Brown Sugar & Pineapple Salmon

When I was in my early teens, I was told that I was borderline iron-deficiency anemic. I was told by a friend I would babysit for that, in addition to dark green leafy vegetables, eating salmon regularly was a great way to help keep my iron levels up, & she gave me a simple recipe- grill the salmon, & make a sauce for it with brown sugar, pineapple juice, & butter. Over the years, I have had lots of time to play with & perfect this recipe. Even my kids get excited when I prepare salmon for dinner, & we all know how picky kids can be!

The best part is, this is so easy to make, with under ten ingredients! All you need is salmon filets, brown sugar, butter, pineapple juice, minced garlic, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, sea salt or kosher salt, & pepper.


To cook the salmon, I used to use a Foreman grill.. I kind of miss having one of those! Does anyone still have one these days? Since I no longer own one of those, I heat a large skillet over medium heat, give it a spray of canola oil, and add my filets, with a light seasoning of sea salt & fresh cracked pepper. About three minutes each side usually gets it perfect & flaky.

For the sauce, first I melt half a cup (one stick) of butter in a small saucepan. (Hint: if it came in a tub or has any type of oil as an ingredient, it’s not real butter.) Then stir in half a cup of packed brown sugar, followed by 3/4 cup of pineapple juice. Bring this to a simmer, add in about a tablespoon of minced garlic. Fresh is always best, but the little jar of already minced is so handy! Then I add the rest of my seasonings. I like to use kosher salt rather than sea salt here. I’ve been doing this so long, that I never measure the seasonings, but I will include approximate measurements in the full recipe below. I then just turn the heat to low & keep my sauce simmering.


When the salmon filets are ready, I spoon some sauce over each one, still in the skillet, & give it a couple of minutes to caramelize.

I like to spoon some extra sauce on top of my filet when serving.

Optional: Add a sriracha drizzle.. This was a last minute addition, just a spur of the moment “why have I never thought of this before.”

Full recipe below:



Brown Sugar & Pineapple Salmon


6 salmon filets

Nonstick cooking spray

½ cup butter

½ cup brown sugar, packed

¾ cup pineapple juice

1 tbsp minced garlic

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher & Sea Salts, to taste

Fresh cracked pepper, to taste


For the Salmon

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, & spray with nonstick cooking spray

Add your filets (3 at a time), & season lightly with sea salt & cracked pepper

Cook about 3 min each side, season with a little more sea salt & cracked pepper when turning

For the Sauce

In a small sauce pan, melt ½ cup butter over medium-low heat, then stir in ½ cup packed brown sugar, followed by ¾ cup pineapple juice. Bring to a simmer, then add garlic, onion powder, red pepper flakes, kosher salt & cracked pepper. Reduce heat to low & continue simmering.

When the filets are done, spoon some sauce over them & give them about two minutes to caramelize.

When serving, spoon a little more sauce over them, & if you like a little heat, add a sriracha drizzle





  1. I’m going to adapt this to the microwave next time I cook salmon (which will be soon). Will post on The Mediterranean Microwave, with full attribution to you.

    Thanks! Sounds delicious.



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