These crispy fried salmon nuggets are perfect for the whole family. They're coated in a seasoned panko crust and pan-fried in a few minutes. We serve them with an optional creamy feta basil dipping sauce that's so so good.
Why We Love These Nuggets
- They're fun: These salmon bites are crispy, delicious, and so versatile. You can change up the size, the spices, and the dipping sauce for endless flavor options. Both kids and adults will love them.
- They're healthier than your average fish sticks: Frozen fish sticks are usually full of bad oils and processed ingredients. Since we make these from scratch, we get to control what goes into them and make sure they're made from quality ingredients.
- They're easy: These nuggets are fun to make and easy too! Kids can help with the breading, and they fry up in just a few minutes.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Salmon Fillets: You can use skin-on or skin-off—either works. We prefer the taste (and health and environmental benefits) of wild-caught salmon, but you can use whatever you prefer. If you use frozen salmon, make sure it's completely defrosted before cooking.
All-Purpose Flour: If you are gluten free, gluten-free all-purpose flour works well as a substitute.
Panko Breadcrumbs: Panko works best in this recipe, and I don't recommend substituting regular breadcrumbs. Gluten-free panko also works well. We like Kikkoman brand. If you don't have panko, crushed up crackers would work as a substitute!
Blackening Seasoning: Any blackening seasoning blend will do, especially ones made for seafood. We use a great local one.
Oil, for frying: We use avocado oil, but any high smoke point oil will do (canola oil, for example).
See the recipe card for the full ingredient list and amounts.
Step 1: Cut the salmon into bite-sized nuggets. Add flour, whisked eggs, and panko breadcrumbs to three separate small bowls. Add the blackening seasoning to the bowl with the panko and stir to combine.
Step 2: Dip each salmon piece into the flour, then the egg, then the panko. Place the breaded pieces on a plate or tray.
Step 3: Add about a quarter-inch of oil to a medium-sized pan (you want enough for your salmon to be about half-submerged) and heat it over medium-high heat to at least 350°F. Once the oil is hot, place the breaded salmon nuggets in the pan.
Step 4: Let the salmon cook, undisturbed for 3 minutes, or until golden-brown on the bottom. Then use tongs to flip the nuggets, and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until golden-brown on the other side. The remove the nuggets from the pan and place them on a plate covered with a couple of layers of paper towels.
Step 5: If desired, make the creamy feta basil dipping sauce. Add basil, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, mayonnaise, feta, salt, and pepper to a food processor and blend until smooth. Serve with the salmon nuggets immediately.
- Use one hand for adding the salmon to the egg and the other hand for the dry ingredients to prevent the breading from sticking to your hands.
- If you don't have a thermometer to measure how hot the oil is, drop a bit of panko in the oil. If it sizzles, it's ready.
- Add the salmon to the oil in a clockwise direction. That way you know which pieces to flip first!
Alternative Dipping Sauces
If you don't want to serve this salmon with our [very yummy] creamy feta basil sauce, here are some other ideas for dipping:
- Tartar sauce
- BBQ sauce: Try our apple cider BBQ sauce!
- Cilantro lime sauce
- Cocktail sauce
- Ranch dressing
Frequently asked questions
Yes! Use gluten-free all purpose flour and gluten-free panko (we like Kikkoman brand, but any brand will work).
Store the leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
These salmon nuggets reheat perfectly in the air fryer. Heat them at 400°F for 2-3 minutes. If you don't have an air fryer, microwave them for one minute, or until warm.