This grilled salmon is cooked on a cedar plank, resulting in a deliciously woody and smoky flavor. It’s one of the most flavorful ways to make grilled salmon.
Hot tip: Don’t have any cedar planks? These cedar planks are our favorite!
What is Cedar Plank Salmon?
Cedar plank salmon is salmon that is cooked on top of a plank of cedar wood. The plank infuses the fish with a woody and smoky flavor, setting this method apart from other grilling methods. Instead of cooking the salmon directly on the grill grates, the plank serves as a “platform” that transmits indirect heat which slowly cooks the salmon. Grilling on the plank helps to prevent the fish from drying out too quickly.
Hot tip: Cedar planks also make beautiful serving trays! Garnish the salmon when it’s fully cooked and serve directly off the plank!
How to Grill Salmon on a Cedar Plank
Before you start on this delicious recipe, ensure the tools needed to make the salmon are ready to go. Luckily, you only need a few of these to make this restaurant-worthy dish — a grill and a cedar plank.
- Prepare the planks: Prepare the cedar planks by soaking them in water for at least an hour. Preheat the grill to 350°F.
- Season the salmon: Place the salmon on the soaked planks, then brush with olive oil, season with garlic parsley salt, and top with lemon slices.
- Grill the fish: Place the salmon planks onto the preheated grill. Grill for 8-12 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 145°F and salmon easily flakes with a fork. Enjoy!
Hot tip: Salmon is easily overcooked. Don’t play the guessing game — invest in an instant-read thermometer to insure a perfectly cooked salmon.
One of the many perks about grilling salmon is how easy it is to change up the flavor with different ingredients or marinades. The possibilities are almost endless!
- Marinade in advance: Use your favorite salmon marinade and let it marinate for 24-48 hours before grilling. This gives the salmon a deeper flavor.
- Season with a dry spice rub: For a dry rub option, combine brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and/or black pepper and rub into the salmon before grilling.
- Cover with a glaze: Instead of adding more flavor before grilling, add it after. Use your favorite glaze at the end like BBQ sauce or teriyaki sauce.
Tips from the Kitchen
There’s countless recipes for grilled salmon out there, but with these tips, this cedar plank grilled salmon will be your go-to salmon dish.
- Use skin-on salmon fillets: We love using skin-on fillets because the skin holds the salmon flesh together. Place the salmon skin-side down onto the planks when grilling.
- Soak the plank: Make sure to soak the cedar plank for at least an hour before using or it may catch fire. We don’t want that happening! Pat the plank with a paper towel to remove the excess liquid before putting the salmon on it.
- Leave space between planks: When grilling several planks at the same time, leave space between each one. This will allow for heat to evenly disperse.
- Preslice the salmon filets (optional): Pre-sliced salmon fillets have a shorter cooking time, and are perfect slices for serving right away. (Just use a sharp knife for easier slicing, we love this set). If you don’t pre-slice the fillet, this gives you the option of garnishing the salmon beautifully as a whole piece. The whole fillet needs a bit longer of a cooking time but it also is more moist.
Ways to Serve
No matter what you serve salmon with, it’s guaranteed to be a perfect fit. Here are sides we serve with cedar plank salmon.
- Garnished: Add lemon zest or any other citrus and fresh herbs on top of the salmon.
- As part of a spread: Serve the salmon with pico de gallo, guacamole, and cherry tomatoes for a perfect spread.
- With a salad: Pair the salmon with a side dish of fresh avocado salad or bacon brussels sprouts salad.
- With vegetables: Grab a sheet pan and make oven roasted carrots and parsnips. Or, make grilled corn on the cob since the grill is already out.
- In a sushi bowl: Use the salmon to make a salmon sushi bowl with avocados, rice, and cucumbers.
Storage Tips + Reheating
Cedar plank salmon is best when enjoyed straight off the grill. It’ll have the freshest, smokiest flavor. In the odd chance you have leftovers, store the fish according to these guidelines to retain the best flavor.
- Refrigerator: To store for up to three days, place the salmon into an airtight container in the fridge.
- Freezer: Store the cedar plank salmon for up to three months in the freezer when kept in an airtight container or bag. Thaw the fish slowly overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
- Reheating: When reheating quickly, use a microwave on a low speed. If reheating a large portion, place the salmon into the oven at 350°F and heat until warmed through.
Is it better to use a cedar plank on a gas grill or charcoal grill?
Cedar planks are used with both charcoal and gas grills. Charcoal will give even more smokey flavor, whereas it is easier to control the temperature with a gas grill.
What else can I cook on cedar planks?
Cedar planks can be used to grill a variety of different fish, other seafood entrees, chicken, fruits, and vegetables!
Can you reuse a cedar plank?
Although a cedar plank can theoretically be reused, we don’t recommend it. The planks retain the flavor of the previously cooked item and they will produce a less intense smokey flavor output after each use.
More Seafood Recipes
- Grilled Lobster Tail – Talk about fancy! Succulent and restaurant-worthy!
- Grilled Salmon in Foil – This cooking method yields juicy, flavorful salmon
- Salmon Cakes – Tasty salmon patties made with canned salmon.
- Easy Salmon Chowder – Ridiculously good seafood soup
- Pan-Seared Butter Scallops – Crazy easy alternative to going out for scallops!
- Crispy Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp – Crispy breading over the juicy, plump shrimp on the inside
- Prepare cedar planks by soaking them in water for at least an hour. Preheat a grill to 350°F.
- Place the salmon on a soaked cedar plank. Brush with oil, season with garlic parsley salt, and top it off with lemon slices.
- Place plank with salmon onto the preheated grill. Grill for 8-12 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 145°F. Enjoy!