This Bourbon Glazed Salmon is an easy, flavorful weeknight meal that requires only 7 ingredients and is ready in 30 minutes! Serve it with some roasted or steamed vegetables and rice or mashed potatoes for a great dinner your family will absolutely love.
This recipe was originally published on June 24, 2014 and was republished in August 2020 to add better quality photos, re-test the recipe, and add more helpful tips.
Who else loves salmon? I love the rich texture salmon has without being incredibly fishy tasting. It’s a perfect base for layering flavors and tasty glazes. Plus it cooks much faster than other meats, making it perfect for quick, weeknight meals.
As fish go, salmon is one of the healthiest options with lots of omega-3 fatty acids and other good fats and proteins. It is less likely to contain heavy metals than tuna and is still very versatile in the kitchen. Baked, raw, blackened, in salad, or as an appetizer, there are so many options. And I just really love salmon.
You might think there are a lot of strong flavors in this bourbon glazed salmon, but don’t worry. When everything comes together it is perfectly balanced. It’s rather like a teriyaki, but smoother, with more vanilla and caramel flavors coming from the bourbon. Because the salmon is baked rather than pan seared, the flavors of the glaze have time to soak into the salmon. A quick broil at the end caramelizes everything, giving it an incredible flavor.
The Power of Mustard
Though there isn’t much of it in this recipe, the mustard is important. Don’t be tempted to leave it out! Adding a bit of mustard to a sauce or dressing creates a smooth and creamy texture as well as adding flavor. This is because mustard is a natural emulsifier.
Emulsifiers keep the components of a dressing from separating. Oil and vinegar may not mix on their own, but they will if you add an emulsifier. If you make a balsamic or fruit vinaigrette at home, you will probably notice that it separates if you leave it for several minutes. But when you make a honey mustard vinaigrette, it’s creamy and stays smooth. This is all because of the mustard!
Adding mustard to this reduced bourbon glaze balances the sweetness of the sugar and bourbon as well as enhancing the texture. The small amount of mustard brings just a hint of flavor and gives the sauce it’s wonderful silky smoothness.
Easy Meals Can Taste Great
Cooking amazing meals for your family is not difficult and should be enjoyable. There are plenty of recipes out there for fast meals with limited ingredients that still taste great, so go make use of them!
I like making flavorful meals without a lot of ingredients. You don’t have to have a bunch of different spices and rare ingredients in your cupboard to create delicious meals. I bet you have all the ingredients for this salmon glaze in your cupboard right now.
One of the beautiful things about limited ingredient meals is they let the individual flavors of your ingredients shine. With only bourbon, brown sugar, and soy as the main components of this sauce, you want to choose a good quality bourbon. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, just something with a good flavor. A good rule is to never cook with anything you wouldn’t drink!
I typically don’t count salt and pepper as ingredients in my 7-ingredient recipes. Most of the time they need to be adjusted to taste anyway, so sometimes you don’t need them at all. Like this bourbon glaze – whether you need to add salt is going to depend on your soy sauce brand. Some are salty and some are not. I recommend always testing your food before starting to add salt or pepper so that you don’t get stuck with over seasoned food.
Cooking tasty meals should not have to take a long time either. You can cook this restaurant-quality salmon from start to finish in about 30 minutes. There is even some extra time during the cooking process to prepare some steamed vegetables or a light salad to serve with it. I would suggest an apple and fennel salad with walnuts or a creamy radish, cucumber, and dill salad if you want to feel fancy.
You can make this bourbon glazed salmon for an easy week-night meal with some simple steamed vegetables and rice, or to impress guests at your next dinner party with a refreshing salad. Either way, the bourbon glaze is what makes this dish so amazing. Try not to eat it all with a spoon!
Bourbon Glazed Salmon
- 4 salmon fillets 6 oz. (170g) each, skin on
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce (use reduced sodium for less salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper , to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- For the glaze: In a small saucepan, combine the bourbon, sugar, soy sauce, garlic and mustard. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes, or until reduced by half. Remove from heat and let sit to thicken.
- Pat salmon fillets dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Lay the salmon skin side down on a lightly oiled wire rack set over a baking sheet (to catch the drips). If you don't have a rack, a baking sheet will work just fine. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or so, depending on the size of your fish. When the salmon is nearly done, turn the broiler on in your oven. With a food brush, spread the glaze on top of the salmon. Be generous with your glaze!
- Return to the oven and broil (not too close to heat) for about 30 seconds. Watch carefully that glaze doesn’t burn. Repeat the process: take out the salmon, brush with more of the glaze and broil for a few seconds. Remove from oven.
- Arrange the fillets on each plate and drizzle each serving with the remaining glaze. Enjoy!