Poached Salmon

This poached salmon recipe is one of the first recipes my father taught me a few years ago. It’s his favorite way to prepare salmon because not only can it be prepared in 10 minutes or less, but it doesn’t stink up the house the way broiling or frying salmon can, and it tastes simply delicious.

Poached Salmon Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2 to 4 or more, depending on the size of the fillet.

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1½ pounds salmon fillets, pin bones removed
  • Salt
  • ½ cup dry white wine (a good Sauvignon Blanc)
  • ½ cup water
  • A few thin slices of yellow onion and/or 1 shallot, peeled and sliced thin
  • Several sprigs of fresh dill or sprinkle of dried dill
  • A sprig of fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method

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1 Sprinkle the salmon fillets with a little salt. Put the wine, water, dill, parsley and onions in a sauté pan, and bring to a simmer on medium heat.

2 Place salmon fillets, skin-side down on the pan. Cover. Cook 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet, or to desired done-ness. Do not overcook. Serve sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper.

Poached Salmon on Simply Recipes

Feed a crowd with a large fillet poached in a fish poacher or a pan wide enough to hold the whole fillet. Add enough white wine and water to cover the bottom of the pan by at least 1/4 of an inch.

37 Comments

  1. Ily

    I tried the poached salmon last night. It was fantastic! The recipe was simple. I was able to make it with things I had on hand, minus the salmon fillets, and it didn’t smell up the house! My boyfriend had been nixing the idea of salmon because of the smell!

    This was my first recipe from your site… it will be the first of many!

  2. Ash

    This recipe is great, I made it as a treat for my fiancee on valentines and she loved it. We are both watching our weight so we can get into our outfits, her dress is going to be amazing and my suit will make me look good.

    This recipe was tasy, fulfilling and great. We had it with mange tout and new potatoes with a nice white wine.

    Thank you soo much

  3. Chris Hayes

    I came home with a piece of salmon not knowing how I was going to cook it. This recipe was so quick and easy and so delicious. I am very surprised that I have been missing things like this for so long. Thank you.

  4. Carolyn Kennard

    This is a fantastic way to poach salmon, so simple, I have made it at least a dozen times and will not try it any other way. I normally serve butternut squash and spinach/strawberry salad with it. GREAT

  5. John

    Yum. I used this recipe tonight and it turned out perfectly. The salmon was buttery, and the dill and wine made the perfect broth. This will definitely be integrated into my regular rotation.

  6. Preeta

    Elise: this does have salt and pepper in it, right? Sorry, I know it’s a stupid question, particularly coming from someone who cooks a lot, but I was wondering if the dill and wine made *such* a flavourful broth that it needed no salt.

    Hi Preeta, add salt if you want, we don’t. ~Elise

  7. Deborah

    I poach my salmon also and have my way of doing it (nearly the same as your way) on my blog along with pictures. Your pictures are much more vibrant than mine…beautiful! I love poached salmon and it’s so easy!

  8. Elayne

    I have been using a method similar to this for all kinds of fish for many years and it works every time. The difference is that I saute the onions, maybe some colored peppers, and or some veggies and just add some white wine or stock to that and then lay the filets on top (with or without skin ) cover for three to seven min. depends on the thickness of the fillet. A one pan quick meal after a long day at work. Love it.

  9. The Cooking Ninja

    I’m going to try out the recipe. Usually we just pan fry the salmon and the whole house smells so fishy and so hard to get rid of the smell.

  10. Amanda Lane

    Salmon is one of the super foods. Great for your health — high in Omega 3′s, which we don’t usually get in our everyday foods. It’s always a pleasure to come across simple, easy to make, delicious recipes like this one. Thanks so much for this Salmon recipe – it’s a classic!

  11. Travis

    Best salmon recipe I’ve ever prepared! Truly simple but so flavorful. I combined a mix of rice vinegar and red winegar as a substitute for dry white wine. Along with the other herbs in the recipe, I had fresh basil on hand and added a couple of leaves of fresh mint. After poaching I fattened it up a bit by spreading a mixture of hot pepper relish and mayonaise and broiling it for a few minutes with oven cracked. After 3 years of marriage and 5 years of dating my wife claimed it was the best dish I’ve ever made. I served it with broccolini and poured the bouillion and onions over it. Thanks

  12. Julie

    This recipe looked delicious! I had something similar last week at a banquet and wanted to try cooking it myself. It was my first try with salmon, and I was disappointed — the salmon turned out tasting very “fishy.” My other, non-recipe-related problem came when I opened the package and the scales were still on. Is that normal?? So I trimmed those off clumsily and ended up wasting some meat. Anyway, any ideas on why the salmon would taste too fishy, even though I followed the recipe without modifications? (The asparagus recipe from this site was excellent though :-)

    A hint as to the problem is in the word “package”. First, any fish you buy should always have the scales removed before it is given to you. Second, fish is best eaten when it is really fresh, which means that you should be buying it from a fishmonger at a store that sells fresh fish. The fishmonger should be able to tell you when that particular fish arrived in the store. If it came it that morning, good. If it came in yesterday, don’t even bother with it. If the fish smells “fishy” it’s because it’s too old. ~Elise

  13. Kristin

    Elise–We tried this salmon for dinner tonight, and we were all blown away by how good it was, and the house didn’t smell like fish, just like you promised! Thanks for your great recipe ideas. This is the second night in a row we’ve fixed something from your site–last night was the amazing Chicken Peanut Curry–Yum Yum and thanks again!

  14. Nigel

    Elise, Thanks – you were the first hit from Google with the simple question “poaching salmon”. I got some sea trout this morning not quite knowing how I would do it other than in a non-smelly way. I have poached white fish previously using milk but it did not seem right for this flesh. Your recipe felt right and although I am still awaiting my wifes return I am sure it will be superb. There is no dill but I put in the chopped stalks of the watercress which will provide the presentation bed for the flaked poached fish. On toast and surrounded by baby tomatoes. Roll on the summer when we can make as much smell as we like on the barbeque :-)

  15. fall_fav

    I’ve never cooked fish before in my life. This recipe was amazing. People loved it. Thank you!

  16. misty

    I’ll try the recipe tonight. Given that I am severely allergic to black pepper. I will replace black pepper with salt, which is not mentioned anywhere in the recipe. thx.

  17. Melissa

    This recipe is great, I made it yesterday for myself and tonight for my parents and brother. I did add some extra salt and that made it Perfect! I was wondering if anyone had any variations on this recipe?

  18. Levy Cordero Jr

    I saw Kitchen Nightmare the other night poaching perch -why not salmon. So I searched and found your recipe. It was sooo good I almost did not leave any for my wife. First time cooking salmon and I did not know what side dish to pair it with, any suggestion?

    Coleslaw is always a good choice with fish. Spinach works well with salmon too. ~Elise

  19. Debbie

    OMG…this is soooo easy. I just took my salmon filets out of my freezer, soaked them in cold water for 20 minutes or so and dinner was done 5 minutes later! I will never prepare salmon any other way now. (And so little mess & odor!)

    PS. I did add some sea salt for a bit more flavor…

  20. vito

    I was so bored of broiled salmon all the time and poaching was in the back of my mind. I went online and this was the 1st recipe that came up. I loved it.The combination of wine (I used Chardonnay) and the onion was so aromatic and wonderful. I added a couple of thin slices of lemon on the top afer I added pepper to the salmon. Excellent recipe and YES it does not stink up the house!

  21. Heidi

    Easy, quick, and stink free. I’ll give ya that! But, so far, no salmon recipe has convinced me to eat salmon any other way than raw with a little shoyu.

  22. claire

    Loved the dish!! I don’t care for Salmon, so I made it for my kids and husband, they ate every bite. I served it with an Onion, Dill, and Horseradish cream sauce.

    ** If you don’t like the smell from other fish dishes, try boiling a pot of water with a cut up lemon and some cinnamon in it. It will make your house smell amazing!! Also good to do if you are trying to sell the house, just before showing. ;)

  23. caddy

    Love this recipe but had to poach for twice the time suggested. Here’s a great way to use the poaching liquid afterwards:

    Seafood Chowder
    2 c poaching liquid
    Seafood to taste (shrimp, canned or fresh fish)
    3 med potatoes, peeled sliced thin
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 T butter
    1 1/2 onions, chopped fine
    1 stalk celery, chopped fine
    3 T flour
    3 C milk
    1/8 tsp pepper
    fresh dill and paprika to taste (opt.)

    Boil liquid and add salt. Add potatoes and cook til almost done. Melt butter, add onions and cook til transparent. Stir in flour, pepper, add potatoes w liquid. Simmer 15 minutes low heat. Add seafood. Stir in milk and spices and heat just to boiling.

  24. RTG

    I planned to serve the fish cold and wanted it done through, so I poached it for 15 minutes. It was super served with remoulade made with homemade mayonnaise. Will make the clam chowder with the poaching liquid tomorrow.

  25. Nelly

    I second the note about doubling the cooking time. I like my salmon not overdone (but also not red through most of the flesh – unless I’m eating sashimi, of course!). I’ve made this recipe twice now – once with king and once with sockeye, and it was delicious both times. Both times, though, there was no way that 5 minutes was going to get a nice thick fillet anywhere near to done. Perhaps I need to up the amount of poaching liquid for the size pan I’m using? (Perhaps it’s too large for the amount of fish I’m cooking, so there’s not enough surface area coverage.) Or, of course, use a smaller pan.

    At any rate, thank you for a delicious and simple recipe that really lets the flavor of good fresh fish shine through!

    The cooking time depends on how thick and big the piece of salmon is that you are cooking. Thicker the piece, longer the time. ~Elise

  26. Anthony

    Great. Simple as advertised and tasted perfect.

  27. jessica

    Made it tonight…. complete hit!! I’m a college student and I made it for my parents tonight and they were blown away. Simple and amazing. Thank you :) adding it to my favorites

  28. Priya

    One of the BEST salmon recipes I’ve ever tried. The first time I followed the recipe to a T – and it was delicious.
    The second time though, I didn’t have any dry white wine, so I replaced it with what I had on hand (a sweet muscat). The broth turned out to be much milder with a hint of sweetness. I personally liked it better than the first time. I also made a roux and used the broth to make a sauce. Turned out lovely. Wasting that broth is like throwing away gold. :-)

    Thanks Elise. Simple, non-smelly and delicious as advertised.

    Priya.
    p.s. I’ve browsed the site often, but this recipe was so good I had to leave a comment !

  29. Clive

    Wow, I have to say thank you so much. I was recently diagnosed with heart disease and making some serious dietary changes. That recipe was a total delight. I added coriander also (I live in Asia) and it created a stunning piquancy in the flavour and the scent was wonderful. Thank you!

  30. Thea

    What a fantastic recipe! We absolutely loved it! I followed the recipe step for step, but added 2 shallots and 1 red pepper (they are in season)! After poaching my salmon for 5 minutes, I removed the fillets (placed them in parchment paper) and cooked down the liquid, for about 5 minutes, into the most incredible sauce! Which we poured over the salmon…it was to die for! Thank you for making me into a chef for the evening!

  31. elizabeth

    Can you serve this cold?

    Great question. I think poached salmon is often served cold, as part of a salad plate. ~Elise

  32. elizabeth

    I made this recipe and really liked it.It was so easy. I might try several readers’ suggestions about adding red pepper, salt and slices of lemon. I did squeeze lemon on the salmon before poaching. In the picture, it looked like you sauted the shallots first? It also looked like in the picture you put pepper before poaching…

  33. gilbert

    This was amazingly good.

    I cooked the whole filet (3.5 lbs) for about 12 minutes and then let the fish rest covered until I was ready to eat it.

    The salmon came out so moist and flaky, not at all dry like I usually end up cooking it. the flavor is spot on (I added a couple of pinches of salt) and reminded me of the best brunch buffets where I’ve ever eaten this dish.

    Serve it with 2 sauces on the side, a ranch-lemon juice-fresh dill sauce and a nice garlic aioli (with yummy expensive golden olive oil).

    I will cook this at my next brunch for sure… with champagne of course.

    TRY IT !!! YOU WON’T REGRET IT !!!!

  34. Mimi Wan

    I have a love and hate relationship with salmon. Love it because it is so good for you but hate it because it is difficult to prepare it so that it will taste good. This recipe solves all my problems! So easy and delicious. I was able to get home late, prep and have this ready for dinner in no time. Thank you!

  35. Justin deTray

    Great recipe. Made it for my daughter tonight, who loves fish, and was really happy. Then made it for my wife and I for dinner. Drizzled some good balsamic vinegar on top instead of s/p and it was delicious. First time on your blog, thanks!

  36. Trina

    What a delightful dish! May I ask…(still learning how to cook at 44…can you believe it!)…anyway, when placing the salmon filet(s) on the top of the onion, dill, etc, and only cooking for 5 minutes (of course, as not to overcook the salmon), how does the broth affect the salmon? Especially since the salmon is not in the broth, but rather on the top. Is that simply to cover up the smell of the salmon? Or, does the broth flavor the salmon in any way?

    By the way, I love your recipes!

    Hello Trina, thank you. The flavor from the steam from the poaching liquid does penetrate the salmon a bit. Cooking it covered this way does keep the salmon from smelling up the kitchen, which can happen when you fry salmon. ~Elise

  37. elston

    Can’t wait to try this! We have our house on the market…..so really don’t want the house to smell like fish! We love salmon and before putting the house on the market tried to have it at least once a week. I pan grilled a fillet last week and worried about the smell…. so I will definately try this one. Thanks.

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