Pan Seared Salmon with Sweet and Sour Sauce

03.29.2017

You can’t go wrong with this simple island-style Pan Seared Salmon with Homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce! It’s quick and easy and perfectly delicious! Serve this sweet salmon dish with rice and a side of sauteed peppers, onions and fresh pineapple, and you’ve got a meal people won’t forget.

Salmon covered with Sweet and Sour Sauce

Pan Seared Salmon with Sweet and Sour Sauce

I’m loving skillet salmon lately, it has the perfect combination of sweet and sour flavor. And that crispy crust you get on the exterior of the salmon is just dreamy, not to mention it’s one of the quickest ways to cook salmon.

I actually made this sweet and sour salmon last week and I’m making it again tonight for dinner because we all loved it so much! Winner winner salmon dinner.

I love how easy it is, and don’t even get me started on that homemade sweet and sour sauce! It has the perfect balance of sweet and tart, it’s the perfect consistency and it highlights the salmon perfectly.

Bonus: you can also use this sweet and sour sauce recipe for grilled chicken or coated and fried chicken pieces. If you really love sauce and you want more for veggies and rice, I’d recommend doubling the recipe.

It just snowed outside, for like the 50th time this winter (okay maybe 20th, I tend to exaggerate sometimes), so instead of dreading the cold I’m just sitting inside in the warmth and eating this island-inspired salmon and pretending I’m somewhere tropical, and then I’ll finish it off with some hot cocoa.

Measuring Glass filled with homemade Sweet and Sour Sauce

Sweet and Sour Salmon Ingredients

For the pan seared salmon, you’ll need:

  • Skinless salmon fillets
  • Vegetable oil
  • Green onions or cilantro
  • Sesame seeds
  • Salt

And the homemade sweet and sour sauce ingredients you’ll need are:

  • Cornstarch
  • Soy sauce
  • Pineapple juice
  • Honey
  • Light brown sugar
  • Rice vinegar
  • Ketchup
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Garlic
  • Fresh ginger

Adding sweet and sour sauce to salmon fillets

How to Make Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • In a bowl, whisk together cornstarch and soy sauce (the cornstarch is what will thicken up the sauce).
  • Mix in soy sauce, pineapple juice, honey and brown sugar.
  • Also mix in rice vinegar, ketchup and red pepper flakes.
  • Then heat a little oil in a skillet and lightly saute garlic and ginger.
  • Pour in the sauce mixture and let it thicken up and know you’ve got an incredibly delicious homemade sweet and sour sauce.

How to Pan Sear Salmon

  • Let salmon rest on counter for 10 minutes to come to room temperature.
  • Dab both sides of the salmon dry with paper towels, then season with salt.
  • Heat oil in heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil is shimmering, cook salmon on one side for about 4 minutes, then flip and cook the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Plate salmon and spoon sweet and sour sauce over top, then garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

sweet salmon recipe cooked on skillet

Can I Make the Sweet and Sour Sauce in Advance?

Yes, the homemade sweet and sour sauce will keep in the fridge for up to a week, so you can prep it ahead of time and use it on other dishes as well!

What Should I Serve with Pan Seared Salmon?

I like serving this sweet and sour salmon with white rice and sautéed vegetables. You could also add steamed broccoli on the side, or serve atop cauliflower rice. This pan seared salmon is really versatile!

sweet salmon on a bed of rice

Tips for the Best Skillet Salmon with Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • If you don’t want to buy one of those really big cans of pineapple juice, then just buy the mini cans or use the juice from a can of chunk pineapple or pineapple slices and serve the pineapple with the salmon. Or even use just a portion of a can of the frozen pineapple juice concentrate (and reconstitute the portion you use) and reserve the rest to make this again another time.
  • Salmon doesn’t reheat well, but if you have leftovers you can enjoy the salmon with sweet and sour sauce cold atop salads.
  • Make sure you’re using fresh ginger in the sweet and sour sauce recipe. It adds a lot more flavor than dried ginger!

sweet and sour salmon on rice

More Salmon Recipes You’ll Love:

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Pan Seared Salmon with Sweet and Sour Sauce

5 from 1 vote

Salmon fillets are seared to golden brown perfection then covered with an easy, homemade sweet and sour sauce. We all love sweet and sour chicken but now is the time to try that flavor combo on salmon. It's so delicious!

Servings: 4
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 (6 oz) skinless salmon fillets
  • 3 1/2 tsp olive oil or vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 tsp finely peeled and minced ginger
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup pineapple juice*
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
  • Salt
  • Chopped green onion or cilantro
  • White sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Remove salmon from refrigerator and let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. Meanwhile prepare sweet and sour sauce.
  2. For the sauce, in a small bowl whisk together cornstarch and soy sauce,  add in pineapple juice, honey, brown sugar, rice vinegar, ketchup and red pepper flakes. 

  3. Heat 1 1/2 tsp of the oil in small saucepan over medium heat, add ginger and garlic and saute until lightly golden brown, about 30 seconds - 1 minute. 

  4. Whisk pineapple juice mixture once more then pour into saucepan. 
  5. Bring mixture to a boil stirring constantly, then allow to boil, stirring constantly until thickened, 1 minute. 

  6. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
  7. Dab both sides of salmon dry with paper towels, season both sides with salt (use about a heaping 1/2 tsp total). 
  8. Heat remaining 2 tsp oil in a (heavy) 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. 
  9. Once oil is shimmering add salmon and cook about 4 minutes on the first side until golden brown on bottom then flip and cook salmon on opposite side until salmon has cooked through, about 2 - 3 minutes longer.
  10. Plate salmon, spoon sweet and sour sauce over salmon, sprinkle with green onions or cilantro, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

*If you don't want to buy one of those really big cans of pineapple juice, then just buy the mini cans or use the juice from a can of chunk pineapple or pineapple slices and serve the pineapple with the salmon. Or even use just a portion of a can of the frozen pineapple juice concentrate (and reconstitute the portion you use) and reserve the rest to make this again another time. 

Nutrition Facts
Pan Seared Salmon with Sweet and Sour Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 417 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 26%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 116mg 39%
Sodium 534mg 22%
Potassium 1101mg 31%
Total Carbohydrates 19g 6%
Sugars 16g
Protein 34g 68%
Vitamin A 3.1%
Vitamin C 3.2%
Calcium 3.4%
Iron 10.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: Salmon, Sweet and Sour
Calories: 417 kcal
Author: Jaclyn

12 comments

  • Angela: Was a very yummy recipe. Also added 1 red pepper squared pieces , 1/2 onion quartered and the four slices of pineapple from can and it was very tasty. September 9, 2018 at 6:38am Reply

  • Emy: I will surely try this recipe for dinner it looks delicious it goes well with steam rice. March 24, 2017 at 11:06pm Reply

  • Laura | Tutti Dolci: Such a gorgeous and colorful dinner idea! I love the orchids too :) March 9, 2017 at 5:02pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Laura :)! March 14, 2017 at 12:12am Reply

  • Paige Flamm: Oh yum! I love sweet and sour salmon! This is awesome dinner inspiration for tonight!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com March 9, 2017 at 12:54pm Reply

  • Alexandra: Yummm!! You know what also works quite well? Smoked salmon and avocado! I make these little “parcels” of smoked salmon with a mixture of mashed avocado, red onion and lime juice inside, and then pour some sweet chilli sauce all over them – but this sweet and sour sauce sounds like it could work really well too !! xx
    March 7, 2017 at 3:06pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: That sounds delish! March 7, 2017 at 11:05pm Reply

  • Lauren: Oh for goodness sake I am reading this while having my morning coffee and would love to be able to tuck into this right now. Looks delicious! I am going to make this for sure. March 7, 2017 at 8:37am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I hope you love it Lauren! March 7, 2017 at 12:52pm Reply

  • Courtney Byles: Do you have nutritional info for this recipe? March 7, 2017 at 7:37am Reply

  • Alice: I made Chicken Tortellini Soup the other day .I have had the recipe for a LONG time. It was very much to my liking! This
    comment doesn’t belong here, but it is on my mind now and I wanted you to know. March 7, 2017 at 5:40am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for letting me know! Glad you enjoyed it Alice! March 7, 2017 at 12:53pm Reply

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