Pesto Butter Salmon

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Need any easy main dish that is ready in almost no time? This Pesto Butter Salmon is just what you’re after! No fancy equipment, minimal prep, and so delicious. This is sure to become a go to on those busy weeknights! As you will see from the recipe photos in the post, I roasted some broccoli on the same sheet pan as the pesto butter salmon. It cooks in the same amount of time, and makes a great side dish. I have included the broccoli in the recipe card below, though cooking the broccoli with the salmon is purely optional.

pesto butter salmon with a fork and napkin.

Pesto Butter Salmon

Salmon is pretty great all by itself, but when you top it with pesto butter and roast it? Come on. So good.

We all lead busy lives in one way or another, and I think it’s really important to have a list of recipes that get you through the week without feeling tempted to order out. 

Not that there is anything wrong with takeout, but a home cooked meal just hits different sometimes. The way I see it, home cooked does not always have to translate to “took me all evening in the kitchen”. That’s why this pesto butter salmon recipe is here to save the day!

Why You’ll Love Pesto Butter Salmon

As I previously mentioned, this recipe is so easy! Here are a few other reasons to love it:

  • Versatile- it works with salad, potatoes, or anything in between.
  • Fast- This is on the table in a flash!
  • Healthy and fresh!
  • Even my picky 5 year old loves this, so if you have picky eaters they may love it too!

Pesto Butter Salmon Ingredients

You only need salmon, salt, pepper, unsalted butter, and pesto. That’s it! Super easy right?

If you are going to make your own pesto for this recipe, you will of course need the ingredients required to make pesto as well.

Equipment Needed

To make this recipe you will need:

  • Rimmed Baking Sheet
  • Kitchen Scissors (for helping to remove the bones from the salmon)
  • Small Bowl (for the pesto butter)
  • Spoon or Rubber Scraper
  • Aluminum Foil (for lining the rimmed baking sheet)

If you don’t have a rimmed baking sheet, you can use a large enameled cast iron skillet instead.

Pesto Butter

This is as simple as it sounds: Pesto and butter. I use unsalted butter to avoid adding any additional saltiness to the dish.

Be sure your butter is very soft before combining it with the pesto. This ensures that the two are properly incorporated. You don’t want the butter melted and runny, but it should be very soft.

If you want homemade basil pesto for this recipe, look no further! Please see my recipe for Pesto di Basilico (Basil Pesto). It is perfect for making this salmon! I have also linked this recipe in the recipe card.

For this pesto butter, I prefer a higher ratio of pesto to butter. I just find there is more basil flavor that way.

pesto and butter on a gray background.
photo of pesto butter in a bowl.

How To Make Pesto Butter Salmon

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Cut the salmon filet into four pieces.
  3. Remove the bones from the salmon (if you have not had someone do this at the grocery store for you already).
  4. Combine the unsalted butter and the pesto.
  5. Place the salmon on the foil lined baking sheet, leaving space between each piece.
  6. Season the salmon with salt and pepper.
  7. Top the salmon with the pesto butter.
  8. Bake until the salmon is done.

For more complete instructions and additional details, please see the recipe card below.

salmon and brocolli on a foil lined sheet pan ready for baking.

Pesto Salmon Recipe FAQs

What type of pesto is best for pesto butter salmon?

Basil Pesto is the best kind to use. You can buy pre-made pesto, or you can make your own. I have a link to my pesto recipe here on the blog in the Pesto Butter section above, and it is linked in the recipe card below as well.

Can you double this recipe for pesto butter salmon?

Most definitely. This recipe works well making a double batch. You might have to use two baking sheets. If doubling the recipe and using more than one baking sheet, be sure to rotate the baking sheets halfway through cooking.

What salmon is best to use for this recipe?

I used wild caught Sockeye, but you can use any that you have available. I do recommend not using farmed salmon. Its flavor is not as good, and the meat is sometimes dyed to give it a deeper color.

Deboning Salmon

Most of the time, salmon still has the bones in it. The easiest way to deal with this is to have someone at the fish counter remove them for you. 

This is what I recommend just so that you can save time and trouble at home, but there may not always be someone available to debone the salmon when you happen to be shopping. 

In case no one is at the fish counter at your grocery store and you have to do it yourself at home, here is how to remove the bones:

  1. Run your fingers across the salmon filet from one side to the other, all the way across the filet. You’ll know when you feel the bones.
  2. Using your fingers, tweezers, or a pair of kitchen scissors, carefully pull out each bone.
  3. When you think you have all the bones out, run your hands across it again to make sure you got them all.

I recommend checking for bones when you get your salmon home, even if you have had them debone it for you just to be sure none were missed.

How To Store Cooked Salmon

If you have leftovers, they keep best in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. I would use any leftovers you have within two to three days. Salmon is not something you want to have sitting too long, even in the refrigerator.

To reheat your salmon, a minute or so in the microwave should warm it through without overcooking it.

I would not recommend freezing cooked salmon. I have found it does not defrost very well.

What To Serve With Pesto Butter Salmon

This is fantastic with so many different sides. I love it with my Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto, Farro Salad with Spring Vegetables, Cream of Asparagus Soup, pasta, risotto, or potatoes. If you like, you could even serve this pesto butter salmon as a sandwich on a nice soft ciabatta roll.

Or, you can serve it with the broccoli as pictured. 

Of course what is life without dessert? This salmon is great with my White Chocolate Raspberry Blondies, No Bake Mojito Cheesecakes in a Jar, or Chai Spiced White Chocolate Brownies

If you are reading this, thank you for stopping by the blog. I certainly hope you love this dish! If you tried this pesto butter salmon recipe, I’d love to hear how it turned out! Just leave a rating or comment below. 

If you’d like to share this recipe with friends, here are some suggestions:

Make it and take a picture and tag me @thecoppertable in a post on Instagram, pin to a Dinner or Main Dishes board on Pinterest or share on Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else you like, just use the share buttons located right here in the post!

If you have not signed up for my newsletter, you can do that below. I have all sorts of exclusive content just for newsletter subscribers, and I’d love for you to join. Happy Cooking!

salmon with pesto butter and broccoli on a dark gray plate.
salmon with pesto butter and broccoli next to a fork.
Yield: 4 Servings

Pesto Butter Salmon

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Pesto Butter Salmon is one of the quickest and easiest recipes out there. It cooks in no time and has so much flavor. It is terrific with a number of different side dishes, and it is easily doubled to serve for a dinner party!


  • 1 Salmon Filet, 1 to 1 1/4 pounds in size
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, very soft
  • 3 Tbsp Basil Pesto


  1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. While you wait for the oven to heat, line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, dull side up.
  3. Cut the salmon into 4 equal portions.
  4. To debone, run your fingers across each filet, until you feel the bones with your fingers.
  5. Using your fingers, tweezers, or kitchen scissors, grab the bones and pull them out one by one.
  6. Once the salmon is deboned, place the portions on the foil lined baking sheet skin side down, leaving at least a half inch of space in between each portion. If you are planning to cook the broccoli on the sheet pan with the salmon as pictured, you can fold one side of the foil up to create a barrier between the salmon and the broccoli.
  7. Season each piece of salmon using the 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of black pepper. There is no need to season the skin side of the salmon, just the top.
  8. In a small bowl, soften the 2 Tbsp of unsalted butter in the microwave. Don't heat it too long to avoid melting the butter.
  9. Next, add the 3 Tbsp of pesto to the 2 Tbsp of unsalted butter and stir well.
  10. Spoon the pesto butter onto each portion of salmon, being sure to divide it evenly among the portions.
  11. Bake for about 8 minutes. If the top of the salmon filet flakes easily with a fork or the internal temperature reads a 125 to 130 degrees then you know the salmon is done.
  12. Serve with your favorite side dish. To serve with the roasted broccoli as pictured, please see the recipe notes below.


You can use an oven safe non stick skillet such as enameled cast iron in place of the rimmed baking sheet if you like.

For the pesto used in this recipe and to make your own, please see my recipe for Pesto Di Basilico.

For the optional Roasted Broccoli:

First, when placing your aluminum foil on the rimmed baking sheet, be sure to fold up the edges of the foil so that the salmon and broccoli are separated, as seen in the photos above.

For the Broccoli, you will need-

  1. 2 cups of Broccoli Florets, cut into equal size pieces so they cook evenly.
  2. 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  3. 1 tsp Salt
  4. 1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Toss the Broccoli in the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Place on the other half of the baking sheet and roast for the same length of time as the salmon.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 231Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 678mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 14g

All information presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist or registered dietitian and any nutritional information should only be used as a general guideline. Statements within this site have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is provided for recipes contained on this site. This information comes from online calculators. Although The Copper Table attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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