Grilled Whole Salmon with Lemon and Shallots

3 reviews

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This Grilled Whole Salmon is cooked in its entirety on a hot grill with lemon, shallots, and dill. Give this recipe a go whenever you have some freshly caught salmon you want to grill up or you’re looking for maximum flavor with a simple, solid effort.

Grilled whole salmon on peach butcher paper with text overlay - Grilled Whole Salmon.

Grilled Whole Salmon

Once in your life, you need to try making a grilled whole salmon. Far beyond the reason that it tastes so darn good, is the untouchable street cred you get by roasting a meal that still has a face. It looks as impressive as it tastes. I’m a firm believer that if you are willing to consume meat, you need to be willing to admit, acknowledge, and respect the fact that your meal was once a living animal.

Harsh truths for a lighthearted recipe post, but it is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately and honestly trying to implement. The more I am learning to respect ingredients, the better my cooking skills and meals have become. By using fresh, quality components, you need to do less to them to make them amazing.

Whole salmon surrounded by herbs and sliced lemon.

Grilled Stuffed Whole Salmon

So it goes with this awesome salmon. Simply stuffed with shallots, fresh lemons, and dill, then drizzled with a little butter, salt and pepper before being grilled to perfection. A grilled whole salmon makes an absolutely beautiful presentation for a crowd. Seriously, people will go nuts.

Beyond that, it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare, and then it’s hands-off until dinner time. I think it could be the perfect dinner party food! This is the ultimate in delicate salmon flavor, with just a hint of savory herbaceousness and mild smoky flavor from the grill. No one flavor note hits you over the head, they just all work together and melt in your mouth. Serve with a side of bacon wrapped asparagus and you’ve got an outstanding meal!

Sliced lemon and shallots in a whole salmon.

How to Grill a Whole Salmon

I grilled this beauty over indirect heat on my pellet grill (you can read more about what grills I use in my BBQ Grill Guide) but the recipe is adaptable to whatever grill you are using! If you’re cooking over charcoal, simply arrange the hot coals on one side of your grill and cook the fish on the other. If you are using gas, I recommend cooking the salmon on a large baking sheet and rotating the salmon often to prevent the bottom from burning.

Here’s how to grill a whole salmon:

  1. Stuff the salmon. Season the interior of the salmon with salt pepper, and layer with sliced shallots, sliced lemons. and dill fronds.
  2. Finish prepping. Slice 3 to 4 diagonal slices on the top of the salmon. Drizzle the fish with melted butter and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill. With your preferred grill preheated to 400-425 degrees F, grill your fish for around 30 minutes. Squeeze more lemon on the fish and continue cooking until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. The total cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your particular whole salmon, so make sure to pay attention to temperature and not to time while grilling. Use a reliable meat thermometer to ensure the salmon is cooked through.
  4. Serve! Once your salmon reaches 140 degrees F, remove the fish to a large cutting board. Peel the skin back along the slits and allow your guests to serve themselves.

Flaked grilled salmon on a fork with a whole grilled salmon in the background.

More Salmon Recipes

If this salmon hit the spot, you gotta try my other grilled (and smoked!) salmon. Everyone is full of delicious flavor.

Grilled Whole Salmon Recipe

Things looking a bit different around here? We’ve made some awesome, new changes! This post was originally published in March 2016. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.

I would LOVE to chat with you guys! I hang out on Instagram and Pinterest the most lately. Make sure to follow me over there and let me know what you thought of this recipe.

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Grilled Whole Salmon with Lemon and Shallots

5 from 3 votes
This beautiful whole salmon is simply stuffed with shallots, fresh lemons, and dill then drizzled with a little butter, salt and pepper before being grilled to perfection.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
Servings8 people


  • 1 6-pound whole salmon cleaned and scales removed
  • 2 shallots sliced into rings
  • 3 lemons divided use
  • 10-12 fresh dill fronds
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper


  • Preheat. Begin by preparing your grill. Set the temperature to about 400-425 degrees over indirect heat and allow your grill to preheat while you prepare the salmon.
  • Prep the salmon. Wipe the entire exterior and interior cavity of your salmon with paper towels. Season the interior with half of the salt and pepper. Layer in the sliced shallots, 2 of the sliced lemons, and dill fronds.
  • Season. Using a sharp knife, cut 3-4 diagonal slices into the top of the salmon. Drizzle the top of the fish with the melted butter and season with the rest of the salt and pepper.
  • Grill the whole salmon. Transfer your fish directly to the grill grates, close the lid and roast for 30 minutes. Cut the last lemon in half and squeeze half of it over the top of the salmon. The time can vary 15 minutes or so in either direction depending on how thick your fish is.
  • Finish grilling. Close the lid and roast for another 15 minutes then squeeze the other half of the lemon over the top. At this point, use an internal thermometer to check the temperature of your salmon. The time to finish the salmon can vary 15 minutes or so in either direction depending on how thick your fish is. From this point on, keep a close eye on the temperature. Salmon is cooked through at 140 degrees F.
  • Serve immediately. When your salmon has hit the proper internal temperature, carefully transfer the fish to your serving platter or cutting board and serve with extra lemon wedges. Peel back the skin along the diagonal slits and allow your guests to serve themselves.


Calories: 42kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 27mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 194IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg

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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Reader Reviews

17 Reviews

  1. BP says:

    One gas grill question. During cooking time, do you flip the fish sides? Not seeing recipe stating to turn fish over.

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      You don’t need to flip it. Salmon is thin enough to cook through and it won’t flip well.