How to Grill Salmon without Sticking to the Grill

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How to Grill Salmon perfectly every time without it sticking to the grill! An easy step-by-step guide to grilling salmon, no marinade necessary. Get a super healthy delicious dinner on the table in 15 minutes!

grilled salmon on a plate topped with lemon slices and fresh herbs

How to Grill Salmon Perfectly

Knowing how to Grill Salmon or Grill Fish for that matter can be an intimidating thing. I know the first couple of times I made it I was nervous and wasn’t sure if I start skin side up or down? Do I spray the grates or grill on foil? Do I flip it or not? So many questions to avoid that dreaded fish massacre on the grill. 

I know there are tons of recipes out there for grilled salmon. But I wanted to teach how you to grill salmon confidently every single time so you don’t have to worry about it sticking to the grill or whether it’s done or not. As long as you know the basics I’m teaching you today you can add sauces, dry rubs or whatever you want to spice up the flavor.

seasoned salmon fillets ready to be grilled

What is the best salmon to buy for grilling?

When it comes to buying salmon specially for grilling I recommend a few things:

  1. Buy Fillet Portions: Flipping a fillet portion is going to be a lot easier than flipping a huge fillet. Trust me. Or buy the fillet and cut it into 4-6oz. portions yourself.
  2. Skin on: Grilling with the skin on gives you a “barrier” to the heat when grilling. Pro Tip: if you sprinkle the skin with salt before grilling it will easily peel off after being cooked.
  3. Farm Raised vs. Wild Caught: Honestly this is up to you. I like wild caught better because there’s more flavor however the farm raised have less of a “fish taste” and my kids like that better. Farm Raised will be cheaper than wild caught, but wild caught will be better for you. It’s up to you.

process of how to grill salmon

Ingredients you’ll need for this Grilled Salmon:

I told you, this is a basics recipe so you’ll need minimal ingredients to make this salmon. 

  • Salmon Fillet: I like to buy a salmon fillet with skin on and then cut my own portions but to make it easier you can buy them pre-cut. Either way make sure they have skin on.
  • Tasteless Oil: Oils that are tasteless and can handle high heat are key. Avocado oil is what I normally use but peanut oil, grapeseed oil or vegetable oil would do.
  • Salt & Pepper: These are must to anything you make.
  • Grilling Utensils: I love using my fish spatula or tongs to flip so I don’t break the salmon up when I flip.

How long do you cook salmon on the grill?

As always use these times as a base, true times will depend on the thickness of your salmon and temperature of your grill. But as a general rule you’ll grill salmon for 6-8 minutes skin side down, flip once and then grill 1-2 minutes flesh side down. 

closeup photo of grilled salmon topped with lemon and fresh herbs

Do you have to flip salmon on the grill?

No. You don’t have to. But if you want the grill marks on the salmon and a crust you’ll want to. I recommend to start grilling skin side down first because the skin can handle the majority of the high heat without burning the salmon. It will release from the grill without sticking so you can flip and grill flesh side down for 1-2 minutes to get those nice char marks and seared crust! YUM 

How to grill Salmon with skin?

  1. Preheat grill to high heat, approximately 400°F-450°F.
  2. Remove portioned salmon fillets from refrigerator and pat dry with paper towel.
  3. Lightly brush both sides of salmon with avocado oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place salmon fillets directly on clean grill grates skin side down. Close grill and let cook for 6 to 8 minutes. 
  5. Gently flip salmon to grill flesh side down, grill for 1 to 2 minutes. (if salmon does not flip easily wait 1-2 minutes before flipping)
  6. Remove from grill when internal temperature reaches 130°F. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  7. Top with suggested toppings above or simple garnish with a squeeze of fresh lemon.

fresh salmon fillets on the grill

How do you keep salmon from sticking to the grill?

Here are some tips that I’ve found to help ensure my salmon doesn’t stick to the grill.

  1. HOT Grill: A searing hot grill is key. You want to grill your salmon HOT and fast. As soon as one side is done cooking it will release from the grill so you can flip and grill the other side.
  2. Keep the Skin on:  The skin on method will give your salmon a protective barrier for the high heat it is being grilled on. The skin helps hold the fish together and prevents it sticking to the grill or falling apart when you do flip.
  3. Oil the Fish not the Grates: Brushing the fish with oil instead of the grates ensures that the oil is on the protein when it hits the high heat and will help it not stick to the grill.
  4. Use Tin Foil: If you’re nervous to grill straight on the grill then make a tin foil pan. Shape the tin foil into a mini pocket or “pan” to hold your seasoned salmon filets. Just make sure you’re using heavy duty aluminum foil.
  5. Cast Iron Grilling: Don’t want to grill right on the grill grates. Put a cast iron grill on your grill and cook it in the skillet, you’ll still get the same smoky taste from the grill.
  6. Use a Grilling Plank: This Honey Garlic Cedar Plank Salmon Recipe is seriously bomb, I highly recommend it.

What to season grilled salmon with?

The awesome thing about this recipe is it is literally just the basics. This salmon is a blank canvas for you to top with whatever your little heart desires. Here are a few of my favorite ways to top it, everything from spice rubs to salsas or sauces.

grilled salmon on a plate with grilled asparagus

How do I know salmon is done?

Cooked salmon will always go from a vibrant pink color to more of an opaque color when done.Use an instant-read thermometer is key! If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times. It takes the guess work out of “is it done or not.” This is the thermometer I use, it has a probe and build in USDA doneness temperatures for every protein, including fish. If you don’t have that a simple eye test will work flaking the fish with a fork or the skin will pull away from the flesh as well.

Grilled fish is cooked when it is 145°F, but remember you’re food will continue to cook once you’ve pulled it from the grill or oven. Transfer your salmon from the grill when it reaches 125°-130°F, (I like to do 130°F because I like mine a little more well done)then let it rest for a few minutes and serve! I love to top mine with a juice of fresh lemon juice to brighten up the fish.

What to serve with Grilled Salmon?

Favorite Clean Crafted Wines to Serve with Salmon:

grilled salmon on a plate topped with lemon and fresh herbs

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grilled salmon on a plate topped with lemon and fresh herbs

How to Grill Salmon without Sticking to the Grill

  • Author: Krista
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Fish
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

How to Grill Salmon perfectly every time without it sticking to the grill! An easy step-by-step guide to grilling salmon, no marinade necessary. Get a super healthy delicious dinner on the table in 15 minutes!

Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. salmon fillet, skin on (cut into 4 equal portions)
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • salt and pepper
  • optional: lemon wedges for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill to high heat, approximately 400°F-450°F.
  2. Remove portioned salmon fillets from refrigerator and pat dry with paper towel.
  3. Lightly brush both sides of salmon with avocado oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place salmon fillets directly on clean grill grates skin side down. Close grill and let cook for 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Gently flip salmon to grill flesh side down, grill for 1 to 2 minutes. (if salmon does not flip easily wait 1-2 minutes before flipping)
  6. Remove from grill when internal temperature reaches 130°F. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  7. Top with suggested toppings above or simple garnish with a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 salmon fillet
  • Calories: 221
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 573 mg
  • Fat: 13 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 23 g
  • Cholesterol: 70 mg

Keywords: how to grill salmon, how to grill salmon with skin, grilled salmon recipe, how to grill salmon fillet, how to grill salmon on grill, grilled salmon, grilled salmon temp, grilled salmon calories

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Krista
Hi! I'm the recipe developer and food photographer behind all these easy healthy recipes! I love food, Jesus, morning lattes, and am obsessed with fantasy football! { more }

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