Chili-rubbed salmon with avocado salsa is absolutely perfect for summer! With a sweet and savory brown sugar chili rub, and a creamy avocado salsa, this is a reader-favorite recipe that should definitely go into your dinner recipe rotation.
When warm weather hits, it's barbecue time! We love grilling up the perfect grilled chicken breast, unbelievably crispy grilled potatoes, and even grilled brussels sprouts. This chili-rubbed salmon with avocado salsa is another delicious recipe that is perfect to cook on the grill!
This reader favorite recipe has been made and loved by so many! With a simple to prepare brown sugar chili spice rub, and a delicious avocado 'salsa', it's one recipe that is loved even by those who are on the fence about salmon.
What I love best about it is that it's fresh, flavorful, and goes so well with grilled sweet potatoes, a kale salad, or grilled vegetables.
Reasons you’ll ♡ salmon with avocado salsa
- you can have it ready in under 30 minutes (no marinating necessary)
- it's gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo-friendly
- it's light, fresh, flavorful and pairs well with so many side dishes
Watch the video below to see exactly how I prepped this chili-rubbed salmon. It’s so easy! You can find more of my recipe videos on my YouTube channel.
Don't forget to pin this post to save it for later!
Ingredients you'll need
- Salmon- this recipe serves four, and we like 5-6 oz portions, so you'll need around 1 ½ pounds of salmon. If you have thin tail portions, you can leave it intact, but for the thicker mid-section portions, cut into even fillets.
- Olive oil- fish is oily on it's own, but a thin layer of olive oil brushed on helps the rub stick to the salmon.
- Brown sugar chili rub- find the full brown sugar chili rub post here. It's my all-time most favorite rub for salmon, chicken + vegetables.
- Avocados- you'll need ripe avocados for this recipe; see how to cut an avocado for tips on cubing them (and not cutting your hand)
- Cherry tomatoes- cut into quarters, this brings a sweetness to the salsa that complements the avocado
- Cilantro- pick the leaves and omit the stems for a light, herbaceous flavor
- Lime juice- brings citrussy flavors and brings everything together.
Prep the salsa first
Start by getting the salsa prepped. That way, we can give the salmon our full attention while it cooks. Cut the avocados into cubes, and add to a bowl with the tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, and a sprinkling of salt. Set aside while you prep the salmon.
Note- you do not want to prep this more than 30 minutes in advance as the avocados may brown (even with the lime juice).
Prepping the salmon
Start with salmon cut into fillets, or left intact (for thinner portions). Brush the salmon on both sides with olive oil. Rub the brown sugar chili rub all over the salmon. Don't be stingy! This rub is so delicious you're going to want to use the full batch.
To grill the salmon, heat the barbecue to medium-high heat (400-450°F). Grease or oil the grill well, and place salmon skin side down onto the grill. Put the lid down, and cook for 4 minutes. Carefully flip, then put the lid down and cook for another 4 minutes. When salmon reaches an internal temperature of 125°F, you can remove it from the grill and let it rest (covered).
To bake in the oven, heat to 425°F. Place on a parchment-lined baking dish and bake for 8-12 minutes. When salmon reaches an internal temperature of 125°F, you can remove it from the oven and let it rest (covered).
See how to cook salmon for more details and photos.
*brown sugar chili rub will blacken while it cooks but does not taste burnt
How to tell when your salmon is done
To prevent salmon from overcooking, it’s important to set a timer and check on your salmon at the earlier cook time suggestion.
Here are two ways to tell if your salmon is done:
- Use a fork- gently flake the middle portion of the salmon with a fork. If it flakes away easily, it is ready to come out. If it is wet and doesn’t want to flake, it is not ready.
- Use a thermometer- the internal temperature of the salmon (at the thickest part) should say 125°F (*see below)
*traditionally, the internal temperature of 145°F is suggested, however I suggest taking it off the heat at 125°F, covering with a baking dish, and allowing carryover cooking to finish cooking it through.
Prep ahead and storage directions
- brown sugar chili rub may be prepared ahead and stored in the pantry for up to 1 year (we love making a big batch!)
- leftover salmon is safe to eat up to 4 days after cooking, but tastes best within the first 48 hours
- to reheat, place in a covered dish in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes
- avocado salsa does not last longer than 1 hour, so make sure you enjoy it while it's fresh
More salmon recipes
- Herb Crusted Broiled Salmon
- Teriyaki Glazed Salmon
- Lemon Pepper Sheet Pan Salmon
- Balsamic Salmon Marinade
- Salmon with Strawberry Balsamic Reduction
Chili-Rubbed Salmon with Avocado Salsa
- 4 salmon fillets (5-6 oz portions)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar (packed)
- 1.5 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 avocados (diced into ½ inch cubes)
- 4 tablespoons cilantro leaves (torn or chopped)
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes (quartered)
- 1 lime (juiced)
- salt + pepper (to taste)
- In a bowl, mix together the avocados, cilantro, cherry tomatoes and lime juice. Season with salt + pepper to taste.
- Pre-heat grill to medium heat (425-450°F).
- In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, chili powder, ground cumin, pepper and salt.
- Brush salmon fillets lightly with olive oil.
- Spread the rub generously over the salmon fillets.
- Grease the grill well, then place the salmon, skin side down, onto the grill. Put the lid down, and cook the salmon for 4 minutes. Carefully flip the salmon over, put the lid back down, and grill for another 4 minutes.
- Check that the salmon has reached an internal temperature of 125°F, then transfer to clean plate and cover with a baking dish for 5 minutes.
- Serve with the avocado salsa spooned over top of the salmon.
- Pre-heat oven to 425°F.
- Bake salmon on parchment-lined baking sheet for 10-12 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 125°F.
- Transfer to a clean plate and cover with a baking dish for 5 minutes.
- after cooking, salmon is safe to eat for up to 4 days, though it is best eaten fresh
- avocado salsa does not keep
- brown sugar chili rub may be prepped ahead and stored in the cupboard for up to 1 year