We serve these baked salmon bites with the most delicious basil ranch sauce. These salmon bites bake in less than 15 minutes, use ingredients you probably already have, and will please even the pickiest of eaters.
Why We Love This Recipe
- It's easy: This recipe is so easy. Cut your salmon into nugget-sized chunks, toss them in some oil and spices, and pop them in the oven. The optional basil ranch is also super easy—you just have to throw everything in a food processor and blend it until it's smooth.
- It's fast: These salmon bites take around 10 minutes to bake, and the basil ranch takes minutes.
- It's fun: Salmon nuggets are a great alternative to basic chicken nuggets. Looking to change up your favorite easy weeknight meal? Look no further.
- It's inexpensive: Most of the ingredients needed for this recipe are pretty basic and probably already hanging out in your pantry.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
For the salmon:
Salmon: We prefer the taste (and health and environmental benefits) of wild-caught salmon. Use whatever you prefer. If you use frozen salmon, make sure it's completely defrosted before cooking. We often buy a bag of frozen salmon from Costco so we always have some on hand.
Seasoning blend: Brown sugar, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, ground cayenne, salt, and black pepper. If you follow a Paleo diet or prefer to eat unrefined sugars, coconut sugar is a good substitute for the brown sugar.
For the basil ranch sauce:
Mayonnaise: We use a mixture of mayonnaise and greek yogurt for our base. If you don't like mayonnaise, you can replace it with greek yogurt.
Greek yogurt: We like to use greek yogurt because it adds some protein to the ranch and we like the flavor (plus we always have it on hand!). If you don't like greek yogurt, you can substitute sour cream.
Basil: Make sure you use fresh basil. Dried basil isn't a good substitute in this recipe.
See recipe card for full ingredient list and amounts.
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 400°F.
Step 2: Place salmon in a large mixing bowl. Add olive oil, brown sugar, paprika, salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, and ground cayenne, and mix to combine. Then place the salmon on a sheet pan, leaving space in between each chunk.
Step 3: Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked to your preferred temperature (we like ours at about 125°F). It should flake easily when prodded with a fork.
Step 4: To make the optional basil ranch sauce, add mayonnaise, greek yogurt, basil, lime juice, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper to a food processor and process until smooth.
- Don't overcook the salmon. Depending on how big you cut your salmon chunks and how thick your salmon is, yours might cook faster or slower than ours. Check it often to make sure it's not overcooking and drying out. Perfectly cooked salmon should flake easily. We like ours cooked to about 125°F.
- Get thick salmon fillets if you can—thick fillets are easier to cut into chunks and you'll get a more even cook.
- Don't skip the basil ranch. It's so delicious and the perfect fresh dipping sauce for this salmon.
- These salmon bites are also great in the air fryer. Air fry them at 400°F for 7-9 minutes.
- Check out this tutorial on removing salmon skin if you're having trouble cutting your salmon.
Frequently asked questions
These salmon bites are great in the air fryer. Air fry them at 400°F for 7-9 minutes.
We love serving these bites with some kind of starch (french fries or roasted potatoes are great!) and vegetables. Asparagus is a top choice for us. You could also serve them over a salad or in a rice bowl.
Store the salmon in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, pop it in the air fryer at 400°F for 2-3 minutes. If you don't have an air fryer, you can reheat the salmon in a pan with a splash of oil for a couple of minutes over medium heat.