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Salmon Bites offer a new and exciting way to enjoy a seafood favorite. In just 15 minutes, transform ordinary skinless salmon fillets into mouth-watering morsels, perfectly seasoned and bathed in a rich garlic butter sauce. An elegant, but incredibly simple, meal or appetizer that’s as welcome for a casual weeknight dinner as it is for a special occasion.

Crispy Salmon Bites served in a rectangular and photographed from the top with cocktail glasses partly visible.

Beyond its quick preparation, this recipe highlights the rich, natural taste of salmon. It starts with fresh, cubed salmon, seasoned and seared to a golden crust, locking in the flavor and moisture. Then comes the final touch: a sizzling buttery garlic sauce with a hint of lemon, adding a bright and savory dimension. Crispy on the outside and tender within, these bites remind us that sometimes the simplest dishes are the most memorable.

Ingredients You Need to Make Salmon Bites

Salmon Bites Ingredients on a granite surface.
  • Salmon Fillets: Look for skinless fresh salmon fillets that are vibrant in color, with a fresh, sea-breeze aroma. The flesh should be firm and bounce back when pressed lightly. Choose fillets with an even thickness for consistent cooking.
  • Vegetable Oil: Opt for an oil with a high smoke point such as avocado, grapeseed, or canola oil. These oils will not break down or add a strong flavor when cooking at high temperatures.
  • Butter: Look for high-fat, European-style butter, which has less water content, reducing splatter during cooking and add a luxurious richness to the dish.
  • Fresh Garlic: Choose plump, firm garlic cloves that feel heavy for their size and are free of green sprouts, which can indicate aging and a potentially more bitter flavor.
  • Lemon: Look for lemons that are heavy for their size, a good sign of juice content. The skin should be bright, smooth, and slightly glossy, without green spots.
  • Fresh Parsley: Fresh parsley should have bright green leaves with no signs of wilting or yellowing. The stems should be firm. Give it a sniff – it should smell fresh and slightly peppery.
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Detailed shot of Salmon Bites with Garlic Butter.

Recipe Tips

  • Prep Salmon Properly: Dry the salmon thoroughly with paper towels before seasoning to guarantee a good sear and crispy exterior.
  • Don’t Overcrowd the Pan: Cook the salmon in batches if necessary. Overcrowding the pan can lower the temperature and lead to uneven cooking.
  • Monitor the Heat: Keep an eye on the skillet temperature. If it’s too hot, the salmon may burn; if it’s too low, it won’t sear properly.
  • Gentle Flipping: Use a thin spatula to carefully flip the salmon bites. This prevents the crust from breaking and keeps the salmon tender and juicy.
  • Sauce Timing: Make the garlic butter sauce right before serving to keep the garlic fragrant and the butter creamy when drizzled over the salmon.

Recipe Options

  • Skin-On Variation: If you’re a fan of crispy salmon skin, feel free to use skin-on salmon. Start by searing the bites skin-side down to get that delectable crispiness. This method may require an additional 1 to 2 minutes compared to skinless salmon fillets.
  • Herb Swap: Replace fresh parsley with dill or chives for a twist in flavor.
  • Add Heat: For a spicy kick, sprinkle a bit of crushed red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne pepper into the butter sauce.
  • Extra Citrus Zing: Enhance the sauce with orange or lime zest to deepen the citrus flavor.
  • Sauce Enrichment: Stir in a splash of white wine or chicken broth along with the lemon juice for a fuller, more layered flavor.
Crispy Salmon Bites served in a rectangular and photographed close up from the top.

How to Store and Reheat

Storing any leftover Salmon Bites in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To reheat, gently warm them in a skillet over low heat until heated through. Avoid using a microwave as it can dry out the salmon and affect its texture.

More Great Appetizers

How to Make Salmon Bites with Garlic Butter

Cut a skinless salmon fillet into 1-inch cubes, patting them dry, and seasoning generously with salt and pepper. In a large cast iron or non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Place the salmon cubes in a single layer, cooking until one side turns deep golden-brown and the salmon is nearly opaque. Remove from heat, carefully flip the cubes, and transfer them to a serving platter.

In the same skillet over medium heat, melt butter, and add minced garlic, cooking until tender and scraping up the browned bits. Once the garlic is cooked, remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and drizzle the sauce over the salmon. Finish by seasoning and garnishing as desired before serving.

Salmon Bites with Garlic Butter

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Calories: 235
Servings: 6 people
Succulent, golden-brown salmon bites with a rich garlic butter sauce offer a perfect blend of crispiness and savory depth.

Ingredients  

  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless salmon fillets (or skin-on, recipe note #1)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil such as avocado oil or other high heat oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • minced fresh parsley for garnish, optional

Instructions 

  • Cut salmon into 1-inch cubes. Pat dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet (or other non-stick skillet) over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add salmon cubes in a single layer; cook 3 minutes without disturbing, or until one side is a deep golden-brown and the salmon is nearly opaque throughout. Remove from heat and carefully flip with a thin spatula so that the seared side is up; transfer salmon to serving platter.
  • Return saucepan to the stove and set over medium heat; add butter and stir until sizzling. Add minced garlic; cook and stir until tender, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping up browned bits (reduce heat if garlic starts to brown). Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Drizzle sauce over salmon and season with salt and pepper to taste; sprinkle with parsley if desired and serve.
    Or, if you prefer your salmon very well done, return salmon bites to skillet and set over medium heat until cooked to your liking, gently stirring to coat with sauce. (Take care not to overcook salmon as it can dry out quickly.) Season and garnish as desired. Leave in skillet or transfer to platter and serve.

Notes

  1. If you love crispy salmon skin, you can make these with skin-on salmon. Cook the bites skin-side down so that the skin crisps up nicely, which make take 1 to 2 minutes more than skinless salmon. 
  2. Serves 4 as a main course, 6 to 8 as an appetizer.

Nutrition

Calories: 235kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 95mg | Potassium: 568mg | Fiber: 0.05g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 221IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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8 Comments

  1. Valentina says:

    I love the amount of flavor you packed into every salmon bite. I would love this with sticky rice. YUM! Happy New Year, Marissa. 🙂 ~Valentina

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Great pairing, Valentina!

  2. Karen (Back Road Journal) says:

    They sound very flavorful with the sauce. How would you suggest serving them to guests?

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Hi Karen! I recommend serving them with cocktail forks to eat the bites individually. They also make a great first course or main course at a dinner party, served with rice and a spicy cucumber salad.

  3. David Kozinski says:

    5 stars
    Love this recipe. Did it last night with the skin on and had it with the Pear and Gorgonzola Salad I read about a few days ago. Great light meal.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Perfectly paired, David! Thank you for your kind comment.

  4. Mimi Rippee says:

    This is the most stunning dish I’ve seen in a long time! A fun appetizer, for sure, or just to serve with white rice and a veggie. Fabulousness. Happy New Year!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      aww…that means a lot coming from you, Mimi! Happy New Year!