30-Minute Meals/ Air Fryer/ Asian Recipes/ Seafood

Air Fryer Garlic Sesame Salmon

This is the very best Air Fryer Garlic Sesame Salmon. It’s made with fresh salmon cut into fillets and coated in a delicious and tasty Asian garlic sesame honey soy sauce that’s just heavenly. For perfectly flaky and tender baked salmon fish made in the air fryer, try this 8 minute recipe. It’s sure to become a recipe staple in your house.

For more air fryer recipes, try these Air Fryer Steak Bites next. They are juicy, tender, and a reader favorite for a reason. It’s another quick and easy air fryer recipe to make the family for dinner along with these Air Fryer Chicken Bites tossed in a scrumptious seasoning blend.

A salmon fillet cooked in the air fryer for 8 minutes and glazed in a asian garlic sesame honey soy sauce. A fork sliced into the center shows the flaky center of the salmon fish.

Of all the things to cook, I find that fish can be finicky, that’s why I love this Air Fryer Garlic Sesame Salmon recipe. Using the air fryer at home on the salmon will give it a tender flaky inside with seared edges. This fish recipe is literally a set it and forget it. Simply put the salmon in the air fryer and make the sauce. That’s it. Who needs to order takeout at a restaurant when you can make restaurant quality fish in the comfort of your own home in just minutes?

Whether it’s a busy night with the kids or you’re just getting home from work, this salmon along with a side of broccoli, green beans, or rice can be made in less than 15 minutes. It’s honestly one of the easiest fish recipes to prepare and it has a lot of health benefits, too.

Salmon fillets in an air fryer with oil.

How to Make Air Fryer Salmon

  1. Preheat air fryer to 400°F.
  2. Cut salmon into same size pieces.
  3. Coat well in oil.
  4. Place fish in air fryer.
  5. Air fry for 8 minutes or until the salmon is opaque and flaky when pulled apart with a fork.
  6. Whisk soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and garlic.
  7. Make a slurry. Mix cornstarch and cold water together.
  8. Bring sauce and slurry to a boil.
  9. Simmer sauce until thickened and reduced.
  10. Glaze salmon in honey sesame sauce.
  11. Serve with lemon slices.

Salmon Tips

  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds a lot of flavor and pairs wonderfully with salmon.
  • Fresh salmon shouldn’t have any kind of strong fishy smell.
  • Avoid fresh salmon that has any bruising or brown spots.
  • If buying frozen salmon, buy it in an airtight freezer bag.
  • Don’t buy fish that has any added color listed in the ingredients.
An air fried salmon fillet being glazed in a sticky garlic sesame honey soy sauce coating on a plate. Topped with lemon pepper, and dill.

Air Fryer Salmon Ingredients

Salmon: Do a little research to see if there is a fish market nearby, you may be surprised. If not, buy your fish behind the counter at the grocery store on ice in the fish department. Get a piece of fish that has uniform thickness, looks moist, and is of a nice orange-red color. Pick salmon that has nice marbling and that the flesh springs back after it’s pressed lightly on. Can’t find good quality fresh salmon? Frozen salmon is fine, especially if it states its flash-frozen right after it’s caught.

Oil: Use any kind of oil. From vegetable oil, canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, avocado oil, or grapeseed oil. Rubbing the fish with oil will prevent the fish from drying out as well as allow any seasoning to stick nicely to it.

Glaze: I’m using a classic Asian coating that I love. I make it with soy sauce, honey, lots of fresh garlic, a little rice vinegar, and sesame oil, and red pepper flakes for some spicy heat. The sauce should get boiled in a thickening agent like cornstarch. Simply make a slurry with water and add it to the saucepan. Bring it to a boil and allow the glazed sauce to thicken and reduce. Doing this step will make the coating thicker which will stick nicely to the air fryer baked fish.

Salmon: Wild-Caught VS. Farmed Raised

Salmon is one of the healthiest fish to eat. There are many different genera of salmon. This large fatty protein laden fish is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids along with antioxidants, and vitamin D. There is the farm raised or wild caught salmon as a well as salmon harvested in the wild from all over the world. Scottish salmon is chosen as the favorite time and time again due to the frigid waters that produce a higher fat content to give it a buttery texture with a more mild flavor.

What’s the difference between Norwegian, Atlantic, and Scottish salmon? It all comes down to different regions of farming salmon, flavor, texture, and taste. Norway is the largest producer of farmed Atlantic salmon. So what’s the difference between wild salmon and farmed salmon? Wild salmon are raised in there natural environment and eat natural organisms as a diet. Farmed salmon are given processed, high fat, high protein diets that make them larger. They have a completely different diet and environment than wild salmon. Overall, aim for wild salmon. Wild salmon has lower levels of containments and is considered safer overall. Atlantic salmon is typically farmed. Pacific salmon species are primarily wild-caught and healthier overall.

A salmon fillet glazed in garlic sesame honey soy sauce with a fork piercing the fish to show its flaky center. Second image is a close up of the sauce brushed on the fish

Preparing Salmon

When buying salmon at a fish market whole, as in one cut, it will need to be cut into fillets. The hard work has already been done. The scales of the fish have been removed. Next, you’ll want to cut them into fillets to cook or bake. Simply cut any ends off that dramatically reduce in size. Then, using a sharp knife, cut them into equal portions, removing any edges at the top of bottom that are smaller.

If you’d like, the deep gray skin can be removed, too. However, it is perfectly edible! To remove the skin, simply place the palm of your hand on top of the pink salmon. Make sure it’s facing up and the gray is at the bottom. Next, run a sharp knife along the bottom to remove the skin.

How do I defrost salmon? The quickest way to defrost salmon is to place it in it’s sealed bag in a bowl of cold water. The water should be replaced every 30 minutes until the salmon is no longer frozen. Another option to defrost salmon is to move it from the freezer to the refrigerator and simply let it thaw overnight. Of course, this process is a little longer, but if you’re prepared ahead and have time, this is easiest route to go.

Recipes to Pair with Salmon

Should I buy the fish in fillets or can I buy it whole?

It doesn’t matter. I buy mine whole at a fish market nearby. Then, I simply cut them into equal portion fillets. I like this option because I know it’s coming from the same fish and not a different one.

Does the skin get removed?

It depends how you like your salmon. If you’re new to eating salmon, it can stay on or off. The tough scales are typically removed and the remaining gray skin is totally edible. Salmon skin is fairly easy to remove when comparing it to many other types of fish. Use a sharp knife and cut along the bottom of the flesh to remove it

Should I glaze the fish throughout air fryer baking it?

You can if you want. Sometimes, if the sauce is done early, I will baste the meat with some sauce toward the end of cooking. Then, brush more sauce on to finish before serving.

Can I use frozen salmon?

Yes. Make sure the salmon is defrosted before cooking it in the air fryer. For instructions on how to defrost salmon, read the section “preparing salmon” in this recipe post.

Air Fryer Garlic Sesame Salmon

This is the very best Air Fryer Garlic Sesame Salmon. It's made with fresh salmon cut into fillets and coated in a delicious and tasty Asian garlic sesame honey soy sauce that's just heavenly. For perfectly seasoned and tender baked salmon fish made in the air fryer, try this 8 minute recipe. It's sure to become a recipe staple in your house.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Asian, Chinese
Keyword: air fryer garlic sesame salmon, air fryer salmon
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 451kcal

Equipment

  • Air fryer

Ingredients

  • 2 lb fresh salmon (cut into 4-5 fillets)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • tbsp soy sauce
  • cup honey
  • tsp rice vinegar
  • ¼ tsp sesame oiil
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • tsp cornstarch
  • tsp cold water
  • ¼ tsp lemon pepper
  • 1 tsp parsley (optional)

Instructions

  • Cut salmon into 4-5 even size fillets. The skin can stay on otherwise to remove it, run a sharp knife along the skin; discard.
  • Preheat air fryer to 400°F for 5 minutes.
  • Oil salmon well on both sides with 1 tablespoon oil of choice.
  • Once preheated, even spread salmon fillets in air fryer basket.
  • Bake at 400°F for 8 minutes.
  • Mix soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil, minced garlic, cornstarch and water in bowl.
  • Heat in small saucepan over medium heat until reduced and thickened.
  • Brush sauce on top of salmon.
  • Sprinkle with lemon pepper and parsley.

Nutrition

Calories:451kcal | Carbohydrates:25g | Protein:46g | Fat:18g | Saturated Fat:2g | Polyunsaturated Fat:7g | Monounsaturated Fat:7g | Trans Fat:1g | Cholesterol:125mg | Sodium:462mg | Potassium:1170mg | Fiber:1g | Sugar:23g | Vitamin A:91IU | Vitamin C:1mg | Calcium:36mg | Iron:2mg

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