Herbs and Spices That Are Good for Seasoning Salmon

With its robust flavor and rich, buttery, yet firm texture, salmon can be cooked in almost any way you want. In fact, when it comes to cooking, salmon is no different from any other large finfish. It’s the herbs and spices you add to season it that make all the difference. And the spices that go best with salmon are probably already in your pantry.

Herbs and Spices for Salmon Seasoning

Best Herbs and Spices to Put on Salmon to Season it

If you are looking for something other than the old salt-and-pepper combination, try blending different spices together according to your taste and adding the mix to your salmon. Whatever spices you choose to mix, make sure you have at least one tablespoon of spice blend per half pound of salmon so the fillet is nicely coated on both sides.

NameFlavor ProfileUsed For
PaprikaEarthy, Smoky, Mildly SweetGrilling, Baking
ThymeEarthy, Lemony, MintyBaking, Roasting, Grilling
AllspiceWarm, Sweet, SpicyBaking, Roasting
Garlic PowderPungent, SavoryGrilling, Roasting, Baking, Pan-frying
Onion PowderSweet, Mild OnionRoasting, Baking, Pan-frying
DillFresh, Anise, CitrusyGrilling, Baking
Mustard PowderSharp, Tangy, PungentGrilling, Baking, Pan-frying
Ground GingerWarm, Spicy, CitrusyGrilling, Baking
Chili PowderSpicy, Smoky, EarthyGrilling, Roasting, Baking
RosemaryPiney, Minty, WoodyGrilling, Roasting
ParsleyFresh, HerbaceousGrilling, Baking
BasilSweet, Peppery, Anise-likeGrilling, Baking
Brown SugarSweet, CaramelGrilling, Baking
Note: While the term 'seasoning' might bring to mind only table spices, in today's culinary world, it encompasses all the spices and condiments that enhance your food — whether added before, during, or after cooking.

Regardless of the spices you are using, squeezing some fresh lemon juice on the fillet right before cooking or before serving helps bring out the flavors even more.

Using Ready-made Seasonings

If you don’t want to go into the trouble of looking up individual herbs and spices to mix them yourself, here are some pre-made salmon seasonings available at the market:

Spice NameBasic Ingredients*Flavor Profile
Magic Salmon SeasoningSugar, salt, onion, garlic, mustard, and paprikaRobust and savory with a hint of herbs
Italian SeasoningOregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, and marjoramMediterranean blend, aromatic and herby
Blackened SeasoningVarious chili and pepper powders, herbs, spices with onion, garlic, and saltBold and smoky with a touch of heat
Cajun SeasoningVarious peppers, with cloves and a combination of herbs, onion, and garlicSpicy, flavorful, and slightly earthy
* May vary from one brand to another.

Since many store-bought seasonings already contain salt, be mindful when adding any extra.

Seasoning and Getting the Salmon Ready to Cook

Pat dry the fillet with a paper towel, brush it with a little oil, and sprinkle the spice mix to coat it on both sides. Like in any other fish or meat, the oil brush helps the spices stick to the salmon during cooking. Sprinkle the salt separately rather than adding it to the seasoning blend. This allows you the freedom to adjust the quantities of both salt and seasoning as per your taste.

Be sure to cook the salmon within 30 minutes of seasoning it, especially if your seasoning blend contains salt (as with ready-made blends). Otherwise, it will start to break down the meat and draw out moisture. To prevent this, some chefs recommend adding the salt right before cooking.

Though not the same as seasoning, marinating can be another way to add herbs and spice to salmon. You can use the same spices, add them to wet ingredients like olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and honey, and marinate for 30 minutes to 6 hours before cooking.