Baked Salmon with Lemon Caper Butter


Baked Salmon with Lemon Caper Butter

May in the Northwest means the start of salmon season and as a result wild salmon is available pretty much everywhere. So when my friend mentioned to me that I didn’t have enough fish recipes on my blog, I figured now was the perfect time to do some experimenting. For this recipe, I simply seasoned salmon fillets with salt and pepper and placed lemon slices on top before baking them in the oven. Once they were perfectly cooked, I topped them with a quick lemon caper butter.

I was very tempted to use the coveted Copper River Salmon for this recipe but I couldn’t bring myself to pay $30.00 a pound so I decided to go with the Wild Alaskan King Salmon, which was a little less expensive but still has a wonderful,  buttery flavor.

  • Serves 2
  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:


  • 2 (5 ounce) salmon fillets
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 4 lemon slices
  • non-stick spray

Lemon Caper Butter

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons capers drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • juice of 1/2 of a lemon
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick spray.
  3. Place salmon fillets on the prepared baking sheet. (Note: I don't like the bones so I remove them. Some use needle-nose pliers, I used my finger nails but it did take me a little while). Sprinkle fillets with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Place 2 lemon slices on top of each fillet. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and tent with aluminum foil for 10 more minutes. Fish will continue to cook during this time. It will flake easily when done.
  4. While salmon is cooking, in a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Once butter has melted add garlic, capers, lemon zest and lemon juice. Cook for 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Remove lemon slices and discard. Gently slide a turner or serving spatula between the skin and the flesh of the fillet to remove the skin, it should separate very easily. Transfer fillet to a serving platter and spoon lemon caper butter over the top. Serve.

Ryan took one bite of this salmon and said "This is really good! I didn't know I liked salmon so much!" He then quickly devoured the rest of his portion and a little of mine. I hope you all enjoy it just as much! :) Enjoy!

  • GrilledShane

    In my opinion, capers and salmon is a match made in heaven. They just go so well together! If it weren’t so late, and for the fact that I don’t have any salmon, I would go make this right now. Your photo is making my mouth water!

  • Barbara

    I’ll have to try that. Sounds yummy! We often serve salmon, and one of our favorite ways is with a Dijon-Green Peppercorn Sauce. I am always on the lookout for a great salmon recipe since the fish is so good and so good for you.

  • Carrie

    This looks like such a delicious and summery salmon meal!

  • Marta

    I’ve heard Wild Alaskan is fantastic, I’ve never found it in my store though :(
    This looks lovely, lemony, salty, caper-y, delicious!
    I wish I had worked in a restaurant like you, you must have been exposed to so many cool ingredients and techniques! Sometimes I fantasize about taking a part time job at a restaurant, just for fun, but then I realize I have no free time!

  • Natalie

    I just made this for lunch and love it!

  • Deseree

    Marta: While I only worked in the front of the house as a server and host and didn’t get to do any actually cooking at the restaurant, I did get to know many of the guys in the kitchen so they would give me tips and pointers because they knew how much I loved to cook. I second the desire to take a part-time job at a restaurant, sometimes I miss the hussle and bustle of it all. But then again, I enjoy having my weekends and holidays off.

    Thanks for letting me know you made this Natalie! I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it!

  • Deseree

    I agree Shane, there is just something so delicious about the combination of capers and salmon.:)
    That Dijon-Green Peppercorn Sauce sounds delicious Barbara!
    Thanks Carrie!

  • Mrs. L

    I’m trying to incorporate fish once a week for dinner (something I’m not fond of but my husband is). I like the sound of the caper butter. Maybe if I make twice the amount of the butter I can deal with the salmon!

  • Deseree

    haha Mrs. L. Just like bacon, butter makes everything better :)

  • Kevin

    This is one of my favorite way to serve fish! The lemon caper butter flavour combo is so good!

  • Cyndi

    Your blog site was recommended by my daughter over on “Mindy’s Mouthful” on her Rising Stars list for your Strawberry Lemonade. I was impressed by your site and decided to check out a few of your recipes, including this one. I’m not a fan of salmon, but I love capers and the lemon butter sounded wonderful. I had some tilapia on hand and decided, why not?? It was wonderful!! Thank you so much for a new go-to fish sauce at my house!
    I also figured while I was feeling adventurous, I’d try your Fried Caprese Bites. They were excellent and surprisingly went well with the fish. The tomatoes/basil were a refreshing contrast in tastes with the rest of the meal. My husband loved it all, although he would have loved the salmon too!

  • Deseree

    Thank you for your nice comments Cyndi and thank you to your daughter for mentioning my blog on her blog, that was very nice of her :) I bet this would be delicious on tilapia. I just love tilapia. It is one of my favorite pieces of fish, the flavor is so light and goes with almost well with pretty much anything.

    I am glad to hear that you and your husband also liked the Fried Caprese Bites. It sounds like a great meal combination :)

  • Anne

    Discovered this recipie a few days ago and had to try it! Cooked it today and it was wonderful. Have already written it into my handwritten book of gathered recipies. So I will make it again and again. :)

    Thank you very much!

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  • http://na Shaveta

    this recipe is fantastic! everyone loved it so much. It tasted just like the salmon we eat when we go out to cheesecake factory. Thank you so much!!!

  • Karen

    I absolutely ADORE salmon, but I ALWAYS over cook it and had finally and sadly resigned myself to the fact that if I want perfectly cooked salmon I’d have to have someone ELSE prepare it. But I really had an uncontrollable hankering over the New Year weekend AND my market had a killer deal on fresh salmon… After much anxiety and fretting and searching loads of recipes online, I settled on this one. Couldn’t have been simpler and it came out PERFECT! I served it with the lemon butter caper sauce (to DIE for) over orzo – unbelievably delicious! I just finished the last of it for lunch and can not wait to make this again! Deseree, thank you SOOOO very much for this post! I am in HEAVEN!

  • Deseree

    You’re welcome Karen! I too used to have hard time with salmon coming out super dry. But sometimes you just gotta keep trying. I’m glad you didn’t give up and I’m glad you liked this recipe. And I love that you served it over orzo. I might have to try that next time :)

  • Molly

    Well I made this recipe with the Copper River Salmon (on sale) and it was delightful. We moved away from the NW recently and this was a nostalgic dinner. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Kelli H (Made in Sonoma)

    Made this recipe tonight. SO easy and SO tasty! I’ll definitely be sharing this recipe!

  • Michael Fleischhauer

    I noticed that in your recipe you were “tempted to use the coveted Copper River Salmon”…
    GOOD FOR YOU!!! for not using it! Those fish are no better than any other “wild Alaskan salmon”…
    They simply had a GREAT marketing plan and they have an early return of fish. They are generally the first fresh salmon available in the season, but are WAAAAAY overpriced. Do yourself (and your audience!) a favor: don’t push too hard on the “Copper River” mystique. It’s just marketing for early fish.

    P.S. I loved this recipe!

  • Michael Fleischhauer

    I live in Juneau, Alaska and eat fresh fish regularly during the season. We are fortunate enough to be able to buy fish directly from the fishers!

  • Heather

    I absolutely LOVE this recipe! I have made it again & again…… it is sooooo gooood.

  • Deseree

    Thanks Heather!

  • Sandy

    Oh Des! That was delicious! I wanted to prepare salmon using fresh lemons from my parents tree (Central Florida – Legoland area), and your recipe was awesome! I only prepared one filet, but did not reduce the sauce recipe. Instead, I swirled my peas in the remaining sauce, while in the sauce pan, after having bathed my salmon with the capers and half the sauce. Sided with butternut squash leftovers from last night. While I was on the lemon theme, I made a (2) Lemon Drop cocktail(s), too! Now, waiting for the odd December weather to roll through tonight (80+ degrees and possible tornados?). Thank you for your inspiration and direction!

  • Fairy

    Hi Des, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this simple but lovely recipe. I was looking for a very easy baked salmon recipe and wow I have to say, I like this one a lot! I’ve made it twice in a week, and tonight I had it with cooked quinoa (an experiment since this is the first time I’m trying quinoa) and a side of salad, it was wonderful! Thank you again.

  • Anu

    Loved this recipe! So simple yet really flavourful ! A must have in everybody’s recipe box! Ty!

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  • Cecilia

    This was delicious. I ate it with asparagus and sweet potatoes. The sauce and the potatoes went very well together.

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  • Debi Welch

    To imitate a recipe I’ve enjoyed in Gruene, Texas, I added marinated artichoke hearts, sliced kalamata olives, sliced sliced pepperoncini peppers, marinated tomatoes, mushrooms and grilled shrimp to the sauce. Thanks for giving me the base to arrive at a dish similar to one I enjoyed so much which was removed from the menu. I’m sure it’s delicious without all the extra but, I seriously needed a fix to that recipe I’d been craving. Thanks!

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  • Lauren Fenlon

    Absolutely amazing!

  • rain.drop

    Absolutely delicious! Thank you for this recipe :)

  • Des @ Life’s Ambrosia

    You’re welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • Des @ Life’s Ambrosia

    Thank you!!

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A little bit about me...

My name is Des. I’m a Mom to Kellan and Preston. Wife to Ryan. Dog mom to Pumpkin and lover of all things food. Whether it is cooking it, eating it, shopping for it or watching TV about it, food is one of my favorite things. Read more »

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