This simple and delicious cream cheese and Pesto Crusted Salmon has a crispy Panko topping and takes less than 30 minutes to make! It works perfectly as a quick and easy weeknight meal but feels special enough for a dinner party or special occasion.
My mother-in-law made a version of this dish inspired by Mary Berry's parmesan crusted salmon a couple summer's ago. I loved the combination of creamy cream cheese, luscious salmon and the crispy bread crumb topping so much that I thought I'd try a version with pesto and Panko and y'all, it works!
This recipe is quick and easy enough for a simple weeknight meal served with a veggie side and some mashed potatoes or orzo. I've also served it on top of a bed of roasted mushrooms with a side of risotto for a fancy dinner party. It's super versatile, delicious and I hope you love it as much as we do!
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This recipe is super simple! To make it you will need a parchment lined baking sheet, a medium sized mixing bowl and a small mixing bowl.
I love these glass pyrex mixing bowls and use them daily.
- Salmon: I recommend using 4 6 oz portions of salmon. You can get them precut at your grocery store or to save money just buy a pound and a half of salmon and then portion it out at home.
- Cream cheese: I highly recommend using full fat cream cheese for this recipe. It gives you the best flavor and texture!
- Garlic clove: You need one small crushed clove of garlic for this recipe. I have this garlic press and use it all the time. I find fresh garlic works much better than using the squeezey bottle of minced garlic.
- Parmesan: You can use freshly grated or pre-grated for this recipe.
- Small lemon: This recipe calls for about ½ tsp of lemon zest and 1 tbsp of lemon juice. If you don't have a lemon on hand you can use about a tbsp of bottled lemon juice.
- Pesto: Store bought pesto works fine here. I like using this Mezzetta Basil Pesto.
- Panko Bread Crumbs: You can use regular crispy bread crumbs if you can't find Panko.
- Butter: I recommend using salted butter. If you use unsalted just be sure to add a little pinch of salt.
- Parsley (optional): I love garnished this recipe with fresh parsley.
- Lemon wedges (optional)
Step by Step Photos
For a quick and easy weeknight dinner I love serving this Pesto Crusted Salmon with a bagged salad or some of my Garlic Butter Green Beans and mashed potatoes. It's also delicious with some lemony orzo!
This salmon recipe is easy to double and makes a great entree for dinner parties. To make it feel a little fancier I serve it over roasted mushrooms with a little risotto.
Yes, if you would prefer you can use this pesto cream cheese topping on one large piece of salmon rather than 4 individual portions. To do so you will need about a pound and a half of salmon. Cover the top with the cream cheese mixture and bread crumbs as instructed and then bake at 425 for around 20-25 minutes until flaking and cooked through.
There are a couple of ways to make sure your salmon is fully cooked. The most fool-proof way would be to use a meat thermometer. Medium salmon should read between 125 and 130 degrees F.
Or you can check to see if the salmon is flaking. That means that if you press down on the top of the salmon with a fork it should separate easily along the lines that run across the fish.
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Made this Pesto Crusted Salmon Recipe? Let me know what you think in the comments!
Pesto Crusted Salmon
- parchment lined baking sheet
- mixing bowl
- 4 6 oz portions of salmon
- 4 oz cream cheese (half a block), softened I recommend full fat.
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 small lemon, juice and zest Or half of a large lemon
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 2.5 tbsp pesto
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tbsp butter, melted
- salt and pepper
- chopped parsley for garnish
- lemon wedges
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Pat the salmon down with a paper towel and place skin side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top of each salmon portion.
- In a medium size mixing bowl combine softened cream cheese, crushed garlic, the juice and zest of 1 small lemon (about ½ tsp zest and 1 tbsp lemon juice), grated parmesan and pesto with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Stir until well combined. In a separate small mixing bowl combine the panko bread crumbs, melted butter and a pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter). Set aside.
- Divide the cream cheese mixture into fourths and spread evenly over the top of each salmon portion. Then sprinkle the panko bread crumbs on top of the cream cheese topping. Bake the salmon at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes until cooked through. Garnish with chopped parsley and a lemon wedge if desired. Enjoy