Perfectly flaky baked salmon with mayonnaise sauce made with capers and fresh dill comes together with 5 simple ingredients and 15 minutes.
This easy salmon recipe is one of those unicorn meals.
It's great any time of the year. Serve with a seasonal salad for an effortless weeknight meal or dress it up with a hearty pasta dish and roasted vegetables for a fancy Saturday night flare.
Either way, it's a dish everyone will love.
The tangy yet savory mayo topping is out of this world delicious. What's not to love about mashed capers and fresh dill in a creamy sauce topped over salmon.
This was inspired by my Sheet Pan Salmon, Asparagus, and Potatoes recipe. But I wanted a creamy stand alone salmon recipe that can be served up or down depending on what you got going on that day.
Why you'll love this salmon dish
- Packed with flavor: for how simple this meal is, it is so flavorful. Mayo adds a luxurious creaminess.
- Nutrient rich: this meal has a good nutrient profile. Opt for wild salmon for those omega-3 fatty acids and selenium (a mineral many are low in)
- Level of difficulty: easy! This could easily be added to your rotation of easy dinners.
- Healthy fast food: with only 5 ingredients and 15 minutes, this qualifies as fast food, but real food style.
- Picky eaters: this can be served with your favorite side dish to accommodate the picky eaters in your life. Pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, or a simple salad. It all works.
💭Good to Know: Baking salmon with lemon often gives a bitter taste. Using capers yields that delicious savory tartness but without the bitter after taste.
The ingredients are simple enough to make this a regular weeknight dinner. And yet fancy to serve this for a nice dinner with a glass of your favorite white wine.
- salmon: I used wild Alaska salmon but any wild salmon will work; keep the skin on as it will help retain moisture; you can also use a whole fish fillet
- mayonnaise: go with the best quality mayonnaise - I like using homemade mayonnaise as I can assure it does not have any rancid vegetable oils
- capers: these pickled pea-sized flower buds will give you that briny tartness that lemon juice brings but without the bitterness (that lemons often leave you with)
- fresh dill: just a few sprigs of fresh dill will take this baked salmon to another level of deliciousness
- sea salt & white pepper: mayonnaise isn't enough to adequately salt the fish so we're adding a tad more and white pepper is a delicate version that is more appropriate for a fish recipe
See recipe card for exact quantities and instructions to this salmon mayo recipe.
If made with good quality mayonnaise, this Baked Salmon with Mayo is naturally paleo, Whole30, and keto.
And it's so full of flavor that nothing else is needed to dress it up. No need for Parmesan cheese.
My easy Homemade Mayonnaise recipe is made with avocado oil and is a great option for this recipe. Other good brands are Chosen Foods and Sir Kensington.
- 🕐Time Saving Tip: prepare the mayo mixture well in advance of meal time to shave time during prep
- 🚫Food Safety: The USDA recommends an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit for fish. However, fish is often consumed raw and I have found that 125 degrees is actually when fish is the most succulent and perfectly tender. Cook the salmon to a temperature you are comfortable with.
- Bake salmon on sheet: skip the parchment paper and aluminum foil and bake the fish directly on the baking sheet to get crispy skin
- Lemons as garnish: cooking the salmon with lemons sometimes leaves an off-flavor. However, they are great as garnish.
💭Make it Nutrient-Dense: Use wild salmon for its health benefits and make sure you use a good quality mayonnaise. Homemade is always best and cheapest! And enjoy that skin as it's packed with nutrients.
The complete printable recipe is below in the recipe card for your convenience.
This delicious baked salmon recipe calls for these ingredients that you will need: salmon fillets, favorite mayonnaise, capers, fresh dill (dried dill will work in a clutch), sea salt and white pepper.
Step 1. Prep ingredients
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease the baking sheet with olive oil or avocado oil. Using an oil spray works in a pinch.
Pat salmon fillets dry with a paper towel and set them on the baking sheet skin side down.
Mash capers with the back of a fork. Chop fresh dill finely.
💭Good to know: Two tablespoons of fresh dill is equivalent to 2 teaspoons of dried dill.
Step 2. Make mayo sauce
In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, mashed capers, fresh dill, salt and white pepper.
Step 3. Top fillets with mayo
Spread approximately 2 tablespoons of the creamy mayonnaise mixture over the top of the salmon fillets.
Step 4. Bake salmon
Bake for 8-14 minutes or until salmon is opaque, flaky, and pulls apart easily with a fork. You may broil the last 1-2 minutes of baking time.
Baking time will depend on how thick your salmon is.
A good rule of thumb to remember is that for every ½" of thickness, 5 minutes of bake time is needed. If the fillet is 1" thick, start checking on it around 8-minute mark.
Don't overcook your salmon as it will be dry and rubbery. Salmon should be opaque and flake easily with a fork and instant read thermometer registers 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
💭Helpful Tip: Remove the salmon from the oven just until it's shy of doneness. It will continue to cook using the residual heat from the baking sheet.
Helpful Tools & Links
Below are some affiliate links that may be helpful to you as you make this recipe. You can find some of these items cheaper at your local store but it helps to have a link so you know what you're looking for.
- Tools: chef knife, cutting board, mixing bowl, stainless steel baking sheet,
- Ingredients: good mayonnaise, capers, dried dill, real salt, white pepper
Storage & Reheating Instructions
To store: leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Storage containers: these glass snap containers are perfect for any leftovers
To reheat: reheating cooked fish will almost certainly dry it out so it's best flaked cold and enjoyed with a salad. However, if necessary, you can gently reheat in a non-preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes.
Fresh dill is aromatic, herby, and pairs wonderfully with salmon. In a pinch, you may use dried dill but the flavor will be lackluster. Fresh dill is absolutely worth it in this recipe to get that burst of zesty flavor. If using dried dill, 2 teaspoons is equivalent to 2 tablespoons of the fresh variety.
Capers are immature green flower buds from a prickly bush called capparis spinosa, which grow in the Mediterranean and parts of Asia. These unripened pea-sized buds are harvested and preserved by either salt curing or more commonly pickled in a salt brine. Brined capers boast a lemony tang and a savory floral hit. Capers are commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine, especially in seafood dishes and pasta sauces.
The USDA recommends an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit for fish. However, I have found that this dries out the salmon and 125 degrees is actually when fish is the most succulent and perfectly tender. Cook the salmon to a temperature you are comfortable with.
Looking for more easy dinner recipes? Here are some ideas:
Did you make this? Please leave a ⭐ rating in the recipe card below and leave a review in the comments. Thank you!💚
Baked Salmon with Mayonnaise
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease the baking sheet with olive oil or avocado oil. Pat salmon fillets dry with a paper towel and set them on the baking sheet skin side down.
- Mash capers with the back of the fork and finely chop dill. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, capers, dill, and salt and pepper until fully combined.
- Spread approximately 2 tablespoons of the mayonnaise mixture over the top of the salmon fillets.
- Bake for 8-14 minutes or until salmon is opaque, flaky, and pulls apart easily with a fork. You may broil the last 1-2 minutes of baking time. See notes for precise cooking time.
- Garnish with a slice of lemon and fresh dill and serve.
- Two pounds of salmon is one whole salmon fillet or 6 cut pieces weighing 5-6 ounces each.
- Salmon fillets with skin on is best as the skin helps retain moisture.
- Salmon will continue to cook on the baking sheet with residual heat when you remove it from the oven.