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Cedar Plank Salmon

Perfectly flaky and topped with strawberry salsa, this spiced cedar plank salmon will be the reason you keep your grill on all summer. All you need is a cedar plank and my epic spice rub!

If you love a good cedar plank recipe then you need to try my Honey Garlic Cedar Plank Salmon, it’s one of my go-to’s for a classic recipe.

The Best Grilled Salmon

With summer around the corner, this cedar plank salmon will get you excited to fire up the grill and try cooking with a cedar plank once and for all. Topped with a fresh strawberry salsa, you’ll love the contrast of fruity, charred, and smokey flavors in each bite.

Made with a simple garlicky spice mix, you won’t need to worry about heading to the supermarket before getting started. All you need to do is rub it in the fresh, velvety salmon and set it on the grill for a juicy, perfectly flaked fish.

To make sure it comes out super moist, just soak the wood in a bit of water first. Aside from that, it’s a fail-proof 25-minute recipe loaded with pantry-staples like garlic powder, brown sugar, and paprika. For a cedar plank salmon dish, that’s pretty impressive!

Grilled salmon with strawberry salsa.

Why You’ll Love This Salmon Recipe

Cooking salmon on a cedar plank is much easier than it seems. You’ll love it and might swap traditional cookout recipes for this one.

  • Easy clean-up. The cedar plank keeps the salmon from sticking or falling through the grill grates. All you’ll have to wash is the plank, making it a favorite recipe of mine for easy clean-up.
  • Perfect for cookouts. This recipe is the perfect excuse for firing up the grill, especially when you’ve had enough of traditional cookout dishes.
  • Healthy. There’s zero oil involved, very little salt, and it’s loaded with omega-3 and nutrients from the strawberry salsa. It’s super healthy and flavorful!
  • Great for leftovers. You can substitute the strawberry salsa for leftover Fresh Mango Salsa.
  • Pantry-friendly. Aside from the salmon, all of the ingredients in the recipe are perfectly shelf-stable so it shouldn’t be a problem if you haven’t gone to the supermarket in a while.
Close-up of cedar plank salmon with fruity salsa on top.

What Does a Cedar Plank Do For Salmon?

Aside from giving the salmon a delicate smokey flavor, the soaked plank also helps keep the fish nice and moist by distributing the heat more evenly. Since the salmon is on the wood and not directly on the grill grates, you can let it cook without worrying it’ll dry out too quickly.

Ingredients for grilled salmon.

Recipe Ingredients

It’s time to peek in the pantry! Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.

  • Cedar plank
  • Salmon – Use fresh or frozen.
  • Brown sugar – Feel free to use light or dark brown sugar.
  • Smoked paprika Any kind of paprika works.
  • Ancho chili powder – Don’t skip it!
  • Garlic powder – You can use 1/2 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic instead.
  • Salt
  • Strawberry Salsa I’ve got a great recipe for it, but use your favorite.

Tips for Buying Salmon

These tips will help you choose the best fresh salmon for any recipe:

  • Inspect the color. Depending on how it’s farmed and where it’s from, salmon can be rosy pink to bright orange. Keep this in mind when picking your fillets. Either end of this spectrum is perfect.
  • Check for gloss. The flesh should be glossy and plump, not dried out. Pick salmon with a slight sheen to it.
  • Avoid opaqueness. If it looks pastel pink and so opaque it almost seems cooked… Stay away from it! That’s a sign of very old, not-so-fresh salmon.
  • Say no to curling. Look at the edges of the fish fillets… If the ends are beginning to curl, especially where the flesh meets the skin, steer clear of it.
  • Go for the eyes. Fresh salmon will always have moist-looking eyes that haven’t yet sunk inward. Look for this when deciding which fish to get.
Flaky grilled salmon on a cedar plank.

How to Make Cedar Plank Salmon

The key to this cedar plank salmon is in soaking the plank long enough. The rest is a piece of cake!

  • Soak the plank. Fill a large bowl or container with water. Submerge the plank in the water for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Don’t skip this step. Set the grill to medium heat.
  • Make the salsa. Follow my recipe for strawberry salsa and set it aside when ready.
  • Dry the salmon. Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel. Place it on the plank with the skin side-down.
  • Prepare the spice rub. Whisk the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, ancho chili powder, and salt in a small bowl until well combined. Sprinkle the spice rub on top.
  • Season the salmon. Rub the spice mix on the salmon until it’s evenly covered.
  • Grill it. Place the cedar plank with salmon on top of the grill grates. It shouldn’t burn if you soaked the plank long enough. Grill the salmon for 8-11 minutes, occasionally checking for flare-ups. Have a water mist-spray or glass of water on hand in case anything lights up.
  • Serve. Once the salmon is flaky to taste, remove it from the grill and let it sit for 2 minutes. Top with strawberry salsa and enjoy.
Overhead shot of cedar plank salmon with strawberry salsa.

Recipe FAQs

Don’t worry if you’ve never used a cedar plank for cooking before. These FAQs should clear up any doubts to help you get started.

How long does it take to grill salmon on a cedar plank?

For this recipe, it takes 11 minutes. However, the cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the fish.

Do you flip salmon when grilling on a cedar plank?

No. If your salmon is an even thickness throughout, you won’t need to flip it over because it’ll cook evenly.

Do I need to soak a cedar plank for salmon?

You always need to soak the plank in water 2 hours before cooking. This will prevent any excess charring or possible burning. It also helps keep the salmon nice and moist.

Can you wash and reuse cedar planks for salmon?

Yes! Scrape the plank to remove all the leftover bits of salmon and then soak it in warm water with 3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. You can skip the vinegar but it helps disinfect the surface. Leave it out to dry completely. The planks can be reused up to 3 times.

Side shot of grilled salmon with fruit salsa on top.

What to Serve with Seasoned Salmon

To start off the meal, this cedar plank salmon is great with simple salads like my Fattoush Salad or Green Goddess Salad. I recommend avoiding creamy dressings. For side dishes, pair it with my Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, Garlic Herb Hasselback Potatoes, or Garlic Parmesan Brussel Sprouts.

Flaked salmon with salsa on top.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

Once fully cooled, refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Store the salsa and salmon separately. Keep the salmon toward the back of the fridge where it’s coldest.

To reheat it, microwave the salmon for up to a minute or until warm. Top it with chilled strawberry salsa as usual. You can also heat it in a pan (with the lid on) over medium-low heat for 7-9 minutes.

More Easy Salmon Recipes

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Grilled salmon with strawberry salsa.

Cedar Plank Salmon

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Krista
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Fish and Seafood
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: American


This 25-minute cedar plank salmon with strawberry salsa is flaky, spiced, smokey, and fruity all in one bite. It’s perfect for the summer!


  • 1 large cedar plank, soaked
  • 1.5 lbs. salmon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Strawberry Salsa


  1. Completely submerge and soak wooden cedar plank for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  2. Heat the grill to medium heat.
  3. Make strawberry salsa and set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, add brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, ancho chili powder and salt. Stir everything together with a fork.
  5. Pat Salmon dry and place salmon (skin side down) on the plank.
  6. Gently rub the spice mixture onto the flesh side of the salmon.
  7. Place cedar plank with salmon on top directly on the grill grates. Grill for 8-11 minutes, checking occasionally for flare-ups. (I like to have a water spray bottle on hand just in case)
  8. Once salmon is flaky. Remove from grill and let sit for 2 minutes.
  9. Top with strawberry salsa and serve!


  • Serving Size: 6 oz (minus the salsa)
  • Calories: 287
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Sodium: 381 mg
  • Fat: 16 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 4 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 30 g
  • Cholesterol: 89 mg

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26 comments on “Cedar Plank Salmon”

  1. I LURVVVEEEEEE salmon! And I don’t usually have it on a cedar plank, but this looks phenomenal. I’ve never tried salmon with fruit besides pineapple either–it sounds wonderful!

    1. I hadn’t either, this whole thing was new to me but totally delivered on flavor! You definitely need to try it!

  2. You made me laugh. I just remembered the first time I grilled fish using a cedar plank. It went in flame like a bale of hay :))

    Your salmon looks amazing!
    And Ashley, yes, she’s a superwoman!

  3. Strawberry salsa? A first but certainly not the last! This is fantastic Krista.
    Plus with my love for salmon <3

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    Patricia @ Grab a Plate

    Wowwowow!Absolutley gorgeous! I’m sure the flavors are amazing, but this goes beyond…a treat to see, too! LOVE!

  5. Avatar photo
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

    I love surprise baby showers! What a great dinner too – love the strawberry salsa!

  6. Avatar photo
    Margaret Ann @ MAK and Her Cheese

    Beautiful! I love grilling on cedar planks, and that flavor combo sounds epic! Thanks for the inspiration!
    – MAK

  7. Avatar photo
    Lindsay @ Life, Love and Sugar

    I had a somewhat similar grilling experience, but I was trying to light it and almost caught myself on fire – singed hair around my face, eyebrows and all. Eek! This salmon looks amazing! I definitely have to do this – love the strawberries and cilantro!

    1. haha… oh no! That’s crazy! I can’t believe it even got some of your eyebrow!

      This salmon definitely is amazing and perfect with the strawberries. 🙂

  8. Avatar photo
    Kacey @ The Cookie Writer

    I love seeing these virtual showers! Not only does it show true friendship, but is shows how great the food blogging community is 🙂 Your salmon is one awesome recipe!!

  9. Avatar photo
    Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor

    Krista, this is AMAZING! Your words are far too kind. I have the same feelings about you…we started at the same time but you have totally knocked it out of the park. I hope that I can be as awesome as a mom as you are to your little boy. I am always in awe of all of your recipes. They are ones I make in my kitchen often and I can’t wait to try this salmon with strawberry salsa. The only thing that would make this even more perfect is if we could all celebrate together. Thank you so much for all of your support! It means everything to me. XOXO

    1. Thanks so much girl, I’m glad you felt loved today!

      You are going to make an incredible mommy! Just know those first 6 months are HARD … but then you start to feel like you’re coming out of a tunnel and it’s amazingness! Soak up every 2 am feeding and cries for mommy to hold her … they grow up so stinking fast!