This lemon garlic salmon is out-of-this-world delicious. With only a few ingredients, it’s easy and quick to make. Whole30, paleo, low carb, and keto, the lemon garlic butter sauce sauce and this salmon recipe is good enough for company but easy enough for a weeknight dinner!
Let’s play a word association game real quick. What’s your vibe when you hear these words?
Got it? Do you feel at all warm and tingly like I do? Is your mouth watering? Did you just text your husband, “Cancel the DoorDash for tonight; we’re making garliclemonbutterfreshherbssalmon.”? Me too. Me too!
I’m awfully pick when it comes to salmon. I pretty much like it medium-rare to medium or not at all, and it has to be absolutely jam packed full of flavor. Otherwise? Pass. I’ll get the roast chicken or the vegetarian pasta or the kids’ meal even, since we’re obviously at a kid-friendly banquet right now.
But no: it’s gotta be badass or bust.
This lemon garlic salmon is badass.
Why this lemon garlic salmon is so dang good:
- The flavors blend beautifully together: fresh garlic and rich ghee or butter with bright lemon juice and fresh herbs.
- It’s elegant but easy: perfect for company but equally ideal for a quick weeknight dinner!
- The lemon garlic butter sauce is the perfect blend of rich, bright, and garlicky. On top of that, it’s super versatile so it can work for any diet.
And this lemon garlic salmon recipe is healthy, too!
- Yep, this salmon is Whole30 compliant and paleo.
- The lemon garlic butter sauce can easily made dairy-free by using olive or avocado oil. You can use vegan butter, too, if you like!
- And ghee is absolutely perfect in this lemon garlic salmon recipe when you’re on a Whole30!
- It’s crazy low in carbs: only 3 total! This keto salmon recipe is perfect for getting you to or keeping you in ketosis or great if you’re just watching your carbs!
How do you make a lemon garlic butter sauce?
For this recipe, you melt the ghee or butter in a small saucepan over medium heat then sauté plenty of garlic until it’s fragrant, about 1 minute. Next, chicken broth, fresh lemon juice, and a few pinches of salt. Simmer the mixture until reduced by 1/3 or 1/2. The mixture will change from a thin liquid to a thicker more bubbly boil. Set aside until salmon is cooked.
Cook the salmon medium-rare to well-done.
I prefer my salmon medium rare or medium. It wasn’t until I started eating salmon this way that I liked it at all! I highly recommend trying it this way, and you’ll see directions in the Notes section of the recipe to help you achieve this temperature. However, if you prefer your salmon totally opaque and easily flaky, just cook the salmon using the max time recommendations in the recipe. There are details in the Notes section for this, too!
How do you make garlic and lemon salmon?
It’s surprisingly easy! You start by making a quick lemon garlic butter sauce. Check out the details above! It’s so simple, though: sauté a lot of garlic in butter or ghee then add in chicken broth, lemon juice, and salt. Simmer until thickened.
Make the salmon: bring to room temperature for 20 minutes before cooking. Season generously on both sides with salt and fresh cracked black pepper, if desired.
Heat avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully add salmon, skin side up, and cook 2-3 minutes or until crispy. Gently flip, taking care to not flake flesh, and cook another 3-4 minutes on second side. Remove from heat and pour lemon garlic butter sauce over, spooning over salmon. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with extra lemon butter garlic sauce from pan.
So ghee or butter?
If you’re on a Whole30, are strictly paleo, or are sensitive to lactose, use ghee. If you’re none of those, butter all the way! I highly recommend high-quality grass-fed butter, too. And if you’re dairy free, are nursing a baby sensitive to cow’s milk protein, or are allergic to lactose, use olive oil, avocado oil, or vegan butter. For a low carb or keto salmon recipe, you can keep it exactly as it is!
Other recipes you’ll love:
- Healthy Shrimp and Grits
- Whole30 Fish Taco Bowls
- Quick Chimichurri Shrimp Skewers
- Whole30 Bang Bang Shrimp
- Whole30 Coconut Shrimp with Orange Sauce
Lemon Garlic Salmon (Whole30, Paleo, Low Carb, Keto)
Make the lemon garlic sauce:
- In a small saucepan, melt ghee or butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Add in the chicken broth, lemon juice, and a few generous pinches of salt. Simmer this mixture until reduced by 1/3 to 1/2. The sauce will turn from a really thin liquid to a thicker, more bubbly boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
Make the salmon:
- Remove the salmon from the fridge 10-20 minutes before cooking. Sprinkle both sides liberally with salt and season with fresh cracked black pepper, if desired. Heat avocado oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering.
- Carefully place salmon filets skin side up and cook until lightly browned on bottom, about 2-3 minutes or until crispy. Use a spatula to carefully flip, taking care not to flake off any flesh. Cook 3-4 minutes on second side, or until skin is crisp and flesh begins to feel firm to the touch. Remove at this point for a salmon cooked around medium. Continue to cook until flesh easily flakes with a fork for a well-done salmon.
- Remove pan from heat and pour lemon garlic sauce over. Sprinkle with parsley and arrange lemon slices over, if desired. Serve with skin or easily remove with a spoon, and serve with more lemon garlic sauce and lemon slices from the pan.
Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.