Maple Pecan Salmon

If you are like me, when it comes to salmon (or other seafood, for that matter) you might be a little choosy with recipes, since good-quality, affordable salmon may not be widely available where you live. When I lived in landlocked Northern Minnesota, that was certainly the case for me.

But since salmon ranks high up there with foods I love with my whole soul, when I make it, I often stick with my tried-and-true recipes. My anti-risk taking personality might have something to do with that.

I took a risk trying this recipe because it clearly didn’t fit into salmon recipes I’ve tried and loved before, but I trust my friend, Michelle, who gave it to me and know she has great food taste. Don’t you love knowing people like that? Me, too.

I’m here to say that the risk was well worth the taking. In fact, I think this salmon is my all-time favorite preparation so far. The fish marinates in a simple maple mixture complimented with a few savory flavors and is then crusted with toasted pecans, a bit of salt and baked to golden deliciousness.

What To ServeI am hereby in love with maple marinades. A perfect, perfect flavor profile for my beloved salmon. I served this with steamed broccoli and the ever-fantastic golden skillet potatoes. Winner, winner salmon dinner.

Maple Pecan Salmon

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Maple Pecan Crusted Salmon

Yield: Serves 6

Maple Pecan Crusted Salmon


  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds salmon fillets
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • Salt for sprinkling
  • Fresh lemon wedges for serving


  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and ground mustard. Stir over medium heat until the mixture is warmed through, 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
  2. While the marinade is cooling, pour the pecans into a dry skillet and heat over medium heat, tossing frequently, until golden and toasted. Remove from heat; let the pecans cool to room temperature and then chop finely.
  3. Place the salmon fillets in a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Pour the maple marinade over the salmon, coating the salmon pieces evenly. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  5. Place the toasted, chopped pecans on a plate or shallow pie dish. Remove the salmon from the refrigerator. Dip the top side of each salmon fillet in the pecan crumbs pressing the salmon lightly into the pecans so they adhere to the top of the salmon. Place the fillets pecan-side up on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Sprinkle the salmon with a pinch of salt.
  7. Bake the salmon for 20-22 minutes until cooked through but still tender inside (not overcooked). The salmon should flake easily with a fork but still be soft and not dry.
  8. Serve immediately with fresh lemon wedges.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Michelle (omitted brown sugar from marinade, simplified baking instructions)

54 Responses to Maple Pecan Crusted Salmon

  1. Emily says:

    I’m late to the party but I had a quick question. I have some family who don’t care for salmon, but most do. Do you think I can do this recipe with chicken as well?

  2. tiffany says:

    Hi, I’m wondering what happens if I marinate it overnight instead of only 4 hours? Or is this also acceptable?
    Thank you!

  3. Jason says:

    Hi Mel, Thank you so much for all of these amazing meals!! I just thought you might like to know that the new video ads make the webpages load painfully slow. I’m not sure if others are experiencing this as well, but it makes it really hard to get to all of your amazing recipes.
    Just thought you might like to know, thanks again!

  4. Melanie says:

    I made this tonight with some wild Alaskan salmon that my dad caught on a fishing trip, as well as some real maple syrup that a friend in northern MN made. I have never had toasted pecans on top of my salmon, and I’m hooked! The marinade was delicious, and the pecans were the icing on the cake. I may even toast the pecans with a little sugar next time to candy them some, because I love sweet salmon. Too bad my daughter became overly feverish and slightly delirious during supper, so I had to abandon half of my salmon to take care of her. She is doing well now, but in the mean time my husband ate the rest of my fish! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! The many joys of motherhood…

  5. Sunnysonny says:

    Made this for my husband who loves salmon. Absolutely delicious! This is definitely a keeper! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Marta says:

    Today I made it with walnuts instead of pecans. It was delicious 🙂 I’ll be adding more grounded mustard next time, but maybe it was because I had to ground it myself.

  7. Ava says:

    Fantastic. It needed a few extra minutes in my oven…

  8. Food Recipes | Food Recipes says:

    […] Maple Pecan Crusted Salmon | Mel's Kitchen Cafe you are like me, when it comes to salmon (or other seafood, for that matter) you: a) are very choosy with recipes since salmon isn't. […]

  9. Jodi says:

    Wow, this was amazing! We had it tonight with your golden skillet potatoes. So, so delicious! My marinade also started to get a little stiff and not as liquidy the longer it sat getting cool. I was thinking next time I will probably not let it sit as long before I pour it over the salmon. But it was still SO good. Thanks for this recipe!

  10. JennyP says:

    Made this tonight with salmon fillets. Wonderful! My husband, who is not a fan of salmon, ate every last bite. Thanks for another great one, Mel! Going to have some dessert now – your chocolate frosted brownies, yum!

  11. […] Photo/recipe courtesy of: Mel’s Kitchen Café […]

  12. Gabbie says:

    Hey Mel, I’m absolutely hopeless at cooking, but the salmon turned out REALLY delicious. thank you so much for sharing this recipe!! it’s officialy foolproof. 🙂

  13. Meghan says:

    My marinade got hardish too like Kirsten’s. Totally weird and not very spreadable at all! I hope it turns out. I only had a little bit of real maple syrup so I mixed it with the fake stuff which is maybe where I went wrong!

  14. Arlie says:

    It’s awesome to pay a visit this site and reading the views
    of all friends on the topic of this post, while I am also keen of getting knowledge.

  15. Kirsten Smith says:

    Ok so I tried this recipe and had a problem with the marinade turning hard almost like hardening caramel. Is this totally weird? It wasn’t liquid-y really. Did I have it over the oven too long? It’s in the oven now so I hope it turns out! Luckily I bought my salmon on sale (which also makes me worried ;), but if its not good then it’s not a total loss.

    • Mel says:

      Kirsten – that is strange about the marinade. I hope it turned out ok. My guess is that maybe it got over cooked in the warming stage.

  16. Amanda Zentefis says:

    Loved this dish! Marinated the fish for a little more then an hour, and it had great flavor, but still want to try for the full four hours and see if the maple flavor comes through even stronger. The pecans were my favorite part, my husband didn’t like the pecans as much so he was picking some off, but still loved the flavor of the fish (and I was eating the pecans he was picking off!) Another winner, I love knowing that any recipe I choose from here is going to be delicious!!

  17. Katie says:

    when trying a new recipe in our home, we like to rate our meals. ABC for the type of dish and ABC for the taste. According to the hubbs, any fish is always in a B/C category, cause really, when compared to steak, its just a no brainer. However, this dish got an A+ in a B category, which I can say has never, ever happened. And your honey lime tilapia comes in second with an A in B 🙂 It is really lovely! Perfect for entertaining/impressing…and I even forgot the lemon wedges. The kids, eh, not so much, which surprised me because of the sweetness…but this is a keeper and as their tastes mature, they will appreciate one day!

  18. Chris says:

    We eat salmon about once a week at our house (usually grilled) but decided to try this recipe last week because it looked so good. It did not disappoint! Loved, loved, loved the slight sweetness with the toasted pecans. My girls were a little skeptical of the pecans on top of their fish, but after one bite not another word was heard until their plates were empty!

  19. Craig says:

    Excellent! Excellent! Excellent!

    Even my wife who has never had salmon before was willing to give it a try (I’m trying to get her to eat more fish) simply because of the maple syrup. One bite and she said, “Pretty Good”.

    And while I love eating salmon, I often consider it a fishy tasting fish (if not cooked properly) and if you are trying to get someone to eat more fish then salmon isn’t the fish to get them started on (typically haddock or cod as they are mild). But this topping did the trick for this cut of fish!

    Highly recommended!

  20. Rebecca says:

    I plan to try this next week, if I can get to Sams, which is also where I buy my salmon! We try to eat fish as often as practical, but my husband isnt really that into salmon, I’m hoping this will convince him!

  21. MeganRuth says:

    I’m making salmon for Father’s Day per husband request. This sounds delicious, do you think the flavors would work alright if cooked on the grill with a cedar plank?

    • Mel says:

      MeganRuth – I’ve never cooked salmon on a cedar plank (although I’ve had it at a restaurant) so I’m not an expert in those flavors but it’s worth a try.

  22. Tiffany says:

    I just bought some salmon today! I forgot to ask the butcher to cut the skin off, though. Can I cook it with the skin still on?! Can’t wait to try this recipe!

    • Mel says:

      Tiffany – try cooking it skin-side down (so put the pecans on the other side) and after cooking, the salmon should come right off the skin.

  23. denise says:

    when in arizona i had a wonderful dish-sesame encrusted salmon-any chance sesame seeds would work in place if the pecans?

    • Mel says:

      Denise (and others) – you could definitely experiment with other kinds of nuts/seeds for this salmon. I haven’t tried it with any variations but I’m sure it could work. Good luck!

  24. Stacey says:

    Trying this tonight!!!!!!

  25. Angela says:

    Hi Mel, do you think that other nuts may work okay or would we be missing out on the real star of the show? (we have everything else, just not the pecans) Thanks for your insight!

  26. Mostly i like to eat salmon with lemon and dill, The flavors of lemon and dill really complement the fish. I like to use wild Alaskan salmon.

  27. Donna Bridges says:

    Mel did you modify recipe to exclude brown sugar or did you forget it in the ingredient list? My butter is melted so I’m going to assume I need to add it.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Donna (and others) – it was just a mistake in the recipe. I’ve fixed it. The original recipe called for 1 teaspoon brown sugar which I found was unnecessary so I omitted it when I made this salmon and just forgot to take it out of the directions.

  28. Shelley says:

    You’ll be horrified to hear I paid $29.99 a pound for wild king salmon yesterday. It’s my fav, it’s a short season and I grew up in Oregon where it was cheap and everyone had a neighbor who caught it all the time. And that may have been *cough* a million or so years ago. Now I’m in Texas. Good fish is expensive! Other poster is right; walleye is awesome – best fry fish ever!

  29. Sheila says:

    Served this salmon tonight for supper and it was delicious! I made your Best Baked Mancotti (outstanding) this past weekend with the Cornmeal Crescents rolls. Chipotle Chicken Skewers and Berries on a Cloud are on the menu for Father’s Day. Mel, I too am now convinced. Through your influence, exceptional mentoring style, and all your hard work, I am slowly being elevated to “a rockstar in the kitchen”! Who knew?

  30. Natalie says:

    Where do you get your salmon? Do you buy frozen?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Natalie – I buy it at Sam’s Club when I can get there (it’s 2 hours away) or I buy frozen fillets. I prefer wild-caught but ooh, boy is it ever pricey. I’ve had bad luck with some frozen varieties so I try to stick with the salmon from Sam’s when I can.

  31. Karen says:

    I think in the instructions #1 you wrote cook until the sugar dissolves but you didn’t have sugar in your recipe.

  32. This is awesome, Mel! I’m always looking for ways to jazz up salmon and I would love to try this!

  33. Tammy says:

    I have a hard time deviated from my favorite ways to cook salmon, but I’m sold.

  34. Susan Sunde says:

    Hi Mel! Love your site! I was wondering how many people the salmon recipe serves. Since it calls for two to two and a half pounds of salmon, I’m guessing it feeds five or six people. Am I close? Thanks in advance for your response.

  35. megan rich says:

    Wondering how it goes grilling as I live in phoenix and can’t think of turning the oven on at dinner time. Sounds delicious!

  36. Stefan says:

    “Winner, winner salmon dinner.”

    Hahaha yes! That line nearly had me fall out of my chair. Well played! I think I might have to try this recipe tonight. I’m not gonna bake it though, as I live in very unfavorable baking weather. I’ve got the mind to just throw it on the grill, on top of some cedar planks.

  37. Tahnycooks says:

    These are some of my favorite flavor combination! Love pecans! Great recipe!

  38. Jo says:

    Northern Minnesota may not have salmon, but “the land of 10,000 lakes” has the most amazing walleye! Would love to know how you prepare walleye?

  39. Rebecca Roe Hale says:

    I don’t care for pancakes. Why is this relevant, you ask? Well, since I don’t care for pancakes I don’t care much about syrup quality, so I just buy the fake stuff for my kids. Except two months ago I bought the real maple stuff at Costco because I had seen a recipe online I wanted to try and figured the fake stuff just wouldn’t do. And then I promptly forgot which recipe that was, so the poor maple syrup has just been hanging out, all alone, with no purpose. But this was the recipe! Obviously I didn’t see it on your site first, but thank you so much for posting!

  40. Terry A. says:

    I’ll have to try this. We love salmon around here.

    I tried both Tummy Cafe links. The first one went to the site’s main page, and the second went to the specific recipe, so both links worked for me.

  41. shatha says:

    hey mel, thanks for the great recipe, but the link to the funny tummy cafe is wrong, just thought i’d tell you , ohh and the golden skillet potatoes are glorious, love love looovvee them 😀

  42. Mel,
    We just had this again on Sunday (asked Ty to make it for my birthday dinner) and we all love it. I’m so glad you found it blog worthy! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  43. Kim in MD says:

    I love salmon and i am also very choosy about it. I only eat wild salmon, and I also tend to stick to tried and true recipes. This maple marinated salmon sounds amazing, and if it’s your new favorite salmon recipe I know I will feel the same way about it!

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