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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!

Lemon garlic salmon in a skillet with lemon slices

Let’s play a word association game real quick. What’s your vibe when you hear these words?




Fresh herbs


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!

Lemon garlic salmon in a skillet with lemon slices

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.

What makes this recipe 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.

Why you’ll love it

  • 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!
Lemon garlic salmon in a skillet with lemon slices

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.

Lemon garlic salmon in a skillet with lemon slices and fish turner

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!

On our free Whole30 meal plan.

Other recipes you’ll love:

5 from 10 votes

Lemon Garlic Salmon (Whole30, Paleo, Low Carb, Keto)

Prep 10 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 25 minutes
A quick but elegant lemon garlic salmon recipe that’s perfectly flavored. Whole30, paleo, low carb, and keto friendly.
4 people


  • ¼ cup ghee or butter if not on Whole30
  • 6-8 garlic cloves minced
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 4 salmon filets about 6 ounces each, patted very dry
  • Fresh cracked black pepper if desired
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley minced
  • Fresh lemons thinly sliced, for garnish


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.


If you’re on a Whole30, make sure you use ghee.
If you’re dairy-free, use olive or avocado oil in place of the ghee or butter. You can also use a vegan butter.
I prefer my salmon cooked to medium-rare or medium. If you want to cook yours to this temperature, you might try cooking the flesh side of the salmon only 1-2 minutes then flipping and cooking another 2-3. If you like well-done salmon, cook 3 minutes on the flesh side and 4 minutes on the skin side, or until the flesh feels very firm and flakes easily with a fork.
Make sure you pat your salmon very dry on both sides with paper towels. This will help the salmon cook quickly and evenly, will promote a nice crust, and will  prevent sticking to the pan.

Approximate Information for One Serving

Calories: 384calProtein: 34gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 133mgPotassium: 919mgTotal Carbs: 3gNet Carbs: 3gVitamin A: 690IUVitamin C: 18.2mgCalcium: 39mgIron: 1.9mg
Nutrition Disclaimers
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.

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  1. This salmon is amazing and so worth the time! The first time I made it, I served it with broccoli and plain rice. I made extra sauce, and we smothered the sauce over everything. Delicious!5 stars

  2. Middle aged single father of 3 w/ average cooking skills reporting on this recipe… two thumbs down! Pan frying fish w/ Olive oil couldn’t have gone worse. Hot oil everywhere and fish sticking to the pan (both sides, total loss of the yummy fish skin. Tried this for my 15 yr old son’s birthday meal and he normally loves Salmon… but this was a bust.

    1. Oh, no! I’m so sorry that was your experience with this dish, Steve – and especially on your son’s birthday. Having not been there, it’s hard to say exactly where things might’ve gone wrong, but I’d love to help troubleshoot if I can.

      I see you tried cooking the fish in olive oil rather than the avocado oil we used. It sounds like the oil was much too hot if it was splashing everywhere? The temperature of the oil would definitely lead to some of the sticking you experienced.

      Did you pat the salmon fillets dry before seasoning them and placing them in the skillet? That’s another important step to prevent the salmon sticking to the pan. And you started cooking the flesh-side first, with the skin-side facing up?

  3. I made this once and while I found it labor intensive with prepping all of the fresh ingredients, it truly was out of this world in flavor and well worth it.
    I hunted this recipe down so I could make it again…nearly a year later!5 stars

    1. Hi, Meagan! Fresh ingredients can be a pain sometimes but are so worth it!! We are so glad you love it! Thanks for coming back! 😊

  4. I really enjoyed this recipe! It was easy, quick and delicious. And I added some frozen spinach as another commenter suggested, and that turned out well too. I made a little post about it at sisterhoodofthetravelingcats.com5 stars

  5. I’ addicted to this recipe now.
    I also trow some spinach in the pan after taking the salmon out with the sauce yummy in my tummy

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