Main Course

Panko Crusted Salmon Fillets

November 13, 2019
panko crusted salmon fillets with rice and green beans and lemon on green plates

Salmon is often what’s for dinner in our house because my husband and I love it, one of our daughters tolerates it (a win!), and it’s quick and easy to cook. I have several go-to salmon recipes, but this Panko Crusted Salmon Fillets recipe is one of my absolute favorites. I was thrilled when I finally found the panko breadcrumbs I needed for this dish at La Grande Epicerie in Paris.

Salmon with mustard sauce is a traditional French dish, but in this version I combine mustard with American-style mayonnaise. I say American-style because the typical jarred mayo in France supermarkets is not what we Americans think of as mayonnaise. It often already has a good amount of dijon mustard mixed into it. I was confused by the color and taste of the mayonnaise here for several weeks, until I found a bottle of Heinz “American-style” mayonnaise—ahhh.

Combining mustard with American mayo creates a creamy sauce that keeps the salmon moist and adheres the crispy panko crumbs to the top. When you’re done, you have succulent rosy-pink salmon, a savory sauce, and a nice crunch in every bite. Preheat your oven while you’re preparing the ingredients for this recipe, and dinner will be on the table in less than 30 minutes. 

So how do you make Panko Crusted Salmon Fillets?

To start, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius. Rinse salmon fillets and pat dry with a paper towel. I recommend you choose thick salmon fillets (about 1.5 inches tall) for this recipe, not the very flat ones, as those will overcook in this recipe. Place fillets on a parchment paper- or foil-lined baking sheet. Note: if you have not made this recipe before and are concerned that your panko crumbs may not brown before your salmon is cooked, use foil to line your baking sheet.

ingredients for panko crusted salmon fillets

Sprinkle salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Now combine mayonnaise, dijon mustard, coarse ground mustard, and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley in a small bowl. Spread tops of the salmon fillets with this mixture.

salmon fillets with mustard-mayo sauce

Combine panko breadcrumbs, 1/4 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper, and 1/2 tablespoon chopped parsley in a small bowl. Now sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top of the salmon fillets, covering the mayonnaise-mustard mixture with a thick layer of crumbs. Pat gently down on the breadcrumbs to adhere.

salmon fillets topped with creamy mustard-mayo sauce and panko breadcrumbs

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the crumbs are golden, and the salmon flakes easily with a fork. Cooking the salmon at a fairly high temperature means that your breadcrumbs will turn golden-brown just as the salmon finishes cooking. However, ovens are different (and often not calibrated to the right temperature). If your crumbs are not yet golden, turn on the broiler and broil for just a minute to toast the crumbs. (This is why I recommended the foil-lining option, as parchment paper will burn under the broiler.) Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

baked panko crusted salmon fillets

What are panko breadcrumbs? 

Panko is a traditionally Japanese type of breadcrumbs, often found in the Asian food section of your supermarket or in an Asian market. In Japan, panko crumbs are used for a crispy fried coating in many dishes including tonkatsu and tempura. Compared to traditional breadcrumbs, panko breadcrumbs are larger and flakier, giving foods a stronger crunch. 

Can you substitute regular breadcrumbs for panko breadcrumbs?

You can, and in many recipes you won’t be able to tell a big difference. I often use regular breadcrumbs and panko breadcrumbs interchangeably when making meatballs. And, I’ve used both types to bread chicken fillets for a quick pan sauté. That said, in this recipe, I do very much prefer the panko crumbs. Traditional breadcrumbs will soak into the mayo-mustard sauce and become soggy. You might still have a crispy top, but the layer of crumbs closest to the sauce will not have a great texture. The panko breadcrumbs are crispy enough and big enough that they don’t really soak in, so you get a great layer of crunch on top. 

Can you prepare Panko Crusted Salmon in advance?

Yes you can. Just prepare the fillets with the mustard-mayo topping, then place on a plate or small sheet pan and put into the refrigerator. Make the panko mixture and set aside. When you are ready to bake, remove the salmon fillets from the refrigerator and pat on the panko topping. Then bake! Salmon fillets can be refrigerated for 3-4 hours before baking. 

What should I serve with Panko Crusted Salmon?

There’s so much flavor in this dish that I prefer to serve it with something simple. Jasmine rice and haricots verts on the side is a great combination. Any form of potatoes is also a good match: roasted, mashed, or even in french fry form. Roasted Broccoli and Carrots is an excellent side dish choice, or class it up with some Roasted Broccoli Rabe. You also can’t go wrong pairing this with a great salad like my Spinach Beet Salad, Salade de Tomates, or my Kale Salad with Cranberries

What can I do with leftovers?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I often double this recipe when I make it, so that I will have leftovers. You can reheat the salmon in the microwave or oven and eat it as you did the night before, though the crumbs will not be quite as crispy on Day 2. However, they are perfect for making salmon cakes! Just peel off the skin and use a fork to mash up the leftover salmon with its topping. Form into patties and sauté in a little butter or olive oil until each side is browned. Delicious! 

salmon cakes with green beans on green plate
Panko Crusted Salmon Fillets

Panko Crusted Salmon Fillets

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Panko Crusted Salmon Fillets have a creamy mustardy sauce and a crispy topping. They require just a few ingredients and are on the table in 30 minutes!

Ingredients

  • 4 salmon fillets (4-6 oz / 115-170 g each)
  • 1/4 c. (2 oz/56 g) American-style mayonnaise
  • 1 T. dijon mustard
  • 1 t. coarse ground mustard
  • 1 1/2 T. chopped parsley, divided
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 t. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning salmon
  • 1/4 t. ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning salmon
  • lemon wedges, to serve, if desired

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius.
    2. Rinse salmon fillets and pat dry with a paper towel.
    3. Place fillets on a parchment paper- or foil-lined baking sheet. (See note below.)
    4. Sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper.
    5. Now combine mayonnaise, dijon mustard, coarse ground mustard, and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley in a small bowl.
    6. Spread tops of the salmon fillets with this mixture.
    7. Combine panko breadcrumbs, 1/4 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper, and 1/2 tablespoon chopped parsley in a small bowl.
    8. Now sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top of the salmon fillets, covering the mayonnaise-mustard mixture with a thick layer of crumbs.
    9. Pat down gently on the breadcrumbs to adhere.
    10. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the crumbs are golden, and the salmon flakes easily with a fork.

Notes

Choose thick salmon fillets (about 1.5 inches tall for this recipe). Thinner fillets may overcook.

If your crumbs are not golden brown by the time your salmon is cooked, pop the sheet pan under the broiler for a minute—if you've never made this recipe before and aren't sure whether the crumbs will brown, line your sheet pan with foil and not parchment. Parchment will burn under the broiler.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 773 Total Fat: 44g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 31g Cholesterol: 215mg Sodium: 750mg Carbohydrates: 12g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 1g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 78g
Nutrition information is provided as a general reference for users courtesy of the online nutrition calculator Nutritionix.

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  • Jeffthechef@makeitlikeaman.com
    November 14, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    Delicious! Thanks for your tip on leftovers. That’s an important part of cooking for me.

    • Chef Molly
      November 14, 2019 at 4:07 pm

      Me too. And salmon cakes are sooo good.

  • Alexandra @ It's Not Complicated Recipes
    November 15, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    So delicious! I am loving the flavours with the salmon, and can imagine that panko crust is just scrumptious!

    • Chef Molly
      November 15, 2019 at 2:03 pm

      Yes, panko crusts are the best! I’m going to bread some chicken breasts next. 🙂

  • Allison
    December 3, 2019 at 2:06 am

    This was so delicious and very easy to make! I loved the crunch from the Pablo breadcrumbs and the flavor was perfect.

    • Chef Molly
      December 3, 2019 at 2:54 pm

      Ha! I got a good laugh over the “Pablo” breadcrumbs. Darn auto-correct! But so glad you liked the recipe. I make it all the time!