Sweet Chili Salmon
Published Feb 03, 2016•Updated Apr 26, 2023
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Glazed sweet chili salmon is healthy, gluten-free, and make ahead-friendly. Serve this sweet and spicy meal with tender roasted broccoli on a bed of fluffy rice for the easiest weeknight dinner ever.
You can never have too many easy salmon recipes. If you’re stuck in a rut with your usual salmon routine, you need to try this ultra flavorful, supremely simple, one pan weeknight dish. The sweet chili and butter sauce creates a nice glaze on the salmon while it bakes, and the veggies become tender and slightly crispy around the edges.
Not only is this healthy dinner big on flavor, but it can be prepped earlier in the day and finished in the oven in about 15 minutes. A squeeze of lime juice over the sweet and spicy baked salmon seals the deal with this quick, gluten-free dinner.
What is Sweet Chili Sauce?
Sweet chili sauce is a sweet and slightly spicy sauce made from a combination of rice vinegar, a sweetener like sugar or honey, crushed red pepper flakes, and occasionally fish sauce. This versatile sauce likely originates in Thailand, but it is used in cultures around the world as a dipping sauce, a marinade, or finishing sauce.
How to Make It
- Prepare the broccoli. Slice the broccoli into long, thin spears, then toss with cooking oil, chilis, and salt. Spread evenly on the baking pan and bake for 20 minutes at 425 F.
- Make the sauce. While the broccoli cooks, melt the butter and whisk in the sweet Thai chili sauce.
- Bake the salmon. When the broccoli is done cooking, add the salmon to the baking pan and pour half of the butter-Thai chili sauce over the fillet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Plate the salmon. Drizzle the entire dish with the remaining butter-Thai chili sauce mixture. Squeeze lime juice over everything.
- Serve! Serve salmon and broccoli over fluffy rice with cilantro leaves on top.
- Broccoli – Use as little or as much of the broccoli as you like. Some people just enjoy the florets, and it’s totally fine to just use those, but you can also include the stems. Broccoli rabe or broccolini are also okay.
- Cooking Oil – Tossing the broccoli with your favorite cooking oil will help the pieces crisp slightly while roasting. Try olive oil, avocado, grapeseed, or vegetable oil.
- Thai Chilis or Red Jalapeños – For an extra spicy weeknight meal, add Thai chili or red Jalapeños, which are about as spicy as Fresno peppers.
- Kosher Salt – Essential pantry seasoning.
- Unsalted Butter – For a luscious finishing sauce. Unsalted butter is preferred to control the saltiness of the dish.
- Sweet Thai Chili Sauce – Make your own sweet Thai chili sauce to customize the amount of sweetness and spiciness, or use a convenient store-bought brand.
- Lime – Tart lime juice is perfect for balancing the sweetness of the sweet Thai chili sauce.
- Salmon – Farmed or wild-caught salmon both work in this Thai salmon recipe. If you use a frozen fillet, make sure the fish is completely thawed before you bake it to ensure that it cooks evenly.
- Cilantro – Totally optional as a topping, but adds a nice herbal brightness to the other flavors.
- Cooked White or Brown Rice – Serve over a bed of rice so you can enjoy every bite of sweet and spicy sauce with the salmon. Slightly creamy pineapple coconut rice is sublime with this recipe.
To make Sweet Chili Salmon ahead, roast the broccoli and make the sweet chili butter sauce as if you were preparing the meal, then bring to room temperature and store separately in an airtight container. When you’re ready to finish the dish, add the broccoli and salmon in the pan, drizzle with the butter sauce, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Line the baking dish with foil for easy clean-up, and to prevent the fish from sticking to the pan.
- Remove the salmon from the refrigerator a few minutes before baking for a quicker cook time.
- Make it spicy – Sweet chili sauce is more sweet than it is spicy. Add red pepper flakes, extra Thai chilis, or thinly sliced red jalapeños if you like your Thai salmon on the spicier side.
- Serve with different veggies – Roasted cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, or bell peppers are great with salmon.
The easiest way to get just the right amount of heat in the Thai chili sauce is to make it from scratch. This way you can make it as sweet or as spicy as you like. If you use store-bought Thai sauce, you can turn up the heat by adding red chili flakes to the sauce.
An easy trick to tell when salmon is done is by pressing on the top of the fillet with the back of the fork or the flat side of a knife. If the salmon flakes apart and is a little opaque in the center, the fish is done cooking.
More Easy Salmon Recipes
- Honey Paprika Broiled Salmon
- Moroccan-Spiced Salmon with Vegetable Couscous
- Teriyaki Salmon Stir-Fry
- Blackened Salmon with Citrus Salsa Verde
- Honey Lime Salmon Tacos
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Sweet Chili Salmon Recipe
- Mixing Bowl
- Half Sheet Pan
- 2 heads broccoli (about 1 1/2 pounds total; seems like a lot, but it cooks down)
- 2 Tablespoons cooking oil
- Thai chilis or red jalapeños thinly sliced (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup sweet Thai chili sauce (store-bought or homemade)
- 1 small lime, sliced into wedges
- 1 pound salmon
- 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)
- Cooked white or brown rice, for serving (or pineapple coconut rice)
- Preheat oven to 425 F. For easy clean-up, line a baking sheet with foil and spray it lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
- While the oven heats, slice the broccoli into long, thin spears that include the stems. (You can also just use the top of the broccoli for florets, but the stems will cook to tender in this recipe so they look and taste delicious.)
- Toss the broccoli spears with cooking oil, chilis, and salt. Spread it out on the prepared pan. Roast the broccoli until it is bright green and starting to brown in spots where it comes in contact with the pan, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile melt the butter in the microwave or in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the sweet Thai chili sauce.
- When the broccoli has been cooking for 20 minutes, remove it from the oven. Gently turn the broccoli with a spatula and move it to the outside edges of the pan. Place the salmon in the center of the pan. Season the salmon lightly with some salt.
- Pour half of the butter-Thai chili sauce over the top of the salmon. (Reserve the other half.)
- Return the pan to the oven and continue cooking until the salmon is opaque and flaky and the broccoli is tender, 10 to 15 minutes more (depending on thickness of the salmon).
- When the salmon is done cooking, transfer it and the broccoli to a serving platter. Drizzle the entire dish with the remaining butter-Thai chili sauce mixture. Squeeze lime juice over everything.
- Serve salmon and broccoli over rice with cilantro leaves on top.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.