by Olena

Cedar Plank Salmon

Olena's image
Olena Osipov
5 from 3 votes

This Cedar Plank Salmon gently steams and smokes – yielding super tender, moist, flaky salmon with depths of earthy, smoky flavor that aren’t to be missed! When paired with homemade Thai sweet chili sauce, you’ve officially got grilled salmon in under 30 minutes, which will blow everyone’s mind!

We love salmon around here – teriyaki salmon or honey garlic salmon, we love them all!

Cedar Plank Salmon

If you’ve never tried cedar plank salmon grilling, then you’re missing out. As much as I love foil-baked, grilled, and other methods of cooking salmon (including this similar oven-baked Thai salmon), there’s something extraordinary about this planked salmon. If wonderfully tender, moist, smoky, flavorful salmon that can be served as a centerpiece is what you’re after, then look no further.

When grilling salmon on a cedar plank, you end up with fish lightly infused with the wood’s earthy, smoky flavors. It makes me feel like a professional chef every time I pull out the cedar planks. And if there’s anything I can get behind, it’s restaurant quality without the price tag!

The plank grilled salmon method isn’t as difficult as you might think, either. All you need to do is soak the cedar planks, prepare the Thai sweet chili marinade, and grill the plank salmon to perfection. This method can even be adapted to oven-baking for those who are without a grill!

I first learned this cedar plank salmon recipe from a close friend over 20 years ago, when I barely spent any time in the kitchen and was, decidedly, not that adventurous when I did (pre-blog era, of course!). Yet, this cedar plank grilling method has never failed to impress – Every. Single. Time! Which means anyone can do it.

Best of all, grilled salmon on cedar planks is way easier to clean up than cooking the salmon directly on the grill, and you don’t have to worry about the salmon falling apart or falling between the grill grates as you try to flip/remove it either.

Cedar Plank Salmon garnished with green onion

Tips for Using Cedar Planks

  • Where to buy cedar planks? You can find them in the grill or seafood section of most major grocery stores. Costco also sells multipacks in their seasonal aisle! Alternatively, buy an un-treated full cedar plank at Home Depot and ask an employee to cut it into 7-8 planks to save tons of money!
  • Soak the cedar planks for at least 1 hour: Up to 24 hours. This is a vital step, so the planks don’t burn while grilling while also keeping the salmon wonderfully moist. Use a heavy glass or can, to weigh the board/s beneath the liquid while soaking and flip them over halfway to ensure even soaking.
  • You can soak cedar planks in alcohol, too: White wine, cider, beer, and sake will work (some fruity cocktails may, also, though I haven’t tried).
  • Keep a spray bottle with water on hand: Just in case the board catches on fire slightly. Though it shouldn’t happen, it’s good to be prepared, in case.
  • TOP TIP – Cedar planks can be soaked in advance and then frozen: That way, you don’t need to consider the hours of soaking every single time. Just soak it for anywhere up to 24 hours, lightly pat it with a kitchen towel, and then wrap it in plastic wrap to store in the freezer. You can use it from frozen on the grill to heat up (before adding the salmon) or bring it to room temperature for 30 minutes before using.
  • For extra ‘smoky’ flavor: Char the planks slightly before adding the salmon, by placing the plank on the grill for a few minutes until it just begins to smoke, then flip it over and place the salmon on the charred side.
  • Do not re-use wood planks: For food safety reasons, even if it’s not charred too much. I’ve seen some sources say that it’s okay, but I wouldn’t risk it. To save money, see my Home Depot tip above! The charred wood can be used as a fire starter or broken up for smoking chips.

How to Cook Salmon on a Cedar Plank

This Thai sweet chili salmon on cedar plank is super simple and requires only four steps!

  • Soak the cedar planks: Soak them for at least one hour. I usually do this in my kitchen sink using a few inches of cold water and a couple of heavy glasses to weigh them down.
  • Prepare the Thai sweet chili glaze: Simply follow this sweet chili sauce It’s super simple to make by combining all the ingredients in a small pot and simmering for 10 minutes. If your grill has a side burner, you can cook the entire dish outside.
  • Begin grilling the salmon: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (around 500F/260C). Then place the salmon fillet on the cedar plank and brush with about ¼ cup of the Thai sweet chili and grill, covered, for around 10 minutes.
  • Glaze the salmon: With the remaining sauce (or as much as you’d like), then cover and grill for a further 10 minutes or until cooked to your preferred level.
how to cook Cedar Plank Salmon

More Tips

  • Extra smoky: You can, optionally, char the planks in the grill for a few minutes before adding the salmon, for extra smoky flavor.
  • Grilling time: It will vary based on the size and thickness of your salmon fillet/s. If using individual small fillets, they may not need much longer after the initial 10 minutes, so keep an eye out.
  • Top Tip: If the plank salmon seems almost done, you can remove it from the grill and allow it to rest a few minutes further before serving. The salmon will continue to cook on the hot cedar plank.

FAQs

Can you cook cedar plank salmon in the oven?

Yes. The planked salmon won’t have the same smoky flavor, but it will still have a ‘woodsy’ taste.

To do so:
Place the plank in the oven as it pre-heats to 375F/190C.
Add the salmon, skin-side down, and bake until the salmon is done. This is usually between 15-30 minutes, but this will vary based on the thickness/size of the salmon fillet/s.

How to know when salmon is done?

There are several ways you can check the cooked level of the cedar plank salmon.

The Color: Salmon will change from a deeper red/pink color when raw to a lighter opaque pink when cooked.
By Touch: Gently press the top of the salmon with a fork (or your finger); if it easily separates into tender flakes with a soft, moist center, then it’s ready.
By Temperature: Use a thermometer to check that the salmon’s internal temperature has reached around 130-135F/55-57C for a medium level of doneness.

What can I substitute sweet chili sauce with?

Feel free to substitute it with your marinade of choice for this versatile cedar plank BBQ salmon. I’ll often use a simple combination of olive oil, garlic, fresh dill, lemon slices, and salt & pepper. You could also use Thai Kitchen’s Sweet chili sauce.

Cedar Plank Salmon Recipe

What to Serve with Wood Plank Salmon?

This grilled salmon on a cedar plank is excellent year-round and pairs really well with tons of simple sides like grilled and roasted vegetables.

During the warmer months, pair the plank salmon (warm or cold) with fresh salads (like this simple lettuce salad or cucumber and tomato salad) and sautéed/grilled vegetables like grilled zucchini.

In the cooler months, serve it up with heartier sides like:

This recipe for salmon on cedar plank also works very well (with the marinade of your choice) as a pescatarian Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Celebration main alongside all the usual trimmings.

How to Store and Reheat

Storing: The leftover cedar plank salmon can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Enjoy it cold or reheat.

Reheating: Add it to a skillet with a splash of water and reheat for 5-7 minutes, until warmed through.

More Salmon Recipes

If you enjoyed this Thai sweet chili cedar plank salmon recipe, you may also be interested in this list of 15 healthy salmon recipes for more inspiration!

Cedar Plank Salmon

Cedar Plank Salmon

Cedar Plank Salmon comes out juicy, with caramelized Thai sweet chili sauce on top and incredible woodsy flavors. It is easy to make as no marinating is required and salmon doesn't fall apart. This grilled salmon will blow everyone’s mind!
5 from 3 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Thai
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Cedar Plank Soaking Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 301kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs salmon fillet skin on or off
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp white or rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 small garlic clove grated
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Soak cedar plank in water for at least 1 hour. I like to fill up sink with a few inches of water.
    Cedar Plank Salmon
  • In a small saucepan, add maple syrup, water, vinegar, cornstarch, garlic, salt and red chili pepper flakes; whisk well.
    Cedar Plank Salmon
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 7-10 minutes or until thickened.
    Cedar Plank Salmon
  • Reserve 1/2 cup sauce for cedar plank salmon and transfer remainder to a glass jar. Use with meats, seafood, vegetables and for dipping. Highly recommend to make Thai Salmon that everyone will rave about for weeks!
  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat (500 degrees F). Place salmon on pre-soaked cedar plank and brush with half of the reserved 1/2 cup Thai sauce. Place on a grill, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
    Cedar Plank Salmon
  • Open the grill, brush salmon with remaining sauce, cover and grill for another 10 minutes or until the thermometer inserted in the deepest spot reads 130 degrees F.
    Cedar Plank Salmon
  • Cut into 8 slices and serve warm right off the plank placed on a platter. You can brush salmon with more Thai sauce if desired.
    Cedar Plank Salmon

Video

Notes

  • Cedar plank salmon tastes amazing cold. Chances are if you are grilling, it is sunny and warm outside. Refrigerate slices of salmon in airtight container for up to 5 days. Then pop right from the fridge on a bed of simple greens, tomatoes and anything else you like drizzled with olive oil and any vinegar.
  • If you would like to reheat cedar plank salmon, add it to a skillet with splash of water. Then cover and cook on low for about 5-7 minutes or until warmed through.
  • Where to buy cedar planks? You can find them in the grill or seafood section of most major grocery stores. Costco also sells multipacks in their seasonal aisle! Alternatively, buy an un-treated full cedar plank at Home Depot and ask an employee to cut it into 7-8 planks to save tons of money!
  • Soak the cedar planks for at least 1 hour: Up to 24 hours. This is a vital step, so the planks don’t burn while grilling while also keeping the salmon wonderfully moist. Use a heavy glass or can, to weigh the board/s beneath the liquid while soaking and flip them over halfway to ensure even soaking.
See recipe post for so many more Tips and FAQs.

Nutrition

Calories: 301kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 368mg | Potassium: 879mg | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 68IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg
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olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

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