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. #
    Marcie @ Flavor the Moments — March 21, 2013 @ 7:37 pm

    I make a salmon like this often. It’s the perfect quick dinner, and it’s so fabulous over salad!


  2. #
    Nutmeg Nanny — March 21, 2013 @ 8:19 pm

    Lovely photography here :)
    looks like a wonderful fusion of flavors, my husband would thoroughly enjoy this.


  3. #
    Katie — March 21, 2013 @ 11:14 pm

    ohmuhgosh, the ZIG-ZAG PART! I would have forgotten alllll about that if it wasn’t for this post.


  4. #
    Buttons — March 22, 2013 @ 12:29 am

    My sister could do an amazing zigzag part, mine was more just a staggered, non-pointy zigzag if I had to do it myself, if that makes sense? I also made sweet mixtapes that took ages to make because I had to wait to hear the song on the radio, and they took for-freaking-ever to play requests, and then undoubtedly I would miss it. Your salmon looks delicious, I really want to start eating fish more regularly. I’ve never been very happy with salmon I’ve made myself but I love it! I’ll have to give this a try :)


  5. #
    Lily Rose — March 22, 2013 @ 8:23 am

    Oh, yummy. I’ll make this tonight. I love salmon (and trout) as well. My favourite combination so far has been pure maple sugar + coriander seeds + mustard seeds + coarse sea salt + black pepper, finely ground then rubbed on the fish, bothnsides (I remove the skin frm the fillets) but I’m certainly ready for a change!


  6. #
    Amanda — March 22, 2013 @ 9:37 am

    This may be a silly novice question, but do you leave the oven door open when broiling?


    • Jessica — March 22nd, 2013 @ 10:32 am

      i actually do not, but i know many people recommend that. i know my broiler pretty well by now though so i feel comfortable keeping the door closed?


  7. #
    Ro — March 22, 2013 @ 9:53 am



  8. #
    Amanda — March 22, 2013 @ 9:53 am

    We love our salmon too, we’re going to have to try this recipe :) Thanks!


  9. #
    Gloria @ Simply Gloria — March 22, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

    My family loves salmon! I can’t wait to try this recipe with my kids! (=


  10. #
    Colette @ JFF! — March 22, 2013 @ 12:49 pm

    That first pic is my plate, right?


  11. #
    Michele West — March 22, 2013 @ 1:08 pm

    I make a salmon like this often with the addition of chili powder and I glaze it with maple syrup at the end! We too eat it once a week;)


  12. #
    Larry Gaian (@BBQGrail) — March 22, 2013 @ 8:53 pm

    This recipe would adapt quite well to using wood planks on the grill. Thanks for the inspiration.



  13. #
    Lindsay — March 23, 2013 @ 12:25 am

    Do you have any salmon buying tips? I have never been into salmon but I really want to be! I went to my natural food grocery store last week and they only had farmed salmon in the fresh case. So I bought a frozen Alaskan wild salmon filet. I marinated it within an inch of its life and grilled it, but it still tasted really fishy. (Yeah, I’m one of those people who prefers that my fish not taste like fish.) What kind do you buy??


  14. #
    Deborah Carlson — March 23, 2013 @ 9:34 am

    It looks so scrumptious!
    Thank you for the recipe and the great photos you’ve captured!
    I’ m going to pass this on to my family as well…my brother is a great cook and loves salmon as well!
    Always love to hear what you’re cooking up and giggling at your cute sense of humour!

    All my heart,
    Deborah xo


  15. #
    Anne — March 23, 2013 @ 10:06 pm

    Wow. I’ve been cooking salmon for years since it’s a regular staple here in B.C. and I’ve made it with brown sugar topping, which I learned in New Zealand. I have to say that the addition of the spices made an incredible difference. This is now my “go to” salmon prep. Thanks so much.


  16. #
    Bernadette @ Now Stir It Up — March 24, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

    I love how easy you make salmon. And I love that you mentioned zig–zag parts… brought me waaay back. I swear I spent hours in the mirror trying to perfect mine, even though it never worked with my curly hair.


  17. #
    Tara — March 25, 2013 @ 8:47 am

    Sooo, I made this and OMG….probably some of the best salmon I’ve ever eaten, and my bf loved it! Made “flt’s” with the leftovers :)


  18. #
    Ross @ TheFaceBaby — March 26, 2013 @ 12:31 am

    Are those blueberries and slivered almonds on there?! This salad needs to find a place in my lunchbox. Like, now.

    And then again next week.


  19. #
    Sara Shedlosky — March 26, 2013 @ 4:33 pm

    Yum!!! Can’t wait to try this one! Did you know a new episode of Nashville is FINALLY on tomorrow?! It’s about freakin time!!!!


  20. #
    natalya — March 27, 2013 @ 4:20 pm

    Wow, this looks amazing. I want to make this salmon.


  21. #
    Anna Chandler — April 1, 2013 @ 11:01 pm

    Jessica, another phenomenal dish! In my novice cooking mind I learned that as it bakes fast it will also burn fast! Delicious and so simple though, thank you!


  22. #
    Lara — April 16, 2013 @ 8:10 pm

    As it turns out, brown sugar is highly flammable. Whoops.


  23. #
    Sacha (@zigged) — May 7, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

    This may have been the most delicious way I have ever prepared salmon at home. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!


  24. #
    Christine — June 2, 2013 @ 9:18 pm

    Followed the directions exactly and ended up with salmon briquettes and a house full of smoke!


  25. #
    Olga — August 15, 2013 @ 1:58 am

    This salmon was fantastic and required zero planning in advance. Served it with long grain rice. The leftovers will be perfect for lunch tomorrow!!


  26. #
    Jennie — December 2, 2013 @ 11:51 pm

    This was delicious! I used fillets from a very large trout I caught, and served it with baked sweet potatoes and sauteed zucchini. My smoked paprika was the hot kind, so I think next time I’ll double that and leave out the crushed red pepper. Very delicious.


  27. #
    Sam — February 18, 2014 @ 8:32 pm

    Well, my salmon just caught on fire. Maybe too close?


  28. #
    Janine — August 23, 2014 @ 8:33 am

    I made this last night and it was delicious! I have always been nervous to broil salmon because I thought I would burn it. Your tips on how to do it were spot on and I had a delicious salmon salad.


  29. #
    Lauren Rose — April 13, 2015 @ 12:55 pm

    My husband and I are newlyweds. We have been trying out recipes during our first year of marriage. Successful recipes are added to “the list” and included in the meal rotation. The first thing my husband said after he took his first bite of this dish was “please add this to the list.” I should also add that the list is largely recipes I have gotten from your website.

    This particular dish was super easy to make and absolutely delicious. I highly recommend this for an easy weekenight meal. So yummy!

    By the way-I have requested your cookbook for my birthday. I’m a huge fan! Thanks again for another wonderful recipe!


  30. #
    Blanca — October 19, 2015 @ 3:11 pm

    I made this recipe a few weeks ago and it was unbelievable, a very elegant dish without fuss, good for a weeknight or when you have company over. Adore all your salmon recipes!



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