salmon crusted with sage, lemon zest and black pepper with sage and lemon wedge garnish on white platter with yellow an dwhite striped cloth under plate; small bowl of lemon wedges in background

How To Cook A Side Of Salmon

Contributor: Jill Silverman Hough

A whole side of salmon is super impressive, but easy to make. Try a perfectly roasted side of salmon for your next lunch, brunch, or dinner!

  • Author: Jill Silverman Hough
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Fish
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 (3 and ½ – 3 and ¾ lb.) whole side of salmon with skin
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage (optional)
  • 3 lemons, divided (optional)
  • Spring mixed greens, baby arugula, or baby spinach, for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 275°F*.
  2. Meanwhile, brush about ½ of the oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the salmon on top, skin or skinned side down, and brush with the remaining oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. If adding, sprinkle the sage on the salmon. Zest 2 of the lemons over the salmon.
  5. Bake until the salmon is barely opaque throughout, 15 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon.
  6. Use 2 spatulas to carefully transfer the salmon to a platter. Cut the remaining lemon into wedges and serve alongside.


This is a slow cooking method that results in luxuriously tender and juicy salmon with almost no risk of overcooking—but the salmon doesn’t get particularly browned or crispy. If you prefer it like that, bake it at 450°F for about 20 minutes.