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Salmon with Szechuan Peanut Sauce

Salmon fillets marinated then baked in this delicious, slightly spicy peanut sauce gives this dish an Asian-inspired twist. | Share

Updated 2/24/2024

This homemade peanut sauce is also the perfect condiment for cold rolls, warm noodles and chicken or beef satays.

This dish incorporates some of the best of a variety of Asian cuisines. The concept for this recipe came about when I first used a store-bought sauce to marinate and bake the salmon in. Since I prefer homemade sauces, I decided to come up with a copycat version of the store-bought Szechuan peanut satay sauce.

To create the perfect sauce for this recipe some research and tweaking was required. So, if you’ve visited this post in the past, you’ll notice that there have been some updates made. To begin with, the recipe now falls under the fusion category as it borrows concepts from Indonesian, Malaysian and Thai cuisine. That’s where you’ll see peanut sauce used as a dip with grilled skewered meats, seafood or satays. It’s also served with cold rolls or mixed in with noodles.

The Szechuan spice profile

Szechuan, also spelled Sichuan or Szechwan, is a province in Southwest China. The regional dishes here are not traditionally served with peanut sauce. However, what our sauce will incorporate is the unique Szechuan spice profile. It’s a blend of aromatic spices that include chili peppers, garlic, ginger and Szechuan peppercorns. Known as the flower pepper in Chinese (花椒), Szechuan peppercorns are actually the dried berries from mountain ash trees native to Szechuan province. When eaten, they produce a slight tingling or numbing effect. While not spicy-hot, they are more aromatic with a citrus-like flavour. When blended with chili peppers, they create a unique numb-spicy flavour known as málà (麻辣).

A giant Panda, photographed in Chengdu, Szechuan, China by Peter Burdon
How to make the peanut sauce

As usual, make sure you have all the ingredients on hand before starting. As some of these ingredients aren’t so common, you may require a visit to an Asian grocer. To achieve the distinct flavour of this sauce, you’ll need to use Szechuan peppercorns. They’ll be in the spice aisle at the Asian grocery store and may also be labelled as “Prickly Ash”. While there, pick up some rice vinegar, soy sauce, fresh ginger, garlic and the chili paste known as sambal oelek, if needed.  

For the peanut butter, I prefer to use the all-natural type, made with just 100 percent peanuts. All-natural honey is the way to go as well.  Once you’ve minced the garlic and grated the ginger, you’re ready to blend the sauce ingredients.

As some time and effort is required to make this special sauce, consider making a double batch. The time required is about the same and you can save that extra sauce for a few days in the fridge. As mentioned earlier, its’ the perfect condiment for grilled meats with an Asian themed meal. Extra sauce may also be frozen if you’re not planning to use in two or three days. After you’ve made the sauce, set it aside and prepare the salmon.

Prepare and cook the salmon to perfection

We’ll use four individual portions of salmon fillets. You can use one large fillet then cut it into four equal portions of roughly six ounces each. Rinse and dry the salmon with a paper towel then place it in a dish. Coat it in the peanut sauce then marinate it for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. When you’re ready for cooking, make sure to grease or apply cooking spray to the baking dish first. Then arrange the fillets in the dish and top with any remaining peanut sauce that’s left over from the marinating. Make sure not to overcook the salmon or it will lose its moist and tender texture. It’s done when it turns opaque and flaky.

I like to serve this dish with jasmine rice and stir fried vegetables.

Szechuan Salmon

Salmon with Szechuan Peanut Sauce

Kevin Lamoureux
Salmon is marinated and baked in a rich spicy peanut sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Marinating Time 30 minutes
Total Time 53 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Fusion
Servings 4
Calories 250 kcal


For the peanut sauce

  • 4 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sambal oelek (Asian chili paste)
  • 1 tsp ground Szechuan pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic (1 clove minced)
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger (grated)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp water

For the salmon

  • 4 salmon filets (about 6 oz each)
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts chopped
  • ¼ cup green onions chopped (optional garnish)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds (optional garnish)


  • Mix the peanut sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  • Wash and pat dry the salmon with a paper towel. Place in a dish and coat with the peanut sauce. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat the oven to 425℉.
  • Place the marinated salmon into a greased baking dish. Top withany extra peanut sauce and the chopped peanuts.
  • Bake uncovered for about 15 minutes or about 3-5 minutes longer for thicker fillets. The salmon should be cooked throughout.


Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
Per serving
Calories: 625kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 12g | Iron: 2mg
Keyword peanut butter, peanuts, salmon, sauce

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