20 Minute Easy Teriyaki Salmon
This 20 Minute Easy Teriyaki Salmon is flaky, juicy and pan-fried to perfection with 4 ingredient homemade Teriyaki Sauce. It’s the easiest, healthy, and most flavorful teriyaki salmon you’ll ever eat. Plus video recipe!
I learned some amazing Teriyaki recipes when I lived in Tokyo. Sticky, Savory and slightly sweet, this Teriyaki Salmon is so flavorful and pleases even the pickiest of eaters includes kids.
As it makes a great weeknight dinner option for the entire family, it has been on my family meal rotation along with some of my favorite recipes such as General Tso’s Chicken, Crock Pot Honey Garlic Chicken, Garlic Beef Lo Mein, Slow Cooker Beef Stew, Honey Garlic Shrimp and Chicken Pad Thai.
Teriyaki Salmon is called 鮭の照り焼き in Japanese. Teriyaki is a cooking technique to flavor chicken, salmon, shrimp and other dishes with Teriyaki Sauce. Originally food was grilled with this technique, but today people use all kinds of equipment to make teriyaki recipes including frying pan, oven such as Baked Teriyaki Salmon and even a slow cooker such as Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken.
Select the Right Salmon for Teriyaki Salmon
The most important thing for Teriyaki Salmon is to buy the right salmon for this recipe. Everyone loves the flaky and melt-in-your mouth salmon, so look for salmon that appears fresh and moist with bright pink color. AVOID salmon that looks dried out, with browned spots or curling skin. There should NOT be any liquid pooling around the fillet.
The fresh salmon is also firm to the touch and will bounce back if you press the fresh. There are farmed and “wild caught” salmon. I highly recommend buying wild-caught Alaskan salmon. (Tip: If you come across a good deal on flash-frozen salmon fillets, buy a bunch and store them in your freezer.)
It’s best to eat the fresh salmon the same day you buy it, but you can store it in its original packaging in the fridge for up to 2 days (best to store at the bottom of the fridge). DO NOT re-freeze your salmon if it has been previously frozen.
If your salmon is frozen, it’s best to place it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. If you need to thaw it fast, you can place the wrapped salmon in a bowl of cold water and it will take about 1 or two hours to thaw completely. Avoid using microwave to thaw your salmon. Don’t thaw salmon at room temperature as bacteria can build up.
You do not need to remove the skin from salmon for this recipe. The skin actually gets crispy and is full of flavorful.
How to Make Teriyaki Salmon
This classic recipe is so simple and requires no marinating. The salmon fillets are cooked in a frying pan to the perfect tender and juicy texture with the sticky and delicious teriyaki sauce. It’s a quick and easy recipe and takes less than 20 minutes to make.
Step 1: Make the Secret Sauce for this Recipe: Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
Teriyaki Sauce is easy to make and so much better than the store-bought bottles. Plus, you can easily control the sweetness and the salt level. It’s sweet, tangy and savory with fresh ingredients, which compliments the salmon perfectly.
Traditionally Teriyaki sauce is made of Mirin, Sake, soy sauce and sugar. Americanized alternative uses soy sauce, honey (or sugar), vinegar, ginger, garlic and cornstarch. They taste similar although the traditional teriyaki sauce has a shiny look as there is no cornstarch in the sauce.
In this recipe, I used the traditional Teriyaki Sauce which has only 4 basic ingredients: soy sauce, Mirin, sake and sugar. The secret is to use 1-1-1 ratio rules for the first 3 ingredients, and then you add in sugar to taste. Sake could be replaced with white wine. Ginger and red pepper flakes are optional.
Step 2: Season the Salmon
Rinse the salmon fillet and pat them dry with paper towel. Then season with salt and pepper on both sides.
Step 3: Cook the Salmon
Heat the oil in a large pan or skillet over medium heat. Add salmon with skin-side facing down. Cover the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until the skin turns golden brown. Remove the lid and flip the salmon, pour the teriyaki sauce from step 1. Turn the heat to high, let the sauce boil. In the mean time, spooning the sauce onto the salmon to coat evenly. It will take another 3-4 minutes for the salmon to be cooked through (the time varies based on the thickness of your fillet).
Note: 1) Oil or butter is not required if you use a non-stick pan as salmon itself has nice fat. 2) Make sure not to overcrowd the pan. If your pan is not large enough, you can cook the salmon in two batches.
Step 4: Make Teriyaki Glaze
Remove salmon to serving plates, while allowing sauce to continue boiling for a few more minutes until it thickens. Stir constantly until it reaches the desired thickness. Remove the pan from heat and allow the sauce to cool slightly. Spoon or brush thickened sauce onto salmon as a final glaze.
Note: Keep in mind that the teriyaki glaze will be thicker when it cools, and you don’t want to boiled down the liquid too much.
How to Serve Teriyaki Salmon
Drizzle teriyaki glaze on top of the salmon and garlic with sesame seeds and green onion. I love to serve them with rice and vegetables such as broccoli, green beans or snap peas. You can also serve this Teriyaki Salmon on brown rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice for a perfectly healthy meal.
Tips and Secrets for Making the Best Teriyaki Salmon
- As mentioned above, the most important thing for this recipe is to select the right salmon. Make sure your salmon is fresh and the fillets are not too thick.
- Pat your salmon dry with paper towel before seasoning it with salt and pepper.
- Marinating is not required for this recipe, but if you like the more intense flavor, you can double your teriyaki sauce and use half to marinate your salmon.
- To achieve the tender and juicy texture of the salmon, make sure not to overcook it. As salmon’s thickness is not the same, you need to adjust the cooking time slightly.
- Remove your salmon from heat while you continue to boil the sauce so that your salmon won’t be overcooked and dried out.
- The sauce will be thicker when it cools down, so don’t boiled down the liquid too much.
Key Ingredients and Substitutes
Salmon: I used wild salmon fillet with medium thickness for this recipe. Make sure to adjust the cooking time if your fillet is significantly thinner or thicker than the usual cuts.
Mirin: Mirin adds subtle sweet accents to this recipe and it’s available in Asian grocery stores or online. If you cannot find it, you can substitute it with dry white wine and sugar.
White Wine: Original Teriyaki Sauce calls for Sake, but you can use white wine to substitute if you don’t have sake.
Soy Sauce: Use high quality soy sauce for this recipe. If you want to reduce your salt intake, use low-sodium soy sauce. Kikkoman is my favorite brand.
Vegetables: I served my Teriyaki Salmon with steamed rice and broccoli. You can substitute the broccoli with your favorite vegetables.
Ginger: It is optional for Teriyaki sauce but adds the fresh flavor to this recipe and I highly recommend it.
Meal Prep Teriyaki Salmon
Teriyaki Salmon is a healthy and great option for Meal Prep. Add Teriyaki Salmon, rice and vegetables to your Mel Prep container. Make sure to let your food cool down first before you close the lid. Store them in the fridge and the leftovers are good for up to 5 days. Heat them up with microwave for lunch. So delicious!
Watch Now: How to Make Teriyaki Salmon
Easy Teriyaki Salmon (with Video)
- 4 wild caught salmon fillets, about 1/2 pound or 250 grams each, skin on
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 1/2 cup white wine, see note
- 1/2 cup soy sauce, regular or low-sodium
- 1/4 tbsp sugar
- 4 slices fresh ginger, Optional
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the mirin, white wine, soy sauce, sugar and fresh ginger to make the teriyaki sauce.
- Pat dry your salmon fillets with paper towel, and season with salt and pepper.
- Place a skillet on medium-high heat, and add the salmon fillets skin-side down. Note: oil is not required if you are using a nonstick pan.
- Cover the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the lid from the skillet, flip the salmon fillets and pour the teriyaki sauce. Turn the heat to high, let the sauce boil. In the mean time, spooning the sauce onto the salmon to coat evenly. It will take another 3-4 minutes for the salmon to be cooked through (the time varies based on the thickness of your fillet).
- Remove salmon to serving plates, while allowing sauce to continue boiling another minute or so until thickening.
- Spoon or brush thickened sauce onto salmon as a final glaze.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped green onions. Serve and enjoy!
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