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This flavorful air fried salmon bites recipe is crispy outside and tender inside, and whips up in just 20 minutes for a healthy appetizer or easy dinner. This recipe includes directions for the oven and stovetop too!

plates with air fryer salmon bites on dark wooden table

Sometimes these are called salmon cubes, other times salmon bites, and even salmon nuggets. Whatever you call them, they’re absolutely delicious and sure to be a hit at your house!

In this recipe, we toss bite-sized salmon pieces with a sweet and savory salmon spice mix before cooking. It coats the salmon and packs a ton of flavor in every single bite.

You can cook salmon cubes in an air fryer, in the oven, or on the stovetop.

I like using the air fryer because it’s quick and easy with minimal cleanup. Plus the salmon comes out of the air fryer super moist and tender every time. And bonus, if you use the air fryer, you won’t heat up your whole kitchen, which makes this recipe a good choice for hot summer months too.

Once the salmon bites are cooked to perfection, we serve them up with a sweet and spicy creamy Cajun inspired sauce to bump up the flavor even more!

These healthy air fryer salmon bites are perfect as an elegant appetizer or main course.

front view of salmon bites recipe on white stoneware plate

What Are Salmon Bites?

It’s just salmon that’s cut into bite-sized cubes and cooked!

You can add flavor in two ways: 1) season the salmon before cooking, and/or 2) serve the salmon with a sauce for dipping or drizzling on top.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s a good way to get in more salmon. First and foremost, this recipe is another way to eat salmon! Everyone I know (myself included) has heard their doctor tell them to eat more salmon. Here’s a delicious way to do it.
  • This recipe is versatile. Salmon bites are a great appetizer as part of a spread of finger foods. But paired with a couple side dishes, a salmon bites meal is also a good way to serve these!
  • These are just so darn tasty. If you’re on the fence about the flavor of salmon, this recipe might make a believer out of you. A sweet and spicy dry rub seasons the fish, and the creamy Cajun sauce is the perfect dipping sauce.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Ingredients Explained

In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas where applicable. For the full recipe (including the ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.

Air Fryer Salmon Bites Ingredients

air fryer salmon bites ingredients
  • Salmon – you can use skin-on or skin-off salmon; we’re going to be cutting it into bite-sized cubes
  • Light brown sugar – this adds a hint of sweetness to balance out the savory spices and touch of heat that cayenne adds
  • Garlic powder and onion powder – these two spice cabinet staples add depth of flavor here
  • Salt and black pepper – to season the salmon
  • Smoked paprika – adds a touch of smoky flavor
  • Cayenne pepper – for a little bit of spicy heat
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – to help the spices stick to the salmon, and to make sure the salmon doesn’t stick when you cook it

Creamy Cajun Sauce Ingredients

creamy cajun sauce ingredients
  • Mayo – this is the creamy base for our Cajun sauce
  • Fresh lemon juice – thins out the sauce and adds a touch of tangy flavor
  • Honey – for sweetness
  • Garlic powder and onion powder – for savory flavor
  • Salt and black pepper – to season the sauce
  • Smoked paprika – adds a touch of smokiness
  • Cayenne pepper – for a little kick

How to Cook Salmon Bites

You’re probably wondering what is the best way to cook salmon bites? There are several cooking methods for this healthy fish that yield excellent results – flaky, tender, flavorful salmon!

Here I’m sharing three of the best cooking methods for salmon: air fryer, oven, and stovetop.

How to Make Salmon Bites in the Air Fryer

Step 1: Prep the Salmon:

salmon chopped into cubes

Cut the salmon into approximately 1 1/2-inches pieces. You can use salmon with or without the skin for this recipe.

Step 2: Season the Salmon Bites:

adding spices and oil to salmon and tossing to coat

Add the salmon, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, onion powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and oil to a large bowl and toss to coat.

Step 3: Air Fry the Salmon:

how to air fry salmon bites

Add the salmon pieces to the air fryer (skin-side-down if your salmon had skin) so that none of the pieces are touching. (Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to air fry the salmon in 2 batches to avoid over-crowding the air fryer basket.)

Air fry until the salmon is fully cooked, about 5 to 7 minutes, depending on the thickness of your salmon and the size of the pieces.

How to Make Salmon Bites in the Oven

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Cut the salmon into approximately 1 1/2-inches pieces.
  3. Add the salmon, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, onion powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and oil to a large bowl and toss to coat.
  4. Spread the salmon out on a baking tray (skin-side-down if your salmon had skin) so that none of the pieces are touching.
  5. Bake until the salmon is fully cooked, about 10 minutes.

How to Pan Fry Salmon Bites on Stove Top

  1. Cut the salmon into approximately 1 1/2-inches pieces.
  2. Add the salmon, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, onion powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and oil to a large bowl and toss to coat.
  3. Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the salmon to the hot skillet (skin-side-down if your salmon had skin) so that none of the pieces are touching.
  5. Cook on both sides until the fish is browned on the outside but cooked inside, about 2 minutes per side.

Creamy Cajun Sauce

making creamy cajun sauce

To make creamy Cajun sauce, add all ingredients to a medium bowl and stir to combine.

Storage

Store leftover salmon bites covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.

top view of salmon bite appetizer on rustic white plate with toothpicks

How to Reheat Salmon Bites

Oven Method to Reheat Salmon Bites

  1. Preheat the oven to 275F.
  2. Put the salmon bites on a baking tray and add a splash of water.
  3. Bake until warm, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Air Fryer Method to Reheat Salmon Bites

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350F.
  2. Once hot, put the salmon in the air fryer basket.
  3. Air fry until warm, about 5 minutes.
moist and tender air fryer salmon bites

Salmon Bites FAQs

Do You Eat the Skin on Salmon?

Yes, you can eat the skin on salmon. It’s up to you whether you want to or not, similar to whether or not you like to eat the skin on chicken.

If it’s cooked well, salmon skin is crispy and flavorful (similar to crispy chicken skin). And even better, salmon skin is high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids!

But there is a caveat to eating salmon skin. Make sure that you trust the source of your salmon and know that it’s coming from clean water, so you’re not ingesting environmental toxins.

serving salmon nuggets with creamy sauce in background on stoneware plate

How Long Do You Air Fry Salmon?

If you’re cooking 6 ounce salmon filets, they cook in the air fryer at 400F for 8 minutes (check out this air fryer salmon recipe for details).

However, if you’re cooking salmon cubes (about 1 1/2-inch pieces), they cook in the air fryer at 400F for about 5 to 7 minutes.

What to Eat with Salmon Bites

You can serve these delicious salmon bites as an appetizer or as a main dish.

What to serve with salmon bites as an appetizer:

Side dishes to serve with salmon bites to make it a full meal:

salmon cubes on plate showing moist flaky salmon texture

More Salmon Recipes to Make

crispy air fryer salmon bites

Let’s Connect

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Did you make this recipe? Please rate it and leave a comment below. You can also tag @anediblemosaic on social media.

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Crispy Air Fried Salmon Bites Recipe with Creamy Cajun Sauce

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time14 minutes
Cook Time6 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
This flavorful air fried salmon bites recipe is crispy outside and tender inside, and whips up in just 20 minutes for a healthy appetizer or easy dinner. This recipe includes directions for the oven and stovetop too!

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Equipment

Ingredients
 

Air Fryer Salmon Bites:

Creamy Cajun Sauce:

Garnishes:

  • Fresh lemon wedges
  • Minced fresh parsley chives, or thyme

Instructions
 

For the Air Fryer Salmon Bites:

  • Preheat the air fryer to 400F.
  • Cut the salmon into approximately 1 1/2-inches pieces.
  • Add the salmon, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, onion powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and oil to a large bowl and toss to coat.
  • Add the salmon pieces to the air fryer (skin-side-down if your salmon had skin) so that none of the pieces are touching. (Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to air fry the salmon in 2 batches to avoid over-crowding the air fryer basket.)
  • Air fry until the salmon is fully cooked, about 5 to 7 minutes, depending on the thickness of your salmon and the size of the pieces.

For the Creamy Cajun Sauce:

  • While the salmon is air frying, make the sauce. To do so, add all ingredients to a medium bowl and stir to combine.

To Serve:

  • Transfer the cooked salmon bites to a serving platter, and spoon the sauce into a small bowl to serve along with the salmon for dipping. Serve warm along with fresh lemon wedges to squeeze on top, and fresh minced parsley sprinkled on top.

Video

Notes

  • Net Carbs: 5.6g per serving
  • Salmon: You can use salmon with the skin on or off for this recipe.
  • Storage: Store leftover salmon bites covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Paleo Version: Use coconut sugar instead of brown sugar, and paleo-friendly mayo.
  • To Lower the Carbs Even More: As written, this recipe only has 5.6 grams net carbs per serving. However, to reduce the carbs even more, you can use keto-friendly brown sugar and keto-friendly honey.

How to Reheat Salmon Bites in the Oven

  1. Preheat the oven to 275F.
  2. Put the salmon bites on a baking tray and add a splash of water.
  3. Bake until warm, about 10 to 15 minutes.

How to Reheat Salmon Bites in the Air Fryer

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350F.
  2. Once hot, put the salmon in the air fryer basket.
  3. Air fry until warm, about 5 minutes.

How to Make Salmon Bites in the Oven

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Cut the salmon into approximately 1 1/2-inches pieces.
  3. Add the salmon, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, onion powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and oil to a large bowl and toss to coat.
  4. Spread the salmon out on a baking tray (skin-side-down if your salmon had skin) so that none of the pieces are touching.
  5. Bake until the salmon is fully cooked, about 10 minutes.

How to Pan Fry Salmon Bites on Stove Top

  1. Cut the salmon into approximately 1 1/2-inches pieces.
  2. Add the salmon, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, onion powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and oil to a large bowl and toss to coat.
  3. Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the salmon to the hot skillet (skin-side-down if your salmon had skin) so that none of the pieces are touching.
  5. Cook on both sides until the fish is browned on the outside but cooked inside, about 2 minutes per side.

Nutrition

Calories: 416kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 16g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 666mg | Potassium: 599mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 258IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Air Fried Salmon Bites, Air Fried Salmon Bites Recipe, Air Fryer Salmon Bites, Air Fryer Salmon Bites Recipe, Crispy Salmon Bites, Salmon Bites, Salmon Bites Recipe

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Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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