Salmon Serving Size: How Much is Too Much?

Published Categorized as Fish Or Seafood, Guide

Hey! This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.

Salmon is a delicious fresh fish that is versatile and quite easy to cook. Rich in protein and healthy fatty oils, this fish is certainly worth adding to your meals – occasionally. When you consume foods with omega-3 fatty acids, you reduce the risks of certain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and more. Although salmon is a healthy fish, many people are concerned about portion sizes. despite it being a rich source of protein, salmon should be eaten in moderation. So let’s take a look at the salmon serving size.

Table of Contents

Salmon Nutrition Facts

Ultimately salmon is a relatively expensive fish that provides many health benefits; much like other seafood, it should be consumed in moderation, but first, let’s take a look at the breakdown of nutritional information for 3 oz (85g) of a raw wild salmon.


Salmon doesn’t contain any carbohydrates as well as fiber and sugar.


As we know, salmon fish provides an abundance of health benefits, with a single 3-ounce serving of raw salmon containing 5.4 grams of fat. Of these fats, around 1.5 grams are from healthy unsaturated fats such as omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to lower your blood pressure, while less than 1 gram of this fish comes from saturated fat.

The fattiness of the fish will depend on whether it was a farmed salmon or wild salmon. Wild salmon contains less saturated fat compared to farmed salmon.


A raw wild-caught salmon contains 17 grams of protein in a 3-ounce fillet. Since farm-raised salmon is more of a fatty fish, containing slightly less protein compared to wild-caught salmon. However, let’s not forget that salmon is an incredible source of protein, providing the complete set of essential amino acids our bodies need.

Salmon Serving Size: How Much Is Too Much?_Alice's Kitchen

Vitamins and Minerals

Salmon provides both vitamins A and B, as well as vitamin d, which is mostly found in wild salmon. Additionally, salmon contains many beneficial minerals, these include magnesium, potassium, zinc, and selenium. Moreover, you’ll find lots of calcium in your canned salmon, mainly due to the digestible bones!


The ideal three-ounce serving of salmon contains 121 calories which come from healthy fats and mostly protein.

How Much Salmon Per Person?

Salmon can be enjoyed as one meal and is a very flavorful fish that can be dressed up or down in any way you wish to suit your particular taste buds. Although salmon is an incredibly healthy fish, it must be consumed in moderation, with too much leading to potential risks in the long run. Let’s focus on how much salmon would be the ideal portion size of this delicious fish and how much salmon should be consumed per week.

On average, a single serving of salmon for a healthy person should contain 3 to 4 ounces. To minimize the potential risk of heart stroke, you should aim to consume two 3.5-ounce servings of non-fried salmon or another low mercury type of seafood each consecutive week. To simplify, you can compare this amount to a 3-quart cup of flaked fish for reference.

Generally, apart from eating salmon, adults should aim to consume at least 6 to 8 ounces of other seafood such as striped bass, mackerel, cobia, sardines, or herring a week. That being said, children can also benefit from consuming salmon a couple of times per week, though if you are serving salmon, you should know the distinct variations based on their age.

Children’s AgeServing Size
1 to 3 years 1 ounce
4 to 7 years2 ounce
8 to 10 years 3 ounce
From 11 years+4 ounce

Pregnant women or nursing mothers are advised to incorporate up to 12 ounces of low mercury fish i.e. salmon and shellfish, into their weekly diet, which can also be translated to two 6-ounce servings of salmon. Some examples of low mercury seafood include salmon, grilled shrimp, canned tuna, catfish, and pollock.

Salmon Serving Size: How Much Is Too Much?

How Many Pounds of Salmon Should You Purchase?

Knowing the ideal amount of salmon serving size should most certainly motivate you to go ahead and purchase this super fish for yourself. Imagine you are planning to host a party, serving lots of delicious food, as well as a wonderful variety of cooked fish, which includes your best salmon. What would the appropriate portion be for each person, and can you eat more than one type of fish in one sitting? If you’re wondering how much salmon you need to buy, with the fear that it may not remain as fresh when refrigerated, then take a look at the ideal amount of salmon per serving below:

ServingWhole SalmonSalmon FilletSalmon SteakDressed Salmon
13/4 to 1 lb1/3 to 1/2 lb1/3 to 1/2 lb1/2 to 3/4 lb
44 lbs2 lbs2 lbs3 lbs
66 lbs3 lbs3 lbs4.5 lbs
1212 lbs6 lbs6 lbs9 lbs

Whole Salmon

Whole salmon is sold exactly as it had emerged when caught from the water, meaning that when you go to purchase this whole fresh salmon, you’ll find that the gills, skin, and eyes are intact, so bear in mind if you’re particularly squeamish! Generally, you should opt for around 3/4 to 1 pound of the whole salmon per person.

With the assumption that one person consumes 1 pound of salmon, you’ll acquire 4 pounds of salmon to serve 4 people, 6 pounds for 6 people, and 12 pounds for 12 people.

Salmon Fillet

Typically, salmon fillets are often descaled and sold boneless, so you won’t need to do much cleaning yourself, meaning that you won’t need to purchase as much as a whole fish. For this reason, and provided that the fillets are cooked correctly (350 degrees), 1 person will normally eat around 1/3 to 1/2 pounds of a salmon fillet.

So to serve 4 people, you should aim to buy 2 pounds of salmon fillet, 3 pounds for 6 people, and 6 for 12.

Salmon Steak

While salmon fillets are normally cut lengthwise and contain no bone whatsoever, salmon steaks are sliced diagonally and may or may not include bones. Though the amount of salmon steaks you should purchase is relatively the same as that of salmon fillets: 1/3 to 1/2 pound per person.

If 1 person consumes 1/2 pound of salmon steak, you’ll need to purchase 2 pounds for 4 people, 3 pounds for 6, and 6 pounds for 12.

Salmon Serving Size: How Much Is Too Much?

Pan Dressed Salmon

Generally, dressed salmon is a whole salmon without the head, tail, and gills. Consequently, 1/2 to 3/4 pounds of dressed salmon should be enough for a single person. If you’re sticking with a 3/4 pound serving per person, you’ll need 3 pounds for 4 people, 4.5 pounds for 6 people, and 9 pounds for 12 people.

Tips For Buying Salmon

Buying salmon or other seafood can be a bit of a tedious task, especially if you’re unaware of the common indicators that show whether salmon has gone bad or is going to become worse in the next couple of days. Here are some handy tips to assist you in your next salmon purchasing trip.

Understanding Salmon Varieties

Not all salmon are the same, some are more oily and expensive compared to other varieties. For instance, King salmon is typically regarded as one of the best salmon amongst the varieties, with its large body, vibrant and attractive pink color, as well as a very high oil content.

Atlantic, Red, and Coho salmon are right beside salmon in terms of quality, with chum and Pink salmon coming in last place. If good quality is a priority, then opt for King salmon; unless you’re simply searching for a nutrient-packed fresh fillet, then the cheaper – Chum and Pink salmon – are also great options to go for.

Where Salmon is Caught

When purchasing salmon, you’ll notice that they are marked or labeled as Pacific or Alaskan, which are indicators of where the salmon was caught. The most important element to consider is the way the salmon were caught and raised i.e. wild-caught and farm-raised salmon.

Much like the name implies, wild-caught salmon are caught in their natural habitats and are typically expensive compared to farmed salmon. Wild salmon contains better fat content, so they are great value for money.

Generally, farmed salmon contain a little more omega-3 fats as opposed to wild salmon, with more calories and saturated fats.

Frozen Can be Better than Fresh

Many prefer fresh food over frozen food, though for salmon, it may be a different story. With access to wild-caught salmon in areas like Alaska or Oregon, fresh salmon is the better option. Apart from that, it’s always best to purchase frozen salmon. Also, opt for frozen salmon that are stored and labeled as flash-frozen or once-frozen as these fish are frozen immediately after they’ve been caught.

When buying frozen salmon, it’s best to pay attention to the expiration date and how long the salmon can remain frozen, so you can pluck the freshest frozen salmon from the bunch for your unique dinner preparation.

Also, try to avoid old or damaged frozen salmon packaging, though frozen salmon stays good for up to 3 months.

Choose the Right Cut

Choosing the right cut of salmon is more efficient, as it saves you a lot of time and hassle when meal prepping. If you’re cooking for many guests, it’s best to opt for a whole salmon, as it will be better to cook the entire fish and divide it into individual servings later.

A whole side of salmon is perfect for some popular dishes like hot smoked salmon, cold smoked salmon, or raw salmon strips for sushi.

When planning to eat fish, salmon steaks or fillets are great for smaller family-sized meals, with the fillets being cooperative for roasting, grilling, poaching, or pan searing. Their skins will crisp up beautifully after cooking, which is why many are quick to rush toward salmon fillets for dinner.

Salmon steaks take longer to prepare since there are remnants of bones remaining inside the fish, though your efforts will be worthwhile, as they are incredibly appetizing when grilled.

Look out for the Smell and Appearance of Salmon

The appearance of your salmon is an almost clear indication as to whether your salmon is fit to cook and eat with or not. Your salmon should be a vibrant color, with no bruising, dark flecks, or separated flakes.

Fresh salmon emanates a pleasant aroma that is akin to the ocean. Always avoid salmon with a fishy, sour, or ammonia odor.

Wild Caught vs Farm Raised Salmon

Farm-raised salmon contains a higher fat content, compared to wild-caught salmon, with more omega-3 and triple the amount of saturated fat, containing 46% more calories. Wild salmon provides additional minerals, including potassium, zinc, and iron. This is mainly due to their diet as well as the oceans they tend to reside and visit. Moreover, salmon packs a more vibrant flavor with a savory taste and brighter shade as opposed to farm-raised salmon. Many believe that purchasing and consuming wild-caught salmon is better for the environment compared to farm-raised salmon.

Benefits of Consuming Salmon

Many studies have detailed that increasing the weekly intake of fatty fish like salmon decreases the potential health risks, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Many should aim to eat salmon at least twice a week, as it is an incredible alternative to other protein sources such as chicken or beef. The American heart association advises that consuming at least two servings of fatty fish per week, like salmon, is a healthy pattern for the heart, minimizing the chances of cholesterol.

Try to replace your weekly meat and chicken intake with salmon or other seafood for that perfect balance. Here are some helpful food ideas to incorporate salmon into your diet:

  • Use salmon as your main source of protein, i.e. instead of frozen beef and chicken in your freezer, replace them with frozen varieties of fresh salmon.
  • Add salmon in place of chicken to pasta or rice dishes
  • Mince salmon to add on top of salads
  • Make salmon patties to add to burgers
  • Make salmon salad instead of chicken salad
Salmon Serving Size: How Much Is Too Much?

What Happens When You Eat Too Much Salmon?

Raw fish and meat, in general, may carry harmful bacteria and other substances, which is why many tend to steer clear of them altogether. Mercury is one of the elements that poses the most concern, and while it is true that consuming seafood can typically raise your mercury level, whether that is a safe level or not heavily relies on the type of seafood you consume.

Consuming a large quantity of high-mercury seafood such as swordfish, shark, marlin, or king mackerel can potentially lead to an unsafe accumulation of mercury within your body.

Fresh salmon, on the other hand, is one of the best choices when it comes to seafood with low-mercury content. This is why salmon does not play a part in the raised mercury level in frequent seafood eaters.

Apart from that, consuming any type of food in large quantities is never advised, nor a good idea. Though salmon have little mercury, they still carry some toxic substances, which is why it’s best to stick to the recommended amount of salmon per week. This is especially outlined for pregnant women, nursing mothers, and younger children as they’re more exposed to mercury toxicity due to their level of vulnerability.

Veggies that go With Salmon

Cooking salmon for a family gathering is an incredible choice because you can pair salmon with just about anything. Whether you’ve chosen to bake, grill, fry, or poach your salmon, pairing your cooked fish with some fragrant vegetables is always a great choice. Asparagus is a crunchy, flavourful vegetable to pair with salmon, not to mention its incredible versatility. Toss your asparagus in some olive oil and sautéed onions sprinkled with lemon juice before digging in, and allow the contrasting textures and flavors to take over!

Alternatively, you can opt for similarly textured veggies such as squash and zucchini. These veggies will provide your meal with contrasting textures and flavors that blend well together due to their moist textures.

Bottom Line

Despite its low level of mercury, it’s best to consume salmon in moderation. Sticking to a portion of 8 to 12 ounces per week will allow you to make the right choices when purchasing salmon to cook for later. When you’re planning to serve more than one person, use your serving amount for reference and double-check to achieve the correct amount.


Is 6 oz of Salmon too Much?

Salmon is relatively low in mercury, though they still contain some potentially toxic substances. This is why it is best that you eat salmon two to three times or 8 to 12 oz per week.

How Big is a 3 oz Piece of Salmon?

The standard serving size for any type of meat or fish is 3 ounces, which is roughly the size of the palm of your hand.