We try to enjoy fresh fish as a family at least once a week for all of the health benefits, and today’s Pecan Crusted Salmon with a savory-sweet maple mustard sauce has to be one of my favorites! It’s absolutely restaurant-quality, but incredibly simple to make at home.
Pecan Crusted Salmon Recipe
A couple years ago, we had a magical weekend exploring Waterloo, Ontario, complete with butterfly conservatories, train rides, wooden wands and some delicious food.
I loved the nachos and pecan-crusted salmon we ate at a local restaurant and was looking forward to having that salmon again when we returned last Christmas to ride the Polar Express train. But the restaurant took the salmon off the menu! I still got to have my nachos, but I had to figure out a recipe so I could still get my pecan-crusted salmon fix.
This pecan maple salmon recipe is so incredibly easy and results in tender, juicy salmon with a savory-sweet maple-mustard glaze and crunchy, toasted pecans. It’s comforting but still new and exciting, and fancy enough to serve for company or a special occasion.
It honestly tastes like a meal you would pay $30+ for at a fancy restaurant but it will take you about 10 minutes to prep – and no fancy culinary skills are needed! You just need to avoid overcooking the salmon.
Salmon is perfectly cooked when you gently press down on it and the salmon “flakes” or separates down the little lines in the flesh. It should still be a little translucent in the center and have little to no white protein gathering on top. Like steak, you want to avoid cooking salmon past “medium” for the best flavor and texture experience.
My recipe just pan-sears the salmon, but if you’d prefer to bake your salmon, ThermoWorks has a great tutorial on the ins-and-outs of baking salmon here. (I’ve also included baking instructions in the recipe card notes.)
The health benefits of salmon are numerous – including omega-3 fatty acids that aid in heart health and fighting inflammation, plenty of B-vitamins known for their brain-boosting power and assisting the central nervous system, as well as being a great source of protein, potassium and selenium. (You can read more about salmon’s health benefits here.)
Do I need to use fresh salmon for this recipe? Absolutely not, you can use frozen salmon filets that have been completely thawed. I only buy fresh salmon when it’s at a really good price and have never had any issues using frozen salmon filets. They are cost-efficient and just as flavorful. The texture is sometimes a little different due to the vacuum packing, resulting in a less-tender, fall-apart salmon.
As long as you don’t overcook your salmon, even the frozen filets should never turn out “tough.”
You can also use different types of fish for this recipe! Think tuna, cod, trout, etc.
What to Serve with Pecan Crusted Salmon
Because this pecan-crusted salmon recipes tastes so indulgent, you can get away with pairing it with healthy side dishes and still avoid your meal feeling “too healthy” or feeling deprived. I love serving it with roasted veggies (brussel sprouts, beets, broccoli) or a simple side salad, but it would also be great with:
- Harvest Brown Rice Pilaf from Kylee Cooks
- Brussel Sprout Salad
- Ginger Ale Glazed Carrots from the Soccer Mom Blog
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (I also have an Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup)
- Greek Cucumber Salad
For this recipe, I used Millican Pecan’s Pecan Pieces. I didn’t realize what a difference there could be between pecan brands, but these are so incredibly fresh and flavorful. They also have delicious snack options like the Sweet and Spicy Pecans which are perfect for the holidays. My next order, I’m trying their Pecan Butter and the Caramel Pecan Coffee! (And by the way, this is not sponsored – I just really love them.)
Pecan Crusted Salmon Ingredients
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: walnuts or almonds can be substituted for the pecans, if desired.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Cast Iron Skillet <– I love the versatility of a good cast-iron pan – you can make everything from eggs to dessert in them and they transition easily from the stove to the oven. This one is pre-seasoned and great for even heating
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Small bowls
- This is the meat thermometer I have been using for the past 6 years – I’ve never had to change a battery and it’s super sturdy and reliable. It was a bit pricey, but unlike the $15 models that you can buy, this one isn’t going to need replacement. It is waterproof and comes with a two-year warranty.
How to Make Pecan Crusted Salmon
In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter and then whisk in the maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and seasoning.
Stir occasionally for 3-4 minutes as the mixture thickens, then remove from heat and allow to cool slightly as you toast your pecans.
Place a skillet over medium heat and once hot, add the chopped pecans.
Stir frequently until fragrant, then remove pecans to a small plate.
Place the salmon filets on a plate or cutting board. If you like your salmon really well seasoned, you can add additional salt and pepper now before adding the glaze.
Spoon the maple-mustard glaze over the filets, covering the tops completely, then either sprinkle on the pecans or press each salmon filet into the chopped pecans. (Pressing is a bit messier but will result in more even pecan distribution/coverage.)
To pan cook the salmon in your skillet: keep the skillet over medium heat and add each salmon filet, keeping about 2″ space in between each filet. Cook for about 7-10 minutes until the salmon flesh has turned opaque, but before any white protein starts popping through. An inserted meat thermometer should read 125F to 145F.
To oven bake the salmon: preheat oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake salmon for 10-12 minutes until the sides of the salmon have turned opaque and an inserted meat thermometer reads 125F to 145F.
Grab your free printable for our pecan crusted salmon recipe:
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases. Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 333Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 180mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 17gProtein: 14g
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
I hope your family loves this easy pecan-crusted salmon recipe as much as mine does! It’s a decadent, delicious way to serve salmon that is deceptively simple – everyone will think you’ve spent hours on this meal when really, it will take you less than 20 minutes from start to finish!