Marinated in a sweet and savory miso sauce, this Miso Salmon recipe makes a delicious weeknight meal. Enjoy with Japanese ginger rice!
We eat seafood often at home as my family loves all the different types of fish and goodies the ocean has to offer. Among the seafood, if I have to pick a favorite fish for our family, then it would probably be salmon.
Today I’m going to share another quick and easy salmon recipe – Miso Salmon (味噌サーモン).
Watch How to Make Miso Salmon
Wild salmon fillet marinated in a sweet and savory miso marinade, garnish with sesame seeds and scallion.
The Use of Miso in Japanese Recipes
Miso makes a wonderful marinade, and it goes very well with both fish and meat. I’ve previously shared the buttery and savory Miso Cod and my family’s all-time favorite Garlic Miso Chicken on the blog. Besides cod and chicken, miso also goes really well with salmon.
Miso is made primarily from soybeans and usually includes rice or barley. They are steamed, mixed with koji (a fermentation starter), and left to ferment for 6 months to 5 years.
Miso provides protein and is rich in vitamins and minerals and used for many dishes in Japanese cuisine. From miso soup to salad dressing and seasonings/sauce, it’s a common condiment that we use every day in Japanese kitchens.
Miso has a salty and savory taste so when I make a marinade with it, I always mix it with something sweet, such as mirin, honey, or sugar.
Important Tip on Cooking with Miso
When cooking a miso-marinated food, regardless if it’s fish or meat, you must remove the marinade before cooking because miso gets burnt very easily.
Don’t worry about not having enough flavor by removing it. The flavor of miso has been already absorbed very quickly. If you still want the nice glaze, brush on the miso marinade right before you take out the dish from the oven. Just make sure you don’t burn the dish right when you are about to finish cooking! 😉
Baking vs. Broiling Fish
Although I use a broiler in my oven to cook fish often including this recipe, I recommend baking this miso salmon especially if you have never broiled the fish before. Miso burns really easily. You can’t avoid burning miso completely; however, you can minimize the burns by removing the marinade and baking this fish.
Here I summarized the difference between broiling and baking fish, and which type of fish is suitable for broiling or baking for your future reference.
When you broil fish, the infrared energy from the heating element cooks the fish that’s placed closer to the broiler at the top of your oven. Broiling is a much faster cooking method and fish will brown beautifully, but it burns miso, fresh herbs, and many other garnishes and requires constant attention.
When broiling, you don’t control the temperature in the oven; instead, you control the distance between the broiler and the surface of the food. It’s similar to using hotter and cooler zones on your grill.
When you bake fish, hot air cooks the fish. The heat is carried through your oven by slow-moving natural currents of hot air, which is why baking takes a relatively long time to cook. But it can be relaxing as you do not need to constantly pay attention.
Choose Baking or Broiling Based on A Type of Fish
- Fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel, and swordfish) can be baked or broiled at higher temperatures, ranging from 425ºF (baked) to 550ºF or 550ºF (broiler).
- Moderately lean fish (such as cod and haddock) should be brushed with oil and broiled.
- Whole fish, large fillets, or lean and fragile fish (such as sole) should be baked at temperatures 425ºF to preserve their moisture and delicate texture and avoid broiling because it’ll be overcooked too fast.
I served the miso salmon with Ginger Rice. The fragrance of ginger-infused rice goes so well with miso flavored salmon.
If you are interested in other traditional Japanese marinade salmon recipes, please see my salmon kasuzuke recipe.
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
- 14 oz skin-on salmon fillet (cut in half if it's one big piece)
- ½ tsp toasted white and black sesame seeds (for garnish)
- 1 green onion/scallion (chopped, for garnish)
- Gather all the ingredients. I recommend pre-slicing the salmon so it's fast to marinate and cook.
- Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a large bowl or flat tray.
- Place the salmon in the bowl, skin side up. Spoon marinade and coat the salmon skin. Cover and keep in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes. This is a lightly seasoned miso fish (not miso-marinated fish like Black Cod), so I don’t recommend marinating longer than 1 hour as miso is quite salty.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for baking and foil for broiling. As miso gets burnt easily, remove excess marinade completely from the salmon and place it on the foil/parchment paper.
To Bake (Recommended)
- Preheat the oven to 425°F/218ºC with a rack placed in the center of the oven. For a convection oven, reduce cooking temperature by 25ºF (15ºC). Bake the salmon for 10-12 minutes, or until the surface is blistered and brown a bit. You do not need to flip the fish. Good to remember 5 minutes per ½-inch thickness of salmon (measure at the thickest).
- Preheat the broiler* with a rack placed about 8" (20 cm) away from the top heating element (in the center of the oven) for 5 minutes. When broiling, you don't control the temperature in the oven; instead, you control the distance between the broiler and the surface of the food. It's similar to using hotter and cooler zones on your grill. *Broiler setting: Low (450ºF/232ºC), Medium (500ºF/260ºC), and High (550ºF/288ºC). I usually use the medium (6" away) or high (8" away).
- Broil high (550ºF/288ºC) for 12-15 minutes until the surface is blistered and brown a bit and a minimum internal temperature of 145°F/63ºC is registered at the thickest part of the fillet. Please remember the cooking time varies depending on the thickness of the fish and the distance between the broiler and the food. You do not need to flip the fish.
- I served the salmon on top of the Ginger Rice. Top the salmon with sesame seeds and thinly sliced scallion. Enjoy!
- You can store the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and in the freezer for a month.