Take dinner up a delicious notch with this firecracker salmon! Fresh salmon fillets are smothered in a homemade firecracker sauce using buffalo sauce, honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and garlic. It's an easy-to-make and flavorful meal for weeknights.

If you're a fan of firecracker sauce, you'll love our popular firecracker meatballs!

sweet and spicy firecracker salmon in a frying pan

If you're looking for a delicious meal that will wake up your tastebuds, look no further! This firecracker salmon is flaky, tender, and smothered in an irresistible spicy sweet sauce.

This Asian-inspired fish dish is saucy, satisfying, and much healthier than takeout. There are no hidden ingredients, and it's loaded with nourishing omega-3 fats and protein.

To make it, simply whisk together the sauce ingredients. Marinate the salmon in the sauce so it can absorb all the amazing flavors. Sear the salmon fillets for a few minutes on each side, pour the sauce overtop until it boils, and that's it! Top it with some minced chives and sesame seeds to serve.

It's a dish with a decent amount of spice that pairs well with a fluffy bed of rice and simple vegetable sides like broccoli or edamame. It's an easy weeknight meal, or portion it out into containers for envy-worthy make-ahead lunches!

What is firecracker salmon?

Firecracker salmon is really all about the incredible sauce. It's fresh salmon fillets marinated and cooked in a homemade sweet and spicy firecracker sauce.

Firecracker sauce is versatile, easy to make, and tastes delicious on everything from fish and seafood to chicken, beef, and even as a stand-alone dipping sauce.

salmon cooking in a pan

Firecracker salmon ingredients

You're likely to find most of the ingredients for the firecracker sauce in your kitchen. Here's what you need:

  • Buffalo sauce – did you know that buffalo sauce and hot sauce are not the same thing? Buffalo sauce is hot sauce enhanced with butter and other ingredients. We use Frank's red hot sauce as the classic store-bought version, but feel free to use your favorite or make your own!
  • Honey – for a little added sweetness. Many recipes use brown sugar, but we like the sticky sweet natural taste of honey.
  • Soy sauce – soy sauce adds richness, depth, and saltiness. Use gluten-free or low-sodium if needed.
  • Rice vinegar – adds acidity and brightens everything up.
  • Ginger and garlic – garlic and ginger add a big kick of flavor to the fiery sauce.

Here's what you need for the salmon fillets

  • Salmon fillets – we make this recipe using salmon with the skins removed. You can usually ask for it to be removed at the fish counter at your grocery store, but it's also simple to remove it yourself with a sharp knife.
  • Seasonings – a mix of freshly ground black pepper and mild (or spicy) paprika.
  • Avocado oil – we use avocado oil but feel free to substitute it for another neutral-flavored oil like olive oil.
  • Chives and sesame seeds – some minced chives (or green onions) and sesame seeds for serving.

How to make firecracker salmon

This firecracker salmon recipe with its incredible sauce is perfect for weeknight meals, meal prep, or anytime you're after a super tasty fish dish! Here's how we make it in a couple of easy steps:

  1. Mix the marinade ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Pat the salmon fillets dry with a paper towel and then season them with pepper and paprika.
  3. Marinate the salmon in the sauce (for at least 30 minutes), but DON'T THROW OUT the marinade afterward!
  4. Remove the salmon from the marinade, and cook them in a skillet for a few minutes on each side.
  5. Pour the marinade overtop of the cooked salmon fillets and bring the sauce to a boil. That's it! Serve the salmon over a bed of rice and garnish with some minced chives and sesame seeds. Yum!

Full recipe instructions are in the recipe card below.

A piece of Firecracker Salmon with sauce over rice

Firecracker salmon variations

Firecracker salmon is really versatile, so there's no right or wrong way to serve it! Here are some delicious variations to try:

  • Make firecracker bang bang salmon bites by chopping the salmon fillets into bite-sized pieces and serving them with our bang bang sauce.
  • For a low-carb meal, make firecracker salmon lettuce cups using butter lettuce leaves topped with avocado or julienned carrots.
  • For another low-carb option, it also tastes great with our cauliflower rice.

FAQS

Is firecracker salmon spicy?

Yes, firecracker lives up to its name and is quite fiery. It's a well-balanced sauce, so if you like a bit of heat, it's definitely not overwhelmingly spicy. To tone it down a bit, make sure to use a mild paprika.

Do I need to marinate the salmon?

Nope! If you're short on time, simply fry the salmon and pour the marinade over top at the end.

How long do leftovers keep in the refrigerator?

You can store any leftover salmon in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 3 days.

Can I use firecracker sauce in a stir-fry?

Sure! We haven't tried it but think it would taste delicious in a stir-fry.

Can I use sriracha instead of buffalo sauce?

Not in this recipe because sriracha and buffalo sauce are not the same thing. Sriracha is just a hot sauce, whereas buffalo sauce is enriched with other ingredients like butter.

What to eat with firecracker salmon

This firecracker salmon is a quick, easy, and very delicious main that's perfect for weeknights. In the pictures, we've served it over basmati rice. But it's also delicious with coconut rice, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, or rice noodles and a side of vegetables for a complete meal.

Firecracker Salmon on a plate with rice
sweet and spicy firecracker salmon in a frying pan

Firecracker Salmon

Take dinner up a delicious notch with this firecracker salmon! Fresh salmon fillets are smothered in a homemade firecracker sauce using buffalo sauce, honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and garlic. It's an easy to make and flavorful meal for weeknights.

If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!

5 stars (13 ratings)
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Ingredients

Firecracker Sauce

  • ½ cup buffalo sauce
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons EACH: grated ginger and minced garlic

The Salmon

  • 4 servings salmon, skin removed
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: black pepper and mild or spicy paprika
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • Minced chives and sesame seeds, to serve

Instructions 

  • In a shallow bowl big enough to fit the salmon, mix the buffalo sauce, honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and garlic.
    ½ cup buffalo sauce, ½ cup honey, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons EACH: grated ginger and minced garlic
    image for recipe instruction
  • Dry the salmon with paper towels and then sprinkle both sides evenly with pepper and paprika.
    4 servings salmon, 1 teaspoon EACH: black pepper and mild or spicy paprika
    image for recipe instruction
  • Put the salmon into the bowl with the sauce and mix it around so that it is covered. Put the bowl into the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes – see notes.
    image for recipe instruction
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Remove the salmon from the marinade (save the marinade!) and add the salmon to the pan. Cook for 3 minutes then carefully flip the salmon over and cook for another 3 minutes.
    1 tablespoon avocado oil
    image for recipe instruction
  • Pour the reserved marinade over the salmon and bring it to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat then serve the salmon with minced chives and sesame seeds over top.
    Minced chives and sesame seeds
    image for recipe instruction

Notes

If you're short on time you can skip marinating the salmon. Simply sear it and then add the sauce to the pan. 
Serving: 1= ¼ of the recipe, Calories: 409kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 35g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 94mg, Sodium: 1285mg, Potassium: 889mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 35g, Vitamin A: 68IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 28mg, Iron: 2mg
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