Pesto Crusted Salmon is seasoned and topped with a mayo-pesto spread and parmesan panko bread crumbs. This mouth watering main dish is cooked in under 30 minutes, including prep time!
If you're looking for an easy and healthy dinner, then this is the recipe for you! I always make salmon on my "lazy dinner" nights. These are the nights that I don't feel like cooking, but I still want a nutritious and delicious dinner.
To make Pesto Crusted Salmon, all you need is a small sheet pan and 5 main ingredients. After only 10 minutes of prep time, the salmon goes into the oven and is finished roasting in about 20 minutes!
This is seriously the easiest recipe that anyone can make, even on their busiest nights! I've been making this recipe for years and it's never once failed me.
Salmon filets: Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, otherwise known as the "good fats" that should make their way into our diet on a weekly basis. I prefer to purchase fresh Atlantic Salmon filets but you could also use King salmon (also known as Chinook).
Pesto spread: You can use homemade or store-bought basil pesto spread. If you're purchasing your basil pesto, then I recommend buying DeLallo Basil Pesto Spread. It's shelf stable so it will keep in your pantry for months and the flavor is unbelievable!
Panko bread crumbs: Panko bread crumbs are a Japanese style bread crumb. You can find them in just about any grocery store though! They're larger, flakier and crunchier than a traditional style bread crumb.
Additional ingredients: Fresh grated parmesan cheese, mayonnaise (I prefer low-fat mayo), kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Kosher salt is not the same as table salt. Kosher salt is made from large, course salt granules. If you're substituting in table salt for kosher salt, then you'll need to use half the amount of salt that the recipe calls for.
*See recipe card below for detailed instructions.
- 3 mixing bowls
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
🔪How to make Pesto Crusted Salmon
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the fresh salmon filets onto the baking sheet skin side down, and pat dry with a paper towel.
Step 2: Mix the kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder in a small mixing bowl. Season the salmon with the seasoning blend.
Step 3: In another small mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise and the basil pesto spread. Top the fresh salmon filets with the mayo pesto spread.
Step 4: Mix together the panko bread crumbs and the grated parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the panko and cheese blend on top of the salmon.
Step 5: Place the salmon into the preheated oven. Bake for about 20 minutes. When finished, you'll want the thickest part of your salmon filets to be light pink and flaky when cut into. Remove from the oven, serve immediately and enjoy!
Pro tip: Turn this sheet pan salmon into a sheet pan dinner! Start with a large, full-size sheet pan. Chop your vegetables (potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, onions etc...) into bite-sized pieces, season and drizzle with olive oil. Spread them out onto your sheet pan and pop them into the oven first to get them cooking. After they've roasted for a bit, add the salmon to the sheet pan to cook for the last 20 minutes alongside your vegetables and potatoes.
📋Substitutions and variations
Pesto: Fresh basil pesto, either store-bought or homemade will work for this recipe! If you've got some homemade frozen pesto in your freezer, then just take it out to thaw an hour or so before you plan on cooking dinner!
Seasonings: I think seasoning the salmon fish filets with salt, pepper and garlic powder is delicious. You could also add in some dried basil and crushed red pepper flakes (if you like the heat).
- You should definitely line your sheet pan when baking salmon. If you don't have parchment paper then aluminum foil will also work. Salmon skin has a tendency to stick to the sheet pan and can be difficult to scrape off. Lining your baking sheet will make cleanup a breeze!
- Always place salmon skin side down when you're baking it in the oven.
- Salmon can be a little tricky to figure out when it's done. I often start by gently pressing the thickest part of the salmon with my fingers to test for firmness. If it's firm then I'll use a digital meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. According to the FDA, salmon is done when the internal temperature reaches 145°F. I find that 145°F results in a very dry and overdone salmon. Personally, I like to cook my salmon to 135°F and check to make sure the thickest part of the salmon is light pink and flakes apart easily with a fork. I found this article from Well Plated to be very helpful at determining the best internal temperature for fresh salmon!
- You do not need to rub your salmon filets with extra virgin olive oil for this Pesto Salmon recipe. The salmon is naturally oily and you also have oil in the mayo pesto spread. Extra oil is just too much! Trust me... I know this from experience!
🥘How to store and reheat
How to store: Store leftover Pesto Crusted Salmon in a glass, air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
How to reheat: Personally, I despise reheating fish in the microwave. My preference is to reheat on the stovetop in a small frying pan over low heat.
👩🏻🍳Fish recipes you'll also like
Fresh salmon is always delicious, but you should also have a good frozen salmon recipe in your back pocket! I recommend making my Air Fryer Frozen Salmon. You'll need a basket style air fryer. I love my 6 Quart Ultrean Air Fryer!Print
- 2 pounds fresh salmon filets
- 3 tablespoons basil pesto spread
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Place your fresh salmon filets onto the parchment lined baking sheet, skin side down, and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Combine the kosher salt, pepper and garlic powder in a small bowl. Season the salmon filets with the seasoning mixture.
- Combine the basil pesto spread and the mayonnaise in a small bowl. Spread the pesto mayo onto the salmon filets.
- Combine the panko bread crumbs and the grated parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Top the salmon with the parmesan and panko combination.
- Transfer the Pesto Crusted Salmon to your preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes, until the salmon is light pink in the center and flakes apart easily with a fork. If the thickest part of the salmon is not cooked through after 20 minutes, continue cooking until done.
- Serve and enjoy!
- This recipe calls for Kosher salt. Kosher salt is not the same as table salt. Kosher salt is made from large, course salt granules. If you're substituting in table salt for kosher salt, then you'll need to use half the amount of salt that the recipe calls for.
- See "Expert Tips" section of the recipe post for guidance on how to check for doneness with cooked salmon.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: dinner
- Method: roasting
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: pesto crusted salmon, pesto salmon
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