This Cajun Salmon is my favorite ever salmon recipe, and one that I’ve made hundreds of times. It is incredibly flavorful, with Cajun spices, tomato, and garlic.
This dish is one of the regulars in our meal rotation.
It tastes amazing, it’s easy, and it’s quick. That winning trifecta easily earns any recipe a spot in my regular lineup.
The backbone of the flavor here is a couple teaspoons of Cajun Seasoning, which is one of my favorite spice blends, and one I always keep on hand.
Buy some from the store if you prefer, or take a few minutes to mix it up yourself. The spices are likely ones you already have in your spice cabinet.
While I have seen recipes where you simply shake some Cajun seasoning onto a salmon fillet, bake it, and call it Cajun salmon, we are going to take an extra 5 minutes to make it much better.
Here the salmon gets cooked with a simple Cajun sauce, where the spices are bloomed in butter or ghee, along with extra garlic, bay leaf, and a touch of fresh tomato that cooks down and melts into the sauce. The flavors become reminiscent of Jambalaya and are absolute heaven.
I cannot tell you how lusciously delicious the Cajun oil is. It’s so good!
How to Make Cajun Salmon:
As an overview, we will make a simple tomato cajun mixture in a skillet, then pour it over a salmon fillet and bake. It’s really easy.
Make the Sauce:
Combine chopped tomato, minced garlic, salt, a bay leaf, Cajun seasoning, and ghee in a skillet:
If you tolerate dairy, butter tastes better here because it’s got the milk solids, but ghee is a good option otherwise, and still excellent. I have tested olive oil and avocado oil and didn’t like them as much.
Cook the ingredients for 5-8 minutes, until the tomato cooks down:
Everything should smell really fragrant!
Spoon the Sauce Over the Salmon:
Straight hot from the skillet, pour over the tomato cajun oil:
You’ll notice that I have the salmon on a piece of foil. Lift the edges up slightly so the oil stays pooled up around the salmon.
Spread the tomato garlic mixture evenly over the top of the salmon.
Cook the salmon in the oven, just as I do in my Baked Salmon post. Typically for a 1″ thick piece of salmon weighing 2 lbs, 14-16 minutes is perfect in a 425F oven.
I always check using a thermometer (affiliate) and prefer a medium cook of 125F. Full doneness is 140F.
The spices may blacken slightly on the sides, but rest assured, I’ve never sensed any sort of burned flavor here upon serving.
Serve, and Don’t Leave the Flavorful Oil Behind
Use a basting brush to pick up some of the spiced oil on the sides and brush it back on top, and also serve the oil on the platter:
It’s incredibly flavorful and the best part of the dish!
Cajun Salmon FAQ and Tips:
- How to store leftovers: Leftovers keep great for this recipe. Place in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Can you freeze: Yes, this freezes pretty well. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
- Other oils: Butter and ghee taste best with the flavors here. I’ve also tried several types of olive oil and avocado oil, but the flavors do not go as well together.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter or ghee
- 1 large vine ripe tomato deseeded and chopped (equals 3/4 cup chopped)*
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp cajun seasoning
- 2 lb Atlantic salmon fillet **
- fresh thyme leaves for garnish, optional
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- In a small skillet or saucepan, combine the butter or ghee with the chopped tomato, minced garlic, bay leaf, cajun seasoning, and 1/2 tsp salt.
- Cook this mixture over medium high heat for 5-8 minutes, until the tomato has softened and the garlic and spices are fragrant.
- Place the salmon on a piece of aluminum foil on top of a rimmed half sheet pan, and crimp the edges of the foil up slightly.
- Spoon all of the tomato Cajun oil over the salmon, spreading it evenly over the top. If you are someone who likes your food well-seasoned, you may optionally sprinkle a touch more salt over the top of the salmon.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes, until the fish registers between 125-140F, depending on desired doneness. 125F is for medium and what I recommend, and 140F is for fully done salmon. This is assuming about a 1" thick piece of salmon. You may need less time if doing smaller or thinner pieces, and you may need more time if you have a thicker piece. Go by doneness using a thermometer.
- Serve the salmon by pouring the oil over the top. I like to use a basting brush to spread it evenly. If desired, sprinkle a few fresh thyme leaves on top for garnish. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.