This baked buffalo salmon is a delightfully flavorful and healthy protein that’s easy enough to make any night of the week! It’s marinated quickly in a simple make-at-home buffalo sauce and baked in the oven until perfectly cooked – flaky and moist! Paleo, Whole30, GF, keto friendly, low carb, and dairy free option.
The best baked buffalo salmon
Bold flavors, a little kick of spice, lots of healthy protein, and perfectly flaky salmon – what more could you ask for in an easy weeknight dinner!?
We are big fans of anything made with buffalo sauce at our house (case in point: buffalo chicken stuffed peppers, buffalo chicken pasta, crispy baked buffalo chicken wings, and buffalo roasted cauliflower), and while I’ve used it in a lot of recipes on NK I’ve never used it with salmon.
And oh-my-goodnessss it does not disappoint.
It’s a simple recipe that comes together in about 30 minutes, it’s totally packed with flavor, and pairs perfectly with a tasty side dish or two (or on top of your favorite salad)!
Did I mention it also happens to be Whole30 compatible, paleo, and low carb? Which means that these bold flavors are also perfect match for your healthy eating meal plan.
Serve it topped with some dairy free ranch dressing and a scatter of fresh herbs and it is *chefs kiss*.
Why you’ll love this salmon recipe
- Easy to make yet impressive (dinner party ready!)
- Super flavorful
- Made with good-for-you ingredients
- A little bit spicy
- Flaky and delicious
- Protein rich
- Whole30, paleo, keto, dairy free, and gluten free
- Totally scrumptious!
Ingredients and substitutions
All you need to make this recipe is salmon, a handful of pantry staples, and a homemade buffalo sauce (which is actually so simple to throw together!).
- Salmon fillets – Look for fresh, bright pink center cut salmon fillets at the fish counter. I typically make this recipe with skin on, individually portioned fillets, but you can also easily make it with a whole fillet with a slightly longer cooking time for an impressive presentation. Whichever you choose, I would highly recommend cooking the salmon with the skin on to keep it moist and juicy. Once cooked the salmon will easily slide away from the skin. Grab your salmon fresh from the seafood counter instead of a pre-packaged option for the freshest cut!
- Homemade buffalo sauce – Made with ghee or avocado oil, Franks Red Hot sauce, coconut aminos, garlic powder, and onion powder. That’s it! If you have a favorite store bought buffalo sauce that fits your diet you can totally use that instead to save even more time. We love this bottled buffalo sauce from The New Primal!
- Salt and pepper – To season the fish.
- Tasty extras – We love topping the salmon with some dairy free ranch dressing, a little extra hot sauce, whatever fresh herbs you have on hand, and some thinly sliced green onion. All those garnishes are optional but it really takes the dish to the next level!
Can you use store bought buffalo sauce?
We love this bottled buffalo sauce from The New Primal that is Whole30 compatible.
Shopping for salmon
The salmon you choose to cook is just as important as the method of cooking. But the different types of salmon available at the store can be overwhelming!
When I’m shopping for salmon I like to go to a store that I know has a high quality seafood counter with knowledgable fish mongers. They’re your best resource for picking out the best available option!
Fresh, wild salmon will always have the best texture, flavor, and nutrient profile, but isn’t available year round. Luckily, previously frozen salmon is generally available all the time. Just check to make sure the flesh has a vibrant color and appears to be firm and undamaged.
Farmed salmon is always an option, but it’s good to be careful about the farmed salmon you’re buying.
Stores like Whole Foods and many natural food stores have strict 3rd party verification processes with high standards for how the fish are raised, but other stores may not.
Should you bake salmon with the skin on or off?
I always recommend cooking salmon with the skin on. It helps keep the flesh moist and tender and prevents the fish from sticking to the pan.
Best part? Once fillets are cooked the skin will slide right off!
But if you prefer, you could also cook it without the skin.
You can also eat salmon skin from high quality salmon. Personally I love the little crispy salmon skin bits that are around the edge of the fillet (and it’s packed with extra nutrients).
How much salmon do you need per person
Generally speaking 5-6 ounces (or about 1/3 pound) is the perfect amount per person. You can adjust up or down slightly depending on what else you’re serving and if you think everyone will eat a full portion.
Is salmon healthy?
Baked salmon incredibly healthy! It’s packed with protein and rich in omega-3 fatty acids which have a ton of health benefits. It also contains essential minerals, B vitamins, and iron.
How to make buffalo baked salmon
This salmon recipe comes together in a little over 30 minutes. The salmon is marinated briefly to bolster the flavor, and then baked in the oven until done.
Here’s the step-by-step
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a 9×13 casserole dish or rimmed baking sheet.
- Prep Salmon and make buffalo sauce. Remove any bones from the salmon fillets, pat dry with a paper towel, and transfer to a large bowl or Tupperware. In a small bowl whisk together buffalo sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Briefly marinate salmon. Pour 2/3 of the sauce over the salmon fillets and turn to coat. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator flesh side down for 10-15 minutes.
- Bake salmon. Place salmon fillets in the greased baking dish skin side down evenly spaced apart, leaving the excess sauce behind. Sprinkle flesh with kosher salt and black pepper and baked in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Brush with some of the remaining sauce and broil for a minute or two until slightly crisp on top.
- Garnish and serve. Serve with a drizzle of dairy free ranch, extra Franks Red Hot, fresh herbs, and green onions if desired. Enjoy!
How to tell when salmon is done
How can you tell when your fish is perfectly cooked?
There’s a few different ways, but before we dive into that, you first have to decide how you like your salmon cooked. Cooking fish is similar to cooking a steak since it can be served anywhere from rare to well done.
If you’ve ordered salmon at a nice restaurant it was likely served medium.
Once you know the temperature you’d like your fish cooked to, here’s a few methods for making sure it’s done to your liking.
- Use an instant read thermometer. Using a thermometer is the most surefire way to check the internal temp of your fillet. For an accurate reading be sure to insert the thermometer in the thickest part of the flesh. The FDA says that salmon is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°, but this will result in very firm, even dry salmon. For medium salmon aim for 125°.
- Check for flakiness with a fork. Press the flesh with a fork to see if it gives and flakes along the white lines that run throughout the fillet. If it flakes easily and the center is opaque almost to the center it is done!
- Press the thickest part of the flesh with your finger. This is a method that you’ll only want to use after a bit of practice. But just as you can check a steak for doneness by pressing on the center with your finger, you can do the same for salmon. When done, it will feel fairly firm with only a slight amount of give. If it feels quite soft under the top of the flesh, cook it a little bit longer!
How long to bake
How long you bake your salmon will depend on the thickness and size of the fillets you’re cooking.
At 400 degrees Fahrenheit it should take somewhere between 12-15 minutes. If your salmon fillet is on the thinner side it could be done in 10-12 minutes. Check for doneness using the tips listed in the section above.
Top tips for perfectly cooked salmon
- Keep the skin on to help hold in moisture, keep the fish from sticking to the pan, and maintain structure of the fillets.
- Place the salmon flesh side up in the baking dish with a fair amount of space between each piece of fish so that it cooks evenly.
- Bake at 400° F – not so hot that it dries out but hot enough that it cooks quickly.
- Check for doneness using the tips listed in the section above.
This buffalo salmon is the perfect starting point for a healthy dinner!
And while the garnishes aren’t necessary, the dairy free ranch and fresh herbs really take it to the next level of delicious!
Parsley, chives, dill, cilantro, and green onions all add a delightful pop of freshness.
Storage and reheating
- Storage: This salmon will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
- Reheating: My favorite way to reheat salmon is in the oven on medium low heat – somewhere between 325° – 350°. At that temp it should be warmed through in about 6-8 minutes. A toaster oven will work in the same way. You can also reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until hot.
- Freezing: While technically you can freeze cooked salmon fillets, I’m not sure that you should. The texture will be compromised and it will likely be dry once reheated. If you are set on giving it a try read through this article for some good tips.
Did you love this recipe? Try these other easy salmon recipes!
- Dairy Free Blackened Salmon
- Maple Pecan Baked Salmon
- Whole30 Salmon Cakes
- Easy Baked Salmon
- Blackened Salmon Tacos
- Salmon Poke Bowls
If you enjoyed this recipe we’d love it if you would take 5 seconds to rate and review the recipe below. It’s also super helpful for other readers if you share any changes you made! Thank you for sharing your kitchen with NK! We’re so grateful you’re here.Print
This baked buffalo salmon is a delightfully flavorful and healthy protein that’s easy enough to make any night of the week! It’s marinated quickly in a simple make-at-home buffalo sauce and baked in the oven until perfectly cooked – flaky and moist! Paleo, Whole30, GF, keto friendly, low carb, and dairy free.
- 4 6-ounce salmon fillets
- 1/4 cup melted ghee or avocado oil
- 1/4 cup Franks Red Hot sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut aminos (optional – adds a touch of sweetness)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Dairy free ranch dressing
- Fresh herbs like parsley, dill, and chives
- Green onions
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a large casserole dish or rimmed baking sheet. You can also line your baking dish with parchment paper for even easier clean up.
- Prep Salmon. Remove any bones from the salmon fillets and pat dry with a paper towel. Transfer to a large bowl or Tupperware.
- Make buffalo sauce. In a small bowl whisk together melted ghee, Frank’s Red Hot sauce, coconut aminos if using, garlic powder, and onion powder to combine. Reserve about 1/3 of the sauce.
- Briefly marinate salmon. Pour remaining 2/3 of the sauce over the salmon and turn to coat. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator flesh side down for 10 minutes.
- Bake salmon. Place salmon fillets in the greased baking dish flesh side up and evenly spaced apart, leaving the excess sauce behind. Sprinkle flesh with kosher salt and black pepper. Transfer to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. The amount of time in the oven will depend on how thick your salmon is and how you’d like it cooked. If your salmon fillet is on the thinner side it could be done in 10-12 minutes. See the section in the blog post above titled “How to tell when your salmon is done” for tips. About 2-3 minutes before salmon is done cooking remove from the oven and increase heat to broil. Brush with some of the remaining sauce (it will have thickened slightly at room temperature but should still be spreadable). Cook for another couple of minutes until slightly crisp on top.
- Garnish and serve. Serve with a drizzle of dairy free ranch, extra Franks Red Hot sauce, fresh herbs, and green onions if desired. Enjoy!
Keep the skin on to help hold in moisture, keep the fish from sticking to the pan, and maintain structure of the fillets.
Place the salmon flesh side up in the baking dish with a fair amount of space between each piece of fish so that it cooks evenly.
Check for doneness using the tips listed in the blog post above.
Storage: This salmon will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
Reheating: My favorite way to reheat salmon is in the oven on medium low heat – somewhere between 325° – 350°. At that temp it should be warmed through in about 6-8 minutes. A toaster oven will work in the same way. You can also reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until hot.
Freezing: While technically you can freeze cooked salmon fillets, I’m not sure that you should. The texture will be compromised and it will likely be dry once reheated. If you are set on giving it a try read through this article for some good tips.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Healthy
Keywords: salmon, buffalo, spicy, oven, baked, dinner, seafood, healthy, whole30, paleo, gluten free, dairy free, low carb, keto