Salmon with Crispy Crust

How to bake salmon topped with a super-easy crispy bread crumb crust that's light and fresh with lemon and parsley, the perfect topping for moist, flaky fish. It all makes for a quick, healthy dinner, something to really look forward to and make again and again.

Salmon with Crispy Crust, another Quick Supper ♥ Quick, Easy, Adaptable.

Real Food, Simple & Seasonal, Fast & Flexible. Another Quick Supper, a Kitchen Parade Specialty. Not just easy, Summer Easy. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Low Carb. Low Fat. High Protein. Very Weight Watchers Friendly.

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"Good Bones" in Houses and Recipes

Forgive me the comparison between house hunting and home cooking.

Even if it's a fixer-upper, a house is said to have "good bones" when it's built with quality materials; when the structural systems (plumbing, electric, structural) are in good order; when rooms are of the right size and flow well.

But certain recipes have "good bones" too. Just look how it applies to Salmon with Crispy Crust!

  • A strong basic premise: salmon fillets or steaks topped with a simple crust.
  • Easily adaptable: substitute another fish for salmon, swap out the crust ingredients.
  • Sheer simplicity: a weeknight-friendly supper.
Salmon with Crispy Crust, another Quick Supper ♥ Quick, Easy, Adaptable.

About This Recipe

  • So easy! Just brush salmon with mustard, then press on a quick seasoned bread crumb topping. Then bake in a hot oven!
  • The distinctive ingredients are the rich salmon, the spicy mustard and the lemon-parsley flavorings in the dried bread crumb topping.
  • Ingredient List for the Fish = fresh (or thawed) fish, either salmon or another fish + mustard + salt and pepper
  • Ingredient List for the Crust = panko (dried bread crumbs) + parsley + lemon zest + olive oil + salt & pepper
  • Start to finish, it takes about 35 minutes to prepare the crust and cook the fish.
  • This is a super-pretty dish on a plate, especially if you pay attention to the appearance of the crust before baking and watch the baking time to ensure the crust turns golden and crisp.
  • As written, the recipe makes four four-ounce servings although people with bigger appetites may want more than four ounces. It easily scales down for anyone cooking for one or two.

What's In Salmon with Crispy Crust? Pantry Ingredients!

In all my recipes and most well-written recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it helps to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

The Fish As written, the recipe calls for salmon filets about an inch thick, that's what's pictured here.

We nearly always have fish in the freezer, ready for a quick meal, that's thanks to Sitka Salmon Shares which ships wild, sustainably harvested fish (not just salmon, not even just fin fish) from Alaska. Their blast-frozen fish is excellent but we especially appreciate their responsible fishing practices by local fishermen.

Before Sitka, we ate fish a couple of times a year and even then, felt guilty about contributing to the decline of the world's fish population.

With Sitka, we enjoy good fish nearly every week, enjoying every bite, knowing we're not contributing to the decline of fish stocks.

IMPORANT NOTE: This is not a sponsored post, we pay for our Sitka subscription ourselves and are known to the company no more than any other customer. As always, I recommend only products and services which we enjoy and think you might as well. My Disclosure Promise

SALMON ALTERNATIVES But this recipe adapts to other fish as well, think halibut, cod, snapper, mahi mahi, tilapia, etc.

The recipe is written for fish filets (sliced longways along the side of the fish, no bones there, usually resulting in longer, thinner pieces of fish) but fish steaks (sliced cross-ways through the backbone, usually resulting in a thicker slice than a filet) would work too, though you may need less topping (since there's a smaller surface area) and would need to adjust the timing to accommodate the thicker steak.

The Upper Crust As written, the recipe starts off with "panko" – pronounced pan-ko (sounds like "pang" of regret, rhymes with "no") not pon-ko – seasoned with just a few fresh herbs, a little lemon zest plus salt and pepper and a little olive oil to promote browning.

WHAT IS PANKO? Panko is a bread product that originated in Japan. Look at panko and you'll see small chunks of dried bread crumbs, way smaller than croutons (though hey! yeah, you could definitely smash up some croutons for a substitute) and bigger and more crumbly than say, the fine-ground Italian bread crumbs you can buy. You'll find panko in good grocery stores along with other bread crumb products.

The extra-cool thing about panko is that it's shelf-stable, that means you can buy a box and keep it on hand cuz it'll stay fresh! Once you open the box, though, transfer it to another airtight container to keep it quite fresh, I use a glass canning jar or a re-purposed spaghetti sauce jar. Panko won't stay fresh forever, maybe a couple of months so give it a sniff before using.

Panko makes a great crispy topping for casseroles, fruit crumbles and more, you'll find a few ideas here, what is panko?.

PANKO ALTERNATIVES Wow, you can really go crazy here. I'm keen on the idea of dried bread crumbs made from cornbread, maybe Southern Corn Bread. But you could also use tortilla chips, leftover biscuits, potato chips, to say nothing of just leftover bread, dried and chopped into crumbs. Or how about crackers? Ritz crackers on the brain, thank you very much!

What is important is that the bread crumbs be dried out, not fresh and moist. If they're not, you can easily dry them by cutting into cubes or crumbles, then putting into the oven on a baking sheet while the oven heats up, watch carefully so they don't burn, the timing will depend on their size, moistness, etc.

But other toppings come to mind as well. What about using dried coconut flakes? Or finely chopped nuts, maybe almonds or pistachios? Or what about almond meal or almond flour as the base? Or cooked couscous or quinoa?

The Crust's Seasoning As written, the recipe leans toward a Mediterranean take for seasoning, just fresh parsley and lemon zest.

SEASONING ALTERNATIVES Just off the top of my head, I love the idea of adding grated Parmesan, maybe a little horseradish or wasabi.

The topping ingredients are definitely a guideline to play around with, building toward your own favorite flavors, using what you have on hand, adapting to the rest of the meal.

Do take care, though. If the fish itself is good, aim to enhance it vs cover it up flavor-wise.

Salmon with Crispy Crust, another Quick Supper ♥ Quick, Easy, Adaptable.

How to Make Salmon with Crispy Crust

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights in four easy steps. You can definitely do this!

  • Mix the crust ingredients.
  • Spread mustard across the fillets, skin-side down.
  • Spread the crust evenly across the filets.
  • Bake in the oven until the fish is done and the topping is crispy and golden.

You Might Wonder Be Wondering ...

Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

What About That Mustard? Don't Skip It! There's a kinda secret layer between the fish and the crust. In fact, it's easy to forget it and you don't want to do that!

So use a knife to spread a layer of Dijon mustard onto the fish filets – another good mustard will work well too, that means probably anything except ballpark yellow mustard and in a pinch, I'd use any mustard at all rather than go without.

The mustard serves at least three purposes. The first is that it flavors the fish, just a bit, a quick bite of acidity between the rich fish and the crispy crumbs. But it also helps keep the fish moist and gives the topping something to hang onto, so it doesn't slip off the filets.

For Best Results

For my weekly column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, I interviewed chefs and translated their restaurant recipes for home kitchens. The most illuminating question? "How can a home cook ensure the same results?" So now I ask that question of myself, too, for my own recipes. Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

Good Fish Our simplest recipes often rely on good ingredients and that definitely applies here. Of course, this starts with the fish.

Remove the Pin Bones! Before cooking, rub your fingers along the flesh, feeling for small pin bones. If you find any, you'll probably want to remove them. We have great luck with fish tweezers (affiliate link).

Lather On the Mustard We really like the mustard and recommend using more than you might think.

Compatible Bread Crumbs & Seasoning The panko-parsley-lemon combination is lovely but if you do stray from that (and I do encourage your creativity here!) be sure that the crumbs and the seasonings you choose go together. I find it important to actually taste a tiny bite of the crust topping before it goes on the fish.

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this easy, adaptable fish recipe hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Salmon with Crispy Crust, another Quick Supper ♥ Quick, Easy, Adaptable.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time-to-table: 35 minutes
Serves 4
  • 2/3 cup (50g) panko
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley (or another herb)
  • Zest of a lemon (don't skip)
  • Salt & lemon pepper (or regular pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon (20g) olive oil
  • 1 pound salmon, about an inch thick, skin on
  • Dijon mustard (be generous)
  • Salt & lemon pepper (be generous)
  • Crispy Crust

  • Lemon wedges, for serving (don't skip)

Heat oven to 425F/220C. Move an oven rack to the center position and place a large, heavy oven-safe skillet like well-seasoned cast iron or even oven-safe non-stick) on it to heat while the oven heats.

MIX THE CRISPY CRUST Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, really turning to fully combine. Take a look, does it look pretty? You might add a little more parsley. Take a taste, does it need additional salt or pepper? Go for it.

PREP THE FISH Arrange the fish << skin-side down >> on a clean work surface like a cutting board, a plate, etc. Feel along the top of the fish, checking for the points of pin bones. If you find any, pull the pin bones out with a pair of fish tweezers – or don't but do alert your tablemates to watch for these thin, soft bones.

For easier handling, cut the salmon into four pieces.

LATHER WITH MUSTARD & TOP WITH CRUST With the flat of a butter spreader or knife, generously cover the top of the salmon with mustard all the way to the edges. Sprinkle the mustard with salt and pepper. With your hands, arrange the combined Crispy Crust evenly across the top of the salmon, gently pressing into the mustard; some's gonna fall off, no worries.

ROAST IN THE OVEN Once the oven reaches temperature, carefully remove the hot skillet. Working carefully, lift the salmon pieces into the hot skillet, the fish skin should sizzle just a bit. Bake the salmon for 10-12 minutes until the crust turns crisp and golden and golden and the fish is fully cooked.

SERVE Remove from the oven and let rest for 2 - 3 minutes. Move the filets to plates and arrange lemon wedges on the side, for squeezing over the fish.

Serve hot and enjoy!

ALANNA's TIPS Does a single pound of salmon serve four people? Well, it depends on the people. Kitchen Parade recipes assume that a pound of any protein (beef, chicken, fish, etc.) is four servings. In our household of two, a four-ounce serving is plenty for me (even if more is tempting) and my husband usually (though not always) goes for twice that. The Crispy Crust makes the salmon a little top-heavy, that's why I suggest cutting a pound into four pieces. That said, if you prefer two eight-ounce filets, for example, just use two spatulas to move the salmon in/out of the skillet. This recipe easily scales down, extra-handy for anyone Cooking for One or Two. The recipe also scales up easily but you may need additional skillets. Salmon filets work here, so do other fish filets, so would steaks. If the filets or steaks are thicker than an inch, adjust the timing to cook slightly longer. The usual rule of "ten minutes per inch of thickness" for fish needs a bit more time because of the crust. The salmon skins can be a little sticky since heat, not oil, starts the cooking process. I don't find this a big deal but to avoid the stickiness during cleanup, before adding the salmon pieces with mustard and the crust ingredients, rub or brush the skin side of the pieces with a little oil. If you use a digital thermometer (affiliate link), make sure the thickest part of the filet reaches 130F/55C. That said, I have great luck cooking fish by timing plus watching the appearance of the fish.

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, cooking tips, side dish suggestions and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 258 Calories; 9g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 72mg Cholesterol; 261mg Sodium; 11g Carb; 1g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 27g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 6 & PointsPlus 6 & SmartPoints 6 & Freestyle 2 & myWW green 6 & blue 2 & purple 2 & & future WW points CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = 1/3 serving (10g protein).
Simplified and "Alanna-sized" with smaller portion sizes and less oil but definitely adapted from Ina Garten.

More Salmon Stars for Summer

~ salmon recipes ~
Salmon with Pesto Zucchini Noodles & Warm Tomatoes, another Quick Supper ♥ High Protein. Low Carb. Gluten Free. Paleo. WW Weight Watchers Friendly. Whole30 Friendly.

Smoked Salmon Salad ♥, a simple cold salad, smoked salmon with cucumbers and red peppers, takes just a few minutes to assemble.

Salmon Chowder ♥, fresh salmon in a creamy broth with carrot, potato, fennel.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ salmon recipes ~
~ what is panko? ~
~ lemon recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.