A tangy buttermilk-dill marinade makes silky, flavorful salmon and doubles as a creamy but light dressing for cucumber dill salad. This salmon is really delicious served cold. It's a perfect make-ahead dinner!
This is my favorite salmon recipe right now! One that I'm going to keep making every week until my family demands that I stop. Why can't I get enough?
- It's really easy
- This simple and surprising marinade makes flavorful salmon with a silky, perfectly cooked texture.
- This salmon is delicious served cold. Cook the salmon ahead of time, then tuck it away in the refrigerator so dinner is prepped and ready to eat.
The surprising part of this recipe is buttermilk. For salmon! Who knew? It takes awhile to work through a pint of buttermilk, so I'm always pleased to have one more way to use it up.
Now, I've started buying buttermilk specifically to make this salmon recipe.
Ingredients for Buttermilk Marinated Salmon
- White vinegar
A quick 30-minute soak gives the salmon a light and lovely flavor, with just a hint of buttermilk and dill. The texture is flaky and silky, never dry, even if you overcook it for a minute.
As an added bonus, the marinade can double as a creamy dressing for cucumber dill salad. Half gets poured over the salmon, and half gets poured over a crisp mix of cucumbers and cabbage. The combination of salmon and cucumber dill salad is a perfect summer dinner (also, I recommend baby potatoes on the side).
I love this salmon served hot and I love it served cold. Serve it however you like!
What is Buttermilk Used For?
Traditional, true buttermilk is the liquid remaining after cream has been churned into butter. True buttermilk has naturally occurring probiotic bacteria. However, most buttermilk sold in stores is low-fat milk that has been mixed with a bacteria culture to increase the acidity of the milk, making it taste tangy and sour.
Buttermilk is used in baking to make dough tender and moist. When mixed with baking soda, the acidity in buttermilk can also help baked goods rise high and light. It is often used to make biscuits, pancakes, cupcakes and quick breads.
The acidity in buttermilk can also make meat more tender and moist. It can be used as a marinade for meats like chicken, pork and salmon - as in this recipe.
An opened carton of buttermilk usually stays fresh for at least a month. To store buttermilk longer, it can be frozen. Just whisk well when the buttermilk is defrosted.
More Salmon RecipesPrint
Buttermilk Salmon Recipe
This tangy buttermilk-dill marinade makes silky, flavorful salmon and doubles as a creamy dressing for cucumber dill salad.
- Prep Time: 35 minutes
- Cook Time: 12 minutes
- Total Time: 47 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Salmon
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
- 1 ½ to 2 pounds salmon
- 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
- ¼ cup lightly packed fresh dill
- ¼ cup lightly packed fresh parsley
- 4 scallions, chopped (divided)
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 English or regular cucumber or 4 Persian cucumbers, sliced
- ½ a green cabbage, thinly shredded or 4 cups pre-shredded cabbage
- In a blender, combine buttermilk, dill, parsley, 2 chopped scallions, vinegar, honey and salt until smooth.
- Set aside ½ cup of the marinade/dressing for the cucumber dill salad.
- Pour the remaining buttermilk mixture over the salmon in a rimmed dish. Let the salmon marinate 30 minutes. (I leave the salmon out on the countertop while it marinates)
- Next, while the salmon marinates, salt the cucumbers. This step is optional, but recommended because it will keep the cucumbers crisp and crunchy. Otherwise, your cucumber salad might be soggy and droopy before dinner is over.
- How and Why You Should Salt Cucumbers: Salting cucumbers helps draw out moisture. First, put the sliced cucumbers in a colander set over a bowl or plate. Toss the sliced cucumber lightly with salt, approximately ½ teaspoon salt per regular sized cucumber. Refrigerate the salted cucumbers for 20 to 30 minutes. After 20 minutes, vigorously shake the colander several times to remove as much remaining liquid as you can. Discard any liquid that drips into the bowl (it won’t be much, only about a teaspoon.)
- The cucumbers will seem salty, but don’t worry. Toss the cucumbers with the cabbage and remaining 2 chopped scallions. Pour the reserved ½ cup of the marinade over the cucumber salad and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Heat the oven to 400 F, and cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- After the salmon has marinated 30 minutes, lift the fillet out of the marinade and place on the foil-lined baking sheet. Discard the marinade. Lightly salt the salmon.
- Bake the salmon about 12 minutes* until salmon is opaque in the middle and flakes apart easily.
*The cooking time for salmon depends on how thick the fillet is.. A good rule of thumb is 10 to 12 minutes per 1-inch of salmon, based on the thickest part of the salmon.
I love buttermilk marinated salmon straight out of the oven, or served cold. It’s equally delicious both ways! This is a great recipe to make ahead of time and serve cold for dinner.
How Much Salmon Should I Buy? A common recommendation is 6 ounces of salmon per person. I find this is usually about right for my family (2 adults and 2 kids under 10) but I often make a bit more so we have leftovers. The salmon and dressing will stay fresh for several days in the refrigerator.
Can I Grill the Salmon? Yep. Grilling is my favorite way to cook salmon. I love the crispy edges, smoky flavor and the fact that your house won’t smell like fish. To grill salmon, I use the same cooking time (10 to 12 minutes per inch of salmon thickness) as I use for this oven-baked salmon. I usually place the salmon on foil so it doesn't stick to the grill.
Keywords: salmon, cucumber dill salad