The Ultimate Guide To Cedar Plank Salmon Oven Recipe

Salmon is a delectable fish that is known for its rich flavor and delicate texture. When it comes to cooking salmon, one method that stands out is the cedar plank salmon oven recipe. This technique not only infuses the fish with a smoky and cedar aroma, but it also imparts a unique earthy flavor to the salmon. In this extensive guide, we will cover every aspect of cedar plank salmon, from food science to culinary details, selection to cleaning, and preparation to variations. So let’s dive in and discover the art of preparing mouthwatering cedar plank salmon!

Food Science: The Magic Behind Cedar Plank Salmon

Cedar plank salmon not only tantalizes our taste buds but also offers several health benefits. Salmon is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health and reduce inflammation. When cooked on a cedar plank, the aromatic oils from the wood penetrate the fish, enhancing its flavor and providing additional phytonutrients.

The wood choice is important, as cedar planks have natural oils that create a savory, smoky flavor. This infusion process occurs when the heat from the oven warms up the plank, causing the cedar’s essential oils to blend with the salmon’s natural fats and juices. The result is a harmonious marriage of flavors that truly elevates the dish.

Culinary Details: Selecting the Perfect Cedar Plank

When it comes to selecting a cedar plank, it’s essential to choose premium quality wood that hasn’t been treated or chemically processed. The ideal plank size is typically between 12 to 14 inches long and 6 to 8 inches wide, providing enough space for a generous fillet of salmon.

Ensure that the cedar plank is at least 1 inch thick and without any cracks or damage. A thicker plank not only withstands heat better but also releases more aromatic oils, intensifying the flavor of the salmon.

Cleaning the Cedar Plank: Preparing for Culinary Excellence

cedar plank salmon

Before cooking, it’s crucial to prepare and clean the cedar plank to ensure optimal flavor and hygiene. Follow these steps for a pristine cooking surface:

  1. Soak the cedar plank in water: Immerse the plank in water for at least 1-2 hours before grilling. This prevents the wood from catching fire and ensures it absorbs enough moisture to release those delicious oils.

  2. Brush the plank: Scrub the plank gently with a brush to remove any debris or dirt. Avoid using soap or dishwasher, as it can interfere with the natural cedar flavors.

  3. Rinse and dry: Rinse the plank with clean water to remove any remaining residue. Afterward, pat it dry with a clean towel.

Preparing the Salmon: Mastering the Magic Combination

cedar plank salmon

Preparing the salmon for the cedar plank involves a delicate balance of flavors to bring out the best in this gourmet fish. Here are the steps to guide you through this culinary masterpiece:

  1. Seasoning: Begin by seasoning the salmon fillet with a pinch of salt and black pepper. This simple seasoning allows the natural flavors of the fish to shine.

  2. Additional marinade options: To take it up a notch, you can choose to marinate the cedar plank salmon beforehand. A traditional option includes a mix of olive oil, fresh dill, lemon zest, and minced garlic. Alternatively, you can experiment with other herbs, spices, or even a hint of maple syrup for a touch of sweetness.

  3. Placing the salmon: Lay the seasoned salmon fillet directly onto the soaked and dried cedar plank. Gently press the fillet onto the plank, ensuring it adheres well.

Tips for Perfection: Mastering the Skill

oven baked cedar plank salmon

Cooking cedar plank salmon requires attention to detail to achieve a perfectly cooked, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Follow these essential tips to ensure a culinary masterpiece:

  1. Optimal cooking temperature: Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) for an ideal cooking temperature. Avoid cooking at a higher temperature, as it can lead to burning or drying out the fish.

  2. Placing the cedar plank in the oven: Carefully position the cedar plank with the salmon in the preheated oven. For additional flavors and moisture, you can place a shallow aluminum foil tray filled with water underneath the plank.

  3. Cooking time: The average cooking time for cedar plank salmon in the oven is around 20-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon fillet. However, it’s essential to keep a close eye on it to prevent overcooking.

  4. Doneness check: A reliable method to check if the salmon is perfectly cooked is through the internal temperature. Use an instant-read thermometer and aim for a temperature of 145°F (63°C) at the thickest part of the fillet.

Variations to Delight Your Taste Buds

oven baked cedar plank salmon

While cedar plank salmon is a culinary delight on its own, various flavor variations can take this dish to new heights. Here are a few ideas to experiment with:

  1. Citrus twist: Before cooking the salmon, place thin slices of lemon, lime, or orange on top of the fillet. The citrus juices will infuse into the fish, providing a refreshing and tangy taste.

  2. Asian-inspired flair: Marinate the salmon with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and a hint of honey. This Asian-inspired twist brings depth and complexity to cedar plank salmon.

  3. Smoky spice: Prepare a dry rub using smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, and brown sugar. Gently pat the spice mix onto the salmon fillet, creating a savory and slightly sweet crust.

Overcooking and Undercooking: The Importance of Perfect Timing

Achieving the perfect level of doneness is a crucial aspect of cooking cedar plank salmon. Overcooking can result in dry and rubbery fish, while undercooking may leave you with an unpleasant raw taste. Timing plays a key role in mastering this dish.

To avoid overcooking, remember that the salmon will continue to cook even after you remove it from the oven. Therefore, it’s better to slightly undercook rather than risk a dry outcome. You can always put the salmon back in the oven for a couple more minutes if needed.

The Cedar Plank Salmon Oven Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that we’ve covered the intricacies and variations, here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the cedar plank salmon oven recipe:


  • Fresh salmon fillet

  • Salt and black pepper for seasoning

  • Optional marinade, such as olive oil, fresh dill, lemon zest, and minced garlic


  1. Soak the cedar plank in water for at least 1-2 hours before cooking.

  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

  3. Season the salmon fillet with salt and black pepper, or apply the optional marinade.

  4. Place the seasoned salmon fillet onto the soaked and dried cedar plank.

  5. Carefully place the cedar plank with the salmon into the preheated oven.

  6. Cook for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).

  7. Take the cedar plank salmon out of the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

In Conclusion

Cedar plank salmon is a culinary delight that brings together the smoky flavors of cedarwood and the delicate taste of salmon. By understanding the food science behind the technique, selecting the perfect cedar plank, and following the necessary cleaning and preparation steps, you can achieve culinary excellence in your own kitchen.

Remember, don’t be afraid to experiment with flavor variations, and always pay close attention to cooking time and temperature to achieve that perfect level of doneness. So grab your favorite cedar plank, some fresh salmon, and embark on a mouthwatering journey that will leave you wanting more.

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  • FAQS On Cedar Plank Salmon Oven Recipe

    What Is A Cedar Plank Salmon Oven Recipe?

    A cedar plank salmon oven recipe is a method of cooking salmon on a wooden plank in the oven. The plank gives the salmon a smoky, wood-fired flavor, and helps keep it moist and tender.

    How Do I Prepare The Cedar Plank For Cooking Salmon In The Oven?

    To prepare the cedar plank, first soak it in cold water for at least 1-2 hours. This will prevent the plank from catching fire in the oven. You can also add spices or seasonings to the soaking water for added flavor.

    What Temperature Should I Cook The Cedar Plank Salmon At?

    Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) for a standard cedar plank salmon oven recipe. Place the soaked plank with the salmon on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through and flaky.

    What Seasonings Can I Use With The Salmon On The Cedar Plank?

    Cedar plank salmon can be seasoned with a variety of flavorings, like lemon, herbs, garlic, or honey. You can also top the salmon with sliced onions, peppers, or other vegetables to add more flavor and texture.

    Can I Use Other Types Of Wood For The Salmon Instead Of Cedar?

    Yes, other types of wood can be used for cooking salmon on a plank, like alder, hickory, or cherry wood. However, cedar is a popular choice because it has a mild, sweet flavor that complements the salmon well. Just make sure to soak the plank in water first, regardless of the type of wood used.