Honey Apple Cider Glazed Salmon

A lovely way to prepare salmon is with a simple glaze made with honey and apple cider. You might think that this combination would make the dish too sweet, but it just adds a delicious caramelized flavor to the fish.

First you make the glaze by boiling apple cider (or juice) and honey together until well reduced. Then you pour that glaze over the raw fillets and let them marinate in it for a bit. Then the fillets are cooked on the stovetop, while you baste with the glaze, until done. Serve them over a bed of wilted baby spinach.

We’ve changed the recipe quite a bit from when we first posted it years ago. The original recipe was from a story in the Boston Globe about a country house in Ireland. That recipe required finishing the fillets in the oven which isn’t at all necessary, especially for a home cook. No need to heat up the house with the oven when you can easily cook the whole dish on the stovetop!

Recipe updated, originally posted 2006.

Honey Apple Cider Glazed Salmon Recipe

  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

You can make this recipe with skin-on or skinless salmon. If it's skin-on, the skin will help hold the salmon fillets together when you turn them over in the pan. You can always easily remove the skin before serving, if you want. (We love the salmon skin, it's like salmon bacon!)

The salmon should just be barely cooked through, still a little translucent in the center, when you remove the pan from the heat. The fillets will continue to cook in their own heat for a minute or two. You can always return to the pan if the salmon is not quite cooked enough, but you can't go back if you've (sadly) overcooked the fish.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unfiltered apple juice or apple cider (not hard cider)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 8 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon slices for garnish

Method

boil honey and apple cider

1 Put the apple cider and honey in a small shallow pan on medium high heat. Let it come to a boil and boil it until the mixture reduces by about half, leaving you with a little more than 1/4 cup of glaze. Let cool for a minute.

honey-cider-glazed-salmon-2 honey-cider-glazed-salmon-3

2 Arrange the salmon fillets (skin-side down, if using skin-on salmon fillets) in a rimmed dish large enough to fit all of the fillets in a single layer. Pour the honey cider glaze over the salmon. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then turn the salmon pieces over and let sit for another 5 minutes in the glaze.

3 Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high. (It helps to use a relatively stick-free pan like hard anodized aluminum.) Sprinkle the flesh side of the salmon fillets with salt. Place the fillets flesh side down (skin-side up) in the hot pan. Cook for 2 minutes on medium high heat. As you cook the fish, brush the sides of the fillets with some of the glaze.

honey-cider-glazed-salmon-4 honey-cider-glazed-salmon-5

4 Turn the salmon fillets over (now skin-side down) and brush with the remaining honey cider glaze. Sprinkle salmon with lemon juice. Lower the heat to medium. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until the salmon is just barely cooked through. Remove the pan from heat. Some of the glaze should have caramelized in the pan. Use a pastry brush to brush any pan juices over the top of the fillets. Cover with foil to keep warm.

5 In a separate large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the baby spinach to the pan. Cook for a minute. When the spinach begins to wilt, use tongs to turn the leaves over in the pan to help coat the leaves with a little butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue to cook a minute or two more until the spinach is wilted.

6 To serve, divide the spinach among 4 plates. Arrange a piece of salmon to the side or on top and garnish with a slice of lemon.

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Inspired by a recipe in the Boston Globe on a story about Irish Chef Kevin Dundon, of Dunbrody Country House in County Wexford.

Links:

Sake Ginger Glazed Salmon

Hoisin Glazed Salmon

Miso Glazed Salmon

Honey Apple Cider Glazed Salmon

11 Comments

  1. joan

    I LOVED this recipe. Want to make for friends (and myself many times over). Here’s my question: To cut out the fish aroma from top of stove cooking step…do you think the “searing” step could be achieved on the grill and then transferred to the oven? This one’s definitely a keeper, Elise. P.S. I’m willing to brave the cold in the winter for this one. :) BTW – The carmelized lemon looked spectacular when serving. What a nice – professional – touch!

    I think the grill is a great idea. ~Elise

  2. Kim

    Intended to use this on Salmon but only had Shrimp on hand. My kids LOVED it! I will definitely use this recipe again. :)

  3. Natalie @ Paper & Birch

    oooh, i’m loving the sound of this Elise! I’m always looking for new ways to cook salmon and this sounds delicious! :)

  4. Sandy S

    Looking forward to trying this recipe! Might also find some other uses for the honey and apple cider glaze. Like on acorn squash or quinoa or for dipping sweet potato fries?

  5. Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today

    I like sweet additions to everything. And I like the salmon looks with this glaze.

  6. Renee

    We eat fish often now, and I am always happy to find this type of recipe. It sounds yummy! Spinach cooked in butter is good too! :)

  7. Candice

    This looks so delicious!! Would be a perfect meal for fall! Cant wait to try it.

  8. amy

    Excellent recipe that allowed us to eat within 15 minutes of getting started. I didn’t have any honey so used maple syrup which worked beautifully. The dish was equally gorgeous to look at and a delight to eat. Thank you!

  9. shawn

    Make it healthier – deglaze the pan that produced the salmon (use a little wine, lemon juice whatever) and then add the spinach and wilt. Butter makes it better – but is an unnecessary addition of fats.

  10. Sandy S

    This is an easy quick recipe! We had it earlier today with ribbons of rainbow chard and little wedges of zucchini in place of the spinach (for no other reason than that was what I had enough of on-hand). I let the glaze get too reduced but was able to add a little apple cider back in, to get the right consistency for pouring. I served it with soy sauce, season rice vinegar and lemon slices along with a variety of GF rice crackers available at the table and apple cider to drink. It is all gone, which I consider a sign of success! Will be great to have this recipe in mind for any piece of salmon that might be bland or less flavorful, for whatever reason. I am one of those people who general thinks salmon is best when the least is done to it, i.e. salt, pepper and perhaps a slice of onion and/or lemon. But, this recipe makes a very nice change-up and it will be done again!

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