Baked Parmesan Crusted Salmon with Lemon Cream Sauce - easy and fast to make, can be prepared ahead, a stunning centrepiece for Christmas dinner and yet easy enough for midweek. That Lemon Cream sauce is the perfectly finishing tough.
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4.98 from 47 votes

Baked Parmesan Crusted Salmon with Lemon Cream Sauce

A simple showstopper salmon recipe! Fantastic centrepiece for a special occasion yet easy enough for midweek. Don't skip the sauce! It makes all the difference to this dish because the salmon is not marinated. Though made with cream, it is not rich, it's quite tangy - perfect pairing with rich salmon.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dinner
Servings: 6 -8
Calories: 427kcal
Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats


  • 1 (1 - 1.4 kg / 2 - 2.8 lb) side of salmon (Note 1)
  • 3- 4 tbsp Dijon mustard

Parmesan Crumb

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (50g) (Note 2)
  • Oil spray
  • 3 tbsp / 50 g butter , melted
  • 1/3 cup (40g) grated parmesan , store bought (1/2 cup fresh grated) (Note 3)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper

Lemon Cream Sauce

  • 2tbsp / 30g butter
  • 1 eschallot / finely chopped (Note 4)
  • 1 1/4 cups (315 ml) dry white wine (Note 5)
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) heavy cream / thickened cream
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice (plus more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper


  • Watercress
  • Lemon wedges
  • Fresh dill


  • Take salmon out of the fridge to bring to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 180C / 350F (fan / convection) or 200C / 390F (standard).
  • Spread panko on baking tray, spray generously with oil then bake for 3 to 5 minutes until light golden brown. (Note 6) Scrape into bowl immediately.
  • Add butter and stir, then add remaining Parmesan Crumb ingredients.
  • Line same tray with foil. Place salmon on foil.
  • Spread Dijon on salmon using a butter knife. Just a thin coating - like buttering toast.
  • Sprinkle Crumb all over.
  • Bake for 20 minutes for just cooked juicy perfection, or to taste. (Note 7)
  • Remove from oven. Loosen salmon from foil using egg flip or butter knife - skin will hopefully be stuck to foil.
  • Plate watercress on serving platter.
  • Use foil to lift salmon onto watercress on serving plate, then slide out the foil from under it (see video under recipe). Serve with Lemon Cream Sauce and lemon wedges on the side.

Lemon Cream Sauce

  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add eschalots and cook for 2 minutes. Add wine and bring to boil. Leave to boil rapidly for 5 minutes or until reduced by 3/4 or so.
  • Turn heat down to medium. Add cream, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir, then add lemon juice and mustard. Stir again. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened (see video). Adjust salt, pepper and lemon to taste. Be generous with the salt - remember the salmon is not marinated, the only salt is in the topping.
  • Optional: strain. I don't bother.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so. It will thicken as it cools. It can be served warm or at room temperature.


1. Skin on or off is fine, and ask your fish monger to remove the bones.
2. Panko breadcrumbs are chunkier than normal ones so they make a better crust.
3. Store bought is denser than freshly grated so if you are grating your own, use more.
4. Eschalots are mini onions. They are slightly sweeter. This can be substituted with spring onions / shallots / scallions (white part) or even normal onion. You need 2 tbsp. Or use 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic.
5. Or fish stock/broth or chicken broth.
6. This step is key to ensuring your salmon comes out with a beautiful evenly golden crust, rather than with splotches of burnt bits / overcooking your salmon to get the breadcrumb to go golden.
If your oven doesn't cook evenly, you may wish to shake the tray once.
7. My salmon was 1.2 kg / 2.4 lb and 2.5cm / 1" thick at the thickest part and it was at room temperature. 20 minutes yielded a perfectly "just cooked" salmon that is very moist. Use a knife to take a peek if you want - you can cover it back up with crumbs, no one will ever know!
If your salmon is fridge cold, add 3 minute to the cook time.
8. MAKE AHEAD at home: Prepare the crumb and place in an airtight container in the fridge until required - up to 2 days ahead. Make the sauce, cool then refrigerate. On the day of, prepare the salmon according to recipe directions. Reheat sauce in microwave - 40 seconds or so. Do not put crumb on salmon then refrigerate - it will draw moisture out of the salmon and into the crumb mixture = soggy crumb. :(
TO TAKE SOMEWHERE with no oven: In Australia, many people have a Christmas Day lunch at parks and beaches. So a reader asked me how one might prepare this for a picnic. I think this will work great to take components separately and just assemble: bake salmon with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cool then wrap. Toast panko crumbing (with butter, parmesan etc) for 8 min or so, shaking tray a few times so it toasts evenly, until deep golden like in the photos. Transfer immediately to container (it keeps toasting on hot tray), allow to cool then seal. Mix together mayo + mustard (equal amounts) - juicier than plain mustard which will be better with cool salmon. Make sauce and allow to cool. Thin out sauce with a bit of water so it's pourable at the temp you expect to serve it. Then on the day of, assemble the salmon just prior to serving. Salmon and sauce is best served at room temperature rather than cold. Voila! Crunchy topping!
9. I like to allow for 180 - 200 g / 6 -7 oz of fish per serving or if it is part of a larger feast. If being extra cautious / large appetites, I do 250g / 8 oz per head.
10. Lemon Cream Sauce - I know 1 1/2 cups of cream sounds like a lot, and it is! But this serves 8 people so it's about 2 tbsp of cream per person which is not very much. Also the sauce is not rich, it is tangy from the lemon and mustard and cuts through the richness of the salmon. Perfect pairing!
11. Nutrition assuming 8 servings and that all the sauce is consumed.


Serving: 238g | Calories: 427kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 33.7g | Fat: 25.3g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 113mg | Sodium: 517mg | Potassium: 662mg | Fiber: 0.9g | Sugar: 1.6g | Vitamin A: 650IU | Vitamin C: 2.5mg | Calcium: 150mg | Iron: 1.8mg