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How to Cook Whole Salmon in the Oven

  • Author: Cosette's Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 whole fish 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern


Delicious whole Coho Salmon is cooked to perfection in the oven. Filled with Middle Eastern spices and tangy lemon flavor. This recipe is for 2 whole salmons, feel free to adapt to one or make the entire rub and use the excess after fish is cooked.


  • (2) 2.5/3 pound whole salmon – gutted and descaled
  • 4 lemons, divided
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt*
  • 2 teaspoons sumac spice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, about a cup – stems removed
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh dill, about 1/2 cup – stems removed + extra for stuffing in fish.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 whole cloves garlic


  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 C) and place rack in center of oven.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, place the juice of 2 lemons, salt, sumac, Aleppo pepper, black pepper, parsley, dill, olive oil and garlic. Blend on high until a paste or rub forms. Set aside and prepare your fish.
  3. Begin by preparing your fish. Ensure it is gutted and descaled – see process in post.
  4. Line a large sheet pan with heavy duty foil. Place your cleaned fish on the foil and begin by making 4-6 diagonal incisions on each side of the fish. The incisions should be about 1/2″ deep, just enough to be able to allow the herb rub to fill.
  5. Repeat on 2nd fish.
  6. Divide your rub and begin coating the fish with it – apply to the inside of the fish and then exterior, making sure to allow rub to fill each incision. 
  7. Slice your last 2 lemons and insert slices into each fish with some additional dill.
  8. Bake your fish in the middle rack for 20-30 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. The last few minutes you can broil your fish skin for 2-3 minutes to get an extra char. Fish at the thickest point (usually toward the top, just under where head was removed). You want the fish to be between 125°F and 140°F, I aim for about 125°F. 110°F to 125°F (43°C to 52°C ), the fish is medium-rare. Between 125°F and 140°F, it’s medium to well-done. You don’t want it to reach above 140°F (60°C) otherwise it will be overcooked. I love my digital thermometer, a worthy investment for less than $20.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. Serve with pan juices and extra lemon.


**If using salt other than Kosher Salt, half in the recipe

**The marinade/rub can be stored in the fridge up to 5 days – it’s great to use with any protein.

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