Grilled Cilantro Lime Salmon

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Tangy lime combines with cilantro, garlic, red pepper flakes, and olive oil for a marinade that pairs perfectly with the mild flavors of fresh salmon. Save yourself some trouble this week and add this recipe for grilled cilantro lime salmon to your meal plan. It’s a family favorite that is a breeze to make.

Three whole grilled cilantro lime salmon fillets on a white plate with text overlay - Grilled Cilantro Lime Salmon.

Cilantro Lime Salmon

Glory Hallelujah, it is salmon season! I mean real, honest to goodness, wild-caught Alaskan salmon. Salmon that is free of artificial pink dyes and life in a cage. I know that sounds uppity and pretentious, but I’m kind of a fish snob. Fish that is sub-par tastes…well….fishy. And nobody really loves super fishy fish.

If I’m shelling out the extra cash for some salmon, I want it to totally rock. I want to give it the royal treatment and dress it up pretty before serving it for dinner. I want to make a dish that I will remember until the next time I save up enough pennies to be able to afford more! This is why I created this beautiful grilled cilantro lime salmon.

This recipe was a favorite of every member of the family. It was truly a dinner miracle.  Any food that warrants a reaction this good is worth paying for (bonus: it is healthy, fresh, low-cal, and so easy!). Even your non-fish eaters will like this! Well, maybe. That camp is a hard one to crack. But if there’s a recipe to get them to enjoy fish, this is the one.

Three salmon fillets in a zip-top bag with cilantro lime marinade.

Cilantro Lime Salmon Marinade

The marinade is the secret to taking this salmon from hum-drum to hum-dinger! Cilantro and lime is an amazing flavor combo, and its application carries from bright summer beverages to savory salsas. I’m taking full advantage of the versatility of cilantro and infusing it into a delicious marinade for this tasty salmon!

Tangy lime is married with cilantro, garlic, red pepper flakes, and olive oil to create a marinade that perfectly pairs with the mild flavors of fresh salmon. In just a few minutes, the marinade comes together, and within an hour or two, the whole dish is ready for a short stint on the grill.

This marinade is versatile as well! It easily translates to chicken, steak, or shrimp (yum!).

Quick note: When marinating anything in a citrus-based sauce, be sure to keep the waiting time fairly short (1-2 hours.) Any longer than that and the acids from the citrus can actually start to cook your meat and really mess with the texture. These flavors are so bright and strong, you don’t need much more time than that anyways.

Cilantro lime marinade being spooned onto a salmon fillet on the grill.

How to Grill Cilantro Lime Salmon

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Marinate. Mix all ingredients in a blender and pulse until nice and smooth. Add more olive oil as needed to get the right consistency. Place salmon fillets and cilantro lime marinade in a zip-top bag and marinate for 1-2 hours.
  2. Grill. With your charcoal or gas grill preheated to 400 degrees F, place the marinated fillets on the grill, skin side down. Grill for 8-10 minutes until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
  3. Serve. Transfer the grilled cilantro lime salmon to a serving dish. Rest for a few minutes before serving.

Serve this grilled cilantro lime salmon on a bed of rice with a salad (or maybe this bacon-wrapped asparagus) and you’ve got a simple meal that brings the wow factor!

Fork flaking a grilled cilantro lime salmon fillet.

More Grilled Salmon Recipes

Salmon and the grill were simply made for each other. If you love grilled salmon as much as I do, be sure to check out these other popular recipes on the site.

Cilantro Lime Salmon Recipe

Here’s hoping you love this cilantro lime salmon recipe as much as we do. It’s become a near-weekly dinner in our household!

If things are looking a bit different around here, no need to panic. This post was originally published in June 2015. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.

Cilantro Lime Grilled Salmon

By: Susie Bulloch
5 from 2 votes
Tangy lime combines with cilantro, garlic, red pepper flakes, and olive oil for a marinade that pairs perfectly with the mild flavors of fresh salmon. Save yourself some trouble this week and add this recipe for grilled cilantro lime salmon to your meal plan. It's a family favorite that is a breeze to make.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Marinade Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Servings4 people
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  • 4 salmon fillets skin on
  • 1 lime quartered, for garnish

Cilantro Lime Marinade

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ cup olive oil more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


  • Make the cilantro lime marinade. In a small food processor, pulse together the cilantro, lime zest and juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add additional olive oil as needed until you reach a smooth consistency.
  • Marinate. Place the salmon portions in a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Add the marinade to the bag, press out any excess air, and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours (not any longer.)
  • Preheat. When ready to cook the salmon, prepare your grill for indirect cooking at medium heat. Your target temperature in your grill should be around 375 to 400 degrees F.
  • Grill. Remove the salmon from the marinade and place it on your grill, skin side down. Use a spoon to spread any additional marinade on top of the salmon. Grill for 8-10 minutes (without flipping) or until the salmon is done. Your salmon is finished when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. The flesh will appear opaque and flake easily with a fork.
  • Enjoy. Serve immediately with freshly sliced lime wedges and additional cilantro, if desired.


Calories: 489kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 1245mg | Potassium: 886mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 423IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

12 Reviews

  1. jacinta says:

    i added a little gin to the mix.

  2. KatieP says:

    I make this about once a week because we are obsessed and am curious if I could make the marinade in bulk and freeze it?

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      I’m sure that’d work fine!

  3. Laura says:

    Wonderful taste combination! I have made it several times, and just feel like “where has cilantro and line been all my life?”

  4. Travis J Reed says:

    Made it tonight. I followed the recipe exactly and it came out great! It’s the first time I did salmon on the grill. Great recipe

  5. Geni says:

    This was absolutely delicious! It’s so fresh and bright tasting. I served it with coconut rice and mango salsa. I’m so glad I have some leftover for lunch tomorrow!

  6. Faith says:

    This marinade was simply decadent. I’ve always loved the taste of cilantro. This is my go to recipe now. Thank you so much.

  7. Jay says:

    We made this for a couple of my friends. One of them is a real picky eater and had never tried salmon before. I was worried that she may not like it but she finished it all!! It was a great meal and we are making more today!

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      I’m so happy you liked it!! Thanks for leaving me a comment!

  8. Jim says:

    Great tasting and great texture too. I’ll definitely using this again and looking for other uses. Thanks. BTW, tried to rate it (5*) but wouldn’t work

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      Thanks so much for coming back and leaving a comment!!