Learn how to make an Olive Garden favorite, herb grilled salmon, at home. Fresh garlic herb butter adds so much rich flavor to the tender, flaky salmon.
Take an expensive night out and turn it into a delicious, affordable and healthy meal at home. This copycat Olive Garden herb grilled salmon will blow your socks off with flavor. The fish is coated in Italian seasonings and topped with a lemon and garlic herb butter.
What is Herb Grilled Salmon at Olive Garden?
The classic restaurant version is a fillet of salmon seasoned with Italian herbs and seared on the stove then topped with a compound butter. It's served with parmesan garlic broccoli.
The name is deceptive because the recipe isn't actually cooked on the grill, it's made on the stovetop. I love that because you can enjoy it all year round. This at-home version is even better than the restaurant, plus it's nutrient dense and full of healthy fats.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
There's only a few ingredients you need for this recipe, and I bet you have most of them in your fridge or pantry right now!
For the butter
- Unsalted butter: this adds fat (aka flavor!) to the dish. To keep it dairy free, we used a quality vegan butter.
- Fresh parsley: fresh herbs make all the difference in this recipe, but if you have dried on hand that works too. You could also add other Italian herbs like fresh rosemary, thyme or oregano.
- Salt, lemon zest and garlic for flavor.
For the herb grilled salmon
- Salmon fillets: I always try to get a wild caught salmon because they're a higher quality! It really makes a difference.
- Avocado oil or olive oil for searing.
- Italian seasoning and salt to coat the salmon and add even more flavor.
How to Make Olive Garden Herb Grilled Salmon (step by step)
Give yourself some extra time to let the butter chill and set. If you don't have time, you can throw it in the freezer! Otherwise, this simple recipe comes together in minutes.
- Make the butter: In a small bowl, stir together the softened butter and the ingredients from one of the herb combinations above. Scoop the herb butter mixture onto a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap, roll into a log and twist the ends to close. Chill overnight, or until firm.
- Prep the salmon: Brush each piece of salmon with avocado oil then sprinkle each well with salt and Italian seasoning.
- Cook the salmon: Brush a medium saute pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot and rippling, place the salmon, flesh-side-down on the pan and sear for 3-4 minutes, until golden and crispy. You can also do this on a grillpan. Flip the salmon over and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes over medium heat.
- Top with butter: Slice the prepared garlic butter into a thick ring then place one on top of each piece of salmon. Continue to cook for 1-2 more minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 130°F for medium rare and the salmon flakes.
- Serve the salmon right away with fresh chopped herbs and a squeeze of lemon. You could also serve it with a little fresh cracked pepper or lemon wedges. You'll also have extra butter to place on top, if you want!
Prefer to Watch Instead of Read?
The best way to tell if salmon is done is by using an instant read thermometer. I use one of these every time I'm cooking fish. I like to remove the salmon from the heat when it reaches about 135°F. This accounts for 10-15° of carryover cooking after it's removed from the heat to reach medium rare (145°F). If you don't have a thermometer, make sure the salmon is firm to touch and flakes when you cut into it.
I'm not a huge fan of leftover salmon, to be frank. I find it's much better right after it's made. It will last up to 3 days in the fridge. I recommend heating it in a skillet, covered, over low heat until it's warmed all the way throough.
There are about 460 calories in one serving of salmon at Olive Garden. This homemade version has about 380 calories.
Most salmon is farm-raised, unless otherwise noted. It's going to be more accessible in your grocery store, but always opt for wild caught salmon if possible. You'll know by the deep, rich color. It will likely be more expensive and it should also say "wild" or "wild caught" somewhere on the package or label.
What to Serve with Olive Garden Herb Grilled Salmon
More Salmon Recipes
- Blackened salmon
- Teriyaki glazed salmon
- Salmon pesto pasta
- Tahini ginger salmon (sheet pan)
- Everything bagel salmon
Herb Grilled Salmon (Olive Garden Copycat)
Garlic Herb Butter
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter or vegan butter softened
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 clove garlic minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 4 (4 ounce) salmon fillets
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- Medium skillet
- Plastic wrap or parchment paper
- In a small bowl, stir together the softened butter with the rest of the ingredients. Scoop the herb butter onto a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap then roll it into a log about 2 inches in diameter and twist the ends to close. Chill overnight, or until firm. Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to set if you're short on time.
- Brush each piece of salmon with avocado oil then sprinkle each well with salt and Italian seasoning.
- Brush a medium saute pan over medium-high heat with the same oil. Once it's hot and rippling, place the salmon, flesh and seasoning-side-down on the pan and sear for 3-4 minutes, until golden and crispy.
- Flip the salmon over and turn the heat down to medium then continue cooking for 3-4 minutes. Slice the prepared herb compound butter into thick rings and place one or two on top of each piece of salmon (it's ok if you have extra butter). Continue to cook for 1-2 more minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 130°F for medium rare and the salmon flakes.
- Serve the salmon right away with fresh chopped herbs and a squeeze of lemon. Add another slice of extra herb butter if you have it. You can also wrap and freeze leftover butter for up to 3 months.