Pressure Cooker Vietnamese Caramel Salmon

Whether you use an Instant Pot or your old stove top mode pressure cooker, you won’t regret making this Vietnamese caramel salmon. It comes together in minutes–minutes!–and is rich with Asian flavors.

Pressure cooker Vietnamese caramel salmon, sliced green onion, and soy sauce on a white plate

Dinner in just 10 minutes? You betcha. For this spectacular yet almost effortless meal, salmon is pressure cooked in a sweet and tangy Vietnamese-inspired caramel sauce.–Angie Zoobkoff

Pressure Cooker Vietnamese Caramel Salmon

  • Quick Glance
  • (6)
  • 5 M
  • 10 M
  • Serves 4
4.8/5 - 6 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Dinner in an Instant cookbook

Want it? Click it.



In your pressure cooker or Instant Pot, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, ginger, lime zest, lime juice, and black pepper. Use the sauté function to bring to a simmer and then turn off the heat.

Place the fish in the pressure cooker, skin-side up (if there is skin still attached, that is). Spoon the sauce over the fish, cover, and cook on low pressure for 1 minute. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes; then release the remaining pressure manually. Check the fish for doneness by cutting into a fillet. If you prefer your salmon more well-done, cook it for another minute or so using the sauté function.

Carefully lift the salmon fillets onto a serving platter, flipping them over so the browned caramelized side is facing up. (The fillets may fall apart a little as you lift them out. That’s okay. They’ll still taste ridiculously lovely.)

Use the sauté function to reduce the sauce until it’s thick and syrupy, about 3 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the salmon and garnish it with the scallions and cilantro.

Print RecipeBuy the Dinner in an Instant cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Tips

I’ve tried to like my Instant Pot. I’ve tried soups and stews. Rice and beans. Meats. I’ve read tons of recipes. Blog posts. Magazine articles. There is an Instant Pot love fest happening around me but I’ve always been left scratching my head wondering why. Until now.

With my mind suitably blown by this Vietnamese caramel salmon, I’m finally feeling the love. The salmon was moist and beautifully flavored with the tangy caramel sauce and made a lovely meal served with steamed rice and a salad. Aside from a bit of measuring and a few stirs, there was no work involved as the Instant Pot did the rest.

My only issue was that when the Instant Pot reached pressure, it overheated and I had to turn it off. Despite this, the salmon was still perfectly cooked. Next time, I’ll double the sauce ingredients to hopefully prevent this from happening. Added bonus? More syrupy caramel to add to my steamed rice.

This Vietnamese caramel salmon is the perfect weeknight dinner--quick, easy and I had all the ingredients in my pantry. I served it with rice and an Asian cucumber salad. This received rave reviews and requests for this dish to be in our regular rotation of dinner ideas.

This is a super flavorful weeknight dinner. The whole thing comes together in a half hour and looks and tastes beautiful.

I did need to cook the salmon a few minutes longer on the saute function of my Instant Pot. This created a great, dark and sticky glaze on the salmon, which was slightly darker than the picture showed. Because I cooked the salmon a bit longer with the saute function, I did not need to thicken sauce after removing the salmon.

This salmon was perfect and took no more than 10 minutes from start to serve in my pressure cooker.


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


    1. Thanks, Marieka! I’m delighted you enjoyed it so much. Thanks for taking the time to let us know.

  1. Hi, it sounds a delicious recipe but I haven’t got a pressure cooker or instant pot. Is there any other way I can cook it? Thank you

    1. Jale, the recipe was specifically designed to be made in a pressure cooker so that the salmon becomes infused with the flavor of the sauce. It won’t be the same, but you could simmer the sauce ingredients on the stovetop until you get a syrupy sauce, and pour it over pan-seared or baked salmon. I’d cook them separately though, as the sauce contains quite a bit of sugar and it’s possible that the sauce might over reduce and burn before the salmon cooks through if they’re in the same skillet or baking dish.

  2. Super fast. Super good. Served with rice. All three of our picky children ate it. Salmon cooked to perfection!

  3. Everyone loved this salmon. It came out so moist and perfectly cooked. It barely fit in the pot so I overlapped the thin ends a bit. It was really quick and easy and delicious. I had never tried cooking fish in the pressure cooker but I’ll definitely make this one again.

    1. Hi Amy, so glad you found this recipe. It’s one of my favorites as well. Like you said, easy and delicious!

  4. Yahoo! Outstanding! I made a half batch of sauce with 3/4 pound Coho salmon filet. Perfect and so very tasty ;) Thank you!

      1. I was afraid that my Instant Pot would not pressurize with the half batch of ingredients so I stayed nearby until I heard the float valve engage. About 8 minutes later I had the fillet sauced and served. ;) Colleen

  5. Overall, I enjoyed making this Vietnamese caramel salmon in the pressure cooker. There was very little prep time and in the instant pot, cooking took little time as well. I enjoy the mixture of sweet, salty, and sour on this salmon and I love ginger.

    While the final product was delicious, the sour part was a little muted, so an extra squeeze of lime at the end would have been even better.

    Taking off the skin would have allowed more flavor to seep into the salmon because you only briefly spoon it onto that side before cooking. It might also be helpful to give a rough idea of the dimensions of an ideal portion of salmon.

    This would be the perfect easy weeknight dinner served with a quick side of veggies and rice that feels both healthy and a little out of the ordinary. However, the fish sauce has a strong flavor and smell so for picky eaters, I’m thinking of my kids, this will be a hard sell.

    1. Christina, we tested it with fresh salmon. You could probably use thawed frozen salmon although the texture may be slightly compromised. The taste, however, will be the same!

  6. This is a keeper. Although, the wild Pacific salmon (go ahead, drool) was overly done, so we would let the steam release naturally for 2 minutes then manually release the steam. Salmon is usually over-done.

    1. Hi Roni, your better bet might be to cook it in an oven at 350F. I would mix all your marinade ingredients then place in a baking dish along with salmon, skin side up. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the salmon is done to your taste. Remove the salmon and return the dish and marinade to the oven and broil for a few minutes until the sauce is reduced.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Rate this recipe!

Have you tried this recipe? Let us know what you think.

Upload a picture of your dish