Meatless Monday Challenge

5-Ingredient Crispy Bang Bang Salmon

on April 22, 2024
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Inspired by Bonefish bang bang shrimp, this crispy, bite-sized bang bang salmon requires just 5 ingredients to bring bold flavor, beautifully balanced between savory, sweet, and spicy.
Drizzling extra bang bang sauce over crispy salmon bites.

Re-create an iconic Bonefish Grill favorite using salmon instead of shrimp with just 5 ingredients! This Bang Bang Salmon recipe consists of a crispy panko-crusted salmon bites flavored with a creamy sweet and spicy sauce.

Plus, this 5-ingredient salmon recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes and brings tons of flavor. The crispy bite-sized salmon with delicious sauce works great as app or with your fave sides for a drool-worthy main course.

Coconut rice with asparagus and bang bang salmon.

Bang Bang Salmon Ingredients & Substitutions


Here’s everything you need:

  • Skinless salmon. I used fresh salmon, but you can use frozen, too! If you are using frozen salmon, make sure to allow it to defrost first. Thaw by transferring from the freezer to the refrigerator at least 24 hours beforehand or add it to a bag and submerge the bag in room temperature water for about 45 minutes.
  • Panko. You can use another type of breadcrumb in a pinch, but while testing, I found that Panko gave the exterior a noticeably crunchier texture when compared to other types of breadcrumbs. You can even make your own Panko!
  • Mayonnaise. You can use Greek Yogurt, but it adds a tangy taste that differs from the original Bang Bang shrimp you know and love.
  • Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. I used Kikkoman brand.
  • Sriracha. Or similar.
Ingredients for Bang Bang salmon - Thai sweet chili sauce, panko, salmon, mayonnaise, Sriracha.

Sustainable Salmon

Salmon farming has reputation for posing risks to our environment, and for good reason.

Firstly, antibiotics used in salmon farms can leach into the surrounding waters and pollute them. Additionally, overfishing of other wild fish to meet the demand to feed the farmed salmon is depleting other fish species.

However, wild-caught salmon poses it’s own set of risks, including overfishing and bycatch. Plus, there are often issues with availability and access to wild caught salmon.

So, how can we source salmon sustainably?

In the U.S., we have two great choices: sustainably farmed salmon, or wild-caught Alaskan salmon.

Green tip: Look for Marine Stewardship Council and Friend of the Sea labels on your fish to ensure they were harvested sustainably.

Salmon with Bang Bang Sauce Tips and Tricks


Toast the Panko

Panko makes for a delicious crust for fish (see also: this Panko-crusted Cod). Pre-toasting your Panko is the best way to get a crispy breading for salmon.

Cubed salmon cooks quickly, faster than the amount of time it takes for the Panko to get golden-brown. Overcooked salmon is very dry, so we don’t want to leave it in the oven too long.

This means, the best way to get that beautiful golden brown on your bang bang salmon bites is to toast it before coating your salmon in it.

Simply preheat your oven to 400°F and spread your Panko out on a baking sheet. Then, toast the Panko on the top rack of the oven for 5-7 minutes until golden brown.

I tested this recipe both with pre-toasting and without pre-toasting the Panko. There is a significant difference in texture, making the pre-toasting worth it to me.

That being said, if you’re feeling a little lazy or are strapped for time, you can skip the pre-toast and still have a relatively crispy, satisfying meal.

Panko toasted to golden-brown in the oven.

How to Prep Salmon for Crunchy Bite-Sized Pieces

Before you start coating and breading the salmon, it’s best to remove excess moisture to achieve an enjoyable texture on your salmon.

Place your salmon filets skin-side down and use a paper towel to lightly press down from the top to lightly pat them dry. Drying your fish is the easiest way to avoid a mushy texture. I use this same technique in my salmon tacos as well.

Green tip: Paper products contribute to deforestation. Consider these bamboo paper towels! Bamboo naturally regenerates every few months, whereas trees cannot regrow once harvested.

I like to make this recipe with fresh fish, but you can also easily use frozen salmon!

Just make sure to allow the salmon to thaw overnight in the refrigerator or, for a quicker defrosting technique, add it to a plastic or reusable storage bag and submerge the bag in room temperature water for about 45 minutes to defrost.

I typically buy skinless salmon for this recipe, but you can also remove the skin from your salmon at home! For detailed directions, check out this post on how to remove skin from salmon.

Patting salmon dry with a paper towel to reduce excess moisture and get the best texture when breaded and baked.
Slicing skinless salmon into little bite-sized cubes.

How to Make 3-Ingredient Bang Bang Sauce

Once your salmon is prepped, whip up your quick and easy bang bang sauce.

Use a fork or whisk to mix together the mayonnaise, Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, and sriracha. I find that 1 tablespoon of sriracha gives the sauce the perfect balance of salty, spicy, and sweet.

However, if you’re sensitive to spice, I suggest starting with a little less. You can always add more! On the flip side, if you LOVE spicy salmon, you can add as much sriracha as you want to tailor the sauce to your taste.

3-ingredient bang bang sauce made from mayonnaise, Thai Sweet Chili sauce, and Sriracha.

How to Coat Salmon in Breading

We want to coat the salmon in the crunchy Panko to get that iconic crispy exterior you get in the original bang bang shrimp. So, we need a binder to hold the breading onto the salmon.

A common binder in something breaded like this is an egg wash, but I really wanted to keep this recipe super simple. So, i thought why not use the bang bang sauce as both the binder AND the finishing sauce?

This means less ingredients and less time required, plus more of that delicious bang bang flavor infused into the salmon!

Toss the prepped salmon in about ¼ cup of the sauce you made (save the rest for later!!), ensuring each piece is completely coated in the sauce.

Then, add the toasted Panko to the bowl with the bang bang sauced-up salmon and toss again to form the crust.

Tossing raw salmon in bang bang sauce to act as a binder between salmon and toasted Panko.
Tossing cubed salmon coated in bang bang sauce in toasted Panko.

How to Get the Crispiest Panko-Crusted Salmon

Next, pour the crusted salmon onto your baking sheet—you can just use the same one you toasted the Panko on!

Bake on the top rack at 400°F for 8-10 minutes. The internal temperature of the salmon should reach 145°F.

If you would like to use your convection oven, set it to 375°F. If you would like to use an air fryer, set it to 375°F and air fry for 4-6 minutes.

Though this is optional, if you truly want to the most even crunch on the salmon, flip it halfway through.

Cubed salmon coated in sweet and spicy sauce and toasted Panko.

How to Serve Salmon with Bang Bang Sauce

Once your salmon is done baking, top it with a little bit of the extra bang bang sauce. Note: the longer the salmon sits in the sauce, the more likely it is to lose some of its crunch. Always add your sauce just before serving.

This bang bang salmon can be served on its own as an appetizer, but also makes a GREAT centerpiece for your main meal.

Here are some of my favorite things to serve this crispy salmon with:

Two bowls of rice, asparagus, and bang bang salmon, smothered in extra bang bang sauce.

How to Properly Store and Reheat Bang Bang Salmon

Leftover bang bang salmon bites will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight container. They can be reheated in several ways, including the oven, air-fryer, or toaster oven!

Preheat the oven (or air fryer, or toaster oven!) to 450°F and place the leftover salmon on a baking sheet. If you have a convection setting on your oven, it’s a great opportunity to use it here!

Reheat on the top rack for 4-5 minutes until heated all the way through. The internal temperature of the salmon should ideally reach 145°F.

You can also freeze leftover bang bang salmon bites for up to 3 months. It’s best to thaw them completely before reheating them by using one of the options outlined above.

Reheating them in the oven directly from the freezer is possible but will likely make them dry. You can thaw them by allowing them to sit in the fridge overnight, or by adding them to a sealed bag and allowing it to sit in tepid water for about 30-45 minutes.

Green tip: Did you know that of the billions of pounds of food wasted annually, it is estimated that 50% of it happens in our homes? Properly storing and enjoying leftovers is a great way to reduce your individual contribution to food waste.

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Why this is the BEST Recipe for Bang Bang Salmon


  • It’s simple. There is no need to overcomplicate things to get tons of flavor. You only need 3 ingredients to make a successful Bang Bang sauce.
  • They’re crispy. The pre-toast method for the panko allows you to get a crispy exterior in the oven, without any frying.
  • The flavor! The balanced sweet, savory, and spicy bang bang sauce bursts on your tastebuds!

If you’re loving this Bang Bang Salmon and want more salmon dishes inspired by Asian flavors, check out these Teriyaki Salmon Noodles and Salmon Coconut Curry.

Drizzling extra bang bang sauce over crispy salmon bites.

5-Ingredient Crispy Bang Bang Salmon

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Marley Goldin
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Inspired by Bonefish bang bang shrimp, this crispy, bite-sized bang bang salmon requires just 5 ingredients to bring bold flavor, beautifully balanced between savory, sweet, and spicy.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 servings

Equipment

Ingredients
 
 

  • ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 10 ounces skinless salmon
  • cup mayonnaise (or Greek Yogurt)
  • 3 tablespoons Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha (or more or less to taste)
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Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  • Spread the Panko out on a baking sheet and toast on the top rack of the oven for 2-4 minutes until golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, prep your salmon. Pat dry your salmon with a paper towel (consider these bamboo paper towels for a more sustainable option!) and slice it into bite-sized cubes, about 1 cubic inch in size.
  • Make your bang bang sauce by whisking together the mayonnaise, Thai sweet chili sauce, and sriracha. Separate out ¼ cup of the sauce to use now and save the rest for later.
  • To a large mixing bowl, add the prepped salmon and ¼ cup of the homemade bang bang sauce and toss to coat. The sauce will act as a binder for the crust.
  • Then, add the toasted Panko to the bowl and toss again to coat the salmon in the breadcrumbs to form a crust.
  • Turn your salmon bites out onto your baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 145°F. Optional: flip the salmon halfway through for the most even crunch.
  • Add a little extra bang bang sauce on top just before serving. Enjoy!

Pro Tips

  • I find that 1 tablespoon of sriracha gives the sauce the perfect balance of salty, spicy, and sweet. However, if you’re sensitive to spice, start with a little less. You can always add more! 
  • Pre-toasting the Panko is the best way to get the outer crust of the salmon crunchy! However, if you’re feeling a little lazy or are pressed for time, you can skip this step and still get a delicious result. 
  • If you want to use a convection oven, set your oven to 375°F
  • If you want to use an air fryer, set the air fryer to 375°F. Toast the Panko for about 7 minutes or until golden brown, and bake the nuggets for 4-6 minutes. 
  • For more recipe inspiration for salmon, check out this list of Simple Salmon Recipes

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Course Appetizers, Dinner
Cuisine American, Asian
Keyword 30 Minutes or Less, 5 Ingredients or Less, Bang Bang Salmon, Pescatarian, Salmon, Salmon Dinner, Salmon Nuggets, Salmon Recipes
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2 thoughts on “5-Ingredient Crispy Bang Bang Salmon”

    1. Hi Jenny!! I’m so glad you enjoyed! I was actually on the fence about whether or not the recipe yielded enough sauce. Based on your comment I went back and reworked it and updated the amount of sauce in the recipe! If you do try it again, please do let me know if you’re happier with the new sauce:salmon ratio! As always, thank you so much for your feedback! It really helps so much!

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