Sake Ginger Glazed Salmon

My sister Karen is in town, flush from completing a grueling, 500 mile bike ride from San Francisco to LA. Karen has always been a super athlete, and with her current passion for triathlons takes a lot of care about how she nourishes her body. This is one of her favorite recipes for salmon, one of the best sources of Omega 3.

This is a very simple, highly flavorful salmon dish, using a classic Japanese yakitori marinade with the addition of some finely grated fresh ginger. The dish benefits from sitting in the marinade for a long time, overnight is best, but at least 2 hours minimum. If you don’t like the look of the ginger, you can strain it out of the basting sauce, but you’ll miss out on the flavor.

Sake Ginger Glazed Salmon Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4.


  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce for gluten-free version)
  • 1/2 cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
  • 2 Tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • A dash of red chili pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds of salmon fillets
  • Olive oil


1 Mix the soy sauce, sake, mirin, ginger, garlic, chile flakes, and sugar in a medium bowl. Place the salmon fillets in a sturdy freezer bag. Pour the marinade into the freezer bag with the fish. Seal the freezer bag and place in a baking dish (so that if the bag leaks it doesn't get all over your fridge). Place in your refrigerator and chill at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

2 Remove the salmon fillets from the marinade. Place the marinade in a small saucepan and heat it until it simmers.  Simmer it for several minutes or until the sauce has reduced by half.

3a Grilling method
Brush the grill grates with olive oil; pre-heat your grill to medium heat. Remove salmon from bag, reserving the marinade. Place salmon either directly on the grill grate, or on a piece of aluminum foil (brushed with olive oil) over the grill grate, skin side down. Brush frequently with the marinade glaze, cook the salmon 10-20 minutes (depending on thickness of the fillets), until easily flaked with a fork.

3b Pan frying method
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain the salmon and reserve the marinade. Fry the salmon 4 to 5 minutes per side, basting frequently with the marinade. Serve once the salmon is cooked through and is easily flaked with a fork.

3c Baking method
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking dish with aluminum foil. Brush the top of the foil with olive oil. Drain the salmon and reserve the marinade. Place salmon on the foil, skin side down. Bake for 10-20 minutes depending on how thick the fillets are, basting frequently with the marinade, until the salmon is easily flaked with a fork.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on Simply Recipes. Thank you!

Grilled salmon with Asian dipping sauce from Kalyn's Kitchen
Grilled salmon teriyaki by English Patis
Grilled salmon with avocado and mango salsa from Helen and Beyond Salmon
How to grill fish by Helen Rennie

Sake Ginger Glazed Salmon on Simply Recipes

View Comments / Leave a Comment


  1. Mazz

    Yum, I like to make Yakitori the Japanese way, with chicken on skewers. Negima is best (alternate scallion slices and chicken pieces on the skewer).

  2. Rumi

    Hi! This is the first time I’ve left my comment here. I’m Japanese who live in Japan.
    Yakitori marinade with the addition of some finely grated fresh ginger is really useful sauce on Japanese dishes. We put it on pan fried pork, chicken, yellow tail, etc. Try them, if you like.

  3. Mike

    I made this, and while it was good (the sauce/marinade smelled great on the grill), I was concerned about the amount of soy sauce, but not knowing much about Asian-styled fish, I followed the recipe. The end result was overly salty for my taste. I would recommend less soy sauce.

  4. Robyn

    A tip for Mike: you might try using low-sodium soy sauce. That way you get the flavor without all the salt. This recipe sounds great, I’ll be trying it soon!

  5. Kirsten

    Delicious! I adore any sort of Asian glaze on fish – especially salmon, and this sounds wonderful.

    I will try it!

  6. nellcote

    This sounds wonderful, but I don’t know anything about sake. Is there a certain kind that works better than others in this dish? Suggestions please -

  7. Theresa

    I have an intolerance for processed sugar, will this still work without the sugar, or is there something else that can be used, maybe honey?

  8. Elise

    Hi Rumi – I used to live in Kyoto and loved the way fresh grated ginger was added to so many dishes. Yum!

    Hi Nellcote – I honestly don’t think there is a lot of choice in the Asian cooking section of most grocery stores in America when it comes to sake for cooking.

    Hi Theresa – Honey would probably work just fine, though I don’t know, haven’t tried it. You might try this glaze first with a bit of chicken and see how it works, rather than experiment with the somewhat pricier sockeye salmon shown here.

  9. Claudia

    This was wonderful made with low sodium soy sauce — my standard kind since I often find dishes too salty.

  10. Sammy

    I have now made this dish twice, and it is the best tasting salmon ever! Question: When cooking the salmon in a pan, which side do you cook first? I tried both ways and it seemed like the fish stayed together better when I cooked the skin side down first, but maybe that was a coincidence. Thank so much Elise!

    I don’t think it matters, but whatever works for you, go for it! ~Elise

  11. Helene

    This dish was a great hit at our dinner table last night. Our guests were trying to guess the ingredients of the marinade :) We served them with pan fried asparagus over a miso butter (butter + miso paste + a dash of sherry vinegar).
    Went home at lunch time to get the marinade started and it was definitely worth it.
    Will try to re-use the left over marinade with another fish or even chicken this week-end.
    A real keeper!

Post a comment

Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for waiting. First time commenting? Please review the Comment Policy.

Some HTML is OK. URLs are automatically converted to links. Line breaks are automatically converted to paragraphs. The following HTML tags are allowed: a, abbr, acronym, b, blockquote, cite, code, del, em, i, q, strike, strong