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Brown Sugar Grilled Salmon

Sweet, smoky and perfectly spiced, this Brown Sugar Grilled Salmon comes together in a snap. It’s a healthy, savory dinner the whole family will love!

overhead shot of brown sugar grilled salmon fillets topped with diced tomatoes and onions

Perfectly Grilled Brown Sugar Salmon

If you’re like me, you probably try to incorporate healthy seafood into your menus regularly. And salmon, especially wild-caught salmon, is a fantastic option! It’s full of healthy Omega-3s, muscle-building protein, energy-producing B vitamins, and more!

In this recipe, I’m taking this amazingly healthy fish and grilling it up with a lightly sweet brown sugar rub. This grilled salmon will make even the most picky, anti-fish eaters in your household come back for seconds! You’re gonna love this easy, flavorful, and hearty dinner.

three grilled salmon fillets topped with tomatoes and onions

What You’ll Need

The secret to this flavor-packed recipe is the rub, made with an unbeatable blend of savory spices. It’s delicious!

For the Fish

  • Salmon Fillets: You’ll need 4 salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick. Each should weigh around 6 ounces.
  • Cooking Spray: To help the rub stick to the fillets, and to keep the fish from sticking to the grill. You can substitute a little olive or coconut oil, if you’d prefer.
seafood seasoning blend in a small glass mixing bowl with a teaspoon inside

For the Rub

  • Brown Sugar: For sweetness, use 3 tablespoons of light brown sugar.
  • Salt: You’ll need 2 tablespoons of kosher salt.
  • Dried Herbs: We’re using a tablespoon each of dried parsley and ground dill weed.
  • Garlic Powder: This provides an intense garlic flavor with no need for mincing!
  • Black Pepper: Freshly ground or cracked is best. 
  • Spices: You’ll need 1 tablespoon of paprika and a teaspoon each of coriander and cumin.
grilling salmon fillets on a black grill pan

How to Grill Brown Sugar Salmon

Grilling is such a great way to prepare salmon fillets. The smokiness of the grill is perfect for contrasting the rich taste of the fish, and bringing out the earthy spices from the rub.

  1. Prepare Grill: Preheat the grill to about 450˚F. Clean the cooking grates with a brush and close the lid. 
  2. Prep Fillets: While the grill preheats, pat dry the fillets with paper towels. Lightly grease the fillets with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Make Spice Blend & Rub on Salmon: In a mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for the rub. Sprinkle the desired amount of seasoning onto the fillets and rub all around the flesh of the salmon. Store extra seasoning in an airtight container and keep for later use.
  4. Grill Salmon: Place the salmon fillets skin-side down over direct high heat; close the lid and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the fish is firm to the touch and there’s no resistance when you try to lift it up to turn it. Using a fish spatula, carefully turn over the fillets; close the lid and cook for 3 to 5 more minutes, or until the internal temperature of the fish registers at 145˚F. Use an Instant Read Meat Thermometer to check for doneness. 
  5. Let Rest & Serve: Transfer the cooked fillets to a plate and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. 
grilled salmon fillets on a plate with lemon wedges

How to Keep Fish from Sticking to the Grill

Nobody wants to grill a beautiful fillet only to have it stick to the grill and fall apart when you try to move it. The best way to keep fish from sticking to the grill is to keep the grill hot and clean the grates thoroughly. From there, starting the fish skin-side-down is important. But if you want to take extra precautions against sticking, you can grill the fish on a cedar plank or a sheet of foil.

Tips for Success

What else should you know about creating the perfect grilled salmon fillets? Here are my top tips for making this grill the best it can be.

  • Use an Instant Read Thermometer: These lightning-quick tools help you make sure your salmon is fully cooked without drying it out! 
  • Put a Lid on It: Make sure to use the lid of your grill – or skillet, if using. This helps trap the dry heat so the fish can cook evenly.
  • Love Lemons: I recommend serving any fish dish with fresh lemon wedges, for squeezing; the bright flavor of lemon can help offset rich or strong tastes.
  • Chopped Tomatoes and Onions are also a great garnish for this salmon recipe.
close up photo of three brown sugar grilled salmon fillets topped with pico de gallo

What to Serve with Brown Sugar Grilled Salmon

These are some of my favorite sides to pair with salmon. They’re the perfect tastes and textures to serve up alongside this spicy main course!

  • Bruschetta: A crunchy side of freshly made BLT Bruschetta goes with anything, but is especially delicious with brown sugar salmon!
  • Asparagus: Regular steamed asparagus is a lovely side, but these Parmesan Panko Asparagus Fries are a crispy, crave-worthy option you’ll want to make again and again!
  • Sweet Potatoes: Simply bake up some sweet potatoes, or go a step further and make Garlic Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes. Healthy and satisfying!

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

  • To refrigerate leftovers, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, food storage bags or airtight containers. Store for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat the salmon in an ovenproof dish and bake at 300˚F, until just heated through, about 12-15 minutes.

Can I Freeze Brown Sugar Salmon?

  • While you can definitely freeze cooked salmon, keep in mind that the texture will not be quite as appealing once it’s thawed out. Some people also think that frozen, reheated salmon tastes stronger.
  • I like to use frozen salmon leftovers in a quiche or casserole.
  • To freeze, wrap leftovers well, using two layers of plastic wrap, or one layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
up close shot of three grilled salmon fillets topped with tomatoes and onions
three grilled salmon fillets topped with tomatoes and onions
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Brown Sugar Grilled Salmon

Sweet, smoky and perfectly spiced, this Brown Sugar Grilled Salmon comes together in a snap.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brown sugar salmon, grilling salmon with skin, how to cook salmon on the grill
Servings: 4
Calories: 294kcal

Equipment

  • Grill

Ingredients

For the Fish

  • 4 salmon fillets about 1-inch thick, each should weigh about 6 ounces
  • Cooking spray

For the Rub

Instructions

  • Prepare the grill for directing cooking over high heat; about 450˚F.
  • Clean the cooking grates with a brush and close the lid.
  • Pat dry the fillets with paper towels.
  • Lightly grease the fillets with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the rub; mix and stir until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Sprinkle the desired amount of seasoning onto the fillets and rub all around the flesh of the salmon. Store remaining seasoning rub in an airtight container and keep for later use.
  • Place the salmon fillets skin side down over direct high heat; close the lid and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the fish is firm to the touch and there’s no resistance when you try to lift it up to turn.
  • Using a fish spatula, carefully turn over the fillets; close the lid and cook for 3 to 5 more minutes, or until internal temperature of the fish registers at 140˚F to 145˚F.
  • Transfer to a plate and rest for a few minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 3571mg | Potassium: 949mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 958IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 3mg

More Easy Dinner Ideas

The following dinner ideas are just as tasty as this grilled salmon. Try them out and you’ll be an instant fan!

11 Comments

  • Krystle
    June 22, 2021 at 3:24 pm

    5 stars
    Super flavorful and flaky. We will be adding to our summer dinner rotation.

    Reply
    • Katerina Petrovska
      June 24, 2021 at 10:37 am

      I hope you enjoy it! 🙂 Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
    • Katerina Petrovska
      June 28, 2021 at 2:20 pm

      That’s great! I’m very happy you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Amanda
    June 22, 2021 at 8:33 pm

    5 stars
    This is my all time favorite way to prepare salmon right now!

    Reply
    • Katerina Petrovska
      June 24, 2021 at 10:36 am

      I hope you enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
    • Katerina Petrovska
      June 28, 2021 at 2:19 pm

      That’s great! I am very happy you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Sandra
    June 24, 2021 at 9:45 am

    5 stars
    Oh, I love how tasty this is!! Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
    • Katerina Petrovska
      June 24, 2021 at 10:35 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
    • Katerina Petrovska
      June 28, 2021 at 2:18 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply
  • Beth
    June 24, 2021 at 4:49 pm

    5 stars
    This was such a delicious and very tasty dinner the other night! My daughter and I loved how flavorful and very tasty this was! Can’t wait to make this again!

    Reply
    • Katerina Petrovska
      June 28, 2021 at 2:18 pm

      That’s great to hear! I’m very happy you and your family enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

      Reply

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