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posted December 31, 2020

Sweet & Smoky Salmon Seasoning

My homemade Salmon Seasoning is legendary. It is a delicious blend of sweet and savory with a smoky kick to perfectly complement salmon’s light flavor and texture.

Two-image collage of a spoonful of salmon seasoning and a grilled salmon filet seasoned with salmon seasoning. Text overlay reads: Sweet and Smoky Salmon Seasoning.

Best Seasoning for Salmon

I’ve tried several variations of salmon seasonings, rubs, and marinades. We have enjoyed them all, but the one recipe we come back to over and over again is this salmon seasoning. There truly is a magical balance of flavors (some of them unexpected) that seems like it was made for salmon!

This particular recipe was made on a whim one Sunday afternoon when people were hungry and the grill was already preheated. Luckily, our guests didn’t question me throwing brown sugar, dried basil, and lime zest together. While the combination may not sound like a great match, the finished result was absolutely stunning!

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Ingredients for Salmon Seasoning

Here’s what you’ll need to assemble to make this salmon seasoning:

  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper (fresh cracked is best!)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • zest of 1 lime (save this lime for later to squeeze onto the finished salmon)

Simply combine all ingredients in a bowl, using a fork or whisk to break up any clumps, and you’re good to go. Use the seasoning immediately. You can store this in a airtight container in your pantry for up to two months, but keep in mind the brown sugar may clump. Break up any clumps prior to using any remaining seasoning.

Spoonful of smoked salmon seasoning over a white bowl of the same seasoning.

Grilled Salmon Seasoning

Almost every time we are preparing salmon, we are cooking it outside on our grill. Due to the sugar content in this seasoning, it is best cooked over indirect heat (meaning no flame or coals directly under the salmon) . You don’t want that brown sugar to burn before the salmon finishes cooking.

If you need a refresher on indirect heat, check out my post for How to Cook with Two Zone Grilling.

I prefer cooking mine on my Camp Chef pellet grill because I get a little extra kiss of smoky flavor that complements the rub perfectly. If you’re cooking on gas or charcoal, simply set up your coals on one half of the grill or only turn on half of your burners. This seasoning also works great for baking your salmon in the oven, just make sure to line a baking sheet with some parchment paper for easy clean up.

Once you have your salmon seasoned, grill or bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Salmon should be cooked until the internal temperature reads 145 degrees F. The fish should be tender and just starting to flake apart with a fork.

Close up of smoked salmon coated in seasoning.

More Salmon Recipes

Whether you like your salmon grilled, smoked, or served alongside rice or on top of a bagel, Hey Grill Hey has every recipe you need to cook salmon to your liking.

Salmon Seasoning Recipe

sweet and smoky salmon seasoning

Sweet and Smoky Salmon Seasoning

My homemade Salmon Seasoning is legendary. It is a delicious blend of sweet and savory with a smoky kick to perfectly complement salmon's light flavor and texture.
4.92 from 12 votes
Prep Time : 5 mins
Total Time : 5 mins
Servings : 8 people
Calories : 14kcal

Video

Ingredients
 

  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • zest of 1 lime

Instructions

  • Make the salmon seasoning. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, using a fork or whisk to break up any clumps from the brown sugar. Sprinkle liberally on salmon. One batch will season an entire 2 pound salmon filet. Use immediately.
  • Reserve the zested lime. Bonus advice, reserve the lime you zested for the seasoning and squeeze the juice over the seasoned salmon while you are grilling or roasting it.

Nutrition

Calories: 14kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 292mg | Potassium: 7mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 62IU | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
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**This post was originally published in August 2018. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.

Salmon Seasoning

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