How to Cook a Whole Salmon in the Oven

Cook a whole salmon in the oven for an impressive and delicious main course. Whole, baked salmon is easy to prepare, yet festive enough for a holiday feast. Remove the head before cooking for squeamish eaters or leave the head in place and enjoy the prized cheek meat. Fresh salmon needs only lemon, olive oil and herbs to bring out the flavor without masking it. Salmon is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acid.

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash the salmon under cold, running water. Pat dry with paper towels.


Step 2

Combine the butter, garlic, dill, parsley, rosemary, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Mix together to combine the ingredients.

Step 3

Rub the butter mixture all over the inside cavity and outside of the salmon until it is thoroughly coated. Place the fish in a baking dish.


Step 4

Arrange the lemon pieces around the salmon. Cover the baking dish loosely with aluminum foil and place in the oven on the center rack.

Step 5

Bake the salmon for around 35 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit is reached and the fish flakes easily with a fork. Let the fish rest at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Things You'll Need

  • Whole salmon (5 to 8 lbs.), scaled and gutted

  • Paper towels

  • 6 tbsp. softened butter

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp. dried dill

  • 1 tsp. dried parsley

  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper

  • Small bowl

  • Large baking dish

  • 2 lemons, quartered

  • Aluminum foil


Serve with rice pilaf and sauteed spinach for a complete meal.