Creamy garlic butter salmon

It’s hard to go wrong with cream, garlic, and butter. Photo: Lauren Jescovitch

By Lauren Jescovitch, Michigan Sea Grant Extension Educator in the western Upper Peninsula

Now that I’m done with graduate school and have more time to cook, I’m starting to rediscover some old favorite seafood recipes. Supply chain issues from COVID-19 are raising the price of beef here in the Upper Peninsula. So I’m turning more to fish as a cheaper, heart-healthy alternative.

I have some great recipes that keep fish from tasting too “fishy.” This recipe, from food blogger Karina at, is one of them. The recipe uses salmon, and if I’m not buying Great Lakes salmon, I always look for farm-raised options to do my part in supporting sustainable fisheries.

I added 2 oz of cream cheese into the sauce to make it even more thick and cheesy. I also roasted some cauliflower as a side dish and seasoned it with salt, pepper, and shredded parmesan cheese.

A quick tip: if you’re pan-frying your fish, put a drizzle of oil in the pan, get it hot, the place the fish flesh-side down. Fry it until it crisps up in its own oil, and then flip it onto the skin side. Resist the urge to keep flipping it back and forth. The fillet will hold together better that way!

Check out the blog post where I found this recipe for more tips on cooking the perfect salmon fillet.

Cooking flesh-side down first helps the fillet hold together. Photo: Lauren Jescovitch
Resist the urge to flip back and forth, or the fillet might fall apart. Photo: Lauren Jescovitch
The final product, complete with roasted cauliflower and parmesan cheese. Photo: Lauren Jescovitch

Creamy garlic butter salmon

Recipe from


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 21 oz (600 g) salmon filets, skin on or off
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups full or reduced-fat cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, freshly chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 oz cream cheese (optional)


  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season salmon with salt, pepper, and garlic powder all over. Sear in the hot pan, flesh-side down first, for 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked to your liking. Once cooked, remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Melt the butter in the same skillet. Sauté garlic until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Pour in the white wine or broth; allow to reduce to half while scraping any bits off of the bottom of the pan.
  • Reduce heat to low-medium heat, add the cream, and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the parmesan cheese and allow sauce to gently simmer for a further minute or so until the cheese melts and sauce thickens.
  • Add the salmon back into the pan and sprinkle with parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice. Taste sauce and adjust salt and pepper, if needed.
  • Serve over pasta, rice, or steamed vegetables.

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