These chunks of salmon are tossed in a lightly spiced salt and pepper seasoning and quickly pan fried for a crispy finish

salt and pepper salmon bites on a large plate

I’m a huge fan of Chinese food but also extremely picky about it when to comes to authenticity. Sometimes I feel like most Chinese food in the U.S. has been modified to fit a more western taste but there are places that can bang out some really flavorful dishes!

If you’ve never tasted Sichuan spiced Chinese food, I highly recommend you find your closest restaurant and make a reservation quick! It’s a spicy bold flavor but not like the same heat you’d find in some strong hot sauce. Sichuan cooking mostly includes the Sichuan peppercorn, garlic and chili flakes and can be very pungent and flavorful. Salt and pepper recipes have a light coating of salt, black pepper (Sichuan peppercorns if you can find them) and cornstarch which help give a crispy texture. There’s so many types of food that you can “salt and pepper”. Usually I’ll see shrimp and maybe sometimes squid but you can essentially toss any protein in the salt and pepper spice mixture and I can almost guarantee it’ll taste amazing!

how to make salt and pepper salmon

  1. Prepare the salmon

    Season the salmon and transfer to a plate ready for the hot oil.

  2. Cooking the salmon

    Make sure the oil is very hot before placing the salmon bites into it and don’t ave the salmon until it’s time to flip it over. You need to get that seared crust on the surface.

  3. After the salmon is cooked

    Transfer to a paper towel to absorb any excess oil, garnish with green onion and serve.

salt and pepper salmon seasoned on a plate

FAQ’s about cooking salmon

What’s usually in the salt and pepper spice mixture?

Obviously salt and pepper but try to use a salt that has a texture somewhere between fine and coarse grain and kosher. Regular table salt won’t work. If you can’t source crushed Sichuan peppercorns, a coarse black pepper will work. Cornstarch is added to help the spices stick to the salmon and also to create a light crunchy texture, sort of like a really thin tempura. The recipe would be  fantastic just like this but I added one more spice to my mixture because it’s a big favorite of mine and I really want you to try it! It’s Chinese five spice and very hard to explain what it smells and tastes like. If I had to try I’d say it was sort of a warm spice so think cinnamon, cloves and anise. It completely transfers food and can be found at most regular grocery or semi-specialized stores.

Do I have to deep fry the salmon?

No, you just need a shallow amount of oil in the pan. I like to use peanut oil as it has to be quite hot. You’ll also want make sure to use a good non stick pan or things will get messy. I cut my salmon into chunks but you could also season a whole filets like this and serve them with brown or white rice. The salmon only take a few minutes to cook as long as you cut them on the thinner side and not chunks or cubes which would take longer.
Once your salt and pepper salmon bites are cooked, a simple garnish of chopped green onion and red pepper flakes are all they need. Feel free to add a drop of chili oil if you really like it spicy. I think you’ll love this recipe and don’t forget you could also switch the salmon for shrimp or scallops. The flavor is insanely good!

What is the best salmon to use?

Any salmon will work but if you prefer the most flavorful, Alaskan Copper River wild salmon is best. It’s a little more expensive but worth it.

salt and pepper salmon bites on a plate with a fork

more salmon recipes

Salt and Pepper Salmon Bites

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 253kcal
Author: foodnessgracious
Delicious chunks of fresh salmon tossed in a fragrant salt and pepper five spice and pan fried for a crispy finish! This is such an addictive flavor! Try using shrimp or scallops too. 
Print Recipe


  • 1/2 pound skinless salmon filet
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp five spice
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • red pepper flakes


  • Slice the salmon into strips about an inch thick.
  • In a bowl combine the pepper, salt, five spice and cornstarch.
  • Add the salmon pieces and toss well making sure the salmon is well coated.
  • In a medium sized pan stick pan heat the oil until hot.
  • Gently place the salmon into the hot oil and cook for about 2 minutes. Turn the salmon pieces over and repeat with the other side until salmon is fully cooked.
  • Transfer the salmon to a pepper town to absorb any excess oil.
  • Serve with rice and garnish with chopped green onions and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.


Serving: 4oz | Calories: 253kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 1163mg | Potassium: 28mg | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.7mg