If the chicken crossed the road to get to the other side, I think the salmon must have plopped itself down on the grill purely so it could be slathered in creamy dill sauce.
Simplicity is key, especially when it comes to those times when you need to throw a meal together in a snap. I’d love to take the time to make our slow cooker miso salmon, but there are other nights when I need fast food now, and good food fast!
But sometimes, it’s nice to go back to the basics. And what’s more straightforward than fish, lemon, and dill?
There’s little prep work involved to get this fast fish entree ready to go, and once it’s on the grill, it’s smooth sailing. Whether you’re a fan of the charcoal grill, you prefer to use your grill pan indoors, or you’re cooking with gas, you can have that baby heated up and ready to go in less time than it takes to cook rice.
Dill sauce in some form appears repeatedly in the introductory “Basics” chapter in my book of culinary memories. From cucumber-laced tzatziki to garlicky homemade ranch, I’m a sucker for mixing the feathery herb into a creamy dip or dressing.
If you like to keep your cooking as uncomplicated as possible, this dill sauce is sure to satisfy. And it’s made with just four ingredients, plus a little salt and pepper.
Bright lemon juice is kind of a no-brainer with seafood, and the grassy dill speaks for itself.
Although mayonnaise is high on my list of true loves, I cut the fatty condiment with yogurt for a refreshingly tart taste, and creamy texture.
I mean, do I like to dip my fries directly in mayo? Sure. And homemade mayonnaise is an indulgent condiment I adore, which you should give a shot if you have a little extra time on your hands.
But when I’m grilling a lean protein, I’d prefer to drape it in something rich without veering towards being too greasy. The yogurt also helps to bring down the calorie count, especially if you reach for a lower fat version.
Salmon can be skillfully prepared a dozen different ways, but I find the smoky kiss of the grill to be my favorite route to deliciousness.
Maybe it’s because the final result makes me reminisce about the briny, delicate slivers of smoked lox I’ve been layering onto toasted bagels since my youth.
I believe that’s chapter four in my book of culinary memories, “Breakfast Big Ones.”
I also find that it hides some of the subtle fishy flavor that may stick around when the fillets are baked or pan-seared. And you’ve gotta love that crispy skin.
Topped off with some fresh lemon wedges for those who prefer a double dose of citrus, this simple dish is not just a cookout go-to. It could even make a quick lunch or dinner on a weekday.
No matter when you enjoy this recipe, there’s no denying that salmon, lemon, and dill make a tasty trio that will never go out of style.Print
Looking to add more flavor to grilled salmon? Top it with a pleasantly tangy sauce made with Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and fresh, fragrant dill.
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 1 teaspoon plus a pinch coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon plus a pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 4 6-ounce skin-on salmon fillets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate while you cook the salmon..
- Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high, about 350-400°F.
- Pat the salmon fillets dry with a paper towel. Lightly coat both sides with oil using a silicone pastry brush. Season both sides with the remaining salt and pepper.
- Grill the salmon, skin side-down, until it easily lifts away from the grates, about 6-8 minutes. Flip and cook until lightly browned on the other side, about 2 minutes.
- Arrange the salmon on a platter. Serve with lemon wedges and creamy dill sauce.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Salmon
- Method: Grilling
- Cuisine: Fish/Seafood
Keywords: grill, salmon, dill, lemon, sauce
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Gather, Prep, and Measure Ingredients
Measure the Greek yogurt and mayonnaise, with whatever fat content you prefer.
Measure the olive oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
Juice about half of a lemon and measure out 1 tablespoon of the juice. Slice the remaining half into wedges for serving.
Remove the stems and chop the dill.
Take the fish fillets out of the fridge and place them on a large plate or platter. Use a paper towel to pat your salmon fillets dry. This will remove any excess moisture from the outside, helping the oil stick to the skin and flesh.
For even cooking throughout the fillets, the fish needs to be at room temperature. It should not be grilled cold directly from the refrigerator.
Making the sauce and preheating the grill or grill pan will be the perfect amount of time necessary to allow the fish to come to room temperature.
Step 2 – Make the Sauce
Whisk together the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill, and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge to chill while you cook the salmon.
Step 3 – Season and Grill the Salmon
Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high, about 350-400°F. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes if you’re using a gas grill or a grill pan inside on the stove, or about 20 to 30 minutes to heat up your coals on a charcoal grill.
Evenly coat both sides of the fish with the oil using a silicone pastry brush or your hands and season both sides with the remaining salt and pepper.
Start by placing the salmon skin side-down on the grates of the grill. Cooking the skin first, and for the majority of the time, ensures easy removal from the grates because it will become dry and crisp, and will not stick. Do not flip the fish prematurely or move it around while it’s cooking!
Grill for 6 to 8 minutes and then carefully nudge one of the fillets with a metal spatula or tongs to see if it is sticking to the grill. When each piece easily lifts away from the grates, flip it to cook the other side.
Cook the fleshy, skinless side of the salmon until it’s lightly browned, about 2 more minutes, and then remove the fillets from the grill. The thickest part of each piece of salmon should register 145°F on a meat thermometer when it’s done, and the flesh will flake easily.
Step 4 – Top with Sauce and Serve
Take the creamy dill sauce out of the fridge.
For a nice presentation, you can delicately smear some of the sauce across the center of a serving platter, top with the salmon, and then dollop a little more of the sauce on top of each piece.
Surround the fillets with the lemon wedges and serve with extra sauce on the side. For a complete meal, this protein pairs nicely with grilled asparagus and a starch like herb-roasted potatoes.
How to Avoid a Sticky Situation
Everyone and their mother seems to have a method for ensuring that their fish doesn’t stick to the grill. Some place fillets on cozy beds of lemon wheels while others swear by tin foil.
As for me, it’s all in the skin – which we’ve patted dry first, and then lightly coated with olive oil.
Well, that and the rule of not disturbing the fish. Leaving your food alone to get a good sear on it is Grilling 101, and the same mandate stands for salmon. If the skin hits the grates and is left untouched, it will crisp and release itself when it’s ready.
What’s your go-to method for making sure you don’t lose half of your fish to the grill? Name your chargrilled seafood tips in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
Dill is delightful, not to mention versatile enough to land in dozens of different places and strut its stuff. Snatch a bundle of the wispy herb and give these recipes a try next:
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on August 1, 2014. Last updated on August 9, 2022.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”