Salt & Sugar Crusted Lemon Baked Salmon


One thing I can always be certain of is that a nice piece of salmon will always get the job done. Salmon is such a versatile fish that I use it in my cooking almost on a weekly basis. I have been known to pan-fry it, deep fry it, bake, broil, grill, stuff and even make salmon cakes out of leftover salmon. The simplest way and my personal favorite is to load it down spices and fresh lemon and let it just bake in that beauty. Some say just salt with salmon does the trick for a nice coating but I say salt and sugar is the key. Yes of course I am southern and we like to put salt and sugar together in just about anything we can get our hands on but honestly it is the perfect combination to bring out the best in the salmon. The salt and sugar crust during baking acts like a clay oven, keeping the fish succulent and leaving you with that nice sweet and salty flavor we all adore so much. We do adore it Right? 🙂


I had not intended on sharing this recipe. I mean I had intentions on one day sharing but not this particular day because I wasn’t pleased with the way the pictures turned out. However, after a discussion with a complete stranger last week over why she never cooks fish for her family I thought I needed to bring in the big guns and give you my go-to, never fail, salmon recipe.


This is easy and something you can easily prepare early in the morning so it is ready to pop in the oven at dinner time. Don’t let the thought of that fishy smell push you away. The woman I noted having spoken to last week about fish explained to me that she doesn’t like that fishy smell when cooking fish, which is why she doesn’t cook fish. NOTE: Your piece of salmon should never smell too fishy but a little” seafood smell is completely normal. If you need to soak this bad boy in a little milk  before seasoning it then by all means do it . The milk will help remove some of that fishy smell and get you on your way to a succulent dinner. However, again, note that any fish you pick up from the market should never have a strong odor to it. If it does then it might not be good:(


I have the most exciting news that I am beyond blessed and humbled to tell my readers about. I have mentioned before on my site that my mom, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, is a writer and successful author of 2 books published by PenguinSuck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On and Sue Ellen’s Girl Ain’t Fat She Just Weighs Heavy. Now I am happy to announce she is officially in the the CBA, Christian Retail Book Market, with her first book Heart Wide Open released today by Random House/WaterBrook Press. Heart Wide Open is a book you will not be able to put down! If you believe in God but don’t know him, really know him as your Savior, best friend, confidant, Father and Provider then I beckon you to grab this book! This book will Ignite your Passion for The Lord and or Reignite It. My mom talks with complete honesty in a way that brings me to tears because, well, I promise you it’s real! She writes as if she is sitting right there with you sipping on sweet tea and indulging her most intimate thoughts on her relationship with Christ. Even though I have had many conversations with my mom over the years about Jesus, I still found myself amazed at her words, inspired, convicted and with a pen in my hand ready to tear open my heart and leave it WIDE OPEN for HIM!

I do have some other fun news to go along with this! I am happy to say that each reader who leaves a COMMENT ON THIS FORM can be entered in a drawing to win this amazing Heart Wide Open Gift Basket. The basket includes:

A beautiful wallboard inscribed with these words from the Song of Solomon, “Come and awaken love and when I find him I won’t let him go.”
A beautiful coffee mug bearing this sentiment, “Heart you to the moon and back.”
A Bird of Paradise heart shaped candle
A Heart Shaped Keepsake Box
A Red and White Chevron Design Scarf
A Heart Wide Open T-Shirt (winner to designate size)
A $50 Amazon Gift Certificate
And, of course, a copy of Heart Wide Open
If you want a sneak peak into what the book is about you can view her book dvd trailer for it below! The book will be accompanied by a dvd series and study guide to help you put into practice what she talks about in the book! I love you Mom! This book has been a long time coming and I am So Proud of YOU!

Salt & Sugar Crusted Lemon Baked Salmon
  • 2 large salmon fillets with skin. or 4 small fillets- recipe is for a total of approx 2 lbs of salmon
  • 2 large lemons, sliced
  • half bunch of green onions, sliced in half vertically
  • 1½ TBSP fine sea salt
  • 4 TBSP sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons pure olive oil
  1. Stir together the sugar, salt, pepper, paprika and mustard. Pat the fillets with olive oil and then generously rub down the salmon fillets with the sugar and salt mixture.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450°. Place salmon in a large baking dish skin side down and arrange the lemon slices and green onions on the salmon and around it. Bake the salmon for 20 minutes or so depending on the size and thickness of the salmon you are using.Serve with a nice salad or roasted potatoes

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  1. Mandy - The Complete Book

    What an incredible mom you have Belle! She looks more like your sister than your mom. 🙂
    Your salmon looks and sounds magnificent too.
    Have a beautiful day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  2. yummychunklet

    A sugar and salt crust? Intriguing!

  3. Tricia @ Saving room for dessert

    I have so much to say about this post! Congratulations on your Mom’s wonderful accomplishment! I hope I win because I really want to read her book. I am sure it will be a blessing to everyone that has the pleasure. Wonderful news! And your photos are great – and truly understand about not blogging a recipe because I can’t seem to take a decent photo. Meat always gives me the most trouble. And this recipe is amazing! We adore salmon and I’ve never thought to use sugar but now I will. Must be why teriyaki sauce works so well on salmon. Have a lovely day and thanks!

  4. Geni

    This salmon looks fantastic Jessica. Oh my goodness what good genes you ladies have in your family. You are both so stunning. Her books sound wonderful and it’s really sweet that you two must have such a good relationship that you are just beaming with pride in this post.

  5. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic

    I love baked salmon but haven’t tried using sugar – yet! What a great recipe. Also, congratulations to your mom!

  6. Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen

    Congratulations to your Mom. Salmon is always welcome on our menu and this looks incredible with the pretty lemon.

  7. 2 Sisters Recipes

    First, congratulations on your mom’s success!! She sounds like an amazing woman and you are very blessed! And, we would be love to get a copy of her book!
    Second, we didn’t know you were a daughter of a famous author and writer, and girlfriend- we see where you get your talents from.
    And finally, we adore salmon and didn’t know that sugar and salt would work well together on fish and therefore, we are willing to try this recipe. Thanks for the tips! Have a great week! xxoo Anna and Liz

  8. Bonnie Hunter

    Ah, another salmon recipe for my collection! We love it and have it almost once a week. I hear you on the southern sweet and salty taste!!


  9. LaCuisineHelene

    Congratulations to your mom. And I love salmon and I am glad you decided to share the recipe. Thanks!

  10. Liz

    Congrats to your mom!!!! Very cool news.
    PS…I always go for the sweet/salty mix when I make salmon…using brown sugar/honey with soy/salt. Your version sounds amazing!

  11. Shea

    This salmon looks delicious, I love the mix of sweet and salty! I’m saving this for the next time salmon goes on sale (it’s kind of a splurge item for us). And congrats to your mom, that is awesome news!

  12. Joanne

    This really might just be the salmon recipe to end all salmon recipes!! Looks amazing! And congrats to your mom!!

  13. Eva Taylor

    What a lovely salmon recipe. I too put a little sugar into my southwestern rubs but I generally don’t use it on salmon, you’ve inspired me to give it a try.

  14. The Squishy Monster

    Your mama is gorgeous! Great genes, Jessica! This salmon is to die for and as a southern girl myself, I totally understand about the salt and sugar combo…need to try this soon!! =)

  15. Sylvie | Gourmande in the Kitchen

    A big congratulations to your mom on her latest book, she’s radiant!

  16. Velva

    Congratulations to your mom! What an exciting journey for her and you too.
    Your salmon rocks. I will admit that I have not made the leap to slamon but can totally appreciate it.

    Happy spring!


    1. Velva

      Ooops, I have a typo. Meant “salmon”

  17. Veronica's Kitchen

    My children love salmon and we have it weekly. Never thought of salt and sugar crust, am so exciting to try it next time! Congrats on your mother’s new book, wishing it a great success!

  18. Gintare @Gourmantine

    The salt and sugar crust sounds so intriguing, I’m just guessing how it would taste!

  19. Helene D'Souza

    I think so I am the biggest baked salmon fan in the world, especially now in India where salmon is a luxury and absolutely not common. Lovely recipe and thanks for sharing!

  20. nancy at good food matters

    fabulous salmon recipe—and even more fabulous mom. congratulations to you both, and all best wishes for a successful book launch.

  21. Asmita

    I am cooking a lot of fish and protein in general. This would be just perfect for dinner tonight!

  22. Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking

    Your mom seems like an amazing person and congratulations on her new book it sounds awesome!! I have just been reading about the wonderful grace and love our Father has for us. What an awesome God we serve!!
    I love Salmon and so does our daughter and we are getting my husband to like it also. I try to find new recipes that I think he would like and this one looks like it fits the bill! Looks really delicious.

  23. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    Congratulations to your mom! Wow, your mom is beautiful and inspiring, just like you, Jessica! I can see amazing talent runs in the family! Very beautiful salmon dish. I’ve never made salt or salt & sugar crusted salmon before but I’ve seen recipes here and there before. Your salmon looks beautiful – this is a gorgeous dish!

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