Easy Poached Salmon | Recipes | Cook For Your Life

Easy Poached Salmon

Rated 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 stars (based on 12 reviews)

Clock Icon for Prep Time 10 min prep
Clock Icon for Prep Time 30 min total
Person Icon for Serving Size 6 servings
Carrot Icon for Number of Ingredients Size 10 ingredients

This poached salmon is one of the easiest ways to cook an oily fish like salmon, especially if you want to eat something light during the holidays, or something cold during the heat of summer....


  • 1 small white or yellow onion, peeled and halved
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 inch slice of lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large carrot, thickly sliced
  • 1 stick celery or 2 fennel branches, stripped of their leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 4 to 6 cups water
  • 1 fillet of salmon (about 2½ pounds), skin on, bones removed, rinsed and patted dry (see Chef Tips)
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Nutrition Facts


150 cals


9 g

Saturated Fat

2 g

Polyunsaturated Fat

3 g

Monounsaturated Fat

3 g


3 g


1 g


1 g


14 g


375 mg


  1. Stick the onion halves with the cloves, 2 per half. In a wide sauté pan add the lemon peel, peppercorns, bay leaf, sea salt and all the vegetables, plus enough water to just cover it all. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, turn the heat down to low and simmer until the vegetables begin to soften, about 20 minutes.
  2. When the vegetables are cooked, bring the stock back to a gentle boil. Place the salmon skin-side down on top of the vegetables and cover the pan tightly with a lid or foil so that no steam can escape. Turn off the heat.
  3. Move the pan to the back of the stove and leave the salmon to steam for 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness, or until it has completely cooled. If you are poaching a whole fillet, check after 15 minutes. Don’t open the lid before then -- you will let out all the steam and stop the cooking.
  4. When the salmon is ready, gently lift it off the vegetables skin-side down with a plate or cutting board large enough to hold it in one piece. Take care not to break it. Cover with a second board or a plate big enough to cover it. Carefully flip it over (see Chef Tips). Remove the skin. Cover with the plate again. Carefully flip it back to right side up. Slide it onto a serving plate, trim, and serve.

Chef Tips

One portion of salmon is around 3-4 ounces (about the size of a pack of cards) so go for quality rather than quantity.

For flipping the salmon in step 4, especially if it’s a whole salmon fillet, we find it easiest to use a flexible, plastic cutting board.

Registered Dietitian Approved

Our recipes, articles, and videos are reviewed by our oncology-trained dietitians to ensure that each is backed with scientific evidence and follows the guidelines set by the Oncology Nutrition for Clinical Practice, 2nd Ed., published by the Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group, a professional interest group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Cancer Society