Salmon Poke – Slender Kitchen

Make delicious Hawaiian Salmon Poke a home with just a few simple ingredients! This authentic recipe is fresh, delicious, and healthy! Serve it as an appetizer, use it for poke bowls, or over greens.


Try Salmon Poke for a simple, fresh, and summery meal! This popular Hawaiian dish features delicate cubes of sashimi-grade salmon in a tangy marinade of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Enjoy it on its own, in a poke bowl, or serve it with salad or chips.

What Is Poke?

Poke, pronounced “poh-kay,” means “to slice or cut” in Hawaiian, referring to the diced raw fish that’s the star of the dish. Traditionally, it involves a simple preparation of fresh fish and seasonings to be served as a snack or appetizer.

Like ahi tuna poke, salmon poke is a popular variation, and for good reason! It’s rich, creamy, and buttery smooth. The soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar provide the perfect balance of umami, nuttiness, and a hint of tanginess.

The best way to serve salmon poke is chilled, allowing all the flavors to meld together. Pair it with warm, fluffy rice, or enjoy it straight from the bowl for a healthy, protein-packed meal. For more poke and sushi-inspired meals, try our salmon sushi bowls and shrimp sushi bowls.

Why You’ll Love Salmon Poke

These are just a few of the reasons why you’ll love this salmon poke recipe:

  • Versatile: You can serve this recipe on its own, as a starter, or as a main dish over rice.
  • Healthy: Salmon poke is a great way to enjoy the benefits of raw salmon, which is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that are important for brain health.
  • Unique flavor combination: Each bite features the softness of salmon, the crunch of onions, and the pop of sesame seeds.

Ingredients to make salmon poke including cubed raw salmon, green onions, sesame seeds, soy sauce, sesame oil, and chopped onions.

Ingredients and Substitutions

You just need a few simple ingredients to make this salmon poke recipe:

  • Salmon: Make sure you’re using sashimi-grade salmon for its freshness and superior taste. You can replace it with other sushi-grade fish like tuna or octopus if you’d like.
  • Soy sauce: Adds an ultra-savory, umami flavor. Use tamari, coconut aminos, or liquid aminos for a gluten-free option.
  • Sesame oil: Provides a deep, nutty flavor. Substitute it with avocado oil if necessary.
  • Rice wine vinegar: Gives a subtle tang and acidity. White wine vinegar will work in a pinch if you don’t have any rice vinegar.
  • Onions: Both green onions and sweet onion offer a fresh, zesty crunch. You can try red onions for a more pungent flavor or shallots for a more subtle taste.
  • Sesame seeds: Adds a nutty, toasty crunch. Feel free to use white sesame seeds or black sesame seeds. Or swap in macadamia nuts for crunch and flavor.
  • Hawaiian sea salt: Enhances the overall flavors of this poke recipe. Any type of sea salt can also be used if Hawaiian sea salt isn’t available.

How To Make Salmon Poke

Making homemade poke couldn’t be easier! 

1. Choose The Right Salmon

The success of this salmon poke recipe starts with the quality of your fish, so always opt for sashimi or sushi-grade salmon. This means the fish is of the highest quality and can be eaten raw.

It’s best to find a reputable and knowledgeable fishmonger that you can develop a trusting relationship with to ensure you’re purchasing the best quality. And while color isn’t the only factor to consider when selecting salmon, a brighter color often indicates fresher salmon.

2. Prepare Your Ingredients

Cube your salmon into bite-sized pieces, which not only makes the dish easier to eat but also helps the salmon absorb the marinade. This is also the time to prepare any optional toppings, such as Hawaiian seaweed or red chili peppers.

3. Combine The Marinade

In a bowl, combine soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and rice vinegar. These ingredients provide a perfect balance of umami, nuttiness, and acidity. Add your cubed salmon and onions to the marinade, gently stirring to ensure each piece of fish is coated.

It’s important not to over-marinate the fish. An hour in the fridge is sufficient to allow the flavors to meld without the acidity of the marinade starting to “cook” the fish. Once it’s marinated, serve your salmon poke however you’d like!

Hawaiian salmon poke with raw salmon tossed in soy poke sauce with green onions and sesame seeds.

What To Serve With Salmon Poke

If you want to turn your salmon poke bowl recipe into a more filling or flavorful meal, try adding some of these into the mix:

  • Creamy avocado
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Seaweed salad
  • Nori sheets
  • Edamame
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Pickled ginger
  • Brown rice
  • Sushi rice
  • Short-grain white rice
  • Macadamia nuts


For any leftover salmon poke bowls, follow these simple, but important storage tips:

  • Fridge: You can store everything in an airtight container for up to 24 hours. It’s important to understand that the fish should be consumed as soon as possible due to its raw nature. Anything over 1 day should be thrown away.
  • Freezer: It’s not recommended to freeze salmon poke since it is meant to be prepared and eaten raw.
  • Prep ahead: You can prepare the marinade ahead of time and store it separately. Just dice the salmon and mix it with the marinade an hour before serving.

Variations and Recipe Ideas

There are so many ways to make this salmon poke recipe your own! 

  • Mango: Incorporate mango cubes for a sweet contrast that pairs perfectly with the savory flavors of the dish.
  • Seared salmon: Use seared salmon for a cooked variation that brings a slightly smoky flavor to the dish without straying too far from the traditional. This Crispy Asian Salmon Rice Bowl is also a great option.
  • Ponzu sauce: Use ponzu sauce instead of soy sauce for a citrusy twist that adds a refreshing, zesty undertone to the poke.
  • Furikake: Mix in furikake, a Japanese seasoning, for an extra burst of umami that will elevate the overall flavor profile of your salmon poke.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about making homemade salmon poke.

Sashimi or sushi-grade fish means the fish is of the highest quality, making it suitable for raw consumption. This labeling ensures that the fish has been handled and processed in a manner that makes it safe to eat raw, adhering to rigorous standards of hygiene and freshness.

You can use any sashimi-grade fish like ahi tuna, hamachi, or octopus for this poke recipe. Each of these alternatives will give the dish a unique flavor profile, allowing you to experiment and discover your favorite version of this Hawaiian classic.

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