Crispy Air Fryer Salmon Bites (10-Minute Recipe)

These Air Fryer Salmon Bites strike the perfect balance between crispy, juicy, and downright delicious! Seasoned with a smoky-spicy dry rub and cooked quickly in the air fryer, they’re always a popular snack to serve at parties or a protein to top on grain bowls, salads, and tacos.

Just like my favorite crispy air fryer salmon recipe, this easy Air Fryer Salmon Bites recipe transforms bite-sized salmon nuggets into a spicy and smoky party snack or protein to top on a salad! 

To begin, the bites are coated in a well-balanced and slightly spicy salmon dry rub. Then the air fryer takes care of the rest! In less than 10 minutes, the bites are crispy and flaky with tender and juicy meat in the middle

I paired these air fried salmon bites with a creamy, slightly spicy chipotle crema. This addictive dipping sauce perfectly complements the salmon while also bringing bold flavors to the overall dish.

Did you end up with extras?

Good! Because the crema is also fantastic with shrimp, burrito bowls, hamburgers, and more!

Raw salmon cubes on plate next to bowl of dry rub.

Ingredients needed

For the salmon: 

  • Salmon – You can make salmon bites with both skinless or skin-on salmon filets. Just know that if you use skin-on salmon, you’ll have to remove the skin before cutting the filets into bite-sized pieces.
  • Olive oil spray
  • Salmon dry rub – A blend of paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin (or, try one of these cumin substitutes), cayenne, salt, and black pepper infuses the salmon with a nice balance of smoky, sweet, savory, and subtly spicy flavors. If you don’t like spicy food, this mild Salmon Dry Rub uses mustard powder instead of cayenne. 

For the chipotle crema sauce:

  • Sour cream – You can use regular, fat free, or dairy free sour cream. Or, try Greek yogurt. 
  • Mayonnaise – Again, you can use regular or fat free. 
  • Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce – Blending a chipotle pepper and a few spoonfuls of adobo sauce adds bold smoky, spicy, and tangy flavors to the crema!
  • Lime juice and zest
  • Garlic clove
  • Cumin
  • Salt

How to make salmon bites in the air fryer

Whisk the salmon dry rub ingredients together in a small bowl. 

Pat the salmon filets dry with paper towels before cutting them into 1-inch cubes. Next, toss the salmon bites in the spice mixture.

Lay the salmon pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Air fry until they’re cooked through. 

While you wait, add the chipotle crema ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Serve the crispy salmon bites with the crema on the side for dipping, and enjoy! 

Cooked salmon bites in air fryer basket.

Tips and tricks

  • For even and fast cooking, carefully slice the salmon filets into evenly sized 1-inch cubes. 
  • Cook the salmon bites in batches if needed. The pieces should be in a single layer in the air fryer basket with space in between each one so they crisp up and cook evenly.
  • You’ll know the salmon bites are done cooking when the meat flakes easily when a fork is run over them.

Variations

Finished air fryer salmon bites on plate with sesame seeds and green onions, and a spoonful of chipotle crema.

Serving suggestions

Dipping sauces are a must when serving salmon bites as a snack! Luckily, they pair well with all kinds of sauces, including these 15 Sauces for Salmon and 30+ Classic Sauces for Fish.

For parties, pair them with other snacks and sides, like crispy brussels sprouts, zucchini fries, shoestring fries, and green bean fries

Want to make this a meal? Pair the salmon bites with any of these 45 Sides for Salmon or 45+ Side Dishes for Fish. Or use them as a topping on a sushi bowl, taco bowl, poke bowl, or any salad or grain bowl you love. They’re even great for salmon tacos!

FAQs

Can you make salmon bites ahead of time?

The bites are best served straight from the air fryer because that’s when they’ll be hot and crispy. While I don’t recommend cooking them in advance, you can make the salmon dry rub and chipotle crema up to 5 days in advance. Store the dry rub at room temperature and the crema in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them. 

How long do you cook salmon bites in the air fryer?

Bite-sized salmon bites should take between 5 to 7 minutes to cook in a 400ºF air fryer.

Does this recipe work with frozen salmon?

Sure! But it’s best to thaw the fish completely in the fridge before starting. The salmon will be much easier to cut and season, and will cook evenly this way.

Chopsticks reaching for air fryer salmon bites.

Storing

Let the leftover salmon cool to room temperature, then place it in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. 

Wine pairings for salmon bites

Finished air fryer salmon bites on plate with sesame seeds and green onions, and a spoonful of chipotle crema.

More salmon recipes

More air fryer recipes

Did you try this air fryer salmon bites recipe?

If you loved these crispy air fryer salmon nuggets, I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a ⭐️star review⭐️! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

For more great Platings and Pairings recipes, be sure to follow me on Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest and Facebook.

Note: This recipe will also work with trout or steelhead. Learn more about trout vs. salmon and steelhead vs. salmon here.

Finished air fryer salmon bites on plate with sesame seeds and green onions, and a spoonful of chipotle crema.

Air Fryer Salmon Bites

These Air Fryer Salmon Bites strike the perfect balance between crispy, juicy, and downright delicious! Seasoned with a smoky-spicy dry rub and cooked quickly in the air fryer, they’re always a popular snack to serve at parties or a protein to top on grain bowls, salads, and tacos.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

Salmon Dry Rub:

  • 1 Tablespoon paprika (sweet or smoked)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried cayenne pepper

Chipotle Crema:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream (regular or fat-free)
  • 1 Tablespoons mayonnaise (regular or fat-free)
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 1/2 lime (zested and juiced)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt (to taste)

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the dry rub ingredients.
  • Pat the salmon dry with paper towels and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Sprinkle the salmon with the dry rub and coat it on all sides.
  • Preheat your air fryer to 400-degrees.
  • Spray the basket with oil and add the salmon pieces, in a single layer (you may need to work in batches).
  • Cook the salmon for 5-7 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  • Meanwhile, make the chipotle crema. Add all of the crema ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Season with salt, to taste.
  • Serve the air fryer salmon bites with crema on the side. Enjoy!

Notes

  • For even and fast cooking, carefully slice the salmon filets into evenly sized 1-inch cubes. 
  • Cook the salmon bites in batches if needed. The pieces should be in a single layer in the air fryer basket with space in between each one so they crisp up and cook evenly.
  • You’ll know the salmon bites are done cooking when the meat flakes easily when a fork is run over them.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Equipment

Nutrition

Calories: 124kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 1869mg | Potassium: 132mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1072IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 1mg

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