Ultimate Salmon Seasoning – Perfect for Grilling or Smoking

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This Salmon Seasoning balances sweet and savory flavors to complement the rich and buttery flavor of any kind of salmon. This salmon seasoning recipe is easy to scale up too. It’s truly the best! So darn good.

Salmon Seasoning in a mason jar

This has been one of our favorite rubs for salmon for years. In fact, it’s the same seasoning in the salmon recipe that graces the cover of our cookbook, Fire + Wine. We serve it at events all the time. And it wasn’t until recently, when sharing it at a large BBQ event where guests were asking if we sold that seasoning, that we thought, damn, that’s a good idea! And while the rub isn’t available on the market… yet… we thought it definitely deserved its own recipe to live here on Vindulge. So here it is!

Salmon Seasoning Highlights

  • The mix of brown sugar and chili spices are meant to balance sweet and savory with a slight amount of heat.
  • This is great on smoked salmon, grilled salmon, or salmon baked in the oven.
  • The flavor is rich and enhances the delicate flavors of your favorite salmon cuts.
  • You can easily double or triple the recipe to save and use later as it lasts six months when stored properly.

Ingredient List

  • Dark Brown Sugar – The richer molasses flavor is what we prefer, but if you don’t like that flavor you can use cane or light brown sugar.
  • Chili Powder – No two brands of chili powder are alike. Some are spicy, some are richer in flavor. We use the McCormicks brand chili powder.
  • Cumin Powder – The cumin adds an earthy flavor and balances the chili powder.
  • Dried Chipotle Powder – Chipotle has a touch of heat and also a sweeter and richer flavor. It’s most commonly found in the Mexican aisle of your grocery store. Lately it’s popularity has increased and you may also see it in the baking and spice section of the grocery store. If you don’t like heat, ancho chili powder works well also.
  • Kosher Salt – We strongly recommend you use kosher/sea salt for this salmon seasoning. If you only have iodized table salt, then only use 1/2 the salt portions. We use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt.
  • Pepper – Coarse black pepper is the best.

Substitutions – You can also add or subtract any of these ingredients based on flavors and heat levels that you like. Reference our guide on how to make a homemade dry rub to consider the principals of a balanced seasoning.

Salmon Seasoning in a bowl

Salmon Seasoning Instructions

In a small bowl combine all ingredients and then use in your favorite salmon or other rich fish recipes. We typically use 1 tablespoon of seasoning for each large salmon steak. For a whole filet, we use up to 1/4 of a cup.

Place unused salmon seasoning into an airtight container like a mason jar. A funnel makes this a much easier task.


It’s best to store your salmon seasoning in a cool and dark cupboard. Light exposed to a bottle of seasoning will cause the moisture to try and evaporate and that causes clumping.

The seasoning will last up to six months to maximize freshness and avoid major clumping.

Heat Level

If you don’t like any heat at all you can skip the chipotle powder as that is the only ingredient that creates any type of heat.

Salmon Seasoning Recipes

glazed cedar plank salmon
Maple Chipotle Cedar Plank Salmon from Fire + Wine cookbook
  • Smoked Salmon – We go classic with salt and pepper, but you can add this seasoning as well like we did in our Smoked Sockeye Salmon.
  • Maple Chipotle Cedar Plank Salmon – Hot and fast with a touch of cedar smoke is the best part of this recipe. Finish with a real maple syrup glaze.
  • Grilled Salmon Steaks – If you don’t want to cook up a whole salmon filet, then use this seasoning on grilled salmon steaks.
  • Blackened Salmon – We use our blackening spices for this recipe but you can easily substitute it with this salmon seasoning.

About Vindulge

About Vindulge

Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.

cookbook cover

Now on 2nd edition

Fire + Wine Cookbook

“This book is a one-stop guide for anyone truly interested in elevating their BBQ experience into a culinary work of art.”
5 out of 5 Stars
San Francisco Book Review

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Salmon Seasoning in a mason jar
5 from 1 vote

Salmon Seasoning Recipe

This salmon seasoning is perfect for any salmon and cooked with any technique. From grilling to baking.
Prep: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cup


  • 1 small mason jar For storing the seasoning.
  • 1 medium size funnel Makes it easier to get the seasoning into the mason jar.


  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried chipotle powder, (Alternatively you can used ground ancho chili)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarse black pepper


  • Combine: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Funnel into a mason jar and use in your favorite salmon recipes.
  • Storing: This salmon seasoning will last up to six months in a cool dark cupboard if stored in an airtight container like a mason jar.


Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 400mg | Potassium: 520mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 59g | Vitamin A: 4831IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 166mg | Iron: 7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Course: Appetizer, dinner, Entree
Cuisine: American, barbecue, seasoning
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 314
Keyword: grilled salmon seasoning, salmon seasoning, salmon seasoning recipe, smoked salmon seasoning
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About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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