Baked Salmon with Pesto Cream Sauce


Total Time: 30 minutes

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This easy recipe for baked salmon with pesto cream sauce takes tender, tasty, flaky salmon, bakes it at the optimal time and temperature, and then smothers it in a delicious, herby, garlicky pesto cream sauce. You’ll never want to put your fork down!

For more baked salmon recipes, head on over to my popular posts for Best Oven Baked Salmon, Baked Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce, and Baked Honey Cilantro Lime Salmon in Foil

pesto salmon with orzo and lemon wedges on plate

Remember that amazing pesto I made that I couldn’t get enough of and wanted to pour over all the things? Well, after I tried it with pasta, chicken sliders, and burgers, I knew that my next stop would be baked salmon. But I didn’t want to just pour the sauce on top of the salmon (although that’s terrific), I was in the mood for a cream-based sauce to go along with the pesto. So that’s how this salmon with pesto was created. The method behind the madness if you will. 

three salmon fillets in skillet with pesto sauce and sauce in jar

Why This Recipe Works 

Easy – This recipe is as easy as purchasing the salmon fillet, seasoning, cooking on both sides for a minute, adding the pre-made pesto to the sauce, putting the salmon back in, and popping into the oven for about 15 minutes. That’s it! 

Healthy – Salmon is one of the healthiest fish out there. Packed full of protein and Omega-3s, this heart-healthy meat choice can really do no wrong, taste-wise, or health-wise! 

Quick – Do you have 30 minutes? Then you have plenty of time to make this delicious baked salmon with pesto! (Yes, that includes prep + baking time!) 

Great for Meal Prepping – If you are the type to prep meals throughout the week, I can tell you this baked salmon with pesto is perfect. Get your fillets for the week, bake them up in the sauce and divvy up among your prep containers for lunches or dinners throughout the week. 

ingredients on a tray for salmon dish

Here’s How You Make It

You’re just a few steps away from one of the best baked salmon recipes ever. 

  1. First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Then, rub the salmon fillets (or fillet) with olive oil, then salt and pepper and Italian seasoning. 
  3. Next, get out a large skillet and melt the butter in it over medium-high heat. Add the salmon to it and brown it on each side for 1-2 minutes. Then, transfer the baked salmon to plate and cover to keep warm.
  4. Now add the chicken broth to the pan. Then, add the pesto and cream and stir. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir some more. 
  5. Add the salmon back into the skillet and spoon the pesto sauce over the top of it. 
  6. Put the whole skillet into the oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked all the way through and the sauce has thickened. 
  7. Serve a fillet per person with a generous helping of pesto cream sauce on top of each piece. 
  8. Enjoy!
four steps of preparation of skillet salmon

Ideas for What to Serve with This Recipe 

  • Anything saucy just screams needing carbs to go with it. To me anyway! I almost always serve this baked salmon over rice (white or brown) or egg noodles. Quinoa would work well too, or even cauliflower rice if you’re watching your carb intake. 
  • Veggie-wise, I like to bake a vegetable up right next to the salmon if possible. Good recipes include Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Broccoli, and Roasted Asparagus. Be careful though because the veggies will cook more quickly at higher temperatures. Watch it so it doesn’t burn. 
  • Salads are an easy side and the best part is you can make them ahead of time and just get them out to serve alongside the salmon. So easy! 
  • For a heartier side, try making a pasta salad, couscous, or a rice dish like this Spanish Rice
overhead view of salmon fillet with pesto sauce and orzo

Expert Tips 

  • Make it cheesy by adding 1-2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese to the sauce for even more flavor! 
  • If you’re not sure if the salmon is done, use a meat thermometer. It should read 145 degrees at the thickest part of the meat when it’s done. 
  • If you only have one large salmon fillet, you can skip the searing part and just add the salmon pesto to a baking sheet or larger dish with the sauce into the oven when it’s time to bake. 
  • If your salmon comes with skin, you don’t have to battle with it to try to take it off before baking. If you sear it, then bake it, it should slide right off when it’s done cooking. 
  • If your salmon comes kind of wet (or you just thawed it), pat it dry with paper towels before adding the olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. This will help the spices stick to the salmon better. 
fork cutting into pesto salmon

More Recipes Like This

Did you make this baked salmon recipe? That pesto cream sauce is THE BEST, huh?! Please rate the recipe below!

pesto salmon with orzo and lemon wedges on plate

Baked Salmon with Pesto Cream Sauce

This easy recipe for baked salmon with pesto cream sauce takes tender, tasty, flaky salmon, bakes it at the optimal time and temperature, and then smothers it in a delicious, herby, garlicky pesto cream sauce. You’ll never want to put your fork down!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

0 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  • Rub salmon all over with olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper, then season with Italian seasoning.

  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown salmon on each side for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to plate and cover to keep warm.

  • Add broth to pan. Stir in pesto and cream. Add salt and pepper to taste (I’m quite generous with the salt and pepper here!).

  • Return salmon to the skillet. Spoon some of the sauce over the salmon.

  • Transfer skillet to the oven and cook for 12-15 minutes until salmon is cooked through and sauce is thickened (enough to coat the back of a spoon).

  • Spoon sauce over salmon and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

Take it up a notch: add 1-2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese to the sauce for even more flavor!
Homemade Pesto: my recipe for homemade basil pesto takes just five minute to whip up and is SO much better than a jar. 

Nutrition

Calories: 425 kcal, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Protein: 35 g, Fat: 30 g, Saturated Fat: 10 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8 g, Cholesterol: 136 mg, Sodium: 343 mg, Potassium: 884 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Vitamin A: 825 IU, Vitamin C: 2 mg, Calcium: 71 mg, Iron: 2 mg



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