Southwestern Maple Glazed Salmon with Pineapple Salsa

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The spices on this easy salmon dish create a delicious crust and add a hint of heat to balance out the sweetness of the syrup.

southwestern salmon pineapple salsa

This maple glazed salmon was featured on the cover of Cooking Light. It caught my eye as I was about to get in line at the grocery store and looked so good, I turned around and made a beeline to the fish counter instead.

You basically make a homemade chili powder, dust it generously onto the fish, then broil and glaze with maple syrup. The spices create a delicious top crust and add a hint of heat and bitterness to balance out the sweetness of the syrup and richness of the salmon.

The pineapple salsa is my addition. If you don’t want to bother, the fish is delicious on its own but the fresh fruit really adds another dimension and completes the dish.

What you’ll need to make the dish

Spoon in a bowl of pineapple salsa.

How to make it

Begin by making the pineapple salsa. It’s simply a mix of chopped fresh pineapple, cilantro, fresh lime juice, and maple syrup. Set it aside to let the flavors marry while you prepare the salmon.

Salmon ingredients including kosher salt, ancho chile powder, and paprika.

For the salmon, begin with the spice rub. You’ll need ancho chili powder, cumin, paprika, kosher salt, and sugar. Note that ancho chili pepper powder is not the same as regular chili powder. Chili powder is a blend of spices that season chili and similar dishes, while ancho chili powder is a pure chili powder made from ground ancho peppers with deep rich flavor and mild to medium heat. Many large grocery stores carry it, and you can always find it at Whole Foods.

Unmixed spices in a bowl.

Arrange the salmon fillets on a foil-lined baking sheet for easy cleanup, then sprinkle the spice rub over top.

Salmon filets topped with spices.

Set your oven rack about 6 inches from the broiler, and then broil the salmon for about five minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and brush the salmon fillets with maple syrup, and then broil for one minute more.

Brush adding maple syrup to salmon filets.

As you can see, the top crust will look very dark and almost burnt but don’t worry, it’s not — the spices simply turn dark when moistened. To serve, transfer the salmon fillets to plates and top with the pineapple salsa.

Southwestern Maple Glazed Salmon with Pineapple Salsa

The spices on this easy salmon dish create a delicious crust and add a hint of heat to balance out the sweetness of the syrup.

Servings: 4
Total Time: 30 Minutes


For the Salmon

  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

For the Pineapple Salsa

  • 2 cups diced fresh pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from one lime
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup


  1. Set an oven rack about 6 inches from the top of the oven and preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Make the pineapple salsa by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Mix the paprika, ancho chili powder, cumin, sugar and kosher salt together in a small bowl.
  4. Place the fillets on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle evenly with the spice mixture. Broil for 5-6 minutes, or until almost done. Remove the pan from the oven and brush the fillets evenly with the maple syrup. Broil for one minute more. Transfer the fish to plates and top with pineapple salsa.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

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  • Calories: 441
  • Fat: 23 g
  • Saturated fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 23 g
  • Sugar: 18 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 35 g
  • Sodium: 601 mg
  • Cholesterol: 94 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • Delicious! My husband isn’t the biggest salmon lover but he really enjoyed this! I had a thicker filet and cooked it 1 minute longer.

  • I’ve usually baked salmon with just maple syrup on it, but this was sooo much better. Thanks for another awesome recipe!!

  • I made this for my step-daughter’s birthday dinner. We were a party of 7 and EVERYONE loved this dish, including my step-son who is lukewarm about many dishes and my wife who typically does not enjoy salmon. I used somewhere between 1/2 tbsp and 3/4 tbsp of salt because I was using fine sea salt and was worried about this substitution making it too salty. I also used frozen pineapples and frozen cilantro because that’s what I had on hand. I’m sure fresh is more vibrant in terms of taste but frozen worked out just fine. I found that I had to cook this longer than the 6-7min recommended- more like 10-12min. It could be my oven, as I often end up cooking meats a bit longer to ensure they are fully cooked. The salmon was still tender and moist- not dried out.
    Another hit!

    • I meant 1/2 to 3/4 tsp of salt!

  • This recipe is amazing! So simple yet it would have never occurred to me. I’ve made the spice rub according to the recipe and it’s come out great, but I was recently given a sample of a Badia spice rub called ‘Holy Smokes’ and used it instead. It’s originally made for pork, but the ingredients are super similar to the recipe’s spice mix, with paprika, brown sugar, and chipotle chili (not ancho though). It was just as great and saved me some time when preparing. I paired the salmon with some steamed sweet potato since I love contrasting spicy and sweet flavors and also roasted some brussels sprouts to go along with it to make it into a hearty and healthy winter dish. I have yet to try it with the pineapple salsa but that sweet acid kick HAS to be good.

  • This was sensational and so easy! My husband- who is generally not a salmon person- loved it too. Made with Jenn’s guacamole and tortilla chips and went together well.

  • I have made this Salmon dish a few times now, and I love it. Growing up, we didn’t have fish, because my father didn’t care for it. So I never learned how to prepare it. This and other fish recipes have been a wonderful learning tool for me! This dish is easy to prepare, and quick! It tastes delicious, and is making a regular appearance on my menu!

    • — Doreen M Sanders
    • Reply
  • I have already made it twice with two different crowds and it was a hit each time. I really like the simplicity of the ingredients, which together bring out amazing favors.

  • I love this recipe! The mix of the spicy flavors with the sweetness creates such a great balance. I made it one time with a mango salsa and it was even more delicious than the pineapple salsa. The thing I love about this recipe is that it is totally awesome the way it is, but you can create a fruit salsa with whatever fruit and ingredients you have on hand and it will still complement the spicy sweetness of the salmon.

  • thanks for the recipe. I am planning to make it this weekend. What is the recommended temperature for the broiler?

    • Hi Sarah, Set the broiler on high.

  • WOW ! ! ! Salsa is great but the spice rub has WAY too much salt for my taste. Be careful. I will make it again, it is good but will use about 1/4 of the salt

  • This meal turned out great! A few days later I made pork tacos and used the pineapple salsa recipe to serve with it- so simple but it really brings the dish together.

    The rub for the salmon was really good too, I might have to make a big batch so I can have it on hand!

  • Ummmm…yeah. This was absolutely fantastic. I felt like an actual chef when I took my first bite (gotta work on my plating, though). The pineapple salsa brought everything together in perfect harmony. If you do not add the pineapple salsa, you are doing yourself and everyone you cooked for a disservice. An absolutely fantastic, perfectly portioned meal with the sautéed zucchini/cherry tomato recipe.

  • Oh but wanted to also mention that the pineapple salsa was great. However, I did add some finely chopped red onion.

  • Ok. I tried this Sunday night and was not thrilled. Grilling seemed to take away from the flavors that broiling could have brought out. I also noticing everyone reaching for the salt shaker for their fish. With the amount of salt in the recipe vs the amount of fish, I’d go up on the salt amount unless you are sodium-restricted. Just not a favorite with me. I’ll give it one more shot in a couple of weeks and I’ll add more salt and I’ll broil it also and see what happens.

  • I am going to make this on Sunday for a guest who is coming over. We all love salmon and I’ve been looking for something different than just ‘grilled’. Thank you so much for the recipe. Can’t wait to try it!


    • Hi Joe, You can season the salmon with the spice rub and grill until almost done. Brush on the maple glaze at the end and continue cooking for about a minute.

  • To the woman whose husband does not like maple syrup, if you have a supermarket with a kosher or Passover section, you can try Silan date syrup. Adds a nice sweetness with a less pronounced flavor. It is also good on oatmeal and plain Greek yogurt.

    My husband loathes pineapple. What fruit would suggest as a substitute? I think mango or peaches might be too sweet.

    • Hi Deb, I like your idea to substitute mango or peaches; you may just need to add a bit more lime to cut the sweetness.

  • WOW! FANTASTIC, I’m a fan of salmon thanks for this recipe. Sending this to a host of family. Thanks keep up the great work. GOD Bless

  • Salmon was delicious and i would make even more (double) the salsa recipe because it’s a great side for the salmon and it goes quickly. Watch the salmon carefully, it’s best when it’s on the rare side.

  • This is a regular I. Our family dinner line up!

  • I made this for supper last night. It is excellent but I did make a few changes. I added chopped red pepper. I did not have maple syrup. I substituted honey. Scrumptious!

  • I love the combination of this rub and the pineapple salsa. I have made this exactly as is and wouldn’t change a thing. The cilantro with the pineapple is a great combination.

  • All I can say is I have made this recipe several times, and it’s delicious! Thanks jennifer for a fantastic fish recipe!

  • Salmon is my absolute favorite–any preparation! But this looks like a winner for sure. Will definitely try it!

  • I made this dish for a dinner party of eight. My guests all loved it, served with a light, green salad with strawberries and pecans and rice pilaf.

    The fresh pineapple was especially tasty as a salsa. I doubled the recipe so that I would have salsa for an additional dinner.

    • — Maryann Guevara
    • Reply
  • This was fantastic! It definitely will be on the rotation!

  • I can’t wait to try this – I was looking for a new recipe to try with our recent catch of salmon and this sounds delicious – sweet and spicy! YUM!!!

  • Wonderful combination of flavors. We are not huge fans of salmon, but with this combination we will be eating more and more of it! Thanks again for the great, healthy recipes!

  • This was very good, and very easy. It was spicy, but the flavor combination helps make the spiciness tolerable. This was so easy, it will be made over and over in my house. The ingredients are simple and usually in the house! This is a great weeknight meal for how quickly it can go from preparation to the dinner plate!

  • Delicious and nutrious way to get my family to eat salmon

  • Such an easy and healthy recipe to get your Omega-3! My husband who isn’t a fan of salmon liked this because of the spicy, sweet topping.

  • Love it! I made this last night and it is now replacing my old maple glazed salmon recipe 🙂

  • Looks healthy and tasty!

  • So delicious and easy!

  • I am always looking for more recipes with salmon, and this sounds spectacular. Such an easy prep process, and I love the idea of having a delicious meal ready in virtually 15 minutes (if that)!

  • Another of your recipes we make often – so yummy! When mangoes are back in season, I’m going to substitute them for the pineapple, just for variety…we eat salmon a lot and this spice rub is awesome. Thanks again!

  • Yum, I’m going to make this tonight for my client who wants a salmon dish that is simple & healthy with a little kick!

  • I LOVE this!!!

  • I made this last night and it was a huge hit!!! I was so delicious and easy to make! I will definitely make it again!

  • This was TERRIFIC!!! My husband and two boys all approved and devoured it! They loved the rub, and the maple syrup specified in the recipe was just the perfect amount. Because the pineapple I got was extremely sweet, I added about 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt to the salsa and sprinkled some black pepper on it. This recipe gives me an idea of doing a broiled blackened salmon… using a blackened rub and maybe brushing the salmon with melted butter instead of maple syrup? Anyway, thanks again, Jenn, for another wonderful recipe!!

  • Another fantastic recipe! As a registered dietitian, the amount of actual sodium per serving is completely acceptable and can easily be part of a sodium restricted 2000mg/day diet prescription. No worries people.

  • This looks so good. Pineapple is on sale at my local grocery store, so it looks like this is going to get made!

    Any suggestions on cooking fish? I have yet to actually have my fish not crumble into little bits and pieces….

    • Mara, Follow the recipe and you will have success! Fish is easy to broil, especially salmon. Good luck!

  • How hot does the oven need to be?

    • Hi Emily, Set the oven to “broil.”

  • Have you ever tried this with chicken? My husband HAAAAAAAAAAATES fish, which makes me incredibly sad!!

    • Hi Kiriel, I haven’t tried it myself but it would probably work well with boneless chicken breasts.

  • I’m not even a salmon fan but I may have to try this. Looks delicious.

  • I am putting salmon fillets on my grocery list, and fresh pineapple. This looks delicious, easy, and healthy. Thanks, Jenn.

  • As a health professional, I am concerned about the amount of salt in this recipe. Please check out all the recent articles calling for less salt. Maybe in the future, say salt to taste. This is such a healthy recipe, except for the amount of salt you’re recommending.

    • — Phyllis Barrier
    • Reply
    • Hi Phyllis, Taste-wise this is just the right amount of salt, but feel free to cut back if you prefer.

    • Too much salt? Really? This recipe calls for 1 teaspoonful total — and Kosher at that, which has less sodium chloride by weight compared to regular table salt.

      That’s just 980 mg of salt. Now, divide that by 4 portions and you get 245 mg per person. The Mayo Clinic recommends you get no more than 2300 mg per day, although they say the average American takes in 3,400 mg.

      With that said, this recipe is calling for just over 10% of your optimal daily intake of salt — not too shabby.

      On top of that, it’s being used in a rub, which means a portion of it won’t even make it in the final dish — it will be scattered on the baking sheet, on your kitchen counter, and stuck to your fingers after you’ve plastered it on the fish.

  • My husband can barely be in the same room if I have the maple syrup out. Sad! Do you have a substitute you could suggest? This recipe sounds delicious!

    • Beth, You could try honey, agave or corn syrup. Hope that helps!

  • Mmm I am making this immediately!!!

  • That salsa might not make it up top of the salmon. I would most likely eat it all before dinner!

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