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.

Cajun Salmon - On a Gray Platter with Tomato

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.

Cajun Salmon Recipe - Plated on a Gray and White Dish with Fork and Spoon

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:

Chopped tomato, garlic, bay leaf, salt, spices, 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:

Tomato Cajun Seasoning Ghee in Skillet

Everything should smell really fragrant!

Spoon the Sauce Over the Salmon:

Straight hot from the skillet, pour over the tomato cajun oil:

Pouring the Tomato Spicy Mixture on a 2 lb salmon fillet

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.

Atlantic Salmon Fillet with Spiced Tomato Garlic Ghee On Top

Bake!

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.

Baked Cajun Salmon on Foil

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:

Cajun Seasoning for Salmon with Tomato and Thyme on White and Gray Platter

It’s incredibly flavorful and the best part of the dish!

Salmon en Papillote and crispy Pan Seared Salmon are a few more of my favorite ways to prepare salmon. Enjoy!

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. 
Cajun Salmon on a White and Gray Platter and Thyme Leaves

Cajun Salmon

This Cajun Salmon has tons of bold flavor, with a spiced tomato garlic topping.
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Ingredients

  • 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
  • salt
  • 2 lb Atlantic salmon fillet **
  • fresh thyme leaves for garnish, optional

Instructions 

  • 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!

Notes

Note on calories: this assumes you lick up every last drop of oil, which I find I usually have some leftover after I've finished eating. As always, take calories as an estimate.
*To deseed the tomato, slice it in half through the middle (not through the stem, but through the widest part of the tomato), then use your finger to poke out all the seeds and juices by pressing into the crevices.
**If you're using wild salmon, you may need to reduce cooking time because it's leaner and usually thinner. I prefer to use a good quality Atlantic farmed salmon, but if you're going to use wild, I recommend something like a King salmon over sockeye.

Nutrition

Calories: 537kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 46g, Fat: 38g, Saturated Fat: 17g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 186mg, Sodium: 305mg, Potassium: 1249mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1673IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 41mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.