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Cedar Plank Salmon

A wonderfully flaky Cedar Plank Salmon with brown sugar and Dijon mustard glaze is sweet, woodsy and incredibly satisfying. It’s a quick, easy and healthy salmon recipe baked in the oven or grilled for a simple weeknight dinner ready in less than 25 minutes best served with any mix of sides.

glazed salmon fillets with lemon slices and fresh thyme on cedar plank

Why you’ll love cedar plank baked salmon

Clean, healthy protein! I have been on a salmon kick recently. I’m not sure if it’s the beautiful pink flesh or the fact that it’s a hearty protein that fills me up without weighing me down. But it’s one of those meals that makes you feel good about eating since salmon is packed with tons of healthy fats like omega-3s.

Just the other day, Jared and I came across prepped and ready cedar plank salmon at Whole Foods. This instantly sparked my curiosity to get in the kitchen and try out an oven-baked cedar plank salmon of my own.

Incredibly satisfying and so easy! The whole cedar plank process was completely new to me but so much easier than I thought. Plus, if you soak the planks ahead of time (hint: they can be stored in the freezer), this sweet and tangy salmon recipe can be ready in less than 25 minutes either baked in the oven or cooked on the grill. Suffice it to say, I will definitely be using the cedar plank cooking technique more often.

easy cedar planked salmon with lemon slices and fresh thyme

Ingredients for baked cedar plank salmon

The cedar planks and salmon are the main ingredients – the rest are probably already tucked inside your pantry. You will need:

  • cedar plank(s)
  • skin-on salmon filets, pin bones removed
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • brown sugar
  • Dijon mustard
  • bourbon, optional
  • garlic
  • lemon

lemon wedges, brown sugar, dijon mustard, garlic, bourbon, salmon fillets

Cedar Plank(s). I mention either singular or plural planks because it depends on the size. You can either purchase small cedar planks for each individual salmon fillets or a large cedar plank that will fit all four fillets. Look for the planks in the grill section of most grocery stores, kitchen supply stores or Amazon.

Salmon. My favorite is wild-caught Atlantic Salmon. For best results, purchase salmon with the skin-on and pin bones removed. When asking for the salmon at the fish counter, ask the fishmonger to cut the salmon into (roughly) 5-ounce portions, if not done already.

How to make cedar plank salmon – two ways!

Follow the same steps for soaking the planks and glazing the salmon, then choose to cook your salmon in the oven or on the grill. Both methods create flaky, tenderly satisfying salmon every time!

  1. Soak planks: Soak your cedar plank(s) for 1-2 hours submerged in water. 
  2. Preheat: The oven to 400 F (skip this step for grilling).
  3. Prep salmon: Blot salmon pieces dry and sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Shake cedar plank to remove excess water and arrange salmon pieces evenly on the plank.
  4. Make the glaze: In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, Dijon mustard, bourbon and garlic. Brush glaze evenly over salmon pieces. Top with a lemon slice.

soaking cedar wood planks, mixing brown sugar mustard glaze, salmon fillets on white plate, salmon on cedar plank

Oven

  • Place cedar plank with seasoned and glazed salmon onto a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon pieces. Salmon should flake off easily and reach a temperature of 145 degrees F.

Grill

  • Preheat the grill to medium, indirect heat. Place the planks with the seasoned and glazed salmon on the indirect heat of the grill (the half portion of the grill where the flames are not lit) in a single layer, leaving space between each. Cover and grill 12-15 minutes, or until the center easily flakes with a fork.

Serving Suggestions

This glazed salmon recipe is best served the moment it is made with any mix of sidesbacon Caesar pasta salad, mashed red potatoes, broccolini salad, orzo lemon salad, the list goes on. Whenever I make this for Jared and I, we always have extra to enjoy on top of salads or as meal-prepped protein. The salmon is best enjoyed within two days.

flaked salmon fillet topped with lemon slices and fresh thyme on cedar wood plank

Recipe tips:

  • Presoak the planks. To really get ahead, soak the cedar planks weeks in advance, seal tight in a plastic freezer storage bag and store in the freezer until ready to use.
  • Get creative with the soaking liquid. Water is wonderful and offers a clean flavor, but feel free to soak the planks in wine or cider, too!
  • Purchase skin-on salmon. The skin should stick to the board once cooked through. Simply use a spatula to separate the skin from the flesh, if desired.
  • Let it rest. Once the salmon comes out of the oven or grill, allow it to rest for a few minutes before enjoying.

Frequently asked questions

Why do you cook salmon on a cedar plank?

The cedar planks add a wonderful woodsy, earthy aroma to the salmon fillets. The special characteristic of plank cooking is fresh wood flavor (versus a smokey flavor from wood chips) which is achieved when the moisture in the soaked plank is heated and pulls out of the plank into the salmon. Plus, it makes clean-up a breeze!

Can you put a cedar plank in the oven?

Yes! That’s exactly what we are doing today. The cedar planks work best in an oven set to 400 – 425 degrees F, which is just hot enough to heat the moisture in the cedar plank while delicately cooking the salmon all the way through.

How long do you cook cedar plank salmon?

This really depends on the thickness of the salmon filet. The thicker the salmon, the longer the cooking time. My salmon filets were about 1 inch thick, which took 15 minutes in a 400 degree F oven. It’s ready when the salmon is uniformly pink in the center and easily flakes with a fork.

Can you reuse cedar planks?

Yes! Cedar planks can be reused up until they become too charred, cracked or no longer easy to clean. Simply scrub off the fish and clean with hot water (no soap), then allow to dry completely. Store in a clean kitchen cabinet until ready to re-soak and re-use.

Keep in mind the board will absorb the flavors of whatever was cooked on it. In other words, I only use my salmon cedar planks for salmon!

Looking for more salmon recipes? Check these out!

If you make this Cedar Plank Salmon recipe, be sure to tag me on Pinterest and Instagram!

I seriously love seeing what you guys are making and sharing your creations with the College Housewife community!

Originally published in July 2020, updated February 2022 with updated info and recipe card.

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glazed salmon fillets with lemon slices and fresh thyme on cedar plank

Cedar Plank Salmon

  • Author: Elizabeth Van Lierde
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

A wonderfully flaky Cedar Plank Salmon with brown sugar and Dijon mustard glaze is sweet, woodsy and incredibly satisfying. It’s a quick, easy and healthy salmon recipe baked in the oven or grilled for a simple weeknight dinner ready in less than 25 minutes best served with any mix of sides.


Ingredients

Scale

cedar planks

4 (5-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets, pin bones removed

kosher salt

cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon bourbon, optional

2 teaspoons minced garlic

4 lemon slices


Instructions

  1. Soak planks: Soak your cedar plank(s) for 1-2 hours submerged in water. 
  2. Preheat: The oven to 400 F.
  3. Prep salmon: Blot salmon pieces dry and sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Shake cedar plank to remove excess water and arrange salmon pieces evenly on the plank.
  4. Make the glaze: In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, dijon mustard, bourbon and garlic. Brush glaze evenly over salmon pieces. Top with a lemon slice.
  5. Bake: Place cedar plank onto a baking sheet and bake salmon for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon pieces. Salmon should flake off easily and reach a temperature of 145 F.

Notes

Grill: Preheat the grill to medium, indirect heat. Place the planks with the seasoned and glazed salmon on the indirect heat of the grill (the half portion of the grill where the flames are not lit) in a single layer, leaving space between each. Cover and grill 12-15 minutes, or until the center easily flakes with a fork.

Leftovers will keep best in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Keywords: cedar plank, fish, grill

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