This Air Fryer Sesame Orange Salmon has the easiest glaze made from sweet and tangy orange marmalade along with the deep umami flavor of sesame oil. I love how the direct heat of the air fryer caramelizes the sugars in the glaze, adding a bit of crispiness to the edges while cooking the salmon through to flakey perfection. The marmalade clings to the salmon easily, so be sure to brush some on before air frying, then add more again before serving.
Tips for Air Frying Salmon
- Make a foil “sling.” You wouldn’t think twice about reaching into an air fryer with a set of tongs to remove a chicken breast, but when you try that with a fully cooked piece of salmon, you might end up with 15 little chunks instead of 1 beautifully air fried filet. A foil sling allows you to easily lift the salmon right out of the basket without leaving anything behind. Check out more detailed instructions in the recipe card!
- Leave the skin on. This helps hold the salmon together until you’re ready to serve it and adds moisture while cooking, helping it resist flaking apart while you remove it from the air fryer. To take the skin off the cooked salmon, just slide a fork or knife between the salmon skin and flesh, and it should easily separate.
- Check frequently near the end of the cooking time to avoid burning. You can see in the photos that the glaze on top of my salmon filets got pretty dark around the edges (delicious), but if you have a thinner cut of salmon or your marmalade has a higher sugar content, you could be in danger of burning it. Just keep a close eye on it in the last minute or 2 of cooking so it doesn’t burn.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here’s what you’ll need to recreate this Air Fryer Sesame Orange Salmon recipe at home!
- Salmon – I prefer Atlantic salmon for this recipe because it has a higher fat content and is therefore more tender than wild salmon like sockeye. The flavor is also more mild, so it plays nicely with the sesame orange glaze. I know there are a lot of opinions out there on whether or not to buy farmed Atlantic salmon, but I’d recommend doing your own research on brands and countries of origin on websites like Seafood Watch or the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.
- Orange marmalade – This ingredient does most of the heavy lifting in the glaze – it’s got the sugar, the stickiness, and the orange flavor all in one. Unless you’re partial to the flavor of a particular brand of marmalade (or you can find this brand), I actually recommend the classic Smuckers Sweet Orange Marmalade. It has good orange flavor with no bitterness and plenty of chunks of candied orange throughout.
- Orange zest – Really hammer home the orange flavor with a bit of fresh orange zest mixed right into the glaze. You can skip it if you forgot to grab a fresh orange, but I think this helps bring some extra freshness to the orange marmalade.
- Sesame oil – Because sesame oil has such an intense flavor, just a teaspoon goes a long way to flavoring this glaze. Toasted or untoasted will work fine, though I recommend toasted for the more complex flavor.
- Rice vinegar – A little acidity from rice vinegar helps balance out the glaze while giving it a bit more Asian flavor. If you don’t have rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar could work here too.
- Cayenne pepper – I added just a pinch of cayenne pepper to put a little zing in the glaze. It’s not spicy by any means, but you can certainly omit this if you prefer.
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- 9 oz Atlantic salmon, skin on, sliced into 2 fillets, (approx. 8 oz without skin)
- 2 tbsp orange marmalade
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1/2 tsp orange zest
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- green onion and sesame seeds for garnish
- Prepare the sesame orange glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange marmalade, sesame oil, rice vinegar, orange zest, and cayenne pepper. Divide mixture evenly into two bowls. Set aside.
- Create a foil sling for your air fryer to prevent sticking and make cleanup a breeze. Fold a long piece of foil into thirds so it's about 4 inches wide. Place this into the bottom of your air fryer so that the long ends reach up the sides. Fold the edges down if they extend past the top of the air fryer basket. Next, fold a 2nd piece of foil to roughly cover the bottom of the basket and place it on top of the sling.
- Air fry the salmon. Pre-heat the air fryer to 400°F. Once pre-heated, place the salmon fillets on top of the foil, skin side down. Brush with 1/2 of the the orange sesame glaze. Air fry for 10-14 minutes, depending on thickness, or until cooked through to an internal temperature of 125°F. (Mine took 12 mins.)
- Serve. Using the foil sling like handles, remove the salmon from the air fryer basket. Gently slide a knife along the bottom of the salmon flesh, above the skin to remove the skin. Plate the cooked salmon fillets and brush with remaining orange sesame glaze. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onion before serving.