko salmon recipe is ideal for busy weeknights and fancy enough to be served on special occasions.
How Does Panko-Crusted Salmon Taste?
Flavor Profile: This savory salmon dish combines the rich taste of tender and moist salmon filets with the crunchy texture, and fresh lemony-herb flavor of the crispy topping. Sink your fork through the well-balanced flavor and texture of this easy recipe.
Why This Healthy Salmon Recipe Works
- Quick weeknight meal impressive enough to wow your guests.
- Healthy, one-pan, main dish made with simple ingredients and a few easy steps.
- This flavorful fish dish balances the richness of baked salmon with a brightly flavored, golden brown crunchy crust.
What’s in Panko-Crusted Salmon?
Ingredients and Substitutions
This is a partial list of ingredients. For the complete list of ingredients and specific quantities, check the printable recipe card below.
- Salmon: There are different types of salmon available. Sockeye salmon, coho and King salmon are good options. Although I prefer skinless salmon, skin-on salmon can be used as well. I usually buy frozen salmon because the fresh salmon sold in most supermarkets is previously frozen. You can get individually portioned salmon fillets or a large piece of salmon – which you can cut up into individual pieces at home. I buy wild salmon when available.
- Panko Bread Crumbs: This ingredient gives the fish a uniquely crispy crunch. You can find panko in most grocery stores, right next to regular breadcrumbs. Gluten-free panko is also available however, the crumbs are quite large (coarse) which throws off the texture of the panko mixture. To solve this issue, you can crush the crumbs with a rolling pin (or a heavy skillet), or in a food processor (a few pulses will be enough).
- Parsley: Fresh parsley is a must! For better distribution mince the parsley or chop it very finely. Fresh dill or fresh thyme are good substitutions.
- Lemon Zest: I use a microplane to zest the lemon. The zest adds a nice concentrated citrus flavor to the crust.
- Kosher Salt or Sea Salt: Finely grind. These are the type of salt I used the most. If using table salt, reduce the amount.
How to Make Panko Crusted Salmon Step by Step
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. If using a baking dish, coat it lightly with non-stick cooking spray or oil (I use olive oil). If using a rimmed baking sheet line it with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy clean-up.
- Combine panko breadcrumbs, parsley, lemon zest, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper in a mixing bowl.
- Pat the fish dry with paper towels and place salmon skin-side down on the prepared baking sheet or baking dish.
- Using a pastry brush, generously coat the salmon with olive oil or with melted butter on all sides and season with salt and pepper.
- Spread the panko breadcrumb mixture on top of the salmon and press it lightly so it adhere to the fish.
- Bake until the salmon flakes easily and is cooked through but still a bit pink in the middle. Remove from the oven and serve with lemon wedges.
Cooking Panko Salmon Like a Pro
- Don’t overcook the salmon: Fish is a delicate protein that becomes dry and tough when overcooked. For best results, cook the fish until it just flakes while remaining pinkish in the middle. Depending on the thickness of the fish, it may take about 12 to 15 minutes for the salmon to reach optimal doneness.
- Perfectly flaky fish: Although the most accurate way to check the internal temperature of any protein is by using a meat thermometer, you can also test the fish with a fork. Poke the thickest part of the fish, gently with a fork. It should flake easily without much resistance.
- Fresh vs frozen: Unless you can get freshly-caught salmon from a fishmonger or specialty store, it’s best to purchase salmon frozen. Most grocery stores and supermarkets sell previously frozen fish that has been thawed out.
- Perfect Coating: For best results, mince the parsley and zest the lemon with a microplane.
Frequently Asked Questions
My Panko Breadcrumb Crust is Not Sticking to the Salmon, What Can I Do?
First, make sure you coat the fish with olive oil or melted butter. Don’t skip this step. Scoop the breadcrumb mixture on top of the fish and using your hands or a spatula, gently press it down so it sticks to the salmon.
Should you Bake Salmon Covered or Uncovered?
In this panko crusted salmon recipe, the fish is baked uncovered. This guarantees a nice golden brown crispy crust.
What Internal Temperature Should Salmon Be Cooked to?
Ideally wild salmon should be cooked until the internal temperature reaches 120ºF to 125ºF when checked with an instant-read meat thermometer. Farmed raised salmon is at it’s best when cooked until the internal temperature reaches 125ºF to 130ºF. That results in tender, juicy salmon with a nice pinkish center.
Note: According to the FDA salmon should be cooked to an internal temperature of 140ºF. which results in well-done fish.
Does the Salmon Need to Be Seared Before Baking?
No. Panko crusted salmon is oven baked and doesn’t need to be seared or pan fried.
What to Serve with Crispy Crusted Salmon?
- Cauliflower Gratin
- Lentil Salad
- Sautéed Green Beans
- Three Bean Salad Recipe
- Jasmine Rice with Ginger and Lemongrass
Storing, Freezing, and Reheating Panko Crusted Salmon
Storage: Store leftover panko crusted salmon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
Freezing: While some salmon recipes freeze well, we caution against freezing this salmon crusted recipe as the texture and crispiness of the panko breadcrumb coating may not remain the same once frozen/thawed.
Reheating: You can reheat leftover salmon in a pre-heated 350 degree oven until it is warmed through. If the crust seems to be browning too much, you can tent the fish with aluminum foil. You can also reheat in the microwave in small intervals until heated through.
Check these other easy salmon recipes:
- Air Fryer Salmon Bites with Honey Soy
- The Best Salmon Burgers
- Lemon Herb Baked Salmon
- Baked Salmon in Foil
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Crispy Panko Crusted Salmon
For the panko crust
For the salmon
- 4 (6-8 ounces) salmon filets, skinless (preferably) (or 6 (4-ounces) salmon filets, skinless *see Chef's notes)
- 2 -3 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
- Lemon wedges or slices for serving
- Adjust the oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat the oven to 400ºF (204ºC).
- Use a baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray or oil or line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy clean up. Coat the paper or foil with oil or cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, parsley, lemon zest, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Set aside.
- Pat the salmon dry with paper towels and place each filet on the prepared sheet pan or baking dish. Brush each salmon fillet generously with olive oil or melted butter all over including the sides. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Using a spoon to scoop up the panko topping, top each filet evenly with the crumb mixture, gently pressing to adhere.
- Bake uncovered for 12 to 15 minutes or until the fish flakes easily and is cooked through but still a bit pink in the middle. Time will vary depending on the thickness of your fish and your preference of doneness. (*see notes). Serve with lemon wedges.
- You can use skinless or skin-on salmon fillets.
- Remember to check the fish for pin bones. Remove any that may be sticking out from the fish with bone-tweezers.
- If your salmon fillets have the skin on, bake it skin side down. Before serving, you can remove the skin (it will come right off easily).
- Ideally wild salmon should be cooked until the internal temperature reaches 120ºF to 125ºF when checked with an instant-read meat thermometer. Farmed raised salmon is at it’s best when cooked until the internal temperature reaches 125ºF to 130ºF (silky with a bit of pink in the center).
- Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
- I don’t advice freezing this dish. The texture and crispiness of the coating changes after freezing/thawing.