Salmon with Lemon Cream Sauce

We used skin-on salmon for this recipe, but you can use skinless fillets if you want. The skin tastes great when it is fried and crispy. When buying skin-on fish, make certain the fish has been scaled. Ask your fishmonger to do this at the store.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.


  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock (or fish stock or clam juice)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp canola or grape seed oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds skin-on salmon fillets
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parsley for garnish


1 Pour the lemon juice, broth and cream into a small pot and bring to a simmer. Immediately drop the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer very gently for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2 While the sauce is cooking, rinse the salmon in cold water and check for any stray scales (if skin-on). Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Add the canola oil to a sauté pan large enough to fit the fish in one layer. Set the heat to high and let the pan heat up for 90 seconds.


3 Lay the fish skin side down in the hot pan and turn the heat down to medium. Salt the exposed side of the fish. Let this sizzle away steadily for 3-5 minutes, depending on how thick the fish is. An inch-thick fillet will take about 5 minutes. With a metal spatula, turn the fish, making sure the skin remains attached to the salmon. Salt the skin side of the fish. Cook for another 1-5 minutes, depending on how well-done you like your fish. We like our salmon a little rare in the center, so we cook the second side of a 1-inch fillet about 3 minutes.

4 Set the salmon down on the plate skin side up, then pour some of the sauce over it. Garnish with the parsley and serve at once.

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  • Marsha @ The Harried Cook

    Simple and perfect! I love dishes like these… My kind of food! :)

  • Ben

    So easy and beautiful. And I bet it’s delicious too.

  • pat b

    I love that you seem to have such a lovely relationship with your dad. I got all misty thinking about you telling him to wrap up his lunch and come to share yours. Aren’t you both lucky.

    Love your stuff. Tons of recipes have become our family standards. I don’t think I’ve ever bothered to tell you before now. Thanks.

  • Jessica J

    I love salmon and this lemon-cream sauce sounds like the perfect complement to the fish! Yum!

  • Kalyn

    It sounds delicious, and I think lemon is the perfect flavor to to with the fish. Love the sound of this lemony sauce. Thanks for the mention of my Salmon and Asparagus with Lemon too; always appreciated.

  • Paul

    Sauciers from the past are spinning in thier graves. This looks quite good and while the sauce works, I believe it could be improved with a couple simple steps. Put the stock in the pan as you outline in your recipe, do not cover and reduce, while the salmon is cooking. Remove the salmon from the pan when done and dump any residual oil (at this point I would add some shallots and saute, a minute or two but that is optional). Pour lemon juice into pan, then the stock and heavy cream. Reduce until the desired consistance but not to the point that the cream starts to separate, and serve. If the cream separates a bit add just a tablespoon more cream and swirl and it will come back together.

  • Cary

    One of my absolute favorite restaurant meals and the only way I ever end up making salmon is an amped up version of this! Dust the salmon in flour seasoned with salt, pepper, and rubbed sage before cooking. Saute minced shallots to start the lemon cream sauce, deglaze wine, add lemon, stock and cream, reduce. Add capers, diced tomato and ulienne basil at the end before tpping the salmon. Absolutely perfect.
    Thanks for the reminder to buy some salmon soon!

  • Julia {The Roasted Root}

    Ohhh girl, I have never made salmon with a cream sauce and this sounds brilliant! I tend to make salmon the same way over and over again…I have been stuck in my salmon ways. I love fish, so it looks to me like it is time to experiment. Kudos to you for leaving this skin on – this is where most of the good fats are and I think a lot of people take that for granted. I share your sentiment regarding the hardship of finding good fish at the market, but yours looks like a nice fresh cut! Thanks for the great idea.

  • Shawn

    Wow, that sounds delicious! Thanks!

  • Dwayne

    My mouth is watering just by looking at it. I borrowed your recipe for home use. Thank you!

  • Tracy

    Salmon bacon – what a great way to describe it!

    I agree – crispy skin salmon is awesome. I often don’t even bother if the salmon is in good nick and the skin nice and crispy.

    If I do a sauce, I usually just make a kinda-sorta buerre blanc using the fish juices, wine and butter.

    One of the other ways I like it is to use Szechuan pepper and salt on the skin, and serve with white rice and bok choi (Maybe add a splash of light soy over the fish on serving)

  • Regina

    I love salmon, and this recipe sounds delicious!

  • Chicbaker123

    Fried salmon skin is the best! Last week, my parents deskinned a large portion of salmon and fried up the strips of skin. Eat them side by side! Dip both in some tartar sauce, serve with rice and greens, and it’s one of the best meals.

  • Mary Morris

    Oooh, the rich cream infused with the tartness of the lemon poured over a crispy skinned salmon fillet sounds heavenly, served with white rice and fresh, young sauteed asparagus in season..A quick and perfect meal complimented with a good glass of wine – Mary

  • Alicia

    Absolutely delicious and yet so simple. This will definitely be in my salmon rotation (when I am not making the panko crusted one!) Thanks for a great dinner!

  • Alicia

    I should have also added that my 20 month old gobbled this up! She was about to lick the cream off the plate!!

  • Horst D Heller

    In preparation of any fish, I always rinse the fish under cold running water first, soak it with plenty of lemon juice and let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes depending on what fish I am using. Than salt it lightly and cook immediately. (A hint – never let any fish soak to long in lemon juice or any other asset containing liquid, it’ll loose firmness on the outside.).) I would not push the subject with the burned skin too much, It’ll be a matter of personal taste.

  • Sleeping Mom

    Our family really enjoyed this recipe! I like the cream and lemon flavor over salmon. Thank you for sharing!

  • Jen

    Try adding a bit of dill to the sauce, it really adds more depth to an already delicious base.

  • Jamie cortiaus

    It curdled. Bummer.

  • Jamie Cortiaus

    My sauce curdle at first, but then I kept stirring and it came together. I was a little freaked out because I had 2 1/2 lbs of salmon cooked and had doubled this sauce recipe.
    EVERYONE love it.
    You always have such great recipes.

  • Ahsan

    I tried this today, it turned out great! As a new cook I struggle with cooking times – your instructions were SPOT ON!

    I am looking forward to trying more of your recipes now.

  • Nels Wight

    Salmon Chowder. Never had as good a fish chowder
    until I lived in Alaska, Better than any other fish!

  • Amy

    Bland. If I make it again, I’d say half as much cream, and 2x as much lemon and broth….and add salt.

  • Liz

    I made it the first time and thought was a little bland. Tonight cooked some shallots in olive oil first then added fresh sage, lemon zest and used clam juice instead of broth. Was delicious!

  • Ernie LePire

    I know this post is about aged, but wanted to pass along a method for lessening the smell when cooking fish in the house. Have a small pan of vinegar simmering on the back burner while cooking, leave it there until the pans are cleaned. It’s magic !

  • [email protected]

    What is Grape Seed Oil, only know Rape Seed Oil?

  • Dr. Banjo

    Ir curdled and was too thin. I stirred and stirred then added corn starch.