Get ready to fall in love with our Cedar Plank Smoked Salmon! A thrilling blend of sweet and spicy rub, paired with the rich, smoky flavor of cedar, makes this salmon an unforgettable feast.

grilled salmon on a cedar plank with halved lemons.
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Serving Tip! This easy salmon recipe serves well alongside our roasted sweet potato wedges and summer squash salad.

Infuse your Salmon with Cedar Magic

Tender salmon filets grilled on a cedar plank, seasoned with a flavorful rub, and finished with a squeeze of fresh lemon. Our Cedar Plank Smoked Salmon recipe isn’t any normal dish; it’s a culinary experience sure to impress.

But why a cedar plank, you might ask? As it heats up, the grilled cedar plank releases its natural oils and smoke. These are then absorbed by the salmon, giving it a distinct woody and smoky taste.

You’ll find these cedar grilling planks in larger grocery stores – they’re usually sold in the barbeque and grilling supplies section. You can also find them on Amazon

And if you haven’t tried plank grilling before – don’t worry; it’s super easy! There’s just a little bit of prep, and then you’re well on your way to grilling the perfect salmon filets. 

lemon salmon on cedar plank.


You’ll find most of the ingredients to make this cedar plank salmon recipe in your local grocery store:

  • Salmon filets: Rich flavor with a meaty texture. The thickness of filets means they’re perfect for soaking up our spice rub, and they stay nice and moist during the grilling.
  • Cedar plank: Not just a cooking tool, the cedar plank gives our salmon a distinctive smoky, woody flavor.
  • Brown sugar: Provides a subtle sweetness and helps the salmon achieve a gorgeous caramelized crust when grilled.
  • Garlic salt: Adds a bit of savory depth, with the garlic bringing an aromatic punch and the salt improving all the other flavors.
  • Onion powder: Provides some savory sweetness, working well with the meatiness of the salmon and the tang of the lemon.
  • Paprika: Lends a sweet, smoky taste that echoes the smokiness from the cedar. 
  • Red pepper flakes: A slight spicy kick to balance the sweetness of the sugar. 
  • Lemons: Their tartness cuts through the rich salmon, freshening up each bite. A few lemon slices are also great for garnishing. 

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

raw salmon with spices over it.

How to Make

One of the easier salmon recipes – just follow these straightforward steps. For more help, check the recipe card below.

  1. Soak the cedar plank in water for a minimum of one hour to prepare it for the grill. 
  2. As the plank is soaking, mix together the brown sugar, garlic salt, onion powder, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Use this mixture to rub on one side of your salmon filets.
  3. Grill your soaked plank on high heat until it starts to smolder and crackle – this should take about 3 minutes. You’ll notice the plank turning black. 
  4. Flip the plank over and position the salmon filets (with the rubbed side up) on the plank. Don’t forget to add the lemon halves, placing them cut side down.
  5. Let it all cook, covered, until the salmon easily flakes – around 8-10 minutes. If the plank catches fire, give it a spritz of water to quench the flame.
  6. To finish, squeeze the grilled lemons over the salmon and serve immediately.
close up of grilled salmon.

Expert Tips

Here are some expert tips to help you make the best of this cedar-smoked salmon recipe:

  • Plank Prep: Soak the cedar plank in water for at least an hour before grilling. This stops it from catching fire and helps create steam to cook the salmon. Weigh the plank down to keep it underwater.
  • Sweet and Spicy: Feel free to tweak the amount of brown sugar and red pepper flakes in your rub. Find that sweet-spicy balance that suits your taste.
  • Skin-On: Grill your salmon filets skin-side down. The skin acts as a natural barrier, protecting the delicate flesh from the intense grill heat.
  • Flavor Patrol: Don’t rush the marinating process. Allow the salmon to absorb the flavors from the rub for at least 30 minutes.
  • Don’t Overcook: Keep a close eye on your salmon during grilling. Overcooked salmon becomes dry and loses its delicious, buttery texture.

Serving Sides

Smoked salmon recipes demand tasty side dishes – so we’ve made a list of some great choices:

cedar smoked salmon with lemons.

Recipe FAQs

Why do you use a cedar plank to smoke salmon?

When it comes to wood for smoking salmon, cedar is one of the best choices. 

Cedar smoking planks infuse the salmon with a slightly sweet, woody flavor – adding another layer of complexity to your salmon’s taste. 

Another benefit is that it also provides a nice surface to cook the fish, stopping it from sticking to the grill or burning due to the direct heat. 

How long does it take to grill salmon on a cedar plank?

When trying to work out how long to smoke salmon, the exact time depends on the thickness of the filet.

Generally, cedar plank salmon takes about 15 to 20 minutes to grill. It’s done when it flakes easily and has an internal temperature of 145 F. 

What other fish can I cook using this recipe?

This cedar plank method is very versatile! You can use it for other types of fish like trout, mackerel, or even white fish like cod or halibut. 

Just remember to adjust cooking times based on the thickness of the filets.

What can I use if I don’t have a cedar plank?

If you don’t have a cedar plank, you can grill fish directly on the grill, using a well-oiled grill grate so it doesn’t stick – though, of course, you won’t get that great, smoky flavor.

If you tried this Cedar Plank Smoked Salmon recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a star rating and let me know how you like the recipe in the comments below.

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Only 10 minutes to grill this super tender and moist lemon plank smoked salmon | @littlebroken

Cedar Plank Smoked Salmon

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 4 reviews
  • Author: Katya
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: American


Lemon planked salmon with delicious spices and fresh lemon.


  • 1 cedar plank (16 X 7)
  • 4 (6 oz.) salmon fillets
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 lemons, halved


  1. Prepare the cedar plank by soaking in water for at least 1 hour. I usually fill my kitchen sink with enough water to cover the plank and use full water bottles or canned goods as weights to keep the plank underwater.
  2. While the plank is soaking, combine the brown sugar, garlic salt, onion powder, paprika, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and black pepper. Rub over one side of the salmon fillets.
  3. Preheat the grill on high heat. Place the soaked plank on the grill until it begins to smolder and crackle, about 3 minutes. The plank will turn black. Flip the plank over and arrange the salmon fillets (rub side up) on the plank along with the lemon halves, cut side down.
  4. Cook, covered, until salmon flakes easily (the lemons will also become really soft), 8-10 minutes. If plank catches on fire, spritz it lightly with water until the flame is gone.
  5. Squeeze lemons over salmon and serve immediately.


  • Prep Time: Add an additional 1 hour for the plank to soak in water.


  • Serving Size: 6 oz. salmon fillet
  • Calories: 541
  • Sugar: 4.5 g
  • Sodium: 1042.3 mg
  • Fat: 18.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 5.5 g
  • Protein: 88.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 202 mg