Pan-Seared Salmon with Soy Mustard Glaze

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Tangy and sweet, the glaze makes this easy but elegant seared salmon dish.

seared salmon

The glaze is the star of this easy and elegant seared salmon dish. It’s tangy and sweet like any good Asian-style glaze, but the addition of whole grain mustard takes it over the top. The little mustard seeds glisten in the sauce and “pop” in your mouth, releasing bits of intense, sharp mustard flavor when you bite into them.

What you’ll need to make seared salmoningredients

Before we get started, a few words about the ingredients. First, most supermarkets now sell salmon pre-cut into individual portions, which makes it so easy to prepare. Try to find uniform pieces cut from the center that are narrow and tall rather than wide and flat — they’ll fit better in the pan and they make for a much prettier presentation.  Also, be sure they are cut into small portions (6 ounces or less), otherwise they’ll be difficult to cook fully on the stovetop. (If you want to use larger portions, it’s best to sear them on one side on the stovetop, and then flip them and finish cooking in a 350-degree oven.)

Second, if you’re unfamiliar with whole grain mustard, it’s mustard in which the mustard seeds are mixed in whole instead of ground to create a rustic, grainy texture. I like Maille Old Style Whole Grain Dijon Mustard if you can find it. And, finally, mirin is a sweet Japanese rice wine that can be found in the Asian section of most supermarkets.

How to make seared salmon

whisking-glaze

Begin by making the glaze, which is adapted from Cook’s Illustrated. Whisk together the brown sugar, soy sauce, mirin, sherry vinegar, whole grain mustard, water, corn starch and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Be sure to do this off the heat — the corn starch will not dissolve in hot liquid and you don’t want lumps.

bubbling-glaze

Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer until thickened, about a minute.

seasoning-salmon

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the salmon fillets with kosher salt then place the salmon in the pan. Cook until golden brown on the first side, about 4 minutes.

sauteing-salmon

Turn the fish over with a spatula, reduce the heat to medium and then cook until the fillets feel firm to the touch, 3-4 minutes more.

sauteing-salmon-2

Transfer the fillets to plates and top them generously with the glaze. You’ll have plenty of extra glaze, as it makes a terrific sauce for whatever else you’re serving with the fish — in this case, simple roasted broccoli and jasmine rice.

spooning-glaze-over-salmon

Serve and enjoy!

pan-seared-salmon-with-soy-mustard-glaze

Note: I like to sauté the fish for a crisp top crust, but you can also bake, broil or grill it.

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Pan-Seared Salmon with Soy Mustard Glaze

Tangy and sweet, the glaze makes this easy but elegant seared salmon dish.

Servings: 6
Total Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Glaze

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (use gluten-free if needed)
  • 1/4 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard, best quality such as Maille
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

For the Salmon

  • Six 5-6 oz fillets center-cut salmon, skinned
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, for cooking

Instructions

  1. Whisk together all of the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan. (Be sure to do this off the heat, as cornstarch won't dissolve in hot liquid.) Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low and simmer until thickened, about 1 minute. Cover to keep warm and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the salmon fillets with kosher salt. When the oil starts to shimmer, place the salmon, skin-side up, in the pan. Cook until golden brown on the first side, about 4 minutes. Turn the fish over with a spatula, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until the fillets feel firm to the touch, 3-4 minutes more. (If all of the fillets won't fit in the pan, cook the fish in two batches.)
  3. Transfer the salmon fillets to plates or a platter and spoon the glaze generously over top. Serve immediately.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Calories: 426
  • Fat: 26 g
  • Saturated fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 11 g
  • Sugar: 9 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 33 g
  • Sodium: 734 mg
  • Cholesterol: 86 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, Edamam.com. 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.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Jen
    Made this salmon for dinner tonite, we wanted to lick the plate
    it was that delicious!
    Have not pan seared salmon before , crisp out side moist tender interior, the sauce brings it to heavenly delicious!
    Served with broiled asparagus and toasted brown jasmine rice.
    Thank you for all the great recipes!
    Jim

    • — Jim on October 4, 2019
    • Reply
  • Incredibly good sauce!!

    • — QWERTY on July 15, 2019
    • Reply
  • Wonderful recipe, have used it several times for dinners with guests, with rave reviews each time. It’s simple, quick, and so classy and flavorful. Plated with a bunch of steamed green beans and some brown or white rice – the sauce makes it all come together beautifully.

    • — jill on October 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • This is my go-to salmon dish! So easy and the ingredients are something I always have on hand. Delicious as usual Jenn!

    • — Jane Maganas on October 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • I tried this recipe for dinner last night. It was great!

    • — Bridgette on May 7, 2018
    • Reply
  • Hi
    Is there a substitute for sherry vinegar? It’s not easily available in my country.

    Also, can I substitute rice vinegar with cider vinegar in the Mirin Glazed Salmon recipe?

    Appreciate your reply

    • — Elly on April 15, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Elly, apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar would work well in place of sherry vinegar for this. And, yes, cider vinegar would be a good replacement for the rice vinegar in the Mirin Glazed Salmon. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on April 16, 2018
      • Reply
  • Can frozen fillets be used with same success? My fishmonger says buying frozen is better/

    • — lynda Martyn on March 24, 2018
    • Reply
    • Sure (but you’ll obviously want to defrost them first). 🙂

      • — Jenn on March 24, 2018
      • Reply
    • I love salmon. Raw, cured, smoked, grilled, poached… you name it. But I will never ever even touch frozen salmon!! Not worth it even of half priced. It’s rubbery, tough and has a bitter fishy flavor. If you cook with salmon, please get fresh, never frozen fish, it makes a HUGE difference!

      • — Evita on July 4, 2018
      • Reply
  • So wonderful! Question: how long does the leftover glaze last? We eat tiny meals. Thanks!

    • — Susan on March 4, 2018
    • Reply
    • Glad you enjoyed it, Susan! I think the glaze would last for up to a week in the fridge.

      • — Jenn on March 5, 2018
      • Reply
  • This was delicious! My husband said it was better than a restaurant. The sauce is outstanding!

    • — Babs on February 14, 2018
    • Reply
  • The glaze is perfect!!! Makes more than you really need because it is so flavorful. I thought your Panko and pecan crusted salmon was my favorite, but this is awesome too. The crispness you get from sauteeing really adds a lot.

    • — Natalie on February 12, 2018
    • Reply
  • Boy Jenn, the opening statement of this recipe says it all. The glaze really IS the star of this salmon! Perfection! I paired this dish with your Roasted Broccoli with Chipotle Honey Butter… a match made in heaven. The flavors of each dish really, really complement each other. Didn’t change a thing on either dish!

    • — Dollye Morgan on November 30, 2017
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Can I cook the salmon on the grill. This is my first time cooking salmon and I really like the glaze. I am having a cookout and would like to include this recipe

    • — mariellen etter
    • Reply
    • Yes Mariellen, it would be perfectly fine to grill it. Hope you enjoy!

  • Outstanding! Needed a quick glaze for my salmon and realized too late I didn’t have the ingredients for my usual sauce. Looked to Jenn for an inspiration and found another winner! This sauce is super easy to throw together and beyond delicious!

  • All I have to say about this recipe is Wow!!! What great flavor and the salmon was perfectly done. My grandson told me that I have to give his mother this recipe. She usually cooks salmon with a dill sauce. Another wonderful and foolproof recipe Jennifer! Thank you once again.

  • Your website is amazing!! My family raves everytime I make something from your recipe collection.

    Is it possible to make this same glaze on a different fish…sea bass, halibut or some other company-worthy fish that you recommend? I sometimes feel that salmon is “too common” for company. Thanks!!

    • Thank you, RK! So glad you’re having success with the recipes. You can definitely use sea bass or halibut with this glaze — both would be excellent.

  • Hi Jenn! I just adore your site, and my friends and I often end up at our monthly family potlucks with dishes made entirely from your recipes! 🙂 Question about this recipe…Could I bake or broil the salmon instead of searing it on the stove top? We’re having guests, and I’d rather not have the mess of doing it on the stove. Thanks!!

    • So glad you enjoy the recipes, Lisa! And yes, you can either bake or broil the salmon. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • Thank you so much! One other quick question…I often manage to overcook the salmon when cooking it plain. What temperature and timing would you recommend for the six 5-6 ounce pieces? Thanks again!

        • Hi Lisa, I would heat the oven to 400 degrees and bake it until the salmon is cooked through (a knife will slide easily through the center), 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.

  • I made this last night and it was delicious. I served it with brown rice and steamed broccoli, and we put the glaze on everything. The sauce had such strong flavor that a little went a long way. Now that I have all the ingredients for the glaze, this will definitely become one of my regular weeknight recipes. Thanks so much for the awesome recipes and clear instructions!

  • Hi Jen I wrote earlier that I loved your mirin glazed salmon and how the mustard in the sauce made it outstanding. I realized I got the name of the dish wrong – it should have been pan seared salmon with soy mustard glaze. Apologies. I hope I didn’t confuse anyone. I just wanted to rate this dish correctly – definitely 5 stars! 🙂

  • Just discovered this site and it is going to be my “go to”. I’m a pretty good home chef but started to fall into a rut. Made this recipe tonight- my husband is again bowing at my feet. This was delicious, quick and crazy-easy! Made a mirin with sake and sugar. I wanted to know the calories and plugged the glaze into the recipe tool on “my fitness pal” and it’s very reasonable. Yum!

  • This has to be my favorite sauce I have ever made!! I would make the sauce a little earlier to really set up and be thicker. I plan to use this sauce with many other main courses and as a dipping sauce. FANTASTIC!!!!

  • Hi jenn! If I sear, then bake-how long do you bake? Thanks!!

    • Hi Alison, You would bake for about 5 minutes (or less) in a 350-degree oven.

  • i made this on Friday night for dinner. I substitued balsamic vinegar for Sherry and it was just fine. I love salmon and it was nice to find a new way to make it. 5 stars!

  • I made this last night for dinner. I paired it with “Balsamic-Glazed Roasted Beets”, and it was great. The two dishes kind of clashed a little with each other, but that’s on me. However, they were really tasty on their own! I didn’t have the mirin, so I substituted with a sweet, light white wine, and it was still really yummy! Tons of flavors – I like the sweet and salty combo. I could totally just mix the sauce with some rice and be happy. I made extra sauce so that next time, I can just cook the fish… I suspect I can keep the sauce in the fridge for about a week and still be ok using it. Happy cooking!

  • Hi Jenn, can I use light brown sugar instead of dark?

    • Hi Masuda, Yes, it will work just fine.

      • I finally made this dish and it turned out great. I also made mirin glazed salmon, and between these two salmon dishes, mirin glazed salmon was everyone’s favorite. Thank you so much as always for your great recipes.

  • Hi Jenn! The sauce didn’t thicken up like it looked like on the pictures. I boiled it a little longer and kept it on low a bit longer as well but it still seemed a bit too runny. Any suggestions? It tasted really nice on the salmon!
    Thanks!

    • Hi Andrea, Sorry you had trouble with the glaze thickening up; it definitely should. Did you add the cornstarch? Next time you can always simmer a little longer to get the desired consistency or just increase the cornstarch to 1 tablespoon. Hope that helps!

  • For me, the sauce didn’t thicken up like it looks like it was supposed to. I tried to boil it a little longer and then turn to low. I waited longer than the minute suggested also. Should it simmer (little bubbles) when on low? Thanks!

  • Easy to make , excellent flavors , another winner at my table….thank you Jenn.

  • This was amazing! I had never made salmon before but this recipe inspired me! I used the left over sauce on chicken wings the next day and they were delish! I have already shared this with my friends and family!

  • The recipe was very easy to follow and I LOVE how easy it is to make such a nice sauce! The sauce went very well with the salmon and it tasted great mixed into my veggies as well!

  • This was AMAZING! & so easy!

  • This recipe for Pan-Seared Salmon with Soy Mustard Glaze was a big hit at my dinner table!! The Salmon was so sweet and just melted in the mouth. I have been trying to introduce more fish to our dinner table and this one was a hit. There wasn’t any left on the serving plate. Even my 5 year old granddaughter had seconds!
    Also it was so easy to make. I also cooked/braised brussell sprouts which complimented the salmon.

  • It’s on our menu for next week!

  • Made this using fresh tuna. Amazing!

  • We need to eat gluten free…could I use tamari sauce instead of soy?

    • Hi Sandy, Yes that would be fine.

  • I tried it last night and it was awesome!!

  • This looks yummy, is a different approach to salmon and has my favorite mustard, too! Gonna try it this weekend 😀

    • Hope you like it, Cindi!

  • Sounds like another winner from your kitchen. Am looking forward to making this very soon.

  • Sounds great! Guess I’m making salmon tonight. Thanks.

  • Yummmmm looks lovely & sounds so good. Wish I was doing Salmon tonight now!

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