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Traeger Grilled Salmon

Salmon is in season right now, and you are going to want to get some and make this easy Grilled Traeger Salmon for dinner tonight! 

Grilled Traeger Salmon

You can create an amazing seafood dish that your entire family will love with a few ingredients! Flavorful and perfectly cooked salmon straight off the grill! This Traeger Grilled Salmon is a quick and easy meal to make any day of the week for a light and savory dinner.

Salmon is fresh and in season right now in the Pacific Northwest. We love fishing, and fishing for salmon is one of the most “PNW” experiences.

Grilling is the best way to prepare salmon, in my opinion, and we LOVE our pellet grills for this. Woodfire adds such a key element to the result.

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Fresh or Frozen Salmon?

Fresh salmon will always be the direction I’m going to point you in. Still, as long as the frozen salmon you are eating is high quality and vacuum sealed, freezing doesn’t affect the result much. We always keep a store of frozen salmon in our freezer, and last season’s catch tastes just as good as it did when we pulled it out of the water.

Whatever you do, just stay away from the farm-raised stuff, if possible.

More Easy Traeger Recipes here!

King salmon caught in the saltwater off the coast of WA State.

What types of Pacific Salmon are there?

There are many different species of salmon, but for our purposes, I will discuss my favorite species of Pacific salmon.

King (Chinook) Salmon

The biggest of all Pacific Salmon, King salmon are highly prized for their rich, fatty filets. We like King Salmon for smoking and grilling, and we have many smoked salmon recipes on the site that you’ll love! King salmon has the strongest flavor of the Pacific species, but even if you “hate salmon,” you would probably be won over by ocean-caught Kings. People who hate salmon have generally only tried farm-raised Atlantic salmon, which is much lower quality than what we’re talking about.

Chinook and Silver (Coho) salmon can be difficult to tell apart, but one of the best indicators is the color of their gums! King salmon have black-colored gums, and Silver salmon has pink-colored gums.

Silver (Coho) Salmon

Coho salmon, also known as Silvers, is our favorite of all the different species of salmon. The flavor is milder than King salmon, and this kind of salmon is great for almost any preparation. We’ve even skipped the cooking and done a Salmon Miso Poke Bowl.

How to keep salmon from sticking to the grill

I have seen many people complain that their salmon gets stuck on the grates. With any tender fish, I will say this is a genuine struggle. But I have a secret weapon!

Non-stick foil.

It allows you to protect the flesh of your delicate fish while still cooking it through. You don’t have to worry about it sticking to the grates anymore, and the fish will still pick up some of the smoky aromas from the Traeger grill. 

Another thing to remember is salmon, like all fish, cooks quickly. Make sure you are ready when you start to grill. I always make sure to have my aluminum foil ready, the fish seasoning, and any supplies I might need while grilling. You don’t want to be stranded looking for tongs, and your fish overcooks in the meantime. Be prepared for a quick cook time, and all will turn out well.

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How long does it take to cook salmon on the pellet grill?

It all depends on what size your filet is and also what your desired finished temp is.

On average, a filet around an inch thick will take around 8 minutes at 500 degrees. Or for every half inch, give around 4-6 minutes of cook time at 500 degrees. This timeframe will result in medium to medium-well doneness. The USDA says the minimum internal temperature of your fish should be 140-145 degrees.

That being said, we don’t tend to cook our wild-caught salmon to 140°, basically ever. Our preferred temp is around 125-130°.

Also important to note is that our pellet grill doesn’t really “do” 500°, so we cook the salmon at around 400-425° degrees.

If you plan to cook your salmon on a plank, you need to preheat the pre-soaked plank for around 5 minutes, or until you begin to see it smoke or make a crackling sound. Then gently lay your salmon on the plank and cook for 12-18 minutes, depending on how thick your fillets are. The plank will give you a little bit of a longer cook time. See our whole recipe on cedar-plank salmon here.

Grilled Whole Salmon

Should you flip salmon while it is cooking?

You do not have to flip salmon. If you have a grill that heats evenly, you can lay the salmon down, and it will cook through in around 8 minutes, give or take if it is around an inch thick. Many people like that you don’t have to flip through the cooking process as it is a very delicate fish and can fall apart or stick easily.

How can you tell if your fish is done?

When you cook salmon, it can be hard at first to know when it is done. A straightforward way to tell is when you take a fork to it, you will find it flakes very easily.

Some people say it is overcooked at this point, but it means your fish is well done.

You can also look at the color of the fish. When it starts, the flesh is more of red color in the raw stages, and as it cooks, you will find it begins to turn pink throughout. You want to use a knife and look at the center of the fish to see that it is cooked through and is pinker than red in the center.

The guaranteed way is to check with a thermometer and hit that 140-145 degree internal temperature.

Yield: 3 servings

Traeger Grilled Salmon

Lemon Pepper Traeger Grilled Salmon

This salmon is SO easy, but is one of my favorite meals! Season with your favorite fish blend, or just simple salt and pepper.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1 large salmon filet, skin on
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon seasoning blend of your choice (see some suggestions below)


  1. Preheat your grill to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the salmon skin-side down on a sheet of non-stick foil.
  3. Gently rub the olive oil into the salmon filet. Sprinkle the fish with the salt and seasoning blend.
  4. Place the foil and salmon onto the grill, close the lid, and cook for 6-10 minutes, or until it reaches your desired finished temp. We like ours in the mid-rare range at around 125-130. USDA min temp for salmon is 145, so choose your own adventure.
  5. Remove from the grill and serve immediately!

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 317Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 1776mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 17g

Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate.

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Nicole Johnson

Nicole Johnson, a self-taught expert in grilling and outdoor cooking, launched Or Whatever You Do in 2010. Her blog, renowned for its comprehensive and creative outdoor cooking recipes, has garnered a vast audience of millions. Nicole's hands-on experience and passion for grilling shine through her work. Her husband, Jeremiah Johnson, also plays a pivotal role in recipe development, adding his culinary flair to the mix. Together, they form a dynamic duo, offering a rich and varied outdoor cooking experience to their followers.

Jason Clark

Friday 12th of January 2024


Love the content… keep up the good work and don’t listen to the negativity! I have been cooking salmon this way for a long and it is a go to recipe. I highly recommend it to anyone. My wife and I also prefer an under the USDA recommendation. Give this one a try, you love it. Happy grilling!!


Thursday 2nd of December 2021

I cooked the salmon to 125 degrees with a Cajun coating and lemon slices. Was fabulous. I would think 140 would be way over cooked.

Nicole Johnson

Friday 3rd of December 2021

Yeah, I tend to agree and will be updating the post. 145° is where the USDA says is the minimum "safe" temp, but especially with fish we pull out of the water ourselves we tend to cook more to mid-rare than mid-well, for sure. This post was written a few years ago and we've adjusted a bit during that time.


Saturday 23rd of May 2020

Hi Nicole, Thanks for all of your efforts! I have a new Traeger and am finding your recipes very helpful. Can you please tell me if you always place the food on the bottom rack of the Traeger? Thanks so much! Michele

Nicole Johnson

Saturday 23rd of May 2020

I tend to cook most things on the bottom rack. Things I'd put on the upper racks would be things that were more apt to burn easily. Casseroles, pizza, baked goods, etc. So glad you've been liking OWYD!


Saturday 23rd of February 2019

to many adds show on your site, so not going to look at it much again. to confusing with all the adds covering content. I like your comments and recipes, but to much work to look at them. Vic

Laura Neva

Friday 8th of April 2022

@Nicole Johnson, God for you girl, keep up the good work, love it! Thanks ?

robin currie

Saturday 20th of November 2021

@Nicole Johnson, Hi Nicole. I also hate ads but I hate subscriptions more and nothing in life is free. I appreciate the work and time you invested in creating something valuable. We all need to remember that it is not the internet providers (which we all pay) that make the internet great it is people like yourself, the content producers.

Michael J O'Reilly

Saturday 23rd of October 2021

@VICTOR Smith, What ads???


Friday 1st of October 2021

@VICTOR Smith, Agreed! I understand needing to make a living, but Google's greed mixed with this author's desire to capitalize on every money making scheme in the book make this an impossible site to negotiate. It's not about salmon on the Traeger grill, it's 100% about profit with no thought to the "human" trying to get legitimate untainted information about how to cook a salmon on the grill. With all due respect to the author, you don't have to be a complete sellout to the Google machine to make money. You can actually offer a legitimate service to humankind and still make a living - I contend, a better living because people see you as a fellow human offering a service, not a bait-and-switch predator.

Nicole Johnson

Saturday 23rd of February 2019

That's a bummer because without the ads, there wouldn't be any recipes here, or a site at all. It takes a LONG time to make this content, and since I am not charging you to access it, I need to make sure it is worth the time and effort I am putting into it. This isn't a hobby, it is a business.

I'm happy to offer you a paid subscription though where I'll personally email you each recipe and answer your questions about it, ad-free. :D Let me know if you are interested and I'll send you a quote.

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