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Japanese Inspired Salmon with Sake Miso Marinade

Zesty umami sauces are my go-to lately. Maybe it’s because it’s winter here and these miso-based glazes and sauces are just so dang comforting.

I recently made this Japanese miso salmon recipe for dinner and my wife Kara gobbled it so fast, I knew I had to share it with you.

I enjoy exploring new cuisines, recipes and different techniques in my home kitchen cooking. But salmon has always been a struggling area for me.

I do like salmon, I swear, but i sometimes have trouble making it interesting. Aka, I don’t like overly fishy tastes and so many grilled salmon and baked recipes are just too simple in flavors and leave the meal tasting a little too fishy for my liking.

I have a recently found love of Miso (I just made a black garlic miso sauce!) and while shopping at Trader Joe’s, found this great Yuzu hot sauce I’ve never seen before. I decided to try a marinade base around those ingredients to create a baked Japanese miso salmon recipe that leaves the fillets tender and full of flavor to mask any fishiness.

This is similar to a miso glazed salmon, but the sauce is clear and a little more watery than a thick glaze, but just as tasty. It’s also easy to whip up.

What Does This Meal Taste Like?

This baked salmon with miso dish is fatty, tender with flavors of umami, citrus and zest. I choose to bake it, but you can make this a grilled miso salmon dish and add some smokey flavors, too.

Fresh vs Frozen Salmon

As someone who is sensitive to stanky fishy tastes and chewy fish textures, I usually prefer fresh fish vs frozen. I find that thawing the fish out is a bit tricky and can leave it with a chewy texture, or an overly fishy taste. To be fair, half the time I forget I want to cook with fish for dinner and end up scrambling to get it dethawed in time, which is another reason I tend to buy fresh fillets.

BUT, frozen is fine, too, really. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to have access to fresh salmon like we have here in California and that’s ok! When we lived in Wisconsin, we pretty much only had access to frozen fish and frozen veggies in the winter. Just remember to give the salmon time to dethaw before cooking!

What Type Of Miso Should I Use?

I used yellow miso for this dish, but you can use red miso if you have that on hand. Red miso is more fermented than yellow and thus has a stronger taste, but using red vs yellow won’t make a drastic difference in the end. 

What To Serve With Miso Salmon

For this particular dinner, my wife was craving mashed potatoes so I made a batch of garlic mashed potatoes. This baked miso salmon is saucy and that sauce ended up being very tasty of the potatoes, almost like a gravy. An unusual combo but it worked.

More Salmon Miso Side Dish Ideas:

  • Brussels sprouts fried in the air fryer
  • Instant pot sticky rice
  • Baked asparagus in a garlic sauce or soy sauce glaze
  • A simple miso soup 

How To Make My Sake Japanese Miso Salmon Recipe

First step is to make sure your salmon is ready to cook. If you are using frozen fish, pop it in the fridge overnight, or early morning to ensure it is thawed out by dinnertime to cook with. 

Then, make the marinade. Chop your green onions (this is a great way to use fresh green onions from your garden, by the way!), and then peel and chop the ginger fingers. 

In a saucepan, combine the sesame oil, Yuzu hot sauce, Sake, Mirin, and Rice Vinegar. Add the ginger and green onions, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and add in the miso, stirring well and then let the sauce cool to room temperature. 

Pro tip: miso is a probiotic and boiling it will kill off a lot of the good gut bacteria, which is why you always add miso to broths and soup AFTER the liquid has been boiled. 

While waiting for the sake miso glaze sauce to cool, take out your salmon fillets and pat dry with a paper towel or clean cloth towel. Sprinkle it with salt and place it in a baking dish. When the sake miso sauce is cool, pour it over the salmon and make sure the fillets are covered well enough to get a good marinade in. Make sure the sauce is cool, otherwise it will start to cook the fish.

Cover and place the baking dish in the fridge for 2-3 hours to marinade. When it’s time for dinner, preheat your oven to 400 and take out the dish. Slice lemons and place on top of the salmon fillets. Then, put your miso salmon tray bake into the over for about 22 minutes.

We do not drain the sake miso sauce prior to baking. Cooking the fish in the sauce will keep the salmon moist and full of flavor, plus you’ll end up with extra liquid to drizzle on top of the fish or use for other side dishes, like a gravy.

Once salmon is cooked and flaky, remove from the oven and plate. Sprinkle on sesame seeds and seaweed flakes (optional) and your Japanese sake miso salmon is ready to eat! 

Japanese Inspired Salmon with Sake Miso Marinade

Japanese Inspired Salmon with Sake Miso Marinade

A zesty, umami-baked salmon dish using homemade sake miso marinade and plenty of lemons! This Japanese miso salmon recipe pairs well with veggies or over rice.

Prep Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 52 minutes


  • 2 Tbsp Miso (yellow or red)
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp Yuzu Hot Sauce from Trader Joe's
  • 1/3 Cup Sake
  • 1/3 Cup Mirin
  • 1/3 Cup Unseasoned Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Ginger
  • 3 Chopped Green Onions
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 6-oz salmon filets
  • Sesame seeds (optional)
  • Trader Joe's Japanese All Purpose Seasoning (optional)


Sake Miso Salmon Marinade 

  1. Chop the green onions and fresh ginger.
  2. Combine sesame oil, Yuzu hot sauce, Sake, Mirin, and Rice Vinegar into a sauce pan.
  3. Add the green onions and fresh ginger and bring to a boil.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Add miso and stir until mixed.
  6. Set aside to cool.

Baked Japanese Sake Miso Salmon

  1. Prep your fresh or thawed salmon by patting dry with a paper towel.
  2. Sprinkle with salt on top.
  3. Place in a baking dish and pour all the cooled Sake Miso Glaze Sauce in the dish, ensuring the fish is covered enough to marinade.
  4. Cover dish with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 2-3 hours.
  5. Once the fish has marinaded, take out of the fridge.
  6. Pre-heat over to 400 degrees.
  7. Place lemon slices on the salmon fillets.
  8. Baked for 22 minutes or until salmon is cooked, but not overcooked.
  9. Remove from over and plate. Top with sesame seeds and seaweed flakes (optional)


  • If you are out of miso, you can swap miso for soy sauce. This makes food saltier so skip the salt on the salmon in the prep stage You can always add more at the end if you think it's missing some salt.
  • The Yuzu hot sauce is from Tj's! If you can't find it, you can substitute the sauce for another green chili hot sauce and add 1 tsp of lime juice or lime zest after boiling
  • Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

    I hope you enjoy my Japanese salmon recipe! If you make it, I’d love to hear your feedback below in the comments. Personally, I’m adding this one to our regular meal plans list. Finally found myself a salmon dish I love!

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