Beautiful fresh salmon fillets are stuffed with an incredible creamy wild rice herb and crab mixture. This Crab Stuffed Salmon recipe is easy enough for a weeknight meal and elegant enough for a small dinner party!
Best Stuffed Salmon
This stuffed salmon is just hands down fantastic. It’s easily something you might see on a restaurant menu with an asking price of $35. Make it at home for maybe the same amount, but serve 6 people instead of just 1.
A wild rice, herb, cream cheese, and crab mixture is stuffed inside salmon fillets. The filling is rich, tangy and creamy, balancing out the robust salmon flavor, making every bite so indulgent. This dish looks and tastes fancy, but is very easy to make.
Stuffed Salmon Recipe
Here’s what you’ll need to make this baked salmon recipe:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Salmon: We prefer wild-caught salmon, which has more nutrients and lower in contaminants than farmed, but Atlantic salmon is perfectly fine. Either fresh or frozen (and thawed) work great for this recipe. Purchase fillets that are bright pink and have a nice marbling. Ideally the fillets will be wider and thicker (to make stuffing them easier) and the skinned should be removed.
- Crab: My family loves imitation crab…we think it’s sort of sweet, and it’s definitely cheaper than real crab meat, so that’s what I use here. But by all means, feel free to use real crab if you prefer.
- Wild rice: This type of rice has a firm, chewy texture and wonderful nutty flavor.
- Cream cheese: The sweet and tangy creaminess of cream cheese is part of the filling. It soaks into the rice and salmon as it bakes, making each bite amazing. You need the block-style, not whipped.
- Butter: This is part of the filling. It should be softened to room temperature.
- Garlic: For flavor and aromatics. Use fresh for optimal results.
- Seasonings: Kosher salt, dried Italian herbs, and dried dill bring all the other flavors together so the dish isn’t flat. (Old Bay is another good choice, if preferred.)
- Olive oil: Adds richness and helps keep the salmon moist.
Tips for Success
Here are some tips to make sure you have perfectly baked stuffed salmon:
- Purchase wide salmon fillets: Try to purchase salmon fillets that are a thicker, wider cut. This will give you more space to stuff the crab filling into the sliced pockets and make it easier.
- Be careful when slicing into the fish: Cut a pocket horizontally in each salmon fillet to within a 1/2-inch of the opposite side, being careful not to cut all the way through, otherwise the filling and wonderful juices will seep out.
- Bring salmon to room temperature: Let your fillets sit out on the counter for about 15 minutes before baking.
- Season just before baking: Unlike meat that is best if marinated for a while before cooking, fish is best seasoned right before placing in the oven. Salt can draw out moisture causing the fish to be dry.
- Don’t over-cook the salmon: Don’t over-cook the fish or it will be tough and dry. Salmon is done baking when it flakes apart easily with a fork.
- The type of cream cheese matters: For the filling, use the block variety of cream cheese, not whipped. The block style holds ups better while baking. It can be full fat or reduced fat.
How to Make Stuffed Salmon
We typically use 6 ounce fillets and bake at 375 degrees F for 12-15 minutes. But since these fillets are stuffed, we need them a little bigger (8 ounces) and with an extended baking time (18-22 minutes.)
It’s important to note that the size and thickness of the fillet does matter, thus the range in cook time. Salmon is done baking when it flakes apart easily with a fork. If you want to be precise, the internal temperature should be 130 degrees F on an instant read thermometer with rest time of 5 minutes. (The USDA recommends cooking fish to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F, but we find salmon fillets at this temperature to be overdone and dry.)
To make this Crab Stuffed Salmon recipe, follow the steps below included in the printable recipe card.
What’s That White Foaming Substance Oozing Out?
Proper Storage and Reheating Leftovers
- Make ahead: Crab stuffed salmon can be prepped a few hours in advance the day you intend to serve it. Simply stuff the fillets as directed, cover with plastic wrap, keep refrigerated and then let sit out on the counter for 15 minutes before you are ready to bake it.
- Storing leftovers: Allow any leftover baked fillets to cool, then store them in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator. Because of the stuffing, this salmon recipe is best reheated and enjoyed within 1-2 days after cooking it.
- Freeze: This crab stuffed salmon can be frozen after baking. Cool to room temperature and then wrap tightly in foil or place in a freezer-safe container. Freeze up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Reheat: Low and slow is the way to go for reheating leftover salmon, so it doesn’t dry out. We recommend placing stuffed fish on a rimmed baking sheet, give it a splash of water and loosely tent with foil. Warm in the oven for about 15 minutes at 275 degrees F, or until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 130 F.
What to Serve with Crab Stuffed Salmon
Because of the stuffing, this baked salmon is pretty substantial, but for a more complete meal, we like to serve it with a Simple Side Salad or roasted vegetable like Roasted Carrots, Roasted Green Beans, or Roasted Asparagus.
More Seafood Recipes:
Crab Stuffed Salmon
- 1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
- 1 tablespoon cream cheese , softened to room temperature (block style, not whipped)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
- 4 ounces crab (real crab meat or imitation, diced finely)
- 6 (8-ounce) salmon fillets (1 1/2-inch thick)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
- Cook wild rice according to package directions.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the cream cheese, butter, garlic, and Italian herbs until smooth and combined. Gently fold in the cooked wild rice and crab until combined.
- Cut a pocket horizontally in each salmon fillet to within a 1/2-inch of the opposite side, being careful not to cut all the way through. Fill with the wild rice mixture; secure with toothpicks.
- Place fillets on the baking sheet. Brush with the olive oil, then sprinkle with the salt and dill.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the fish just begins to flake easily with a fork.
- Discard toothpicks and serve.
- NOTE: For more information, helpful tips, and storage information, please refer to the full article.