You guys know I looooove my salmon.

Broiled Spicy Brown Sugar Salmon I

I mean, I’ve always been a giant fan. We’re talking way back when – like the time when all I wanted was a zigzag part in my hair (how did anyone successfully do that?) and the days that I spent two hours listening to the radio on my boom box just so I could record my favorite song on a CASSETTE TAPE? Yeah. Since then.

I also had to google how to spell “cassette.”

And spelling was my best subject in school.

2013 is sad.

Broiled Spicy Brown Sugar Salmon I

It’s not like I want to remember my permed hair days but I think back then was when my dad first starting grilling thick salmon filets marinated in a bunch of things like soy sauce and brown sugar and garlic and I fell in love with them. And do you want to know something weird? It’s really weird. For me.

My salmon meal of choice? It usually involves a salad. I’m not a big proponent of salmon with a (spoiler alert) side of rice and vegetables. That bores me. I like it best on pasta or in a salad, like this one that I keep eating and can’t seem to get sick of. There’s just something about how buttery and flakey the salmon is – it’s like you get a taste in each bite which is something I love.

Broiled Spicy Brown Sugar Salmon I

I’ve exploited my fair share of salmon recipes here over the last three years but my go-to’s, the ones I make around once a week and continue to go back to regardless of what else I try, are my toasted sesame salmon and dijon cream salmon. Love those two so, so much. And now I think I can add a third to my repertoire. Wait. Am I using that word properly? Probably not. Someone get this girl a dictionary. And a thesaurus. And first grade spelling class. Oh wait! I can download that all on my iPhone. Thanks again, 2013.

But I like this recipe just as much as the ones above, as simple as it is. And for salmon and me, that’s usually all it takes. A filet, a little flavor and the broiler. I’m so easy to please! (… said no one that knows me ever.)

Broiled Spicy Brown Sugar Salmon I


Spicy Brown Sugar Salmon

Yield: serves 4

Total Time: 20 minutes


2 pound wild-caught, fresh salmon filet (about 1-inch in thickness)
1/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


In a bowl, combine brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, mixing well.

Heat the broiler on your oven to high, and place the oven rack as high as it will go. Place salmon filet on a baking sheet and rub brown sugar mixture all over top. I tend to buy a piece of salmon with skin on, so I place the salmon skin side down on the baking sheet and just rub the spices on top. Place under the broiler and broil for 5-6 minutes, until sugar begins to caramelize and get golden. Serve immediately!

It is pretty important to use a piece of salmon that is no thicker than one inch - if your salmon is thicker, I suggest flipping the salmon after 5 minutes and broiling for another 2-3 (this requires that the skin be removed) OR lowering your oven rack one level down - this will prevent the sugar from burning since you have to broil longer. After the initial 5 minutes, the sugar may be a bit smokey but it should not burn.

Broiled Spicy Brown Sugar Salmon I

Promise I’ll make this salad up to you.

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103 Responses to “Broiled Spicy Brown Sugar Salmon.”

  1. #
    Maria Tadic — March 21, 2013 @ 7:00 am

    This looks so good. I love salmon too – it feels so hearty and healthy at the same time. And its so good over salads! I can’t wait to try out this flavor combination.


  2. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — March 21, 2013 @ 7:09 am

    I feel like the two of us lived very similar childhoods, Jess! I was also one of those kids that recorded songs from the radio on tapes (most frequently B4-4, the Moffats, Hanson, Robyn, TLC… oh yes, i was cool), did the zig zag part, and adored salmon. Like you, I prefer mine in salad form and this past weekend (just to give you an idea of how much I love it) i was at the grocery store and the only ‘pretty’ looking salmon they had was wild caught organic. I paid 8 freaking dollars for roughly 180g of salmon but it was just SO. FRIGGING. DELICIOUS!!


  3. #
    Emily @ Life on Food — March 21, 2013 @ 7:17 am

    That is one beautiful piece of fish!


  4. #
    Heather @ Sugar Dish Me — March 21, 2013 @ 7:25 am

    So I actually don’t care much for salmon. It has more to do with working in a Cajun restaurant that served a TON of cedar planked salmon while I was pregnant than anything BUT!!! Every salmon recipe of yours I have ever tried has been CRAZY GOOD. My favorite is still the BBQ rubbed one with the pineapple salsa (gah. amazing). Anyway– I will be working this one out. So excited. Thanks!!


    • Jessica — March 21st, 2013 @ 9:56 am

      darnit, i hate when i forget about my own recipes. we love that one so much too!


  5. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 21, 2013 @ 7:34 am

    Spicy and brown sugar. Great match. I love some kick with my sweet. The sweet-heat combo is a fave and I get this rub would be good on tofu, too!


  6. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — March 21, 2013 @ 7:48 am

    I have never made salmon! My Husband the fisherman doesn’t eat fish unless it’s fish sticks or frozen beer battered fish! Ugh! I need to make your salmon dish! I guess I could make it just for me! The pictures are mouth watering!


  7. #
    kat — March 21, 2013 @ 7:58 am

    that looks seriously mouth watering. i wish the hubs loved salmon bc i think i would eat it every single day


  8. #
    Pretend Chef — March 21, 2013 @ 8:00 am

    The flavors sound amazing. Sweet and spicy is a great combo. Salmon is my go to protein source although it’s usually smoked and on a bagel with cream cheese and capers.


  9. #
    Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries — March 21, 2013 @ 8:01 am

    I loooove my salmon too! I’m always looking for more ways to prepare it, so this is perfect!


  10. #
    Alaina @ Fabtastic Eats — March 21, 2013 @ 8:10 am

    That is my favorite way to eat salmon too, over salad. Its usually my meal of choice all summer long! This look phenom!


  11. #
    Tieghan — March 21, 2013 @ 8:14 am

    I love the sweet and spicy combo! Salmon is my favorite seafood, probably because you can do so much with it! I have that black slate cheese board from crate N Barrel! dont you love them? I use them to shoot with all the time! I actually even have the wood cutting board from target to! I got it around Christmas time, but have yet to use it! That needs to change because looking at these picture make me one, want to make this salmon then two, serve it up on that cutting board!


  12. #
    Erin @ Axell's Kitchen — March 21, 2013 @ 8:18 am

    I love salmon with salad..and brown sugar!!


  13. #
    Samantha @ Blissfully Bossy — March 21, 2013 @ 8:25 am

    Yum, I love finding new ways to cook salmon! sounds delic!


  14. #
    alyssa @ life a la wife — March 21, 2013 @ 8:33 am

    Broiled salmon for the win! I also enjoy my salmon on a salad too, with goat cheese, and berries, and candied nuts and balsamic glaze… So healthy ;)


  15. #
    Simone — March 21, 2013 @ 8:34 am

    Definitely recorded a large portion of the Nsync album by listening to the radio and tape recording it. And I had a perm. And I zigzagged my hair. And I had bright blue mascara.


  16. #
    Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots — March 21, 2013 @ 8:42 am

    I love salmon, this looks amazing!


  17. #
    Evelyn — March 21, 2013 @ 8:52 am

    OMG, taping songs off the radio? Welcome to my childhood. Jess, we are around the same age, and your blog, more than any other blog I read, makes me nod my head, or scream “YES!” when I read your posts. :) I can’t tell you how many tapes I had with songs on them where the radio-announcer talked at the beginning/end, OR where I had to cut off the very end of the song because he/she would ALWAYS talk before the song was over. EFF!! I wish I still had those kickin around somewhere – I would TOTALLY listen to them…


  18. #
    kim@hungryhealthygirl — March 21, 2013 @ 9:08 am

    Super simple and over a salad….just the way I like my salmon too! Can’t wait to try your version!


  19. #
    maria — March 21, 2013 @ 9:22 am

    just wanted to let you know i totally had a how sweet it is mini dinner party last night. on the menu? crispy shrimp tacos and peanut butter smores bars. the reason for the dinner? i had made smores bars and needed some people to help me eat them so i didn’t eat the entire pan myself :)


  20. #
    Christine @ Cooking with Cakes — March 21, 2013 @ 9:36 am

    not only do I love this but I’m obsessed with that Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon – so happy you shared that link!!


  21. #
    Kerry — March 21, 2013 @ 9:52 am

    OMGeeee! Taping songs off the radio! That was how I spent so many summer afternoons of my youth!

    The hubs and I love your sesame & ginger salmon recipe so I am sure as soon as I show him this recipe, we’ll be trying it as well. Does it really only take 5-6 minutes too cook the salmon under the broiler?!


    • Jessica — March 21st, 2013 @ 9:55 am

      yes absolutely! as long as the oven rack is directly under the broiler and the salmon is around an inch or so thick. if it’s an inch or less, i usually only broil for 5-6 minutes tops.


  22. #
    Beth @ CraveableCleveland — March 21, 2013 @ 9:57 am

    I have to agree – salmon is absolutely delish! I never tire of it. And I love the idea of spicy brown sugar topping – almost like dessert for dinner :).


  23. #
    Lucy — March 21, 2013 @ 10:00 am

    I really wish I wasn’t severely allergic to salmon right now lol


  24. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — March 21, 2013 @ 10:08 am

    I can’t stop drooling!


  25. #
    Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — March 21, 2013 @ 10:13 am

    Wait a second…. Zigzagging your hair isn’t cool anymore??? Haha just kidding but I did totally try to do it and never succeeded. I bet this salmon is perfect with the brown sugar.


  26. #
    Christine @ 24 Carrot Kitchen — March 21, 2013 @ 10:31 am

    This looks oh so delicioso! I have been looking for a new salmon recipe to spice up the repetoire. Thanks!


  27. #
    Marie @ Little Kitchie — March 21, 2013 @ 10:32 am

    Salmon is one of my favorite foods! This one looks awesome – your salmon is so perfectly flaky! This will be showing up at dinner very very soon.


  28. #
    Kelly — March 21, 2013 @ 10:35 am

    Haha I was right there with you, i would spend HOURS waiting for certain songs to come on so I could complete the ultimate mixed tape! Oh to be young again…and yes, I could devour this in one sitting, thanks :)


  29. #
    Jess — March 21, 2013 @ 10:41 am

    I believe you used repertoire correctly. My mom always cooks salmon with brown sugar (and chili) and its amazing!!

    Some Snapshots Blog


  30. #
    Holiday Baker Man — March 21, 2013 @ 11:23 am

    Just took some out of the freezer for tonight!


  31. #
    Amy — March 21, 2013 @ 11:26 am

    I’m not a huge fan of salmon but I do love fish. Is there another fish that I could substitute for the salmon in this recipe? I love everything else about it! I’ve been following your blog for awhile now and I love all your thoughts and ideas! You’re a very good writer and I enjoy all your posts. And you’re recipes always look so yummy and delicious!


  32. #
    Mary @ The Kitchen Paper — March 21, 2013 @ 11:41 am

    This sounds PERFECT! I just picked up a bunch of salmon, and will have to give this a try. Also, thanks for the zig-zag part reminder. I totally partook, and had completely forgotten. Wow.


  33. #
    lisag — March 21, 2013 @ 11:44 am
  34. #
    Annie — March 21, 2013 @ 11:46 am

    I too rocked the zig-zag part, which is easily accomplished by brushing your hair back toward your crown, then taking a pair of closed scissors and making the zig-zag design. Then, you open the scissors and the hair falls perfectly on either side of the part. I know this because I practiced it for hours while listening to by Brandy CD. It is also highly likely that I finished my look with scented glitter hair gel.


  35. #
    Maria R — March 21, 2013 @ 12:16 pm



  36. #
    Alexis @ Hummusapien — March 21, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

    I feel like I need to leave work and go home to make this. Like RIGHT NOW.


  37. #
    FashionEdible — March 21, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

    I thought I loved salmon. That is, until I visited the Caribbean and had fresh caught salmon from a local fish store. AMAZING! It’s kind of pitiful going back to our “fresh” or frozen varieties. I think I’d eat fish everyday if I lived by the beach.

    Love your spicy twist on it!

    FashionEdible Blog


  38. #
    Larry — March 21, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

    I just had some DELISH salmon tacos from… Chevy’s last night. Don’t judge. It was amazing! Also, just in case you don’t know what Chevy’s is (I think it might only be on the west coast) it’s a Tex Mex chain out here, pretty good. Best happy hour ever. $3.99 margaritas all day after 3pm? Whaaaaaaaat?


  39. #
    Nancy @ CouponClippingCook — March 21, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

    The salmon looks so tender and moist. Sounds wonderful on a salad too. Just love the brown sugar on it too.


  40. #
    natalie@thesweetslife — March 21, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

    omg recording the radio with cassette tapes…how could i forget this?!? of course I also called the radio station to request songs and then waited for hours to hear it actually played!


  41. #
    Hillary — March 21, 2013 @ 1:15 pm

    I’ve just recently found your blog (I feel really bad about it, because it’s amazing!) and you could post a salmon recipe everyday and I would be happy with it! Also, about the zigzag hair, I’m glad no one else could do it becuase I was always felt stupid as a kid for not being able to do it. It’s probably best that I wasn’t able to since it kind of looks like you had a bad accident and the doctors sticthed your head back together that way!


  42. #
    Whitney @ To Live & Diet in L.A. — March 21, 2013 @ 1:16 pm

    This salmon looks delish! I made a very similar recipe the other night with smoked paprika too. Instead of brown sugar though I used a tablespoon of maple syrup and 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard. Love how easy and healthy it is! I’ll have to try your version soon too.


  43. #
    Melissa @ Treats With a Twist — March 21, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

    Oh I LOVE me some salmon, warm and with a good crust, on top of salad. You nailed this one!


  44. #
    Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry — March 21, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

    I wish I had a broiler on my oven because this recipe looks right up my ally. Brown sugar plus salmon are made for each other.


  45. #
    Katie @ Blonde Ambition — March 21, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

    UGH the zig zag part. I think I remember there being some kind of comb-tool that helped you make the perfect zig zag.

    This salmon looks very similar to one that my boyfriend’s dad makes (and we all die for) but he does his on the grill. Ooooooh there’s just something about a full salmon! Sorry little fishy.


  46. #
    Eileen — March 21, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

    Hooray for salmon! My favorite salmon is grilled teriyaki-style, preferably at my local sushi restaurant. :) I love the idea of this sugar and spice-rubbed salmon–and plating on top of a vibrant salad is so clearly the best plan.


  47. #
    Meghan @ The Tasty Fork — March 21, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

    Oooh taping songs!! Thank god for CDs…and then itunes!


  48. #
    Jenna @ — March 21, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

    I LOVE salmon and am always looking for new ways to make it. Definitely pinning this!


  49. #
    Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen — March 21, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

    Ohhh the zig zag part. That just made me look like I had a scalp full of cowlicks. Not cute.

    This salmon looks amazing! I actually made your toasted sesame ginger salmon a couple weeks ago and it was awesome. Have you considered writing an all-salmon cookbook? :)


  50. #
    Becca — March 21, 2013 @ 6:40 pm

    I totally asked this before, but then then didn’t check back soon enough and forgot what post I asked it on… So I ask again:

    Do you do your own food photography, Jessica? Because it’s always so lovely (and I ask because I’m a photographer myself!)



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