Air fryer salmon bites are super easy to make and turn out delicious every time! Perfect to enjoy as a healthy, high protein meal. For this recipe, the salmon bites are marinated and served with creamy bang bang sauce for extra flavor. You can easily make the sauce more or less spicy depending on your tastes!
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What are salmon bites?
Salmon bites are created by cooking large 1-inch salmon cubes. They’re a fun way to achieve a crispier texture and they cook even quicker than salmon filets.
For this recipe, we’ve decided to air fry the salmon bites to achieve that beautiful char without adding any extra calories from oil or deep frying.
Is salmon healthy?
As a dietitian, salmon is one of my favorite ingredients to develop recipes with! Salmon is a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins B12 and vitamin D. Here’s a breakdown of what each nutrient is important for:
- Protein – helps us feel fuller longer and supports essential functions in the body like muscle growth, recovery, immune function
- Omega-3s – may help reduce risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and improve cognitive function
- Vitamin B12 – important for maintaining healthy nerves and red blood cells
- Vitamin D – essential for bone health, calcium absorption, and supports a healthy immune system
I like to buy ASC-certified salmon as this ensures salmon farms adhere to certain guidelines that help care for the natural environment and support local communities. You can use the ASC website to find products near you or keep an eye out for the teal ASC label!
Do I have to use skinless salmon?
This recipe calls for skinless salmon, but you could definitely keep the skin on too–it will get nice and crispy! Salmon skin has similar nutrients to the meaty part of the filet and actually has a higher concentration of omega-3s.
If you’re not a fan of the salmon skin, you can buy skinless filets or carefully remove it with a sharp knife.
How do you make air fryer salmon bites?
These salmon bites come together in a matter of minutes. Here’s how to make them.
First, mix together the bang bang sauce
Bang bang sauce is a creamy, spicy sauce that pairs perfectly with proteins like salmon, shrimp, and chicken. All you need is 5 pantry staples to make it: mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic powder, and hot sauce.
Our preferred hot sauce–and the typical hot sauce used for bang bang sauce–is Sriracha. However, sometimes it can be hard to find in stores due to the chili pepper shortage. If you can’t get your hands on Sriracha or don’t like the taste, you can use another hot sauce of your choice. Here are some other good options:
- Nando’s Peri Peri
Next, marinade the salmon
If you’re short on time, you can skip this step. However, we prefer to marinade the salmon for about 30 minutes for maximum flavor. Try not to let it sit for more than 30 minutes or it can make the salmon overly soft.
Finally, cook salmon bites for 8-10 minutes at 375ºF
We found that this temperature and time allows the salmon bites to get nice and golden brown without burning. If you find that after 10 minutes, you still see parts of the salmon that aren’t golden, air fry for another 1-2 minutes to caramelize.
Air frying tips and tricks
We found the following helpful tips and tricks when air frying the salmon bites:
- Preheat the air fryer before adding the salmon bites. You can do this by letting the air fryer heat at 375ºF for about 2 minutes.
- After preheating, we like to line our air fryer with a parchment sheet for easy clean up.
- When placing the salmon into the air fryer basket, use tongs so any excess marinade will drip off.
- Don’t overcrowd the basket or the salmon cubes won’t brown properly.
- Keep an eye on the salmon bites while they are cooking, as cooking times may vary depending on the size of the bites.
Can you make an air fried bang bang salmon fillet?
Yes! I’ve experimented with this instead of the bites and it’s just as delicious. Simply add your salmon fillet to a 375ºF preheated air fryer basket. Then, spoon over a generous amount of sauce as a glaze and brush it around so it coats the entire fillet. Then, just like with the salmon bites, cook for 8-12 minutes, until golden brown on top. I even like to have some little charred bits for extra flavor. Depending on the size of your fillet, you may have to cook it for slightly longer.
What should I serve with salmon bites?
To make these salmon bites into a satisfying meal, we recommend pairing with nourishing sides. Here’s some ideas:
- Sauteed cauliflower rice
- Vegetable fried rice (you can drizzle in extra bang bang sauce!)
- Steamed or air fried broccoli
- Turn into power bowl with grains, sliced cucumber, avocado, shredded carrots, and edamame
Can you store leftovers?
You can store leftover salmon bites in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. When reheating, we recommend air frying at 375ºF for about 3-4 minutes. This will bring the crispy texture back to life!
What if I have extra sauce?
If you end up with extra sauce, you can always drizzle it over vegetables or freeze it for later. I like to freeze in a small mason jar and label with the date I froze it.
Can you make these salmon bites in the oven?
I haven’t tested this recipe in the oven, but you could try baking salmon bites in the oven at 375ºF for about 15 minutes. Just note, you might not get the same caramelization as you would see when air frying. You achieve the similar golden brown char marks, you could try broiling in the oven for 1-2 minutes at the end.
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Air Fryer Salmon Bites
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise or light mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce of your choice* (I prefer Sriracha but you could also use Tabasco, Tapatio, Cholula, Nando's Peri Peri, etc.)
- 1 pound skinless salmon, cut into 1-inch bites
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- In a large bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic powder, and hot sauce. Reserve half of the sauce in another small bowl for later. (The sauce makes 1 cup total so you'll want to add about 1/2 cup over the salmon bites.)
- Add salmon cubes to the same large bowl and toss to coat in the bang bang sauce. Optional but recommended: Let salmon marinate in the sauce for up to 30 minutes.
- Preheat air fryer to 375ºF. If your air fryer doesn't have a preheat option, simply let heat at 375ºF for 2 minutes.
- Use tongs to add salmon cubes to the air fryer basket, letting any excess sauce drip off before placing in basket. Discard the excess marinade sauce. Quick tip: Before placing the salmon cubes in the basket, I recommend placing over an air fryer parchment liner if you have it. It makes for easier clean up!
- Let salmon cook for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown on top. Garnish with green onions, sesame seeds, and desired amount of reserved bang bang sauce.