Spice up your weeknight dinners or meal prep with firecracker salmon! This easy recipe dresses pan fried salmon filets in the rich, fiery, and subtly sweet goodness of firecracker sauce.
Table of Contents
- Why you’ll love this firecracker salmon recipe
- What is firecracker salmon?
- Ingredients (and substitutions)
- How to make firecracker salmon
- Flavor and recipe variations
- What to serve with this dish
- Storage instructions
- Recipe tips and tricks
- Frequently asked questions
- Firecracker Salmon
- More delicious ways to enjoy salmon
Why you’ll love this firecracker salmon recipe
Like my honey garlic salmon and sweet chili salmon, this recipe begins with succulent salmon filets and ends with perfectly cooked fish coated in a sticky, flavorful sauce. It’s fancy enough for dinner parties but also simple enough to throw together on a whim!
- It elevates your everyday salmon. The star of the recipe is undoubtedly the firecracker sauce. It dresses up your standard pan seared salmon with a delightful blend of savory, spicy, and subtly sweet flavors.
- A 20-minute dinner. This restaurant-worthy skillet dinner comes together in a flash!
- It uses pantry staple ingredients. Turn to this firecracker salmon recipe when you have salmon filets to use up. All you have to do is stir the pantry staple sauce ingredients together, then drizzle it over the pan seared salmon.
- Flexible fiery flavors. Firecracker sauce has a fiery flavor that you can easily cool off or intensify. It’s up to your taste buds!
- Perfect for dinner and meal prep. This spicy salmon recipe makes for a crowd-pleasing dinner with its exciting flavors, but did you also know that it’s perfect for meal prep? Pack up the glazed filets in containers with coconut milk rice or sauteed asparagus and enjoy them throughout the week.
What is firecracker salmon?
Do you love salmon but want to add a twist to your usual recipe? Then firecracker salmon is for you. It features delicate and flaky pan seared salmon that’s taken over the top with an irresistibly sweet, savory, and spicy firecracker sauce. If you love this sauce, you’ll also enjoy firecracker chicken, firecracker shrimp, and firecracker meatballs.
Ingredients (and substitutions)
For the salmon:
- Salmon filets. I like to make this recipe with skin-on filets because the skin adds a nice crunch and extra flavor to the dish.
- Salt and pepper. To taste.
- Oil. You need oil with a relatively high smoke point, like olive oil or avocado oil, to sear the salmon.
For the firecracker sauce:
- Buffalo sauce. This gives the firecracker sauce a creamy, buttery base and its signature hot and spicy flavor.
- Brown sugar. The sweetness helps balance the heat.
- Soy sauce. Or use tamari if you’re gluten-free.
- Olive oil. A small amount of oil is needed to emulsify the sauce.
- Ginger root. Always use fresh ginger. It adds a touch of zing that can’t be beat!
- Garlic cloves. For a rich and aromatic flavor.
- Black pepper. This will intensify the warmth in the sauce.
- Paprika. For a sweet and smoky element.
How to make firecracker salmon
- Make the sauce. Stir the sauce ingredients in a bowl.
- Sear the salmon. Season the salmon filets with salt and pepper, then sear them in a hot oiled skillet on both sides.
- Add sauce, then bake. Pour the sauce over the salmon. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven, and cook until the sauce thickens.
- Garnish and serve. Serve warm with a sprinkle of fresh dill, and enjoy!
Flavor and recipe variations
Use these variation ideas to put your own spin on this firecracker salmon recipe:
- Crank up the heat. Swap the buffalo sauce for something spicier, like sriracha, harissa, hot chili paste, or chili garlic sauce. Alternatively, add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.
- Add hot peppers. To make your firecracker sauce even spicier, stir in minced hot peppers, like jalapeños, serranos, habaneros, or Thai chilies.
- Instead of sugar. You can replace the brown sugar with honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, or coconut sugar. Or use keto honey to keep the dish relatively low carb.
- Add crunch. Garnish the salmon with toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallions for a fun crunch.
- Make it creamy. Stirring a splash of coconut milk or heavy cream into the sauce towards the end of cooking will tone down the heat and give the firecracker sauce a velvety mouthfeel.
What to serve with this dish
As for the firecracker sauce, the sky’s the limit! You’re not limited to salmon, here. It also goes great with crispy, battered foods, like buffalo cauliflower, coconut shrimp, chicken strips, nuggets, boneless wings, pork chops, and meatballs.
To store. Place the leftover salmon in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
To reheat: Microwave the salmon in 10 to 15-second intervals or reheat it in a pan over medium-low heat until it’s warmed through.
Recipe tips and tricks
- Always pat dry. Remember to pat the salmon filets dry with a paper towel first. This helps the seasonings stick and will give you a flavorful seared crust.
- Baste. Occasionally spoon the sauce over the salmon as it bakes. It’s the best way to infuse the fish with a fiery flavor!
- Let it rest. Set the finished dish aside to rest for a few minutes after baking. This gives the juices in the salmon time to redistribute, making the salmon extra moist and flaky.
Frequently asked questions
Firecracker sauce is bold. You’ll experience its irresistible, well-rounded blend of sweet, savory, spicy, smoky, and pungent flavors in every bite.
Firecracker sauce has a noticeable heat but it won’t set your mouth on fire. Instead, the heat is nicely complemented by the other sweet and savory notes.
Sure! Save time by stirring the sauce together and storing it in an airtight jar in the fridge for 5 to 7 days ahead of making this recipe.
Absolutely. Place the salmon filets skin side down in an oiled baking dish, cover with foil, and bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 15 minutes. Pour the firecracker sauce into the pan during the last 5 minutes of cooking so it thickens, then serve.
- 4 salmon fillets
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons oil
- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F.
- Combine the firecracker sauce ingredients in a bowl.
- Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the salmon for 3 minutes per side.
- Pour the firecracker sauce over the salmon and place the skillet into the oven. Cook for 9 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and serve the firecracker salmon immediately.
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