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Whole30 Salmon Recipe in Garlic Cream Sauce

This Whole30 Creamy Garlic Salmon is the perfect easy dinner recipe for all you garlic lovers. Tender, flaky salmon is nestled in a dairy free lemon garlic cream sauce for the perfect bite – and everything is done in 30 minutes, too!

We love to serve this salmon recipe with garlic smashed potatoes, my easy everyday salad and my grilled asparagus with lemon zest.

Whole30 Creamy Garlic Salmon

Y’all know I love a good salmon recipe! Add a cream sauce into the mix and then I’m REALLY hooked.

Today’s salmon recipe is a play on my creamy garlic chicken dish that I posted a couple months ago. It was such a hit that I changed up the protein and let me tell you, it’s amazing!

The star of this dish is for sure the garlic cream sauce! It’s super easy to make. You don’t even have to roast the garlic in the oven ahead of time! We’re basically browning it in the pan, adding in some aromatics, deglazing, and then adding in some coconut milk. But don’t worry, you can’t taste the coconut milk at all. I balance it out with fresh herbs and lemon juice. You’re going to love it!

Also, if you’re looking for more salmon dinner ideas, check out my honey blackened salmon, grilled honey sriracha salmon salad, 20 minute garlic butter baked salmon in foil, or maple glazed salmon!

Why You’ll Love This Creamy Salmon Recipe

I mean, who can turn down a rich garlic cream sauce? It makes everything better!

That said, here’s why I think you’ll love it so much on salmon:

  • Creamy and tangy. Fork tender salmon smothered in a zesty, velvety garlic cream sauce is downright irresistible. Every creamy bite is dreamlike!
  • Quick and simple. It takes just 5 minutes to prep the salmon, and 25 minutes to finish cooking it. It’s a great choice for busy weeknights.
  • Perfect for any occasion. You can make this salmon with cream sauce for a hectic weeknight dinner, an elegant dinner party, you name it. It’s really up to you!
Uncooked salmon filets on parchment paper.

What You’ll Need

Trust me, there is nothing like this creamy garlic salmon recipe. It’s savory, luscious, and checks off all of those comfort food boxes! Here’s what you’ll need to make it (for the exact amounts and the full set of directions, scroll down to the recipe card below):

  • Salmon – You’ll need four 4-6 oz. salmon filets. I buy them with skin on, and then remove it right before serving. I find the skin makes a good buffer so you don’t overcook the salmon, and makes it easier to flip, too.
  • Ghee – Most Whole30 diets allow you to use ghee, which is essentially clarified butter. You can also use coconut oil or avocado oil instead, if you like.
  • Onion – I use yellow onion because I want a very mild onion taste and the color blends in nicely with the sauce.
  • Garlic – You’ll need a whole head of garlic (sometimes I use more depending on how many cloves I get). Make sure they are peeled.
  • Lemon – Fresh lemon juice is best and will brighten this dish up at the end of the cooking process.
  • Chicken Broth – A little bit of chicken broth is needed to deglaze the pan.
  • Coconut Milk – This can be found in the international aisle of your grocery store. Buy the full fat coconut milk can and make sure it is unsweetened.
  • Thyme – This lemony herb pairs perfectly with the flavors in this dish and with the salmon.
  • Salt and Pepper – Freshly ground black pepper provides the best flavor.
Salmon in a cream sauce with lemon wedges.

How to Make Whole30 Salmon in Garlic Cream Sauce

This recipe comes together in 30 minutes or less and will fill your kitchen with the best smells your nose has ever sniffed. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic… for real, though, there’s nothing like the smell of garlic goodness permeating the air. Here’s how to make this droolworthy Whole30 salmon in a garlic cream sauce:

  • Prep the salmon. Pat the salmon filets dry with a paper towel. Then, season the flesh side of the salmon with salt and pepper.
  • Pan sear the salmon. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat, and add 1 tablespoon of ghee and the salmon, skin side down. Pan sear the salmon for 4-5 minutes. Then, gently flip the salmon and sear it on the flesh side for 2 minutes. Finally, remove the salmon from the pan and let it rest on a plate.
  • Roast the garlic. Reduce the heat to medium, then immediately add the remaining tablespoon of ghee and all of your whole garlic cloves. Saute the cloves for 3-4 minutes, stirring them around the pan occasionally to brown the outside. Once the garlic is slightly browned, add the yellow onion to the pan and saute for 1-2 minutes, until it is translucent.
  • Deglaze the pan and add the herbs. Next, add in the chicken broth, lemon juice, and fresh thyme. Stir and bring everything to a simmer, then reduce the mixture by half.
  • Make the garlic cream sauce. Slowly add in coconut milk, stir until everything is combined, and season the sauce with salt to taste.
  • Return the salmon to the pan. Add the salmon back to the pan and let it simmer for an additional 2 minutes. Finally, garnish it with chopped parsley or basil and serve!
Salmon in a lemon garlic cream sauce.

Tips for Success

That’s pretty much all there is to know, but I do have just a few more tips and tricks to share with you to ensure you get the best results with your salmon before you start.

  • Season your salmon before you cook it. Take every opportunity you can to season. For salmon specifically, I like to pat the salmon dry first with a paper towel and then season it. I find doing this helps the seasoning stick to the salmon better and prevents it from falling off the fish.
  • Sear the salmon skin side down first. I’m sure you’ve heard it both ways and, honestly, I’ve tried both ways. But, I’ve found that what works best is pan searing the salmon skin side down first. The skin will crisp up very nicely, which makes it much easier to flip with minimal to no sticking to the pan. (i.e. No salmon left behind.)
  • Make sure the skillet is nice and hot before you add the salmon. This way, the salmon is much less likely to stick to the pan when you go to flip it.
Plate of creamy salmon with asparagus and potatoes.

What Goes With Salmon in Garlic Cream Sauce?

For this recipe, I love to go simple and classic. A veggie and a starch pair perfectly with this meal. We’ve ever served this over jasmine rice or noodles, for example. Here are some of our other favorite sides to serve with this salmon recipe:

Salmon filets in a garlic cream sauce with lemon wedges.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

If you end up with leftover salmon, save it for later! Here’s the best way to do that:

  • To store. Once the salmon has cooled, keep it in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
  • To reheat. I usually just use the microwave, but you could also reheat your salmon with cream sauce in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat until it reaches the desired temperature.

More Salmon Recipes

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whole30 salmon in a skillet with garlic cream sauce

Whole30 Creamy Garlic Salmon Recipe

  • Author: Krista
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This creamy salmon recipe is a guaranteed family favorite. Flaky, tender salmon is smothered in a tangy garlic cream sauce, and, the best part is, everything is done in 30 minutes or less!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 (4-6 ounce) salmon filets
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 whole head of garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 15 ounce can of full fat coconut milk, unsweetened
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Pat salmon filets dry with a paper towel. Season flesh side with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of ghee and add salmon to skillet skin side down.
  3. Pan sear salmon for 4-5 minutes. Gently flip salmon and sear on the flesh side for 2 minutes. Remove salmon from pan and let rest of a plate.
  4. Reduce heat to medium, then immediately add remaining tablespoon of ghee and all of your whole garlic cloves. Saute cloves for 3-4 minutes, stirring around the pan occasionally to brown the outside.
  5. Once garlic is slightly browned, add yellow onion to pan. Saute for 1-2 minutes, until translucent.
  6. Next, add in chicken broth, lemon juice and fresh thyme. Stir and bring to a simmer, reduce by the mixture by half.
  7. Slowly add in coconut milk and stir until combined. Season with salt to taste.
  8. Add salmon back to pan and simmer for an additional 2 minutes.
  9. Garnish with chopped parsley or basil and serve!

Notes

  • To store. Once the salmon has cooled, keep it in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
  • To reheat. I usually just use the microwave, but you could also reheat your salmon with cream sauce in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat until it reaches the desired temperature.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 salmon filet + sauce

Keywords: creamy salmon recipe, cream sauce for salmon, salmon with cream sauce

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