3 Ingredients Salmon Nuggets

salmon nuggets packed in lunchboxes
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You only need three ingredients to make these salmon nuggets. This recipe is super flexible, and it’s good for picky eaters who have yet to become fans of salmon. (Munchkin thought these were chicken nuggets at first.) Nowadays, my kids love salmon, and my go-to salmon recipe is this Easy Panko Crusted Salmon. It’s easier to crust the whole salmon fillet compared to coating cubed salmons individually in crumbs. However, there are still upsides to making nuggets. You can easily top them on salads or pack them in lunches. Besides, these nuggets taste great at room temperature too!

salmon nuggets after baked

(Optional) Brine salmon cubes in saltwater

This step is optional. Since we are coating salmon cubes on all sides with ranch, mayo, or yogurt, salmon is well protected and stay moist while baking. However, soaking in saltwater gets salmon nicely seasoned throughout the whole cut. And the extra insurance for flaky salmon is a step worth taking in my book. To brine salmon, dissolve 1/4 cup of salt in 2 cups of water. Add the cubed salmon and soak for 10 minutes. Drain the water and pat dry salmon cubes with paper towels.

Coat with ranch, mayo, or yogurt

You can choose either ranch dressing, mayo, or full-fat yogurt to coat the salmon nuggets. My favorite is mayonnaise in terms of flavor, but since I use mayo in my Easy Panko Crusted Salmon recipe, I like to switch it up to ranch when making these nuggets. You want the salmon cubes to be well coated but not dripping in sauce. Getting the crumbs to stick is harder when you have too much wet sauce.

salmon nugget cut open

Make them crispy.

You can choose between corn flakes crumbs, bread crumbs, or panko bread crumbs. I love the crunchiness of corn flakes crumbs here! When using panko, mix the panko with melted butter before coating the salmon nuggets. Butter will help panko get nicely golden brown in the oven quickly. Without butter, you’ll mostly end up with very white/raw panko when salmon is cooked through. And we do not want to overcook salmon; Overcooking will lead to dry unappetizing salmon.

When coating the crumbs, I like to use one hand to dip salmon cubes into the wet sauce and then use the other dry hand to roll over on crumbs. (Watch this short video.) Once wet ingredients are all over the crumbs, they clump together and won’t stick to the salmon. So it’s best to keep one hand dry for the rolling job.

5 from 6 votes
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3 Ingredients Salmon Nuggets

This recipe is only 3 ingredients and very flexible.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings 4
Author whiteblankspace

Ingredients

  • 1 lb salmon fillets
  • 1/3 cup ranch dressing/ mayonnaise/or full-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup corn flakes crumbs/bread crumbs/or panko

Instructions

  1. Position rack in the middle and preheat oven to 400F. Line a parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  2. Cut salmon fillets into bite-sized cubes.
  3. Place cubed salmon fillet in a bowl. Pour ranch dressing/mayonnaise/or full-fat yogurt into the bowl and mix until salmon cubes are well coated.
  4. Spread corn flakes crumbs/bread crumbs/or panko on a plate. Coat salmon cubes with crumbs by rolling them on the crumbs one at a time. Place salmon cubes on the baking sheet with some space between them.
  5. Bake for 12~13 minutes until the salmon is cooked through.

Recipe Notes

  • For extra juicy salmon, you can brine the cubed salmon in salt water (1/4 cup salt dissolved into 2 cups of water) for 10 minutes. Pat dry salmon with paper towels and proceed to step 3.
  • If using panko, mix panko with 1 tbsp of melted butter before coating on the salmon cubes. This will get panko golden brown while baking.

Let’s Test Out This Recipe

I am happy to have an eager recipe tester, Kalya, on board, who tried out this recipe and shared her feedback. Kayla is a rookie home cook, understandably, still attending high school. I’m excited to have Kalya’s feedback, as I’m sure some of the readers here are also just learning to cook. I hope you find this section helpful and relatable.

photos taken by recipe tester
photos by Kayla

Kayla: “This easy 3-ingredient Salmon Nugget recipe is super convenient and makes a nice treat for any meal of the day. I have to say, this is one of the best ways to cook salmon because you could enjoy this with salad, rice, and perhaps even pasta! Because there are only three ingredients, you can ensure that these salmon nuggets are healthier than other recipes. 

Because I was using regular Panko, I ended up using the trick of mixing unsalted butter into the Panko before I coated the salmon. This ended up working really well as seen in the crispy, brown color. When I used Panko before, I wasn’t aware that you could add butter to it before cooking. However, now that I added the butter, this is probably my first successful recipe that I have made using Panko. I used 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter and I think that was a sufficient amount. It coated all the pieces while not being too overwhelming. Adding butter to the Panko if you don’t intend on baking it beforehand, was a good tip for this recipe and beyond!

I bought one big piece of salmon and then cut it into cubes from there. Although the cubes weren’t perfect, it was a good alternative. This was, probably, the second time I ever used such a large knife so I was clueless as to how to cut a salmon, but soon enough I got the hang of it. I also added the bread crumbs in a bowl, which was actually really helpful in covering all sides of the salmon. If you’re not up for using your hands and gloves to mix in the salmon and mayo, I would recommend using a spoon. When I made this recipe, I used a fork, which ripped some of the salmon cubes I worked really hard to cut… :’( 

Because I’m not the biggest fan of mayo, I was pleasantly surprised that I couldn’t taste it in this recipe. So for me, it was a win-win situation. The mayo helped stick the bread crumbs to the salmon and the flavor wasn’t strong when cooked!

The crunch was amazing, especially with the bread crumbs, which were light brown and crispy. Although you could eat it by itself or pack it for lunch, I ate it with rice, furikake, and sesame oil on top. I can definitely see myself making this food combo again in the near future. This is also an easy recipe to replicate. All you have to do is cut up the salmon, add mayo and Panko, and bake it in the oven. Et voila! You have your baked salmon all ready to go. As I am currently munching on these salmon nuggets as I write this, I really hope that other people can taste the same thing I am tasting at this moment!”

14 Responses

  1. 5 stars
    I usually can’t get my fish to cook right, but this recipe was perfect – not dry at all and cooked evenly! My 3 year old loved the nuggets and my husband and I couldn’t stop eating them! I’m bookmarking this page!

    1. I’m so glad your family found a way to enjoy fish. Thank you for leaving a comment. ❤️

  2. 5 stars
    So easy and so delicious! I was skeptical going in that they would turn out as good as advertised, but they did! I used yogurt and did a mix of Italian bread crumbs and panko. Did my picky eaters try them on this first attempt? No. But I’m going to put these on our weekly rotation and guessing they will within a month. (I will try to remember to report back!) Thanks for the recipe!

    1. I’m so happy to hear this, and thanks for taking your time to comment. That’s a great idea to mix Italian bread crumbs and Panko!
      Wonder if a bit of salt would make your little ones more excited.

  3. 5 stars
    I have tried this recipe a few times and it has always turned out great. I’m surprised to see my picky eater eating pieces after pieces. Normally he’d only eat salmon patties that I blend with mashed potatoes. Thanks for sharing the recipe Heejee! My son is finally eating real fish!

    Then there was a day when I planned to make these salmon nuggets again for my son’s school lunchbox but unfortunately my groceries didn’t arrive on time. So swapped it with chicken strips. I followed all the steps – brined the chicken, coated with mayo and cornflakes, except I baked it for only 10 minutes – 5 mins on each side. They came out soft and not dry and very delicious!

    1. Wow this is amazing Rachel! I’m so happy to hear that your picky eater enjoys these salmon nuggets. Also, it’s super helpful that you shared the details of how you cooked the chicken. I’ll have to try that one day.

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