This easy recipe for baked salmon with pesto cream sauce takes tender, tasty, flaky salmon, bakes it at the optimal time and temperature, and then smothers it in a delicious, herby, garlicky pesto cream sauce. You’ll never want to put your fork down!
For more baked salmon recipes, head on over to my popular posts for Best Oven Baked Salmon, Baked Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce, and Baked Honey Cilantro Lime Salmon in Foil.
Remember that amazing pesto I made that I couldn’t get enough of and wanted to pour over all the things? Well, after I tried it with pasta, chicken sliders (to try them yourself, check out my Pesto Mozzarella Chicken Sliders), and burgers (yes, I said burgers. Try it on my Garlic Pesto Turkey Burgers!), I knew that my next stop would be baked salmon. But I didn’t want to just pour the sauce on top of the salmon (although that’s terrific), I was in the mood for a cream-based sauce to go along with the pesto. So that’s how this salmon with pesto was created. The method behind the madness if you will.
Why This Recipe Works
Easy – This recipe is as easy as purchasing the salmon fillet, seasoning, cooking on both sides for a minute, adding the pre-made pesto to the sauce, putting the salmon back in, and popping into the oven for about 15 minutes. That’s it!
Healthy – Salmon is one of the healthiest fish out there. Packed full of protein and Omega-3s, this heart-healthy meat choice can really do no wrong, taste-wise, or health-wise!
Quick – Do you have 30 minutes? Then you have plenty of time to make this delicious baked salmon with pesto! (Yes, that includes prep + baking time!)
Great for Meal Prepping – If you are the type to prep meals throughout the week, I can tell you this baked salmon with pesto is perfect. Get your fillets for the week, bake them up in the sauce and divvy up among your prep containers for lunches or dinners throughout the week.
Here’s How You Make It
You’re just a few steps away from one of the best baked salmon recipes ever.
- First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Then, rub the salmon fillets (or fillet) with olive oil, then salt and pepper and Italian seasoning.
- Next, get out a large skillet and melt the butter in it over medium-high heat. Add the salmon to it and brown it on each side for 1-2 minutes. Then, transfer the baked salmon to plate and cover to keep warm.
- Now add the chicken broth to the pan. Then, add the pesto and cream and stir. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir some more.
- Add the salmon back into the skillet and spoon the pesto sauce over the top of it.
- Put the whole skillet into the oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked all the way through and the sauce has thickened.
- Serve a fillet per person with a generous helping of pesto cream sauce on top of each piece.
Ideas for What to Serve with This Recipe
- Anything saucy just screams needing carbs to go with it. To me anyway! I almost always serve this baked salmon over rice (white or brown) or egg noodles. Quinoa would work well too, or even cauliflower rice if you’re watching your carb intake.
- Veggie-wise, I like to bake a vegetable up right next to the salmon if possible. Good recipes include Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Broccoli, and Roasted Asparagus. Be careful though because the veggies will cook more quickly at higher temperatures. Watch it so it doesn’t burn.
- Salads are an easy side and the best part is you can make them ahead of time and just get them out to serve alongside the salmon. So easy!
- For a heartier side, try making a pasta salad, couscous, or a rice dish like this Spanish Rice.
- Make it cheesy by adding 1-2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese to the sauce for even more flavor!
- If you’re not sure if the salmon is done, use a meat thermometer. It should read 145 degrees at the thickest part of the meat when it’s done.
- If you only have one large salmon fillet, you can skip the searing part and just add the salmon pesto to a baking sheet or larger dish with the sauce into the oven when it’s time to bake.
- If your salmon comes with skin, you don’t have to battle with it to try to take it off before baking. If you sear it, then bake it, it should slide right off when it’s done cooking.
- If your salmon comes kind of wet (or you just thawed it), pat it dry with paper towels before adding the olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. This will help the spices stick to the salmon better.
More Recipes Like This
- Easy 5-Minute Homemade Pesto
- Tuscan Garlic Chicken
- P.F. Chang’s Mongolian Beef
- Baked Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce
- Grilled Salmon with Lemon Garlic Butter
Did you make this baked salmon recipe? That pesto cream sauce is THE BEST, huh?! Please rate the recipe below!
Baked Salmon with Pesto Cream Sauce
- 4 salmon fillets
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning or Herbs de Provence
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup basil pesto
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Rub salmon all over with olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper, then season with Italian seasoning.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown salmon on each side for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to plate and cover to keep warm.
- Add broth to pan. Stir in pesto and cream. Add salt and pepper to taste (I'm quite generous with the salt and pepper here!).
- Return salmon to the skillet. Spoon some of the sauce over the salmon.
- Transfer skillet to the oven and cook for 12-15 minutes until salmon is cooked through and sauce is thickened (enough to coat the back of a spoon).
- Spoon sauce over salmon and serve immediately. Enjoy!
so yummy!! added a little more pesto and some red pepper flakes.