This bourbon glazed salmon is what you make when you want to add a special touch to dinner. The honey bourbon marinade for the salmon does double duty as a glaze.
Oh, that glaze! The sticky bourbon glaze caramelizes on the top of the salmon as it bakes in the oven. This is flavor turned up several notches.
We love our salmon and we get a lot of it here in the Pacific Northwest which is why we have plenty of salmon recipes on Savor the Best. Try our baked salmon with mustard sauce or our smoked salmon chowder.
We even eat salmon for breakfast or brunch as seen in our salmon strata and smoked salmon eggs Benedict. I could go on but let me tell you about this bourbon marinated salmon with a thick caramelized glaze.
Outback Steakhouse and O’Charlies used to offer a bourbon glazed salmon but this recipe is far better, plus you can have it any time at a fraction of the cost.
What Goes in Bourbon Glazed Salmon?
Here is what you need to make the bourbon marinade for salmon.
Make sure you don’t toss out the marinade because you will transfer it to a saucepan and reduce it down to a sticky honey bourbon glaze. It transforms the salmon into an exquisite dinner entrée
Brown sugar. The brown sugar helps the glaze caramelize plus it adds a great flavor that compliments the bourbon.
Bourbon. Bourbon has a rich flavor that infuses into the salmon while it marinates. Don’t worry, the salmon will not taste boozy.
Soy sauce. If you want a gluten free recipe, use Tamari.
Honey. Honey, along with the brown sugar helps the glaze caramelize. Since honey has a higher sugar content, you don’t need as much to get a nice caramelization.
Lime juice. The acidic citrus in lime balances the flavors.
Fresh ginger. Fresh ginger makes all the difference and has a more assertive flavor than dried ginger. You can freeze the ginger which actually makes it easier to grate and helps it last for several months.
Fresh garlic. I recommend grating the garlic with a microplane or crushing it with a garlic press so the bits of garlic are very small and get distributed throughout the marinade.
Salt and pepper. There is already plenty of sodium in the soy sauce but we added a pinch of salt to give the marinade a ‘finished’ flavor.
Salmon. You can use one large fillet or several individually cut pieces. If the salmon is thinner than 1 inch thick then you may need to reduce the cook time by a couple of minutes.
How to Make Bourbon Glazed Salmon:
Here is a quick overview of the steps. Make sure you scroll down to the printable recipe card for full details.
- Combine the ingredients for the bourbon marinade and stir well to dissolve the sugar.
- Add the salmon to the marinade and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes to soak up the flavors.
- Remove the salmon from the marinade and place it on a baking sheet.
- Transfer the honey bourbon marinade to a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Boil it for several minutes until the marinade reduces down to a thick sticky glaze
- Brush the glaze on top of the salmon and transfer the salmon to a preheated oven. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes depending on the thickness of your salmon fillet. (See below for a temperature guide and timeline).
- Transfer the salmon to a platter and serve with any remaining glaze.
Tips for Success
Don’t marinate the salmon too long. You only need 30 to 45 minutes for this bourbon marinated salmon.
If you leave the fish in the marinade too long then the acids in the marinade will “cook” the salmon and the texture will be “off”.
Don’t over-cook the salmon. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of your salmon fillet. A general rule of thumb is to bake salmon for 4 to 5 minutes for every 1/2 inch of thickness (when the oven is set at 425°F)
Check the temperature. If you want to have absolute assurance that your salmon is at the right degree of doneness, use a thermometer probe. Check our temperature guide to find the temperature you like your salmon. The salmon should register 135°F, for medium-rare when tested with a thermometer probe.
Make sure you boil the marinade. You don’t want to reuse a marinade as a sauce unless you kill all the potential pathogens.
Not only will boiling the marinade make it safe to use, but it will also reduce the liquid and turn it into a thick, sticky glaze.
Salmon Temperature Guide
The FDA recommends cooking fin fish such as salmon to 145°F which is very well-done. I am a bit of a rebel and prefer my salmon on the rare to medium-rare side at 135°F.
If you like your salmon tender, buttery, flakey, and delicate, then check our salmon temperature chart.
|Rare (soft, buttery, juicy)||110°F|
|Medium rare (tender, flaky, moist)||125°F|
|Medium (flaky, firm, still has moisture)||130°F|
|Medium-well (dry, firm)||140°F|
|Well-done (dry and tough)||145°F|
This recipe was adapted from The Daily Feast, by Esther Rose Graber
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Looking for more fish recipes? Check these out:
- Grilled Swordfish Steak with Lemon-Dill Aioli Sauce.
- Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Mango Sauce
- Red Snapper Veracruz
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- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup lime juice (one lime)
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 12-oz salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Combine the sugar, water, bourbon, soy sauce, honey, lime juice, ginger, salt, pepper and garlic in a shallow dish large enough to hold the salmon. Add the salmon fillet, turning in the marinade to coat completely, cover the dish with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Alternatively, you could place the salmon and marinade in a resealable bag.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and coat a baking sheet or broiler pan with non-stick spray.
- Remove the salmon from the marinade and place skin side down on the baking sheet. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan. Bring the marinade to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 4 to 5 minutes to reduce the liquid until it is slightly thick and syrupy.
- Brush some of the syrupy glaze over the top of the salmon. Transfer the baking sheet with the salmon to the oven and banke 8-11 minutes, or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.. When tested with a meat thermometer the center of the fillet should register 135°F. Do not over cook (see notes).
- To serve, transfer the salmon fillet to a serving platter and spoon some of the reduced marinade sauce over the top and garnish with the chopped fresh parsley.
- Don’t marinate the salmon too long. You only need 30 to 45 minutes for this bourbon marinated salmon. If you leave the fish in the marinade too long then the acids in the marinade will “cook” the salmon and the texture will be “off”.
- Make sure you boil the marinade. You don’t want to reuse a marinade as a sauce unless you kill all the potential pathogens. Not only will boiling the marinade make it safe to use, it will reduce the liquid and turn it into a thick, sticky glaze.
- The cooking time will depend on the thickness of your salmon fillet. Salmon typically takes 4 to 5 minutes for every 1/2 inch of thickness (when the oven is set at 425°F).
- For a more accurate temperature, use a meat thermometer and use the temperature guide in the post to find your desired doneness level for salmon.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 408Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 2132mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 1gSugar: 32gProtein: 35g
Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.
We first published this post on December 11, 2015. We updated the photos but left one of the original photos below.