Miso-Glazed Salmon

This family recipe for miso-marinated-and-caramelized salmon is easy enough to make with kids.

  • Serves


  • Prep

    8 hours

  • Cook

    20 minutes


By Kathleen Brennan

Updated on January 20, 2024

Given a choice between, say, a hot dog and a piece of tuna, most kids will take the hot dog, preferably smothered in ketchup. Writer Kathleen Brennan’s son, James, however, loved eating fish, even as a toddler. “I think my Japanese mother, who took care of him while I worked, had a lot to do with that,” Brennan recalls. “She taught me how to make miso-glazed salmon when I was little, and it was one of the first recipes James and I cooked together.” This slightly Americanized version, adapted from Brennan’s book Keepers, replaces sake and mirin with white wine and sugar, but the miso still caramelizes into a delectable salty-sweet coating when broiled. Though the dish is incredibly easy to prepare (literal child’s play), it’s best when the salmon marinates for at least 8 hours, so plan accordingly.

Featured In: The Boy Who Ate the World,” by Kathleen Brennan.


  • 12 cup white miso
  • 2 Tbsp. dry white wine
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • Four 6-oz. skin-on salmon fillets, about 1 in. thick
  • Vegetable oil, for greasing


Step 1

Place a gallon-size resealable freezer bag inside a medium bowl to hold it steady. Pour the miso, wine, and sugar into the bag and, holding the bag upright, mash together until smooth by massaging the bag with your hands. Add the salmon fillets, then seal the bag, pressing out any excess air. Turn it over a few times to coat the fish, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.

Step 2

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and grease lightly with oil. Remove the fillets from the bag, letting any excess marinade drip off, and lay the fillets skin-side down on the baking sheet. Bake until very rare (the fish should be very squishy when prodded with a finger), 5–7 minutes.

Step 3

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and preheat the broiler. Flip the fillets over, and broil until the miso starts to char and the fish is nearly cooked through, about 2 minutes. (If you want to cook the fillets a bit longer without burning the miso, tent them loosely with foil.) Set aside to rest for 2–3 minutes before serving.

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