Perfectly seasoned and crisp, pan-seared salmon bites are amped up with hot honey. This easy to make entrée will have your tastebuds zinging with delight!
Why you’ll love it: The salmon bites are a quick and easy entrée, and also a great appetizer.
How long it takes: 15 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: large skillet, sharp knife
What can I say about this pan fried salmon except that it’s so good! Crisp nuggets of salmon are glazed with spicy sweet honey. It’s irresistible. Make a lot because it will go in a hurry. You’ll wish you had made twice as much.
Recently we made hot honey. It’s super popular and once you try it, you begin thinking of all the stuff it would be good on.
Incidentally, our hot honey isn’t as hot as the commercial brands. I like to be able to eat without screaming or gulping down prodigious amounts of cold water. That’s the good part of “homemade,” you can make it how you like it.
So, as I said, we were thinking of all the stuff we could pour hot honey on: pizza, sandwiches, chicken nuggets, sweet potato fries, cheese, even ice cream. My thoughts turned to salmon and I came up with this recipe: seared seasoned salmon bites lightly glazed with hot honey.
Yes! It’s so good. I think you’ll love it! We sure do.
About this Recipe
Other than the fabulous taste, you’ll love this recipe because it can be ready in 15 minutes, maybe less if you’re fast. The salmon really only has to cook about five minutes.
The salmon is seasoned with a simple rub before it’s seared in a nice hot skillet. The rub is made with brown sugar which caramelizes on the outside of the salmon when it hits that skillet, giving the salmon bites a brown, slightly charred crisp crust.
The salmon bites can be served as an appetizer, too. Serve them with a fancy toothpick and watch them disappear. Move over, meatballs, salmon’s in town!
I’ll get you started on the recipe here and give you lots of helpful tips. As always, you’ll find the printable recipe card near the end of the post. It has complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information.
What you’ll need
- Salmon Fillet: The recipe calls for 12 ounces of salmon which is two to three servings. Either fresh salmon or frozen is fine; thaw frozen salmon overnight in your refrigerator. If your salmon is skin-on, remove it before you proceed with the recipe.
- Brown Sugar: The salmon is seasoned with a rub, and brown sugar is the base of the rub. The sugar adds a bit of flavor but is there more for the caramelization that takes place over high heat.
- Paprika: Use regular (sweet) paprika which has a subtle flavor and adds a bit of color but not a lot of spice.
- Garlic Powder: For just a hint of garlic flavor. Garlic powder is dried garlic that is finely ground into a powder and is not the same thing as garlic salt.
- Salt & Pepper: Simple seasonings that we can’t live without, right? Adjust the amount to your personal taste.
- Olive Oil: Half of the oil is added to the rub and the other half is used for frying. Other types of oil are fine, as long as they can stand a little heat (high smoke point).
- Hot Honey: Make your own hot honey (it’s really easy to make) or buy it. A popular brand is Mike’s Hot Honey. Our homemade version is not as mouth-tingling spicy!
How to make This Recipe
If you plan on making your own hot honey, do that ahead of time. This salmon recipe goes really quickly so it’s a good idea to prepare your sides first or at least get them cooking so that they are ready when the salmon is. The pan fried salmon is best eaten immediately.
If your salmon is skin-on, use a sharp knife to carefully slice it away from the salmon fillet.
Cut the salmon into one and a half to two inch pieces, as evenly as possible so it will cook evenly. Using paper towels, pat the salmon dry.
Mix the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the salmon with olive oil, and then rub the sugar/spice mixture into it.
Heat a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, give it a swirl, then add the salmon pieces in a single layer. Don’t disturb them for two minutes. You want them to get nice and brown, even slightly charred, before you turn them.
Using a tongs or spatula, quickly flip the salmon bites over and continue to fry for two to three minutes. Use an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature. Well-done salmon is 145ºF.
In a medium sized bowl, lightly toss the salmon with the hot honey. If you prefer, the hot honey can be drizzled over the salmon on the serving platter. Serve immediately. The salmon bites are best when they are hot out of the pan!
If your salmon is skin-on, you’ll need to remove the skin first. Use a sharp long, thin-bladed knife. Hold the fillet on the tail end and carefully run the knife between the flesh and the skin, in a direction away from your body. Once the skin is separated from the flesh, it’s easy to cut into cubes of the desired size.
Hint: Salmon that is well-chilled (very cold, with a hint of frost) will be firmer and easier to cut without crushing it. Make sure your knife is very sharp.
Hmmm, what goes with salmon? Pretty much any side dish you like! Roasted vegetables are always great. Roast the salmon right on the same sheet pan for an easy healthy dinner (try salmon with tomatoes & fennel). Steamed rice, cheesy potatoes, air fryer crispy potatoes, sweet potato fries … you name it, it goes with salmon.
Salmon goes so well with lots of different flavors. Keep things simple with my homemade all purpose seasoning or try lemon dill salmon or maple mustard salmon. Soy glazed salmon is one of our favorites, too. Try topping cooked salmon with a creamy sauce like tzitziki with cucumber, yogurt and dill. Pesto or chimichurri are great on salmon!
Make It Your Own
- Use any seasoning rub you like for the salmon. Try my BBQ rub or buy a pre-made rub.
- Not crazy about hot honey? Try tossing the salmon with maple syrup, barbecue sauce, or hot sauce instead. The salmon nuggets are good with no sauce at all, too.
- If you prefer, make this recipe with boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of salmon. Cooking time will be slightly different (longer).
Make Ahead Ideas
This recipe is super fast and easy to make so there’s not a lot to do ahead. If you want to save a couple of minutes, prepare the spice mixture ahead of time. The salmon can be cut and refrigerated until you’re ready to cook it.
Storage & Reheating Suggestions
The salmon bites are best eaten immediately. If you have some leftover, refrigerate promptly in a covered container. It will keep for three to four days.
To reheat, heat a skillet, throw in the salmon bites and warm them up. Individual portions can be heated in the microwave.
Salmon bites with hot honey are great on a salad, from green leafy salads to grain salads. They add healthy protein and so much flavor! Add salmon bites, either right from the skillet or cold, with the hot honey or without, to this roasted cauliflower salad with arugula & sweet potato or a kale salad with farro and honey Dijon dressing.
- 12 ounces salmon filet (thawed if frozen)
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons hot honey, more as desired
- In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Remove skin from salmon filets and cut salmon into 1½ to 2-inch pieces. Pat dry with paper towel.
- Rub with 1 tablespoon olive oil and coat with spice mixture.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.
- When the pan is hot, add the salmon and cook for 2 minutes without moving it.
- Flip over and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145ºF (or your desired temperature).
- Remove to a bowl and gently toss with hot honey. Serve immediately as a main dish or appetizer. It can also be added to salads or bowls.
- Salmon is best eaten right away. Refrigerate leftover salmon promptly, covered well. It will keep for 3 to 4 days.
- If desired, omit the hot honey. Salmon can be eaten plain, or substitute maple syrup, barbecue sauce, or hot sauce.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.