Grilled Salmon with Lemon Garlic Butter

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You’ll want to stop everything and make this delicious, nutritious Grilled Salmon with Lemon Garlic Butter. It takes less than 30 minutes to make and is packed with lemony, garlicky, herby flavor. 

grilled lemon butter salmon with fork and orzo on scalloped plate

Summer is here! Finally! (Okay, not officially, but close enough.) When the temperature warms up, I tend to crave lighter, healthier meals that are quick to cook. We have a jam-packed summer, after all. This grilled salmon recipe checks all those boxes — healthy, easy, tasty, and quick to make. Plus, everyone in my family loves salmon in any way, shape, or form — that’s a win all around! 

Here’s How You Make It 

Ingredients

ingredients for grilled salmon
  • Salmon filets Use fresh or frozen, thawed salmon filets. Or buy a whole slab of salmon and slice into filets yourself. I like mine to be about 2-3 inches across. 
  • Olive oil — I use extra virgin olive oil but you can use whatever olive oil you prefer. 
  • Salt and pepper — Fine salt and freshly cracked pepper are my go-tos, but you can also use a ground pepper spice. 
  • Butter — I usually go to unsalted butter but you could use either butter here. 
  • Herbs — Any mixture of herbs is great, I finely chop dill, basil, parsley and thyme, but you can use whatever you have on hand. Fresh works best. 
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • Lemon zest — Freshly zest a lemon to get the lemoniest, zestiest flavor in this salmon recipe. 

Step by Step Instructions

four steps of preparing grilled salmon with herb butter
  1. First, make the garlic butter by combining the softened butter, herbs, garlic, lemon zest, and salt. Mash all of these ingredients with a fork until they are combined.
  2. Next, pat the salmon dry with a paper towel, then drizzle with olive oil (rub the olive oil all over this healthy salmon with your fingertips) and then season the fish generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Now, take the salmon to the grill and cook it over medium heat for about 8 minutes, then flip the salmon and grill it about 4-6 minutes longer.
  4. Finally, take the salmon off the grill and top with a scoop of the lemon garlic butter right away. Serve this grilled salmon just as the butter melts. Enjoy!

Why This Recipe Works

Grilled salmon — Salmon is so good in just about all the ways but grilled is hands-down my favorite way to eat it. It gets a little of that smoky flavor into it as it grills and cooks up quickly, and perfectly, every time. 

Easy — It doesn’t get much easier than this grilled salmon with lemon recipe. Prep, cook, and on your plate in less than 30 minutes? So easy! 

All the herbs — Don’t worry too much if you don’t have the “right” herbs. Any combo of 3-4 herbs (or even 1-2 if that’s all you have) is great. Trust me on this, you can combine herbs in all sorts of groups and it will taste delish on this salmon with garlic. 

Lemon — Lemon and salmon go together like salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, salt and chocolate…well, you get my gist. I cannot have salmon without at least a little squeeze of lemon at the end. It makes the flavors so bright and a tad citrusy and that’s just what you want in a grilled salmon in the summer (or any time of year, really!).

salmon fillets with butter and lemon slices on a grill pan

Is Salmon Good for Health? 

Salmon is one of the healthiest sources of protein around. It’s very healthy for you. That’s due to the Omega-3 fatty acids it contains. It’s very low in calories and saturated fat as well. Salmon also contains B12, potassium, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, folic acid. iron, and vitamin D. 

B12 is known for keeping blood and nerves healthy and to help your cells make DNA. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that your body needs that can help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, Alzeheimer’s, and certain types of cancer. 

The protein in salmon is important for helping you to heal, maintaining muscle mass, and ensuring good bone health. Potassium helps regulate your blood pressure and can decrease your risk for stroke.  

For all these reasons and more, you should be eating more salmon — and this garlic salmon is a great way to get started!

Can You Eat Salmon Raw?

The short answer is, yes you can eat salmon raw, but I would only do that at a fine Japanese or sushi restaurant where they get sushi-grade fish and can ensure the safety of the raw fish you’re eating. 

If you’re purchasing salmon from your meat counter or buying it frozen and thawing, it’s not a great idea to eat that salmon raw as you can’t be sure it wasn’t thawed and re-frozen before or if it wasn’t sitting at the ideal temperature, etc. 

salmon with lemons and orzo on two plates

Sides to Eat with Grilled Salmon 

Looking to make this salmon dish a full-fledged meal? I can help with that. My favorite sides to serve with this salmon with garlic include: 

  • Orzo (recipe below, in the Expert Tips section). 
  • A lovely, easy, green side salad. 
  • Or, you could just put that healthy salmon right on top of the green salad and make it a full meal. 
  • On that note, other salads like corn or pasta salads go great with this salmon too. 
  • Add some yummy, comforting carbs on the side like mashed potatoes or mac n cheese. 

How to Thaw Salmon?

I almost always thaw salmon in the fridge, which takes about 24 hours. If you don’t have that kind of time, you can also thaw salmon in cold water. Not hot water! That will start to cook the salmon. Cold water will thaw the salmon just fine in a couple hours. Change the water if you feel it necessary. 

A final last option is to defrost it in the microwave. Do this on the appropriate defrost setting and check to see if it’s thawed all the way through often. Defrosting in the microwave can be iffy as it has a tendency to cook some of the salmon (or whatever it is you’re defrosting) and can make it a little chewy tasting. 

Expert Tips

  • Not sure what herbs to use?  I just simply use what I have on hand! I love any combination of dill, parsley, basil, or thyme. 
  • Looking for that orzo recipe? It’s easy — all you need to do is cook orzo according to package instructions. Toss with a little olive oil, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, some shaved or grated parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. 
  • This grilled salmon recipe will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container. You can freeze this cooked salmon with lemon in an airtight container for up to 5 months. 
  • You should always thaw salmon from frozen in the fridge. 
grilled salmon with lemon butter sauce and orzo on plate with fork

More Recipes Like This

For more amazing salmon recipes, check out my popular posts for Baked Honey Lemon Garlic Salmon in Foil, Best, Easy, Healthy Baked Salmon, and Thai Salmon Tacos. 

If you make this grilled salmon, please come back and let me know what you think by leaving a comment and rating the recipe! And be sure to snap a photo and email it or tag me on social media, I love connecting with you and seeing your CDLC creations!

grilled lemon butter salmon with fork and orzo on scalloped plate

Grilled Salmon with Lemon Garlic Butter

You’ll want to stop everything and make this delicious, nutritious Grilled Salmon with Lemon Garlic Butter. It takes less than 30 minutes to make and is packed with lemony, garlicky, herby flavor. 

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Instructions

  • Combine softened butter, herbs, garlic, lemon zest, and salt. Mash with a fork til combined.

  • Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel, then drizzle with olive oil (rub all over with your fingertips) and season generously with salt and pepper.

  • Grill salmon over medium heat for about 8 minutes, flip and grill 4-6 minutes longer.

  • Remove salmon from heat and immediately top with a scoop of lemon garlic butter and serve as the butter melts. Enjoy!

Notes

Herbs: use what you have on hand! I love any combination of dill, parsley, basil, or thyme. 
Orzo Recipe: Cook orzo according to package instructions. Toss with a little olive oil, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, some shaved or grated parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. 

Nutrition

Calories: 293 kcal, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Protein: 35 g, Fat: 15 g, Saturated Fat: 3 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6 g, Cholesterol: 97 mg, Sodium: 252 mg, Potassium: 880 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Vitamin A: 118 IU, Vitamin C: 1 mg, Calcium: 58 mg, Iron: 1 mg

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