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Simple Poached Orange Salmon Recipe

We love salmon in my house. There are so many ways to enjoy it, and this orange salmon is one of our favorites.

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Spoon drizzling orange glaze on salmon with rice on a blue plate.

It’s incredibly easy to make, and it’s simple and fast enough to enjoy for a weeknight dinner. This orange glazed salmon has just five ingredients – and that’s if I count salt and pepper as ingredients.

While we eat even more fish during Lent, we enjoy salmon and other fish year round.

Looking for more salmon recipes? I’ve got you covered – you can find all my favorite salmon recipes here.

This honey orange salmon uses fresh orange, while lets you amp up the orange flavor with orange zest. It really makes a difference in the flavor, so don’t skip it.

What is orange zest?

Orange zest is not the same thing as orange peel. Zest is just the very outside of the peel before you get to the white.

The white pith of the orange is very bitter, and you do not want to include that. Just use the flaky orange zest that scrapes off.

Zesting an orange into a bowl.

Each orange will give you at least two tablespoons of orange zest, and I love using about three tablespoons for this recipe.

To remove the zest, you generally need a microplane zester, which lets you pull off the orange zest without getting that bitter pith. No matter what, do not simply use the whole peel of your orange.

I love this zester, and I use it from everything from grating parmesan cheese for a variety of pasta dishes to grating nutmeg when I bake and so much more.

What can I substitute for orange zest?

If you do not have fresh orange for the orange zest, you do have a couple alternatives. Obviously, this recipe already calls for orange juice, so while you might substitute that in other recipes, you really want the power of the zest here.

You can purchase dried orange zest. If you use dried orange zest, use one tablespoon instead of the three tablespoons of fresh zest.

Dried orange peel is another option and often easier to find, but because it includes the pith, it is more sour than the sweeter orange zest. It works in this recipe because we have the honey to balance it.

If you use dried orange peel, you also want to use one tablespoon in place of the three tablespoons of fresh orange zest.

Can I use another fish instead of salmon?

The good news is that you can substitute other fish in place of salmon in this orange glazed salmon recipe.

I love salmon, but the cost of salmon has grown like so many other foods. You can purchase steelhead and use it instead.

Steelhead is a kind of trout, but it has a similar taste and texture to salmon so works as a substitute. Best of all, it is readily available and often cheaper than salmon.

You can also choose to use arctic char, mahi mahi, striped bass, or even tilefish for this recipe in place of the salmon. All of them have that same meaty and fairly mild flavor that pair well with the orange glaze as you poach the fish in the oven.

Can I cook this recipe on the stove instead?

You can cook orange glazed salmon on the stove instead of making poached salmon in the oven.

I like it in the oven because it’s absolutely hands off and creates an incredibly tender and moist salmon that just melts in your mouth.

That said, sometimes you want to have this ready quicker, and you can pan sear this salmon on your stove.

To do that, heat a pan on your stove over medium high heat, and be sure your pan is hot before you add anything to it. You do not want to use a traditional nonstick pan for safety reasons; my favorite is my ceramic coated cast iron pan.

Add a couple tablespoons of oil to your pan, and then add the salmon skin side down. Brush the orange glaze onto the side facing up.

Let it cook for three to four minutes, then flip the salmon and cook another three to four minutes. Remove the salmon, and brush it again (with a clean pasty brush!) with the orange glaze.

While the salmon is cooking, mix together a cornstarch slurry with a half teaspoon of cornstarch and a teaspoon of cold water. After you remove the salmon, turn the heat in the pan down to medium low, and add the glaze and slurry.

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Whisk this together for two to three minutes until it starts to thicken. Spoon the orange glaze over your salmon, and serve it immediately.

How do I know when salmon is cooked?

Do not overcook salmon. Overcooked salmon is dry and just not as good. You want flaky salmon that stays moist, which is easier to control when you make salmon poached in the oven.

I test it by using a sharp knife to gently see if it flakes and to ensure that the flesh inside is translucent and not “raw salmon” looking.

You can also use a kitchen thermometer to check the temperature. You want it to be right around 140 degrees, with the understanding that your salmon continues to cook for another several minutes after you remove it from the heat. That gets it up to the recommended internal temperature of 145 degrees by the time you eat it.

Why does my salmon have white bubbles on it?

After you cook your salmon, you often see little white bubbles on top. This is albumin, a protein from the salmon.

It is tasteless and absolutely fine to eat. It simply appears often when you expose salmon to heat.

You won’t always see it when you cook salmon, but if you do, know that it is absolutely fine and there is no need to scrape off the albumin.

Orange salmon on a blue plate with rice with albumin on top of the salmon.

How to Make Orange Salmon

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Pat your fish dry with clean paper towels.

Place the fish skin side down on a sheet of aluminum foil inside a jelly roll pan. You want the aluminum foil large because you will make a tent with it, so cut off a bigger piece than you think you need.

Why a jelly roll pan? Just in case your foil tent leaks, you want to capture and of the orange glaze that escapes.

Salt and pepper the salmon fillets to your taste.

Zest your orange into a bowl, then juice it into the same bowl. Add the honey and olive oil, and whisk until well combined.

Juicing an orange into a bowl with zest.

Pro tip: If the honey is old, heat the mixture for 10-15 seconds so the honey melts enough to combine with the other ingredients.

Use a pastry brush to spread the honey orange juice sauce on the salmon fillets, or simply pour it over the fish and use a pastry brush to ensure all surfaces are coated.

Pastry brush adding glaze to raw salmon in foil.

Fold up the aluminum foil to create a tent, leaving room for the steam to form. Just pinch and turn the edges to create a seal to poach your salmon in the oven.

Salmon in a foil tent on a baking pan.

Bake it at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, depending on how thick your salmon fillets are.

Serve immediately, and enjoy.

Orange Salmon sitting in an opened foil tent.

Not surprisingly, we served ours with spinach, though I also make rice to enjoy with it.

Bookmark this orange salmon recipe to make again!

Spoon drizzling orange glaze on salmon with rice on a blue plate.

Orange Salmon

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This salmon is easy and quick to prep and is a great way to enjoy fish. This recipe is fairly foolproof and both kid friendly and adult approved.


  • 2 pounds salmon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pat fish dry with clean paper towels.
  2. Place fish skin side down on a sheet of aluminum foil inside a jelly roll pan. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Zest orange into a bowl, then juice it into the same bowl. Add honey and olive oil, and whisk until well combined.
  4. Brush sauce on salmon fillets, or pour it over fish then brush to ensure all surfaces are coated.
  5. Fold up the aluminum foil to create a tent. 
  6. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, depending on salmon fillet thickness.
  7. Serve immediately, and spoon orange sauce over salmon.


  • In place of salmon, you can use steelhead trout, amongst other options.
  • For more tips and tricks, be sure to read the full article.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 353Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 269mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 33g

This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition as a courtesy. If you need exact values, please calculate yourself.

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