This Gochujang Salmon is deliciously savory- if you enjoy Korean food, you'll love this recipe. And, it takes less than 10 minutes to cook, perfect for weeknight dinners! (I've tested both the pan fried and broiled versions, and offer directions for both, as well as advice on which is "better"! Basically do pan fried for crispy skin and broiled for nice charred bits.)
⭐ Why This Recipe is a Star
- Korean Gochujang Salmon is delicious: the umamilicious sauce is full of flavor. When pan-fried, the skin has a wonderfully crisp crackle whilst, when broiled, the salmon has lovely charred bits.
- Quick and easy: this Korean-inspired recipe only requires a few simple ingredients and done in 10 minutes! It's also relatively healthy as salmon contains essential fatty acids.
- Very Versatile: the glaze works with many other ingredients, not just salmon! From a dip for French fries to a sauce for cod, chicken and tofu, you can make many dishes with this 1 recipe! (Make sure to boil the leftover marinade to kill germs before using it as a dip or, if that's too trouble, use this easy gochujang butter instead.)
You only need a few simple ingredients:
- Salmon Fillets: I recommend leaving the skin on as it keeps the flesh from drying out. If using frozen, thaw overnight in the chiller.
- Gochujang Paste: This Korean condiment is so widely used now you can find it in the Asian foods section of regular supermarkets. If not, check out the Asian grocery store, especially ones like H Mart.
- Sesame Oil: The sesame oil used for Korean dishes is the dark toasted kind. (Amber color, usually comes in a dark bottle.) Don't get the light untoasted version by mistake!
- Honey: you can substitute with sugar or maple syrup. In fact, if you're using honey for its health benefits, you may want to substitute with the cheaper sugar as heating honey is thought to destroy its health-giving properties.
- Rice Vinegar: this is to add acidity to cut through the savory paste. You can use Lemon Juice, White Wine Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar as substitutes. Don't go overboard with the vinegar, or it will break down the salmon flesh and make it mushy when marinating.
- Light Soy Sauce: Not to be confused with Dark Soy Sauce, Thick Soy Sauce or Sweet Soy Sauce! Although there are slight differences in flavor, you can use either the Korean, Japanese or Chinese light soy sauce.
- Ginger: you can also add garlic if you want but I feel the recipe doesn't need it (Also fresh garlic burns easily so may be an issue when broiling.)
What is Gochujang?
It's a fermented Korean red chili paste, made from Korean chilis, which tastes sweet, savory, a little spicy and is full of umami! To find out more about gochujang (고추장), click here.
It's used in many Korean dishes, such as tteokbokki, and has become very popular in fusion cuisine, such as Gochujang Dressing for Baked Butternut Squash, Gochujang Korean Pasta, Gochujang Mayonnaise etc!
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
Method for Crispy Skin Salmon
- Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce till well-mixed.
2. Pat the skin of the salmon very dry with paper towels. (If not, the skin won't crisp up!)
3a. Place the salmon flesh side down in the sauce, being careful not to get the sauce onto the skin.
3b. Place in the fridge for 1 hour to further dry out the skin. Don't leave it too long or the flesh will turn mushy.
4a. Heat up some oil in a pan on medium high till shimmering then press the salmon skin down and turn the heat down to medium.
Note: You will need to use a spatula to apply force as the fish may buckle up (or press down with your hand but be careful there will be some oil splatter.) Press for 10 seconds.
4b. Leave the salmon to cook undisturbed for 7 minutes approximately- this will depend on the thickness of the cut. It should have turned opaque till ¾ of the way up.
4c. Flip the salmon so the skin now faces up and cook for another 1½minutes or till cooked through.
Serve skin side up and enjoy!
Note: the method for getting crispy skin is adapted from RecipeTinEats.
For Gochujang Glazed Salmon
If you want those nice charred bits on your salmon, skip the pan and broil instead.
- Place a rack in the upper third of oven (about 5-7 inches from the top); preheat the broiler on high.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with oil or cooking spray. (Do NOT use parchment paper or too much. oil as it may catch fire! However, the oil is essential to prevent the skin from sticking.)
- Place the salmon skin down on the foil and coat the flesh with the gochujang marinade.
- Broil till cooked: the time depends on the thickness of the fillet, but is usually 5-8 minutes. (For medium salmon, the internal temperature should be 130-140F; 120F (wild salmon)/125F (farmed salmon) for medium rare. 145F for well done.) During the last few minutes, check in on the salmon as the sugars in the glaze burn super quickly.
- Let it rest for a few minutes before cutting into it!
Note: broiling works well if you want to serve a larger whole fillet that can be divided up at the dining table.
How to serve
Boil down the rest of the marinade to kill the bacteria inside, then use the extra to brush over your cooked salmon. (Or you can use it as a sauce for Spam fries!)
This Korean salmon recipe is delicious served with white rice, and maybe some ssam lettuce wraps or banchan to make it a healthier meal. Garnish with sliced scallions and lightly toasted sesame seeds.
If I am broiling, I use the time that the salmon spends in the oven to make a quick cucumber salad which goes very well with this dish.
🥡 How to Store
This spicy salmon dish tastes best freshly cooked!
If you have extras, store in an airtight container in the fridge. I recommend reheating by steaming to keep the flesh tender. However, do note that the skin will no longer be crispy!
Tip: You may want to remove the skin and pan fry that to crisp it up, whilst steaming the fish meat.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
Tip #1: Buy the Gochujang that is labelled as a "paste" (there is a different type that is a "sauce" which usually comes in a squeeze tube.) Korean Gochujang Paste usually comes in a rectangular red tub.
Tip #2: I prefer using wild-caught salmon for health reasons, however, it is much more expensive and the flesh also has less fat inside, so can be easy to overcook. (It cooks more quickly.) (Farmed salmon is dyed to give it its color and there have been concerns about lice and overuse of antibiotics!)
Tip #3: Even if you don't like fish skin, don't take it off if using wild salmon, as it helps keep the fish moist. (You can always remove it after cooking if it really annoys you!)
💭 Recipe FAQs
Thawed raw salmon in the fridge should be consumed within 1-2 days whilst thawed cooked salmon can be stored for 2-4 days.
Around 3-4 ounces (85-113g) of salmon per one person serving is ideal.
Raw salmon should be left to come to room temperature before cooking (10-15 minutes) but not for too long (food safety.) Definitely don't let the salmon sit out for more than 2 hours (even less for some warmer climates!)
Yes you can but it should be consumed within 3 months of freezing or the quality of the meat will deteriorate.
🥗 Other Korean Recipes
Enjoyed this easy Baked Gochujang Salmon Recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card below! If you REALLY liked this Korean-inspired seafood dish, please consider supporting it by buying me a coffee! 🙂 (No obligation though!) Thank you and have a great day!
Gochujang Salmon (Pan-Fried vs Broiled)
- Pan and spatula OR broiler
- Whisk and large bowl
- Paper towels
- 3 Salmon Fillet Leave the Skin on. Use wild caught for health reasons if you can afford it but note the flesh will be a little firmer and drier.
- 2 Tablespoons Korean Gochujang Paste See here for gochujang substitutes but as Gochujang is the main ingredient of this dish, I don't recommend replacing it!
- 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Honey
- 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon light Soy Sauce
- Fresh ginger ½ inch thick, minced or grated
For Crispy Skin Salmon
- Whisk the ingredients for the sauce (everything but the salmon, oil for coating and garnishes) till well-mixed.
- Use paper towels to make the skin of the salmon very dry but be careful not to tear it. You need dry skin to get it nice and crisp!
- Place the salmon flesh side down in the sauce, being careful not to get the sauce onto the skin.
- Place in the fridge for 1 hour to further dry out the skin. Don't leave it too long or the flesh will turn mushy.
- Rub olive oil over the dry skin of the salmon. (⅕ teaspoon per fillet should do the trick.)
- Heat up some oil in a pan on medium high till shimmering then press the salmon skin down and turn the heat down to medium. Note: You will need to use a spatula to apply force as the fish may buckle up (or press down with your hand but be careful there will be some oil splatter.) Press for 10 seconds.
- Leave the salmon to cook undisturbed for 7 minutes approximately- this will depend on the thickness of the cut. It should have turned opaque till ¾ of the way up.
- Flip the salmon so the skin now faces up and cook for another 1½minutes or till cooked through.Serve skin side up and enjoy! You may want to garnish with sesame seeds etc and more of the (cooked) marinade as a sauce!
- If you want those nice charred bits on your salmon, skip the pan and broil instead. Note: broiling works well if you want to serve a larger whole fillet that can be divided up at the dining table.
- Place a rack in the upper third of oven (about 5-7 inches from there top); preheat the broiler on high.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with oil or cooking spray. (Do NOT use parchment paper or too much. oil as it may catch fire!)
- Place the salmon skin down on the foil and coat the flesh with the gochujang marinade.Broil till cooked: the time depends on the thickness of the fillet, but is usually 5-8 minutes. Note: During the last few minutes, check in on the salmon as the sugars in the glaze burn super quickly.Let it rest for a few minutes before cutting into it!
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