Spinach Stuffed Salmon

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Stuffed salmon with creamy spinach filling, ready in 30 minutes! Simply cut a pocket into the fillet, add the cheesy herb mixture, then bake until tender and flaky.

Serving platter with three stuffed salmon fillets.
Table of Contents
  1. Salmon selection
  2. Make the filling
  3. Other filling options
  4. Make a pocket
  5. Add the filling
  6. Season the salmon
  7. Bake then broil
  8. Serve this with
  9. FAQ
  10. Spinach Stuffed Salmon Recipe

Salmon is a flaky fish packed with healthy nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids. It is delicious when seasoned with salt and pepper and pan-seared, grilled, or baked. However, have you ever tried stuffing the fillet? The thick pieces are ideal for slicing into, and adding a savory filling elevates the dish into a gourmet meal.

Fresh spinach, herbs, and lemon pair well with the hearty yet mild-flavored fish. Combining them with a smooth cream cheese mixture makes it easy to add to the center. First, bake the stuffed salmon fillets for gentle cooking. Then, broil for a few minutes to get a golden crust.

Ingredients to make spinach filling and salmon.

Salmon selection

There are various types of salmon to choose from. I recommend Atlantic, King, or Scottish for their rich and flaky texture. These varieties tend to be thicker, making them easier to fill and less delicate after cooking.

Purchase a whole fillet or pre-portioned 6 to 8 ounces pieces. You can usually buy it with the skin removed or remove the salmon skin yourself in just minutes. Leave it on if you prefer, and slip a spatula underneath to release it before serving.

Recipe Resources

Make the filling

The filling base is brick-style cream cheese for a smooth, thick texture. Make sure it is below room temperature, so it spreads easier. I like to add freshly chopped spinach, so it doesn’t have a mushy texture and muddy flavor like frozen. 

Dill has delicate grassy citrus notes, which complements the fish. Lemon zest enhances the citrusy taste and provides aromatic oils as it bakes. Some pungent minced garlic bumps up the savory flavor, as does the salty parmesan cheese. The mixture can be made several days in advance, making meal prep quick and easy.

Bowl of creamy herb and spinach filling.

Other filling options

  • Substituting Cream Cheese: Goat cheese or feta for a creamy, more intense flavor. Boursin is a Gournay cheese that has a similar texture, often comes already seasoned.
  • Dry-aged Cheese: Parmigiana Reggiano or pecorino romano add a fermented, salty taste.
  • Herbs: Parsley, chives, tarragon, or basil add a delicate herbaceous taste without overpowering the salmon.
  • Alliums: Dried garlic powder or onion powder add a concentrated earthy flavor, although don’t use more than ½ teaspoon total.

Make a pocket

Use a sharp pairing knife to cut a slit lengthwise down the center of the salmon. I target starting a pocket through the thickest part of the salmon and stopping where it starts to get narrow and taper. Make sure to not cut through to the other side so that it keeps the filling trapped inside.

Add the filling

The cream cheese mixture makes about 1 cup of filling or ¼ cup per fillet. I find it easiest to pat it down with your fingertips to create an even layer inside. Push as much as you can into the pocket, as the salmon proteins will tighten and shrink as it cooks. 

A little bit of ooze from the side is okay. However, you can secure a toothpick on the side to close the opening. I do this with stuffed chicken breast, and it works well, mainly if you choose to pan-sear or grill the fillets instead.

Season the salmon

Before baking, brush the surface with melted butter—the milk solids will lightly brown in the oven, adding more flavor to the fish. Alternatively, use olive oil for a fruitier taste and a more crisp crust since there is no moisture in the fat—season with salt and pepper for layers of flavor throughout.

Creamy spinach filling oozing out of cooked salmon fillets.

Bake then broil

Whenever I make baked salmon, I choose a moderate heat of 375ºF (191ºC). This ensures efficient yet gentle cooking so that the flesh does not dry out. The goal is to cook the fish until it’s about medium-rare, or 125ºF (52ºC). This takes about 12 to 14 minutes for an 8-ounce fillet. 

To develop a light golden crust, broil on high for 2 to 4 minutes. At high heat, these last few minutes will get the salmon to medium doneness, with a fully opaque flesh, around 140ºF (60ºC). Alternatively, you can keep baking for a few more minutes if you don’t want a darker crust until it reaches medium.

Serve this with

FAQ

How long does it take for salmon to be cooked?

Stuffed salmon requires a few additional minutes compared to baking without a filling. The cooler filling causes a slightly longer cook time because it requires more time to heat the middles of the salmon. It takes about 12 to 14 minutes to get medium-rare doneness (125ºF/52ºC) or about 16 to 20 minutes for medium (140ºF).

Do you cover salmon when baking?

No! The salmon does not need to be covered. It will cause the fish to steam instead of bake, and the golden crust will not form in the moist heat environment.

Can you leave the salmon skin on?

Yes, you can leave the salmon skin on while baking. However, separate the skin from the flesh before serving for a prettier presentation.

Stuffed salmon on a white plate served with mashed potatoes and asparagus.

For a crispier salmon texture

Instead of baking the salmon in the oven, cook it on the stovetop for a crispier crust. Close the open ends with a toothpick for easier flipping and to keep the filling inside. Cooking the salmon in a hot skillet in oil over medium-high heat quickly browns and dries the surface for a deep golden-brown crust. The fat in the salmon renders, creating a super crispy texture. It takes about 3 to 5 minutes per side using this method.

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Spinach Stuffed Salmon

Delicious stuffed salmon recipe with creamy spinach filling, it's an easy gourmet meal ready in 30 minutes!
Pin Print Review
4.8 from 5 votes
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine American

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup baby spinach, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 4 salmon fillets, about 6 to 8 ounces, skin off
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, or olive oil

Instructions 

  • Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the middle position. Heat the oven to 375ºF (191ºC).
  • Make the Filling – In a medium bowl, combine softened cream cheese, parmesan cheese, spinach, dill, lemon zest, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Set aside, or cover and refrigerate if not stuffing salmon right away.
  • Prepare the Salmon – On the side of the salmon fillet, cut about a 3 to 4-inch long slit lengthwise to create a pocket. Make sure not to cut all the way through. Repeat with the remaining pieces.
  • Stuff the Fillets – Evenly spread the cheese mixture into the pocket of each fillet, about 3 to 4 tablespoons. If available, close the opening with toothpicks to secure the filling inside.
  • Season – Transfer the fillets to a lightly greased foil-lined sheet pan. Brush the surface with melted butter. In a small bowl, combine ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Evenly season the fillets.
  • Bake the Salmon – Bake until the thickest part reaches an internal temperature of 125ºF (52ºC), about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven.
  • Broil – Change the oven setting to broil on high. Cook until the surface is light golden brown, about 2 to 4 minutes.
  • Serve – Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain the excess grease. Serve immediately while hot.

Equipment

Notes

  • Storing: Cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat: Cover and reheat in the microwave on the high setting in 30-second intervals until hot. Alternatively, heat in the oven at 350ºF until hot.
  • For Pan-Sear the Salmon – Heat a 12-inch stainless steel, cast iron, or nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then turn the heat to medium-high. Carefully add the salmon, presentation side down, press the fish down into the pan for about 10 seconds. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the surface is golden brown, crispy, and easily releases from the pan, about 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook until the edges are opaque and the center is slightly translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Using Frozen Spinach: Defrost and squeeze out the excess moisture. You will need ½ cup of chopped frozen spinach.

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Nutrition Facts
Spinach Stuffed Salmon
Amount Per Serving
Calories 421 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 27g42%
Saturated Fat 11g55%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 141mg47%
Sodium 822mg34%
Potassium 923mg26%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 39g78%
Vitamin A 1005IU20%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 167mg17%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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2 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Carol Dehne says

    Made this tonight and it’s absolutely a 5-star meal. And so easy to make, too! We’ll be having this again, serving it to guests. Thanks, Jessica. We’ve enjoyed every recipe we’ve tried from your website.

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