Easy Grilled Salmon with Cajun Seasoning

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This Easy Grilled Salmon is ready in under 30 minutes and packed with flavor from a savory homemade Cajun spice rub.

257 CAL 1g CARBS 13g FAT 33g PROTEIN 1
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This Cajun Grilled Salmon recipe is easy to make with spices you already have in your pantry. It can be made on the grill or in the oven for a quick and tasty healthy dinner. It pairs great with these easy grilled vegetables and these cauliflower mashed potatoes.

Lately, I have been experimenting a lot with making my own homemade salmon spice rubs since I love being able to control the flavor to suit whatever I’m in the mood for.

Sometimes I want something spicy, sometimes a bit sweet, and sometimes extra savory -- like this cajun rub packed with paprika, black pepper, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and coriander. It's also delicious for Cajun Shrimp Tacos.

The key to making sure this grilled salmon recipe really takes on the flavor of the rub is letting it rest for 15-30 minutes before throwing it on the grill or under the broiler. It allows the spices to penetrate the salmon before it cooks and deepens the flavor.

Salmon that was cooked on the grill with Cajun seasoning on a plate with asparagus.

How to Season Grilled Salmon?

Salmon is flavorful and packed with heart-healthy fats all on its own. Its natural oils also act to intensify any seasonings you add. So it makes sense to start simple when adding flavor to the fish. This salmon rub gives grilled fish a kick using spice rack staples that you probably already have on hand. And one easy addition -- a dash of cayenne pepper to taste -- makes the main dish a flavorful homemade version of Cajun salmon.

On its own, this salmon rub will highlight the fish without adding any fat. It’s also subtle enough to pair with something a little more decadent. For example, you can add a touch of butter, flavored olive oil, honey, and citrus. Butter with a dash of Creole seasoning will suit those who crave even more Cajun spice while a compound butter made with garlic and fresh herbs will give the fish a sophisticated richness for those who want something more subtle.

Sauces can also take this spicy salmon recipe in new directions. Serve it with a yogurt-based cilantro-lime dressing to play on the cumin and turn it into Southwestern salmon. Or top it with a citrus yogurt sauce with lots of fresh cilantro and lemon juice. You can combine Greek yogurt with lemon, lime, or orange zest and juice to create a quick, flavorful sauce. 

How to Use Leftover Salmon

Before adding sauces and any other toppers, you may want to set aside a portion of fish for tomorrow’s lunch. This grilled salmon turns a green salad into a gourmet treat and could crown a sushi bowl that your coworkers might mistake for fancy takeout. You can also store leftover flaked salmon for a day or two in the refrigerator. Whip up your favorite cream,  or olive oil-based, dressing and pasta and toss in the salmon pieces until they’re just heated to add a heaping helping of healthy protein to an entree pasta.

Salmon on the grill with a spice rub with asparagus and a corn salad.

Farm Raised vs. Wild Salmon

Both farm-raised and wild salmon are great sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to help prevent heart disease and stroke. These polyunsaturated fats may also help control conditions including rheumatoid arthritis and protect against cancer and other diseases. But wild salmon has fewer calories and more than 20 percent less saturated fat than farm-raised fish according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Looking to learn more about salmon? Check out this complete guide to salmon with ideas for cooking it, how to choose it, nutritional info, and more.

Side Dish Ideas

Salads make a great accompaniment for this spicy salmon recipe. But you don’t have to go green. Try a grilled corn salad, a cool pasta concoction, or even a bread-based salad that tosses together grilled bread cubes, roasted veggies, seasonings, and an oil-and-vinegar-based dressing.

Sides that incorporate nuts, seeds, and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids can also provide a double dose of the necessary nutrient. You can top a spinach salad with glazed walnuts, serve the salmon with roasted green beans or asparagus topped with crunchy almonds, or cook up a flavorful combination of lentils, quinoa, and flax seeds for a superfood side dish that pairs perfectly with grilled salmon.

Making Grilled Spice-Rubbed Salmon? Keep the following in mind:

  • Find and remove pin bones. Even a cleaned salmon filet from your favorite grocer’s fish counter might still have a few pin bones. The easiest way to discover the elusive bones is to feel for them while your fish is on a flat surface. You can remove them with a pair of needle-nosed pliers or specially designed fish tweezers before coating the fish with spice rub.
  • Don’t overcook the fish. Since this recipe relies on a salmon dry rub, you won’t have a glaze or marinade to mask overdone fish. Grill the salmon until it’s cooked through, but still succulent. If you’re using a meat thermometer, look for an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

If you bear these basics in mind, this savory salmon is sure to become a go-to for the grill.

Looking for more salmon recipes

The Recipe
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Easy Grilled Salmon with Cajun Seasoning

257 CAL 1g CARBS 13g FAT 33g PROTEIN 1
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  • 1.33 lbs. raw wild salmon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander

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Mix together the salt, paprika, black pepper, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and coriander.


Rub the olive oil on the salmon and rub in the spice rub. Let rest for 15 minutes.


Grill over medium high heat for 8-10 minutes. Adjust this cooking time depending on your grill and the thickness of the salmon. You can also broil this for 5-8 minutes until the fish is flaky and cooked through.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 257
Calories from Fat 32
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g
Saturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 68mg
Sodium 660mg
Total Carbohydrate 1g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 0g
Protein 33g

* 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.

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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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