Delicious sweet and savory Bourbon Glazed Salmon perfect for an easy weeknight dinner. This bourbon salmon recipe can be grilled, baked, or cooked in the air fryer for a nourishing meal everyone will love! Pair it with your favorite veggies, rice, quinoa, or even in tacos!
The Perfect Pairings
Have you ever tried pairing bourbon with your favorite recipes? If not, you definitely should! Seriously y’all, it’s a game-changer when it comes to enhancing the flavor of foods. Whether you’re making Bourbon Chocolate Pumpkin Pie, chili, sweet potatoes, and more, there’s not much you can’t combine with bourbon for an out-of-this-world flavor. So, I figured why not try it with salmon?
I didn’t just stop there, though! Oh no, I also added a hint of maple syrup, fresh juice, and roasted nuts for a slightly sweet warm flavor that reminds me of fall but is light enough to serve all year long. Let me introduce you to my new favorite recipe, maple bourbon-glazed salmon! Whether you’re feeding a crowd, cooking a romantic date night for two, or need something kid-friendly, this recipe has you covered!
The Best Type of Salmon to Use
Did you know that not all salmon is created equal? Of course, no matter what type you use, all salmon is an excellent source of protein and contains healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. However, depending on where it comes from, each type of salmon has a slightly different nutrient profile and flavor. Check out this post for more details.
However, for this maple bourbon salmon, I recommend sticking with a salmon-like Sockeye that has a slightly thinner (but sturdy) texture. It feels richer in flavor but is actually lighter in fat than Atlantic salmon. It’s also higher in omega 3 fatty acids. Unlike Atlantic salmon, Sockeye retains a flaky texture and shape while also providing a good source of healthy fats. Not to mention, it allows the notes of maple and bourbon to shine through.
Nutrition Tip: Sockeye salmon has 4.7 grams of fat and 18 grams of protein per serving along with a variety of vitamins and nutrients. In fact, one serving of Sockeye salmon contains 80% of the daily recommended intake for vitamin B12!
How to Make Bourbon Glazed Salmon
This recipe comes together in 2 parts by first preparing the glaze on the stovetop and then finishing up the salmon by broiling and baking!
For the Glaze
- Combine the sweet and savory flavors for the perfect glaze.
- Add the glaze ingredients except for the nuts in a saucepan on medium heat, and bring it to a boil.
- Let them simmer for 10-15 minutes to thicken.
- Add nuts, and simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Remove from heat, and let it thicken.
Note: Your glaze will reach a syrup-like consistency and will reduce in amount by about ¼ the original amount.
How to Broil Salmon
To start this bourbon salmon recipe, you’ll want to broil your fish! To do so, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and add a light brush of glaze on top before placing it on a prepared sheet pan in the oven.
Temperature: Preheat the broiler to 525 degrees Fahrenheit.
Baking Tip: Make sure not to use parchment paper when broiling at high temperatures! Use foil, or a greased baking pan instead.
Location and Duration: Unlike other broiled recipes, you’ll want to place the sheet pan on the bottom rack of the oven 4 inches from the heating unit in order to prevent the glaze from burning. Then, let the salmon broil for 4 minutes.
Finish by Baking
After 4 minutes in the broiler, remove the salmon from the oven, and follow the steps below to finish baking.
- Brush the filets with 2 tablespoons of glaze, and place them back in the oven at 400 degrees for 6 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, and top with the thickened maple bourbon glaze.
Is Bourbon Gluten Free?
The short answer is, yes. The long answer is, well, not always. Understandably, there is some confusion as to whether or not bourbon is gluten free. The truth is that pure distilled bourbon is gluten free. Yes, even if it is made with wheat, barley, or rye! The distillation process removes all gluten from the alcohol. However, the issue occurs with varieties that have hidden flavorings or additives included after the distillation process.
Glaze vs. Marinade: What’s the Difference?
Often confused, glazes and marinades are not the same things! Often used on protein sources such as fish or chicken, marinades are meant to soak into the meat to add flavor. As a result, marinades often contain an acidic element such as lemon juice or vinegar to penetrate the meat and are used to submerge the protein anywhere from 15 minutes to 24 hours.
Meanwhile, glazes are meant to be added on top of protein to help give them flavor without fully soaking through. Unlike marinade, glazes are most often fairly sweet and made with a syrup such as agave or maple.
Pro-Tip: Don’t marinate your fish overnight! Unlike other protein sources, the acid in your marinade will break down the flesh of the fish making it tough.
Furthermore, flaky fish should not be marinated as long as firm fish, because it will cook faster in the marinade. For the best results, marinade small fish pieces for no more than 15-30 minutes and thick cuts of fish for no longer than 1 hour.
How to Know when Salmon is Finished Cooking
No matter what kind of salmon is used or how you cook it, it will also have a few signs that indicate it is ready to be eaten and will be:
- Light pink or opaque in color
- Flaky to the touch
- 145 degrees Fahrenheit when measured with a meat thermometer
Storage Options for Maple Bourbon Salmon
Whether you have leftovers from dinner or want to make extra portions for the week, this bourbon salmon recipe can be kept in either the fridge or freezer for a convenient meal.
Fridge: Place the salmon in an airtight container, and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freezer: Store the salmon in a large freezer bag along with any additional glaze, press out as much air as possible, and keep the salmon in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to Serve this Bourbon Salmon Recipe
The best part about this salmon is how versatile it can be! Here are some of my favorite ways to serve it:
- In Pickled Baja Pineapple Fish Tacos
- With your favorite grain such as quinoa, rice, or on top of of Paleo Pineapple Fried Rice
- On a bed of greens, alongside your favorite veggies, or with a fun appetizer like Instant Pot Steamed Artichokes
I hope you love this bourbon salmon recipe as much as I do! If you make it, let me know in the comments below!