Teriyaki salmon recipe (delicious & healthy!) + variations and pairing tips
Teriyaki salmon is just that, salmon prepared in teriyaki sauce. Teriyaki sauce is a delicious mix of soy sauce, sake or mirin, sugar, and ginger.
That makes it sweet and savory, but it also has that great Japanese umami flavor. When added to salmon, it makes the fish a great pair with rice, Asian vegetables, and other healthy sides.
Let’s get that fish in this delicious sauce and make this a dinner to remember!
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 How to make Salmon teriyaki
- 2 Salmon teriyaki recipe
- 3 Salmon teriyaki recipe variations
- 4 Grilled salmon teriyaki bites
- 5 Spicy salmon teriyaki
- 6 Teriyaki salmon origin
- 7 What can you serve with teriyaki salmon?
How to make Salmon teriyaki
Salmon teriyaki recipe
- 1 tbsp. oil
- 4 salmon filets with skin removed
- ½ tsp. ginger minced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/8 cup water
- ¼ cup soy sauce low sodium recommended
- 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 2-3 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 tbsp. water
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- Sesame seeds for garnish optional
- Green onions for garnish optional
- Mix ginger, soy sauce, 1/8 cup water, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar and garlic together in a medium sized bowl.
- Place half of the marinade in a small saucepan and set aside. Put the other half in a Ziploc bag with the salmon and marinate for 30 minutes.
- Use a large skillet to heat the oil. Add salmon filets so they are not overcrowding the pan. Cook two at a time if you have to.
- Cook each filet for 3-4 minutes on each side.
- In the meantime, heat the marinade you set aside in the saucepan bringing it to a simmer. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Then whisk the cornstarch mixture into the marinade and simmer until it thickens.
- Place salmon on a plate and drizzle with teriyaki sauce. Garnish with sesame seed and green onion garnish if desired.
Know that you can simply buy teriyaki sauce at the store and simply brush it on your salmon as a marinade, but let’s try to take it a step further, and making your own sauce will make it a lot healthier.
There are a wide variety of ways to prepare teriyaki salmon and there are many dishes the fish can be served in. Here are some ideas that may inspire you.
Salmon teriyaki recipe variations
You can change things up by grilling the salmon or baking it in an oven.
To bake the salmon in the oven, you will need to preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Then prepare the sauce as directed and marinate the salmon for 30 minutes.
Brush the salmon with the sauce and bake for 12 – 14 minutes. Thicker salmon will get longer bake times.
If you prefer to grill, preheat the grill to 400 degrees. Follow the usual directions by marinating the salmon in the sauce for 30 minutes and brushing more sauce on the fish before grilling.
Then grill 8 -12 minutes according to thickness.
Grilled salmon teriyaki bites
- skewers (wooden or metal)
- 1 ½ lb. fresh salmon with skin removed
- 3 tbsp. brown sugar
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup plus 2 tbsp. water divided
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- ½ tbsp. fresh ginger grated
- Dice salmon into 2” cubes. Set aside.
- Mix soy sauce, ¼ cup water, brown sugar, ginger, honey and garlic in a mixing bowl.
- Remove 1/3 cup of mixture and set aside. Add diced salmon to the marinade and let soak in the fridge for anywhere from 3-4 hours to 24 hours.
- Soak wooden skewers you are using in water 30 minutes before grilling. If you are using metal skewers, this won’t be necessary. Preheat the grill to medium high heat and thread the salmon on the skewers.
- Grill for 3 to 4 minutes and flip it once. Salmon will flake easily with a fork when done.
- While the grill is preheating, combine ¼ cup of water with the marinade you left behind in a small saucepan. Heat until it simmers.
- Then whisk 2 tbsp. water with 1 tbsp. cornstarch to form a slurry. When the sauce is thick and bubbling, remove it from the heat.
- Use a pastry brush to apply it to the salmon. Serve immediately with the side of your choice.
Spicy salmon teriyaki
- 5 tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp. hot chili paste
- 3 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 1 lb. skinless salmon filet cut into 3 x 1 1/2” strips
- 3 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 tsp. kosher salt divided
- 2 tsp. vegetable oil
- Whisk together vinegar, honey, soy sauce and chili paste in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Use 1 tsp. kosher salt to season salmon. Place on a plate and sprinkle with cornstarch. Turn to ensure the filet is coated.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
- Place salmon on a skillet and heat 2-3 minutes until the bottom is golden brown. Flip and heat the other side two minutes until golden brown.
- Pour sauce over salmon and continue cooking turning halfway through. Sauce should be thickened a bit and should be clinging to salmon. Total cook time for this step is about one minute. (Note, sauce will be bubbling when first added but will calm down).
- Serve immediately. Top with scallions and sesame seeds if desired
Teriyaki salmon origin
Teriyaki is popular in Japanese cuisine. So it may be interesting to find out that the sauce actually originated in Hawaii.
Although today it is commonly made by combining soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and ginger, it was originally made with a mixture of soy sauce, pineapple juice, and brown sugar.
It was a favorite with Japanese immigrants that lived in Hawaii. It was used as a marinade for a variety of meats and was a popular flavoring for barbecue chicken.
Although teriyaki originated in Hawaii, it is popular in Japan where teriyaki chicken and beef are almost unheard of. The sauce is more commonly used on mild fish, with salmon being an ideal choice.
Japanese chefs feel the stronger tasting fish don’t benefit from the addition of teriyaki. They think that a salt grill is a better method for letting the flavor shine through.
Read more on the fascinating history of Teriyaki 照り焼き Origins: a surprising turn from tradition
What can you serve with teriyaki salmon?
Teriyaki salmon can be served with a variety of sides.
The salmon can be placed on the side of the other items or it can lay on top of them. For instance, salmon is often served on top of a bed of rice.
If you are looking for sides to serve with teriyaki salmon, here are some suggestions.
- Rice: When it comes to sides for teriyaki salmon, any variety of rice will be a safe bet. Brown, white, fried, black, red… it will all taste great.
- Bok Choy: Bok choy is a type of Chinese cabbage. It has green leaf blades and a rounded bottom, and it forms a cluster similar to mustard greens. It is great steamed and served with rice, or try this delicious 10 minute Bok Choy in Oyster Sauce Stir Fry Recipe.
- Crispy rice: Rice is a common side for teriyaki salmon, but if you want to make things more interesting, try crispy rice instead. Crispy rice is made by heating oil in a skillet. Then mix rice and yogurt together. Place it in a layer on the skillet and top with more rice. Flip once until rice browns and sizzles.
- Coconut rice: Coconut rice is another interesting rice variation. It is made by soaking white rice in coconut milk or cooking it with coconut flakes.
- Quinoa: Quinoa is a rice-like substance. Many consider it a grain, but it is actually a seed. It has become a popular health food choice due to its high content of fiber, B vitamins, protein, and minerals.
- Simple kale salad: Any salad can be used as a side for teriyaki salmon, but kale is recommended. It belongs to the cabbage family and has a spinach-like taste. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. To make a simple kale salad, consider adding tomato, cranberries, avocado, and other preferred fruits and veggies. Serve with a vinaigrette dressing.
- Edamame beans: Edamame beans are a popular Japanese side. They are premature soybeans boiled and steamed in their pods. They may be served with salt or other condiments or they may be enjoyed as is.
- Chow Mein noodles: Chow Mein are Chinese stir-fried noodles. They are usually mixed with vegetables. Meat or tofu can be added as well.
- Lo Mein: Lo Mein is similar to Chow Mein, but it has an egg noodle base.
- Steamed vegetables: Steamed vegetables make for a light and healthy side. Carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and spinach are just some of the vegetables that will taste great steamed.
- Stir fry vegetables: Stir fry vegetables are fried in oil to provide an added taste. Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and green beans are just a few veggies that taste well stir-fried.
- Teriyaki salmon bowl: For another alternative to the recipe, start with a sushi rice base. Add veggies like pickled carrots and cucumbers. Top with salmon and sprinkle with a spicy mayo sauce. You can’t go wrong.
Now that you know all there is to know about teriyaki salmon, you can make delicious meals for your family.
Which one of these recipes sounds best to you?
Salmon is so versatile! Check out these 5 Best Teppanyaki Salmon Recipes to try out this week next!
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.