Bite-sized pieces of salmon tossed in olive oil, salt, black pepper and garlic powder, then air fried to perfection and sprinkled with sea salt, lemon zest and fresh parsley. If you’re looking for a quick and flavorful way to enjoy salmon, look no further than these salmon nuggets (salmon bites, cubes, chunks … whatever you’d like to call them!) with simple seasoning. Guaranteed you have all the ingredients (maybe except the salmon) already in your kitchen.
This is a delicious and satisfying dish that’s perfect for a weeknight dinner – ready in less than 10 minutes.
There are very few recipes that I will pull out the air fryer for, because it’s clunky, takes up too much counter space and I don’t like the smell of the appliance pre-heating. But air fried salmon bites are one of those recipes that really shine being cooked in the air fryer, so it’s worth grabbing the air fryer from the basement for this dish. Air frying is a great method for cooking salmon, as it yields a crisp outside while keeping the fish moist and tender on the inside.
The air fryer method reduces the need for excess oil while still delivering a satisfying crispy exterior. Plus, the quick cooking time ensures that the salmon remains tender and moist.
We love serving salmon in bite-sized chunks like this, because often time a salmon fillet is too much for family members or guests to eat. Cut up into pieces like this will allow for those that you’re serving to take as many or as few pieces as they’d like.
HERE ARE THE SIMPLE INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED:
- salmon fillets (we use fresh salmon, but feel free to use frozen and thawed salmon, just make sure to always pat the fish very dry to reduce excess moisture)
- olive oil
- garlic powder
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- sea salt (for finishing)
- lemon zest (for topping the finished dish, optional)
- chopped fresh parsley (for topping the finished dish, optional)
The simplicity of this seasoning blend allows the natural flavors of the salmon to shine through, while adding a subtle kick of smokiness and depth. Feel free to adjust the seasonings according to your preferences. If you prefer more kick, consider adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or chili powder.
The full list of detailed instructions can be found in the recipe card below, but here’s an overview.
- Preheat your air fryer to 390 degrees F.
- Cut your salmon into approximately 1-inch bite sized pieces. Do not worry about being perfect here, they do not have to be exactly the same size, just close. Some pieces will naturally be thinner than others and will cook faster. The great thing is that salmon is fatty and therefore more forgiving when it comes to overcooking. Feel free to keep the skin on or off it’s your preference.
- Toss the salmon cubes in olive oil.
- Sprinkle the fish with salt, garlic powder and black pepper. Toss to combine until evenly coated.
- Coat the air fryer basket with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
- Place salmon bites into the preheated air fryer in a single layer, making sure that no pieces are touching. You do not want to overcrowd the basket, work in batches, if needed.
- After about 4 minutes, flip the salmon pieces with tongs to ensure even browning and cooking. Air fry for another 3-4 minutes until fish is flaky and cooked through.
- Sprinkle with sea salt, lemon zest and fresh parsley.
- Serve the salmon bites with lemon wedges and your favorite dipping sauce – we love a garlicky dill sour cream or tzatziki.
What should you serve these salmon nuggets with?
We love serving them with a dipping sauce of your choice, roasted veggies or a salad and roasted potatoes or crusty bread.
Can you make these salmon bites in the oven or on the grill instead of the air fryer?
Yes! If you don’t have an air fryer, you can bake (at 425 degrees F) or grill these salmon nuggets (over medium high heat) until cooked through. Timing should be about the same, could be slightly longer with the oven or grill method.
Are these salmon bites healthy?
Yes! These salmon bites are packed with protein, omega-3 fatty acids (healthy fats), Vitamin D and more.
Can you use frozen salmon for this recipe?
You can absolutely use frozen salmon for this recipe, you’ll just want to thaw the salmon first (preferably in the fridge overnight, or in a bowl of cold water just until thawed). The air fryer actually is one of my preferred methods of cooking frozen, thawed salmon because it develops a great crispy texture on the outside and even my discerning palate cannot tell that the salmon was frozen. I do not recommend cooking the salmon directly from frozen as it results in a mushy texture and poor eating experience.
Why do you have to pat the salmon dry before cooking?
Patting the salmon dry with a paper towel or clean dish towel eliminates excess moisture. Excess moisture will cause the salmon to steam (versus air fry) and result in less crispness and a mushier final result.
Is this recipe kid-friendly?
Kids will love these salmon nuggets! They are seasoned minimally and the lemon zest and parsley are optional, so feel free to omit that for the kiddos. Serve them with their favorite dipping sauces, for a main dish that is sure to please.
Should you take the skin off or keep it on before air frying?
You can do either – some prefer skin on (it will get a bit crispy), others prefer to remove the skin prior to cooking, it’s really your preference. I don’t eat the skin, but I find it much easier to remove after it’s cooked.
So, the next time you’re craving a flavorful salmon dish, but are short on time, give these salmon cubes a try. With its simple seasoning and hassle-free cooking process, it’s a perfect choice for a tasty and nutritious meal.
MORE SALMON RECIPES:
- Ginger soy salmon bites
- Teriyaki salmon bowl
- Sweet citrus and spice salmon
- Salmon teriyaki in the air fryer
Air Fryer Salmon Bites
- 1.5 pounds salmon filet (center cut if possible) patted very dry, cut into ~1 inch cubes, keep the skin on or off, whichever you prefer
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 lemon, zest of and cut into wedges use organic if you can find it
- sea salt for serving
- fresh parsley for serving
- Preheat air fryer to 390°F. Spray the air fryer basket with cooking oil.
- Place salmon cubes in a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Toss well to coat salmon evenly.
- Place salmon bites in a single layer into the air fryer, making sure to not crowd the salmon – pieces should not be touching. Cook for about 4 minutes, flip, then cook another few minutes until salmon is cooked through. Salmon is done when it flakes easily and reaches an internal temperature of about 140 degrees F. Salmon will continue cooking once it’s removed from heat to a safe internal temp of 145 degrees F.
- Sprinkle with sea salt, lemon zest and parsley. Serve with lemon wedges.
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