Brown Sugar Salmon

There is so much to love about this simple recipe for brown sugar salmon. It's quick, it's easy and it's super delicious. Jump to Recipe


First of all, you probably already have everything you need to make it at home, except the salmon, so it only requires picking one thing up for dinner. Second, it takes under 10 minutes to prepare. Paired with a simple salad or some quick cooked veggies, brown sugar salmon is a meal you really can prepare in under fifteen minutes. And last but not least, the brown sugar in the recipe creates that great, restaurant style, caramelized crunch on the outside of the fish. Plan on cooking some extra pieces for lunches and salads later in the week, because brown sugar glazed salmon makes for great leftovers.

How to make Brown Sugar Salmon

Having recipes on hand to throw together when time is tight is imperative. In fact, I keep two separate recipe books. One is for the quickies and another is for recipes that are more involved and time consuming. What I love about my quick recipes like brown sugar salmon is that I do not need to keep track of too much while I am cooking: the fewer ingredients, the better. With just a quick glance at the recipe, I can throw it together without having to read and reread a recipe, making sure I’m getting the right amount of each ingredient thrown in at the right time, which I often have to with intricate recipes. So, for ease of use and maximum flavor, I highly recommend this brown sugar glazed salmon.


Rosemary is a low maintenance staple herb. I love to cook with it and always keep a few of my favorite herbs growing in pots for recipes. They add variety and depth of flavor to any dish (even scrambled eggs). Rosemary is always in the mix. It is easy to grow in a container, which bodes well for the winter months where I live. It does well in the house and when a steady and decent outdoor temperature returns, back out it goes. For those in warmer climates, plant it in the ground and this perennial can withstand pretty much anything.

Rosemary can be used either fresh or dried. The salmon glaze calls for dried rosemary. To dry your own rosemary, take a few sprigs from your plant and wash them. Set them aside to air dry. There are a few different methods for drying rosemary, but in my experience, the easiest way to do it is to place the clean sprigs on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Set the oven to 175 degrees F. Leave it in for 1½ to 2 hours. The goal is to allow the sprigs to become brittle. Check on it halfway through cooking time and toss it around. The oven’s heat will evenly remove the moisture. When you take it out, let it cool to room temperature and then crush with your hands. Alternatively, you can store it as is, and crush it later on when you are ready to use it. Store in an airtight container in a cool cabinet and it will keep for 1 to 2 years.

In general, dried herbs are more powerful than their fresh counterparts. Therefore, you need less of a dried herb to cook with than if you happen to be using fresh herbs. Three parts fresh to one part dried is the ratio to convert your herbs. Removing moisture during the drying process leaves potent oils and concentrated flavor behind, thus the rule of thumb of 3:1.

How Long to Cook Brown Sugar Salmon

Now onto the main event – the fish. When I cook salmon, I always leave the skin on. I find that it is super tasty when it gets crispy. But more importantly, the skin acts as a barrier against heat and keeps the fish from burning. With intense cooking heat, moisture is released from the fish. The skin also retains moisture and prevents the Omega 3s from seeping into the juice at the bottom of the pan. Make sure to put your fish onto the baking sheet skin side down.

Before you turn your oven on and set it to broil, adjust your cooking rack so it is a good 6 inches from the broiler. When it is time to cook, preheat the broiler. I prefer to close the oven door when I am broiling salmon. However, I am very familiar with my oven and how it cooks. All ovens vary slightly. The first time you try broiling salmon, you may want to check in on how quickly the cooking is going or keep the broiler door slightly ajar so you can easily see its progress and prevent burning. A piece of parchment paper can help, too.

The Recipe
Brown Sugar Salmon

Brown Sugar Salmon

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  • 1 lb. salmon
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary

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Preheat broiler.


Stir together the brown sugar, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Press the sugar/salt mixture onto the top of the salmon.


Place on a baking sheet covered with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Broil for 5-7 minutes. For thicker fish (over 1 inch), flip over and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until flaky.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 4 oz. (122g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 263
Calories from Fat 137
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15g
Saturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 62mg
Sodium 364mg
Total Carbohydrate 7g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 7g
Protein 23g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.


Sockeye and coho salmon have about 50 less calories per serving than Atlantic salmon.
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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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