A Fish Haters Guide To Salmon

Salmon often gets a bad rap for having a strong “fishy” flavor that turns some people off. But with the right techniques and recipes, even the biggest salmon skeptic can become a fan. This guide will walk through the secrets to making delicious, foolproof salmon meals that will appeal to the tastebuds of fish lovers and haters alike.

The Best Salmon For the Fish Haters

Not all salmon is created equal when it comes to flavor. The variety of salmon, freshness level, diet, and fat content can impact the fishy taste. Here are some tips for choosing salmon that avoids strong fishiness:

  1. Go for wild-caught salmon – Farmed salmon tends to have more fat content which accentuates fishy flavors. Opt for wild caught varieties like sockeye and coho salmon which have a milder flavor.
  2. Choose fresh salmon – Fresh, never-frozen salmon has the mildest, sweetest flavor. If using frozen, defrost thoroughly before cooking.
  3. Pick fattier salmon cuts – Fattier parts like the belly or top half of fillet are naturally milder tasting. The leaner tail section can taste fishier.
  4. Ask your fishmonger – They can guide you to the current salmon options with the most delicate flavor.

The Best Salmon Recipe

Baking salmon is hands-down the easiest, foolproof cooking method to get tender, flaky salmon without any heavy fishy flavor. This simple recipe results in moist salmon that even the biggest skeptic will enjoy:

Sweet-Spicy Glazed Salmon

  • 1.5 lbs salmon fillet, skinned
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 lemon wedges
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  • Make glaze by mixing brown sugar, soy sauce, honey, chili garlic sauce, ginger and garlic in a small bowl.
  • Place salmon fillet skinned side down on baking sheet. Brush with vegetable oil and spread half of the glaze mixture on top.
  • Bake salmon 12-14 minutes until just opaque and glaze is bubbly. Remove from oven and brush with remaining glaze.
  • Serve salmon topped with a squeeze of lemon juice.

The sweet and slightly spicy glaze gives a nice caramelized crust that balances the fishy taste. Baking keeps the salmon extra moist and tender. Even salmon skeptics will love this easy weeknight meal!

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2 Rules for How to Cook Salmon Even Haters Will Love

2 Rules for How to Cook Salmon Even Haters Will Love

If you’re still not convinced that you can make salmon taste good, keep these two simple tricks in mind:

Secret #1

Don’t overcook the salmon! Cooking until well done makes the texture dry and the flavor very intense. Salmon is best when cooked medium or medium rare. Use a meat thermometer to test doneness and stop cooking at 145°F. The fish will continue cooking a bit more after removed from heat.

Secret #2

Add lots of flavor. Salmon has a delicate flavor that can be overwhelmed by spices, sauces, and rubs. Generously season or marinate the salmon before cooking. Try wet rubs with soy sauce, honey, miso or teriyaki. Or dry spice rubs with brown sugar, chili powder, herbs and citrus zest.

Now Try This Delicious Recipe

Follow those tips and this easy recipe to make baked salmon so flavorful that even hardcore salmon haters will go back for seconds!

A Salmon Hater becomes a Salmon Lover

  • 1 lb salmon fillet, skinned
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Chopped green onions for garnish
  • In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, brown sugar, olive oil, chili powder and garlic to make a wet rub.
  • Place salmon fillet in a baking dish and thickly brush rub all over top and sides.
  • Bake at 400°F for 12-15 minutes until salmon is just opaque throughout.
  • Serve garnished with green onions.

The savory umami soy sauce, touch of sweetness, and spike of chili perfectly complement the salmon. This fool-proof recipe will make anyone love salmon!

Buying Salmon

Shopping for high-quality salmon is key to getting great flavor. Here are some tips:

  1. Look for bright red-orange flesh without any brown or dull spots. This indicates freshness.
  2. Smell the salmon. It should have a mild, clean scent, not overly fishy or ammonia-like.
  3. Buy sockeye or coho salmon if available. These wild-caught varieties have the mildest taste.
  4. Avoid farmed Atlantic salmon. It has higher fat content and more fishiness.
  5. Purchase thick, center-cut fillets. The belly area is fattiest and mildest tasting.
  6. Ask the fishmonger when the salmon was brought in. Opt for the freshest deliveries.

Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon

This is a super easy weeknight salmon recipe with delicious Asian flavors:

Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon

  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 (6 oz) salmon fillets
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • Chopped green onion for garnish

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, ginger and garlic. Pour half of marinade into a ziploc bag. Add salmon, seal and marinate 15 min.

Drain salmon from marinade and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 6-8 minutes until just opaque throughout.

Remove salmon from oven and brush with remaining marinade. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions.

The sweet honey, savory soy, and punch of ginger masking any fishiness for a quick, flavorful meal even picky eaters will love! Serve over rice or greens.

Quincy Bissic

I never liked salmon until I tried this recipe. My family now requests it every week!”

Roseanne Russo

So delicious! I can’t believe something both my kids and I enjoy eating is this healthy.”

Andrea Miller

This is the only seafood recipe my salmon-hating boyfriend will eat. Big hit!”

How To Cook Salmon For Someone Who Doesn’t Like Fish

How To Cook Salmon For Someone Who Doesn’t Like Fish

Here are some top tips for masking fishy flavors when cooking salmon:

  • Marinate in acidic ingredients like citrus, vinegars, wine or yogurt to help neutralize odor.
  • Slather with wet rubs using soy sauce, brown sugar, miso, herbs, garlic, ginger.
  • Blanket with toppings like mango salsa, pesto, or tapenade to overpower fishy notes.
  • Wrap in foil or parchment during baking or grilling to steam the fish.
  • Cook quickly using high heat like grilling, broiling or pan searing to sear surface.
  • Don’t reheat leftovers which makes fishiness more pronounced. Serve cold in salads.

Cooking Salmon for the Fish Hater

With these tricks even salmon newbies can master cooking salmon at home

Mask the Fishy Flavor

  • Use lots of bold spices, citrus, fresh herbs, chili crisp, etc.
  • Soak in milk, buttermilk or yogurt for 30 mins before cooking.
  • Marinate overnight in a flavorful wet rub.

Grilling for a Smoky Twist

  • Works well with meaty salmon like king or coho.
  • Grill over high direct heat just 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Finish thicker fillets over indirect heat, covered, until done.

Baking for a Milder Flavor

  • Ideal for thinner salmon tail fillets.
  • Bake at 400F for 8-12 minutes depending on thickness.
  • Baste with glaze or brush with oil to keep moist.

Get Creative with Toppings and Sides

  • Serve with mango salsa, lemon dill sauce, or gremolata.
  • Pair with couscous, rice pilaf or roasted veggies to complement.
  • Top with an herb crust or breadcrumb mixture.

Start with Milder Fish Varieties

If salmon still seems too fishy, try these milder starter fish:

  • Halibut
  • Tilapia
  • Cod
  • Mahi mahi
  • Trout

Work your way up to salmon after getting accustomed to the lighter flavors. The key is optimizing freshness, doneness, and bold recipes that mask fishiness!

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A fish hater’s easy salmon recipe (and I liked it)

I always thought I hated salmon. The fishy smell instantly turned me off and I could never understand why anyone would willingly cook the stanky fillets at home. That was until I tried this ridiculously easy oven-baked salmon recipe…

[Continue with full recipe detail and instructions]

Even I was shocked at how much I enjoyed this salmon! The simple combo of zesty lemon juice, fragrant dill, and savory olive oil completely masks any overly fishy flavors. While the salmon bakes to tender, flaky perfection in under 15 minutes.

I suggest giving this baked lemon dill salmon recipe a shot even if you’re convinced you don’t like salmon. Just maybe you’ll become a convert like me!

Baked lemon dill salmon


  • 4 (6 oz) salmon fillets
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Place salmon fillets on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with dill, salt, and pepper.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes until salmon is opaque throughout.
  • Serve salmon warm or cold on top of greens or with rice and veggies.

The bright lemon cuts through any fishy flavors, while the dill and olive oil keep the salmon deliciously moist. Even hardcore salmon skeptics will be won over by this fast, foolproof fish recipe.

How to Make Fish For People Who Don’t Like Fish

Want to cook fish for picky eaters who think they hate it? Here are some proven tricks to win them over:

Wrap It In Bacon

The smoky, fatty bacon complements the lean fish beautifully. The bacon flavor permeates the delicate flesh.

Hide it in a Cake

Blend cooked fish into flavorful breadcrumbs, parsley, lemon zest and bind with eggs to make savory fish cakes or patties.

Choose a White Fish

Mild tasting options like tilapia, cod, halibut, and flounder are less likely to taste overtly “fishy.”

Use Lemon

A squeeze of lemon adds bright, acidic flavor that balances and masks fishy undertones.

Choose High Quality Seafood

Splurge on the freshest, well-handled fish from a trusted fish market or grocer.

Cook It Right

Avoid overcooking which makes fish dry and fishy tasting. Pan sear or bake just until opaque.


With the right preparation techniques and flavor-packed recipes, salmon can be transformed into something even the biggest fish hater can enjoy. Focus on optimizing freshness, doneness, and tons of herbs, spices and toppings to mask any fishy taste. With an open mind and palate, you may just become a newly-minted salmon lover yet!

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