Bourbon Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon

Bourbon glazed salmon over rice.

Looking for easy, healthy dinner ideas? How about a brown sugar and bourbon marinade for salmon. The bourbon glaze uses a few pantry staples and this simple glazed salmon is ready in only 20 minutes. Great for busy weeknights.

making bourbon glaze

I did a Facebook poll a while back and asked my Facebook friends what their go-to weeknight dinners were.  Aside from pasta (a solid #1) and baked or rotisserie chicken (#2), it turned out that salmon was a favorite.  No surprise — it’s versatile, healthy, and can come together in minutes.  Perfect for a hectic weeknight.

That’s why this bourbon glazed salmon is a regular on our dinner table too!  If I’ve got extra time, we’ll soak a wood plank and smoke it on the grill or crust it in an avalanche of spice and pan sauté with some tender-crisp veg.  But for the super-quick I-need-to-get-dinner-on-the-table-NOW kind of meal, this is my go-to!

bourbon marinade for salmon.

4 Ingredients For Bourbon Marinade For Salmon

  • Brown Sugar
  • Soy Sauce
  • Garlic
  • Bourbon

Just whisk these pantry staples together for this easy bourbon glaze. It’s that quick.

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fresh salmon fillets

Preparing Glazed Salmon

  1. I like to slice the salmon into portions before cooking because it’s easier to flip and manage in the pan.
  2. Season the salmon and heat a skillet with olive oil.
  3. Cook one side of the salmon for a minute or two, then flip it and add the sauce.
  4.  Cook for another minute or so — I tend to undercook the salmon just slightly to keep it moist in the middle, but if that’s not your style — keep it on the heat a little longer.
pan searing the glazed salmon.

Serve the bourbon glaze over a bed of brown rice with glazed salmon perched on top of the rice. Oh-ma-Gawd!  The sauce is sweet and savory with a smoky bourbon backnote — I know!  Sublime!  And it’s ready in minutes!  It’s dinner’s holy grail!

More Quick and Easy Seafood Recipes:

serving bourbon glaze on a piece of cooked salmon.

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Bourbon Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon
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4.80 from 5 votes

Bourbon Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon

Dinner in a flash! A simple glaze of brown sugar, bourbon and soy is the secret to this mouthwatering dish! It’s your new weeknight staple!
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword salmon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2


  • ovenproof skillet with a tight-fitting lid


For The Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar packed
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons bourbon

For The Fish

  • 12 oz salmon fillets
  • pinch salt
  • pinch pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  • green onions sliced
  • cilantro chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • In a small bowl combine all the ingredients for the glaze and set aside.
  • Sprinkle both sides of the fillets with salt and pepper.
  • Place the pan on the stove and turn on the heat to medium-medium high. When the pan is hot, but not smoking, add the olive oil and rotate the pan to cover with the oil. Add the salmon fillets and cook for one minute. Remove from heat. Carefully flip the salmon and spread each piece with the glaze. Cover with the lid and place in the oven for 5-6 minutes or until desired doneness is reached. Spoon glaze over the fish. Garnish with cilantro and green onions. Serve.


Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 556mg | Potassium: 574mg | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 45IU | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1.1mg

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  1. Janin Johnston says:

    5 stars
    Delicious. This one’s a keeper. I’m always trying new bourbon salmon recipes.
    I made some changes. I added butter to the olive oil. I cooked the salmon in the glaze on the stovetop.

  2. Barbara Fazio says:

    We’re not big salmon lovers because it tends to be overwhelming in density, but this bourbon glaze may just be what we need to take away the heavy oiliness. Do you only use wild salmon? If so, which one?

    1. I’ve never found salmon to be overly dense – however, if it’s overcooked, it can be dry. I always undercook the salmon — knowing that after I take it off the heat, it continues to cook for a minute or so — leaving a very flaky, moist fish. I prefer wild salmon (sockeye and coho are our favorites) but they’re in season in the summer… so I confess, this was an Atlantic farmed fish — but still quite delicious!

  3. I’ve seen brown sugar salmon but never with bourbon- what a genius idea! I bet this tastes amazing- I really need to make this!

    1. I think bourbon has a great flavor – so I use it in several recipes. Check out the blog for more by typing bourbon into the search bar!

  4. 5 stars
    Ugh, love, love, love salmon (and love love love bourbon). Easy and delish, I love it!

  5. Can’t go wrong with your recipe. I don’t know if I’ve ever combined bourbon and cilantro. Sounds very interesting with the combo of outher ingredients.

  6. We love salmon. This is such a beautiful meal. Twenty minutes is less time than it takes to go through the drive-thru for fast food or order a pizza. Take out doesn’t even come close when it comes to taste, nutrition and eye appeal. 🙂

  7. Such a great quick meal! Definitely what I need after the heaviness of holiday cooking. Absolutely love your photos!

    1. Thank you, Tara! We’ve been trying to lighten up after the last few weeks of indulgence — and of course there’s a few more celebrations to go. The key, as always, moderation!

  8. Gosh, tonight I’m making salmon… from Whole Foods. Any tips on how to buy good salmon? What to look for?

    1. If you’re getting it from Whole Foods, it should be good — just smell it to make sure it doesn’t smell fishy. It should smell like the ocean.