Tender, juicy fillets of salmon, a dream-boat filling of cream cheese, spinach, mozzarella, and Parmesan, and exactly 10 minutes of prep, this five-star Stuffed Salmon is the kind of epically impressive, yet paradoxically easy, recipe that will have you swearing off going out to eat.
Why should you dress up, wait for a seat, and suffer outrageous markup on wine in a restaurant, when you can make a chef-level dish like this elegant spinach stuffed salmon (or Honey Garlic Salmon) at home?
While it’s always a treat to eat out, I sometimes find an elegant meal made at home is even sweeter.
Which is why I’m really looking forward to making this easy stuffed salmon (with Garlic Butter Shrimp as an appetizer) this weekend for a date night at home.
Spinach-stuffed salmon with a crisp glass of wine to go with it is my idea of a perfect end to the work week.
Love salmon but not feeling the filling?
Check out my other healthy salmon recipes. I’ve specifically listed a few of my favorites that are extra date-night appropriate below.
5 Star Review
“Easy and delicious. Best salmon I’ve ever had hands down!”— Jennifer —
How to Make the Best Stuffed Salmon
This luscious cream cheese and spinach stuffed salmon meets you at the intersection of easy and impressive.
Even if you’ve never baked salmon before, you can nail this simple and straightforward recipe. (This Baked Salmon is also a great beginner recipe.)
The combination of the filling and the flaky salmon reminds me of a super classed-up seafood spinach dip (ahem, Smoked Salmon Dip), turned elegant and dinner appropriate.
- Salmon Fillets. Look for thicker salmon fillets, which are easier to stuff, as they leave more room to create a pocket for the filling. (Center-cut salmon is also my pick for Poached Salmon.)
You can cook the salmon with the skin on or ask the seafood counter to remove it for you. For this recipe, I prefer the skin on; it holds the salmon together, makes it easier to stuff, and generally, when you leave the skin on salmon, it is less prone to overcooking. Salmon skin is easy to remove once the fish is cooked.
- Spinach. Spinach stuffed salmon is not only delicious—it offers good-for-you ingredients too! In addition to the health benefits of the salmon itself (salmon is rich in omega-3s, protein, potassium, and more), spinach is packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- Garlic Cloves. Adds bold flavor to the spinach mixture.
- Cream Cheese. Gotta have it here! It makes the most creamy, rich, and lightly tangy stuffing for our salmon. Plus, it goes perfectly with spinach (just ask these Spinach Puffs).
- Mozzarella + Parmesan. Whoever said cheese and seafood do not go together has not tried this salmon recipe. The mozzarella is mild and melty; the Parmesan cheese is salty and nutty. Dream team.
- Red Pepper Flakes. A touch of heat to cut through the richness of the salmon and the spinach cream cheese filling.
- Lemon. Totally optional! Top off with lemon juice or lemon zest for a fresh citrus flavor.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Wilt the spinach in a medium or large skillet with the garlic and spices. Remove from the heat.
- Stir in the cheeses.
- Keep stirring until completely incorporated and the mixture is creamy.
- Make a pocket in each 6 oz salmon fillet, by making a small cut in the center. Don’t cut all the way through to the other side. Place the fillets on the baking sheet, and stuff the spinach-cream cheese mixture inside each piece. Drizzle with oil (or try melted butter) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake stuffed salmon at 425 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through. ENJOY!
A must! Since this salmon is rich, go for a crisp, dry white like Sauvignon Blanc (or the French version, Sancerre), or try an unoaked or very lightly oaked Chardonnay.
How to Store Stuffed Salmon
- To Store. Place leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.
- To Reheat. To keep the salmon from drying out, gently reheat the salmon on a baking sheet, loosely tented with foil, in a 350 degrees F oven until warmed through.
Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe
- Rimmed Baking Sheets. These are easily one of my most used kitchen tools.
- Non-Stick Skillet. This skillet is perfect for sautéing the stuffing ingredients.
- Mixing Bowls. For whipping up the perfect filling for stuffed salmon.
As cheesy as it sounds, the secret ingredient to this stuffed salmon is love.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have made this easy stuffed salmon recipe with king salmon and Atlantic salmon with great results. What’s most important for this recipe is to choose the salmon variety with the right thickness to ensure it can be easily spilt and stuffed. A center-cut filet will usually be the best choice (sockeye salmon can work, but the fillets are usually thinner).
Adding lump crab meat or imitation crab is very popular with stuffed salmon, so you could add it, I just haven’t tried it myself. Fold some into the filling, stuff with the crab mixture, and bake as directed. Check out these Crab Stuffed Mushrooms for inspiration.
Yes, it is safe to eat salmon skin if you feel so inclined; however, unless the skin is crispy (as with Pan-Fried Salmon), it’s generally too chewy to eat. Ultimately it’s personal preference (for this recipe, I would discard it after cooking).
If you’ve prepared salmon before, you may have found a white residue on the fish or on the pan once it is cooked. While it may not look pretty, this residue is simply albumin (the same thing in egg whites). It’s a protein found in fish that coagulates and turns solid and white when cooked.
- 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 5 ounces fresh baby spinach about 5 cups
- 1 clove garlic minced (about 1 teaspoon)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper divided
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
- 4 6 ounce salmon fillets skin off or on
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. For easy clean up, line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a big handful of spinach and cook, stirring often, until it begins to wilt. Stir in the garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and red pepper flakes and let cook 30 seconds. Continue adding the remaining spinach by large handfuls, until it completely wilts down. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Stir in the cream cheese until it melts and smoothly combines with the spinach. Stir in the mozzarella cheese and Parmesan, until the cheeses melt and the mixture looks like a delicious spinach and dip.
- Place salmon fillets on a clean work surface and pat dry. With a small, sharp knife, make a cut lengthwise down the middle of each fillet to create a pocket (do not cut the fish all the way through). Transfer the salmon to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. With a small spoon, fill each fillet with a quarter of the spinach mixture.
- Drizzle the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil over the fillets and brush with a pastry brush or lightly rub with your fingers to coat. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake until the salmon is opaque in the center and flakes easily with a fork, 8 to 10 minutes.
- TO STORE: Place leftover salmon filets in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.
- TO REHEAT: To keep the salmon from drying out, gently reheat the salmon on a baking sheet, loosely tented with foil, in a 350 degrees F oven until warmed through.
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