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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Prepare Grill: Preheat the grill to about 450˚F. Clean the cooking grates with a brush and close the lid.
- Prep Fillets: While the grill preheats, pat dry the fillets with paper towels. Lightly grease the fillets with cooking spray and set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- Let Rest & Serve: Transfer the cooked fillets to a plate and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.
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.
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.
Brown Sugar Grilled Salmon
For the Fish
- 4 salmon fillets about 1-inch thick, each should weigh about 6 ounces
- Cooking spray
- 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.
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!