When looking for the perfect amount of time to cook salmon, you’ll find varying answers. There are many variables that contribute to the perfect piece of salmon. That’s why we decided to conduct a little experiment.
Based on various numbers found on the internet, we suspect that the perfect piece of salmon will be done between 15-20 minutes at 400° F. For this experiment, we will test two different thickness levels to see the difference between the thicker and thinner pieces cooked at the same temperature.
- 400°F preheated oven
- Conventional Oven (not convection)
- Cook Surface
- No Foil Covering
- Cooking time
- Salmon Thickness
For this experiment, we prepped four pieces of salmon, each piece weighing 0.5 lbs. Two of the pieces were between 0-1.0 inch thick while the other two were between 1.0-1.5 inches thick.
(Though it’s not necessary for the experiment itself, the pieces were seasoned to taste.)
With the oven preheated to 400°, we put the first batch in for 15 minutes, skin side down. The first batch included a thin piece and a thick piece.
Piece 1, 2, 3 & 4
Check them at 10 and 15 minutes
Salmon 1: @ 400° for 20, 1 inches
Salmon 2: @ 400° for 20, 1.5 inch
Salmon 3: @ 400° for 15, 1 inch
Salmon 4: @ 400° for 15, 1.5 inch
0-1.0 inch thick
1.0-1.5 inches thick
@ 400° for 15 minutes
More done, slightly firmer, not so melt-in-your-mouth
Done, very tender, pink
@ 400° for 20 minutes
More cooked than the thicker piece, most done
Still done, but slightly tender
As one might expect, the thicker pieces of salmon were less done than the thinner pieces. Each piece of salmon was done enough to eat, but the two pieces that were in for 20 minutes were more done than the 15 minute pieces.
Though all of them were cooked thoroughly and safe to eat, each piece of salmon offered a slightly different texture and bite. If you like a standard salmon, definitely go for at least 20 minutes. It will still have the softness in the bite, but it will be more flaky rather than melt-in-your-mouth.
If you like your fish on the tender side, cooking it for closer to 15 minutes works best. If you’re feeling edgy and want your salmon extremely tender, you could try 13-14 minutes. However, you should make sure that the thickest part of the salmon is at least 145° F internally.
If you want something between melt-in-your-mouth and flaky, you could try 17-18 minutes for the perfect balance. The resulting salmon should still be soft and pink.
And finally, if you prefer your salmon extra done, not so pink at all, maybe try between 20 and 25 minutes. It will be a lot firmer and not pink. Plus, if you’re not used to seafood or cooking it at home, 20+ minutes will offer you peace of mind.
As long as your salmon is cooked all the way through, any of these times will work! It just depends on your preference in terms of texture and how cooked you like your fish. The thickness will affect the doneness of the salmon, but not to the extent that you need to worry too much. If you try cooking your salmon at 400° F, let us know how it goes!