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Panko Crusted Salmon (baked)

Lemony panko crusted salmon is easy, light and fresh. The zesty breadcrumb topping adds delicious texture. Perfect for busy weeknights or company meal.

You might enjoy this salmon dish even if you’re not a fan of salmon. It has a surprisingly yummy fried texture despite the fact that it’s baked.

piece of salmon with panko crust on plate and lemon wedge

The topping of bread crumbs, lemon zest, parsley and a bit of olive oil (or butter) creates a wonderful crunchy texture. I add capers for extra zing.

Dijon mustard adds great flavor as well. If you’re cringing at the thought of mustard, a great substitute mayonnaise.

I adapted the recipe from an old Ina Garten Panko-crusted salmon recipe. First, I simplified it by eliminating the two step cooking process. Then I browned the panko bread crumbs for a nice golden finish.

Tailor To Your Taste

  • If you don’t have panko, use regular breadcrumbs, but the topping won’t be quite as crunchy as a panko topping.
  • Try honey mustard instead of Dijon or substitute the Dijon mustard with mayonnaise.
  • Serve with a sweet Thai chili sauce or a basil mayo.
  • Leave out the capers.

How to make this salmon panko recipe

raw salmon filets, lemon, panko, parsley, dijon
Simple ingredients: salmon filets, lemon, panko bread crumbs, parsley, Dijon mustard
panko crumb mixture in skillet
Pan fry panko blend on stove top until golden brown. Add lemon zest, parsley and capers if using
3 pieces of salmon with panko crust on pan before baking
Pat crumb mixture on top of mustard on fillets.
3 baked salmon fillets on pan
Bake salmon (see FAQ to how to know when it’s done).
piece of salmon with panko crust on plate 1
piece of salmon with panko crust on plate

Recipe FAQ and helpful tips

What is panko?

Panko is a light and crunchy Japanese-style bread crumb that doesn’t get soggy like regular bread crumbs can. It does have a bit more fat than bread crumbs, but no saturated fat. Panko is made from a certain type of crustless white bread.

How do I know which salmon to buy?

When choosing salmon fillets, make sure they are moist, not fishy smelling and have no dry spots. Try to get fillets that are the same thickness so they cook at the same rate. Wild Alaskan salmon is apparently the healthiest salmon available. Some prefer Atlantic salmon to Pacific salmon because it’s fattier (but the good kind) which makes it moister. It’s all a matter of taste and what’s available where you live. Frozen salmon is just as nutritious as fresh salmon.

How do you know when salmon is fully cooked?

The FDA recommends cooking salmon to 145F/62.8C, but in my opinion (and many others), that is way overcooked. The best internal temperature with an instant read thermometer is 130-135F (54.4-57.2C). The temperature will rise 5 degrees with a 5 minute rest. The rule of thumb for juicy salmon cook time is 10 minutes per inch (2.5cm) of thickness. When pierced with a knife it should separate easily and still be juicy and warm pink inside (not dry and flaky white). It’s ready when salmon flakes and is just turning opaque.

Is salmon healthy?

According to WebMD, a serving of salmon – 3 to 4 ounces – is about 200 calories. It’s very low in saturated fat and a good source of protein. It’s also a great source of vitamin B12, potassium and other nutrients like iron and vitamin D.

How to serve salmon

For a quick weeknight meal, I serve salmon fillets in individual portions. For company, I buy a whole side of filleted salmon for a lovely presentation. The recipe is the same (you will just have to double or triple the panko topping depending on the size of the salmon).

How much salmon do you need? A healthy portion is considered to be 3-4 ounces (85-113g), but most adults will eat 6-8 ounces (170-227g). So figure amounts based on your big and small eaters.

What to eat with salmon

Salmon makes a great weeknight, potluck or holiday buffet dish hot or at room temperature. Choosing a side dish is fairly easy as so many things go with salmon. Here are a few favorites:

Make Ahead

  • You can do the preparations ahead (make crunchy topping and prepare fillets), then bake the salmon in the oven when you’re ready.
  • Or make the recipe an hour ahead and serve it at room temperature.
  • Leftover salmon can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days. It’s best fresh (not reheated), but you can warm it in the microwave on medium for 1-2 minutes. Or eat it cold!
Lemon Panko Crusted Salmon
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Panko-Crusted Salmon Recipe

Lemony Panko-crusted salmon is easy, light and fresh. The zesty breadcrumb topping adds delicious texture. Perfect for a weeknight or company meal.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 3
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 18 ounces (510 grams) salmon fillets, Note 1 (about 3 fillets, total of 1.1 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (can substitute mayonnaise if preferred)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon wedges for garnish

Panko Crust

  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (from 1 small lemon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon each, salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon good olive oil (or melted butter)
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat over to 425F/218C.
  • PREPARE PANKO BREADCRUMB TOPPING: Put Panko bread crumbs in a small skillet and shake the skillet over medium-high heat about 3 minutes until lightly browned. Turn off heat. Add oil, parsley, lemon zest and capers if using. Stir to combine.
  • PREPARE THE SALMON: Place salmon on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil sprayed with oil or parchment paper (skin-side down). Spread Dijon over the top of the fillets. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Add Panko mixture on top of the mustard, gently pressing to help the crumbs adhere to the salmon.
  • ROAST AND SERVE: Roast salmon in preheated oven for 9-11 minutes until almost cooked (salmon should still be warm pink inside). Cooking time will depend on thickness of salmon. The rule of thumb is about 10 minutes for each inch/2.5 cm of thickness. An instant read thermometer will read 135F/57C. Remove from oven and let it rest for 5 minutes (internal temperature will rise). Serve hot or at room temperature with lemon wedges.

Notes

  1. How to choose the best salmon
    • Raw salmon fillets should look moist, not fishy smelling and have no dry spots. Try to get fillets that are the same thickness so they cook at the same rate. Wild Alaskan salmon is apparently the healthiest salmon available. Some prefer Atlantic salmon to Pacific salmon because it’s fattier (but the good kind) which makes it moister. Frozen salmon is just as nutritious as fresh salmon.
  2. Variations and Substitutes
    • If you don’t have panko, use regular breadcrumbs, but the topping won’t be quite as crunchy as a panko topping.
    • Try honey mustard instead of Dijon. 
    • Substitute the Dijon mustard with mayonnaise.
    • Serve with a sweet thai chili sauce or a basil mayo.
    • Leave out the capers.
  3. Make ahead
    • You can do the preparations ahead (make panko topping and prepare fillets), then bake the salmon in the oven when you’re ready.
    • Or make the recipe an hour ahead and serve it at room temperature.
    • Leftover salmon can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days. It’s best fresh (not reheated), but you can warm it in the microwave on medium for 1-2 minutes. Or eat it cold!
Nutrition values are estimates. 

Nutrition

Calories: 348kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 860mg | Potassium: 878mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 300IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!

Panko crusted salmon, originally published in 2016, has been updated with new information and edited pictures.

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