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Stuffed Salmon with Lemon Ricotta

Stuffed salmon with lemon ricotta is elegant comfort food with a kick. Delicious moist salmon with a creamy, lemony filling and a spicy sweet chili drizzle.

I love the contrasts in color and taste. And the simplicity of this recipe with only 6 ingredients. You can’t argue with dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.

glazed stuffed salmon with ricotta on plate with beans.

Cutting a pocket in the salmon fillets is not difficult. A sharp knife cuts through salmon like butter. Just be careful not to cut right through to the other side. Don’t worry if you do, though. It’s not the end of the world. A little filling might seep out – no big deal.

I like a lot of lemon flavor in the creamy ricotta filling, so I add zest and juice. You can leave out the lemon juice if you prefer. Taste the filling as you go and adjust the seasonings – onion, lemon, salt and pepper – to your preferences.  If I have a little zest left over, I sprinkle it over the top of the salmon before roasting.

Why make this recipe…

  • It’s a simple recipe that can be prepared in just 30 minutes. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.
  • It’s delicious! Tender and moist salmon fillets are stuffed with a warm cheesy and lemony filling.
  • Salmon makes a super healthy meal rich in omega-3 fatty acids. According to this article on Healthline about the health benefits of salmon “Salmon is a great source of protein, healthy fats, and various essential vitamins and minerals.”

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

salmon fillets, lemon, ricotta, green onions, oil, salt, pepper
Plus Thai sweet chili sauce for drizzling as a finish if you like.

Here are the ingredients as well as substitutes and variations you can try.

Salmon filets: Try to find center cut filets. Thick, center fillets cook evenly and also make creating an even slit for the pocket easier than the pieces near the tail.

Ricotta:

  • We use full fat ricotta, but you can use low fat if you prefer. Fat free is not recommended.
  • Play around with the amounts of lemon and green onion in the filling. Fresh dill or basil would be great additions too.
  • To amp up the nutrition, add some cooked chopped spinach to the ricotta, making sure to squeeze out the moisture and pat it dry before adding.
  • Make the filling sharper, add some grated parmesan cheese.

Lemon: Fresh lemon juice and lemon zest is used to really wake up the flavors in the filling. Adjust the amount you use to how strong you prefer the lemon flavor.

Thai sweet chili sauce: is used as a drizzle for heat, contrast and flavor. If you’re not a fan, try one of these substitutes:

  • drizzle the salmon with balsamic reduction
  • try a tomato salsa
  • drizzle with roasted red pepper sauce
  • sprinkle on fresh herbs or a few red pepper flakes, or
  • step it up with a delicious, rich Moroccan-style spicy cherry tomato sauce

Step by step instructions

two salmon fillets one showing a slit in the side for stuffing
Using a sharp paring knife, cut a pocket along the side in the center of each fillet (not all the way through).
ricotta lemon green onion mixture in bowl.
Combine, ricotta, lemon zest and juice, green onions, salt and black pepper in bowl with a fork.
one raw salmon fillet stuffed with ricotta filling
Stuff half the ricotta cheese mixture into pocket of each of the two salmon fillets.

Place fillets on pan. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and chopped green onions. Bake at 425F/218C for 12-15 minutes, depending on thickness of salmon.

glazed stuffed salmon with ricotta on plate with beans.
Tuck a spatula between skin and bottom of the salmon to easily lift filets off the skin. Drizzle with Thai sweet chili sauce if desired and serve.

Tips

There are only two tips to make this stuffed salmon recipe a success:

  1. Buy good fresh or frozen salmon filets: Fresh salmon should be moist, not shriveled. Here’s a good article on how to buy the best fresh salmon at the grocery store. And don’t be afraid to buy frozen salmon. It can be just as good or better than fresh depending on where you live. Check out what you need to know about buying frozen fish.
  2. Don’t overcook the salmon. It should be warm pink inside and easily pierced with a knife – not pale pinkish white flakes.

Recipe FAQs

What temperature should salmon be cooked to?

The FDA recommends cooking salmon to 145F/62.8C, but in my opinion (and many others), that is way overcooked. The best way to tell if salmon is cooked properly is to use an instant read thermometer. The internal temperature in the thickest part of the filet should reach 125-135F (51.7 – 57.2C) for medium-rare to medium doneness. The temperature will rise a bit with a 5 minute rest.

How can I tell when my salmon is fully cooked without a thermometer?

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 it is just turning opaque.

What to serve with stuffed salmon

This stuffed salmon is great just served with a slice of warm garlic bread and a simple citrus salad with greens.

Some of my other favorite side dishes with this recipe are chinese stir-fry green beans, green beans with panko crumbs, easy roasted bok choy and broccoli (this can be cooked along with the salmon) or this pesto and vegetable orzo.

Make Ahead

  • This salmon recipe is best when it’s served freshly baked, but there are a couple of things you can do ahead. See recipe notes.
  • You can also serve this stuffed salmon recipe cold.
  • Leftover salmon is good for up to two days in the fridge stored in an airtight container.
  • I don’t suggest freezing this salmon – the texture will be off.
glazed stuffed salmon with ricotta on plate with beans.

Other quick & easy fish recipes you might like

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟in the recipe card below. And if you REALLY like it, consider a review in the comments. Thanks!

glazed stuffed salmon with ricotta on plate with beans.
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4.95 from 20 votes

Stuffed Salmon With Lemon Ricotta

Stuffed salmon with lemon ricotta is elegant comfort food with a kick. Delicious moist salmon with a creamy, lemony filling and a spicy sweet chili drizzle in 30 minutes.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound salmon filets 2 fillets about 1 -1 1/2 inches/2.5-3.8 cm thick
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 chopped green onion

Ricotta Filling, Note 1

  • 1/2 cup (4.4 ounces) ricotta cheese (I like extra smooth)
  • 2 teaspoon lemon zest (1 lemon)
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 finely chopped green onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

Garnish

  • sweet chili sauce for drizzling, Note 2 optional

Instructions

  • PREHEAT OVEN or toaster oven to 425F/218C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil (sprayed with oil) for easy clean up.
  • MAKE RICOTTA FILLING: In a small bowl, mix ricotta, lemon zest and juice, green onion, salt and pepper. If you don't like it as lemony, skip the lemon juice. Set aside.
  • PREPARE AND STUFF SALMON: With a sharp knife, cut a pocket along the long side of salmon fillet leaving one inch on each end. Don't cut through the other side. Stuff 1/4 cup/62 grams ricotta mixture into pocket of each fillet. Set fillets on prepared baking sheet, skin side down. Press down gently to distribute filling in each pocket. Drizzle with olive oil. Generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle green onions on top. Roast for 12-15 minutes, depending on thickness of salmon, just until salmon is opaque and still a warm pink inside (not white and flaky).
  • FINISH AND SERVE: Remove from oven. To remove skin from bottom of fish, slip a spatula between skin and fish and slide it along the length of the salmon. Lift it to platter, leaving skin on foil. Drizzle on sweet chili sauce and serve. Garnish with additional sliced green onions or fresh parsley.
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Notes

  1. Ricotta variations:
    • We use full fat ricotta, but you can use low fat if you prefer. Fat free is not recommended.
    • Play around with the amounts of lemon and green onion in the filling. Fresh dill or basil would be great additions too.
    • To amp up the nutrition, add some cooked chopped spinach to the ricotta, making sure to squeeze out the moisture and pat it dry before adding.
    • Make the filling sharper by adding some grated parmesan cheese
  2. Thai sweet chili sauce alternatives: If you’re not a fan, try one of these substitutes:
    • drizzle the salmon with balsamic reduction
    • try a tomato salsa
    • drizzle with roasted red pepper sauce
    • sprinkle on fresh herbs or a few red pepper flakes, or
    • step it up with a delicious, rich Moroccan-style spicy cherry tomato sauce
  3. Make Ahead: 
    • This salmon recipe is best when it’s served freshly baked. Two things can be done ahead though: the ricotta filling and cutting the salmon pockets.
    • You can also serve this stuffed salmon recipe cold – lovely on a buffet table. Cook it, cool it completely, then refrigerate with 1-2 days until needed. Drizzle on sweet chili sauce if desired just before serving.
    • I don’t suggest freezing this salmon – the texture will be off.
    • Leftover salmon is good for up to two days in the fridge stored in an airtight container.
 
Nutrition values are estimates and do not include the optional sweet spicy chili sauce. 

Nutrition

Serving: 0g | Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 125mg | Sodium: 839mg | Potassium: 957mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 523IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 165mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!
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10 Comments

    1. Hi Pia. I think cream cheese could work as a substitute. It will be denser and richer than ricotta, but hey, why not? Id love to know know what you think if you try it.

  1. 5 stars
    In Scotland we always have steak pie for New Years Day, but going to do this instead, it looks too delicious. Thank you for recipe.

  2. How are there no comments on this?! This looks Dee-licious!! I plan on making this very soon and btw everything on this blog looks incredible!!