Easy Salmon Patties

A half eaten salmon patty sits on a plate with two other cakes.
Recipe At-A-Glance
Pantry Meal20 minutes
Using canned, fresh, or frozen salmon, these Easy Salmon Patties are a speedy weeknight pantry dinner that satisfies the whole family! Even fish-haters love these salmon cakes.

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Most of us who grew up eating dinner around the table with our families have a few heavily rotated meals that we remember, and a big one for me was salmon patties! A plate of freshly-fried salmon cakes with a side of mac and cheese and frozen peas was a standard in my house growing up. Decades later, they are still in constant rotation in my house!

Salmon cakes are a wonderful way to get all the glorious flavor and nutrition of salmon in an easy, weeknight pantry meal. You can use fresh or frozen salmon filets to make these cakes, but they really are made for canned salmon—which is more affordable than fresh, easy to work with, readily available, and a great option to keep stocked in your pantry. This no-fuss meal is so tasty that even fish-haters will gobble these cakes up!

A platter of formed patties sits on a red and white dish cloth.

What do I need to make salmon patties?

While you can absolutely make salmon cakes with fresh or frozen salmon fillets (see notes in the recipe), I’m recommending that you use canned salmon here. The taste is very similar, but canned salmon makes the cakes so much easier and faster to put together. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper!

For the rest of the ingredients, you have options: you can either use fresh herbs, or you can stick with things you probably already have in your pantry. The salmon is the star of the show here, after all, so if you don’t have fresh dill or parsley on hand, no problem!

No eggs? That’s okay—you can still make some great salmon patties. If you have chia seeds or ground flax seeds, you can make substitute eggs by combining 2 tablespoons of the seeds with 6 tablespoons of water. Alternatively, 2 tablespoons of gelatin powder mixed with water will work as well.

Ingredients for salmon cake sit in a white bowl.

How should I serve these salmon cakes?

Salmon patties are great topped with a tartar sauce, remoulade sauce, or tzatziki sauce. My daughter prefers to dip hers in sour cream (she prefers to dip almost everything in sour cream). I serve them with a knife and fork, but you could also serve them on top of greens or even on a small bun to make salmon sliders.

A spoon pours Remoulade Sauce over salmon cakes sitting on a plate. A sprig of dill sits nearby.

Which should I look for in a canned salmon?

Wild Alaskan red or pink salmon is going to be the best of the best when it comes to canned salmon. We prefer pink salmon in our house because it has a slightly less fishy flavor.

Two cans of Double Q Pink Salmon sit in front of a bowl of eggs.

Um, there are bones in my canned salmon. Do I have to pick all those out?

Canned salmon comes with some small bones in it—no need to take them out. The canning, mixing, and cooking processes breaks the bones down to where they are completely edible (and even a good source of calcium).

An open can of Double Q salmon with a spoon inside it sits on a pink background. A bowl of eggs and a sprig of dill sits in the distance.

Can I make these salmon patties gluten-free?

Sure can! Swap out the breadcrumbs for 1/3 cup blanched almond flour and two tablespoons coconut flour, and you’ll be eating gluten-free salmon cakes in no time. Bonus: This also makes the patties paleo and Whole30-friendly!

So how do I make salmon cakes?

Once you have your ingredients in order, here’s all you need to do to make salmon patties:

  1. Mix everything together with a fork, making sure not to break up the salmon too much. Let it rest for a few minutes.
  2. Form the mixture into patties, and pan fry them in a hot skillet in 2-3 batches.
  3. Move the finished salmon patties to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb some of the oil while you cook the rest of the cakes.

A hand cracks an egg into salmon mixture. A spoon sits in the bowl ready to stir.

Help! My salmon patties are falling apart!

Canned salmon varies in moisture and fat content, so if your patties seem to fall apart, you might need to add more “glue” in the form of eggs. Just add in another egg, plus some extra bread crumbs, until you get a very sticky consistency.

It’s also important to not mess with the salmon cakes once they are in the skillet frying. Place them in the oil, and then don’t move them! Let them get a good, solid crust on the bottom before flipping—this will help keep them together. Repeat with the other side.

Three salmon patties sit on a plate with a fork. Two lemons sit on the corner of the plate.

I don’t have canned salmon, but I do have canned tuna. Will that work?

Sure will! Tuna patties are equally delicious. For the recipe below, you’ll need between 5-6 of the 6-ounce cans of tuna. Everything else in the recipe works as written with tuna.

How do I reheat my salmon patties?

We reheat our salmon cakes in the toaster oven at 350°F until crisp and heated through. You can also reheat them in the conventional oven or in a skillet. I would skip the microwave—not only does it make the patties soggy, but it’ll also stink up your whole house!

 
A half eaten salmon patty sits on a plate with two other cakes.

Easy Salmon Patties Recipe

Yield: 4 servings (3 cakes per serving)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Using canned, fresh, or frozen salmon, these Easy Salmon Patties are a speedy weeknight pantry dinner that satisfies the whole family!

Ingredients

  • 2 14.75-ounce cans salmon, drained (see notes about using fresh or frozen fillets)
  • 2 eggs (gelatin, flax, and chia eggs all work as well, see notes)
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley or 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and minced, optional
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (see notes)
  • Avocado oil, coconut oil, or other high smoke point oil, for cooking
  • Fresh dill, lemon wedges, tartar sauce, or remoulade sauce, for serving

Instructions

  1. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the drained salmon, egg, breadcrumbs, parsley, capers (if using), dill, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Using a fork, combine the mixture well, but don’t break up the salmon too much—you want some good size flakes. Set the mixture aside and allow it to rest for about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough cooking oil to coat the entire surface with a 1/4–1/2” layer of oil. 
  3. Form the salmon mixture into 12 patties, about 2 1/3” in diameter by 1” high. Place the patties in the hot skillet, making sure to not overcrowd the pan—depending on your skillet size, you may have to do 2 or 3 batches.
  4. Pan fry over medium-high heat for 6-7 minutes each, or until the underside is crisp and golden brown. Do not move the salmon cakes while they are cooking, or they may crumble apart. Gently flip, and fry for another 4-5 minutes or until the other side is crisp and golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, and repeat with remaining formed patties.
  5. Serve topped with tartar sauce or remoulade sauce, plus fresh lemon wedges and fresh dill, if desired.

Notes

  • If you choose to use capers (which add a wonderful briny flavor), use less salt—1/4 teaspoon. If you leave the capers out, use 1/2 teaspoon salt. Also keep in mind that the sodium content of canned salmon can vary widely. If working with a new brand, you might want to mix up the cakes using 1/4 teaspoon of salt, fry up a small meatball of the mixture to taste test, and then adjust the salt from there.
  • We do not recommend making this in the food processor. This quickly turns the salmon into paste–which makes for less-than-appetizing salmon cakes.
  • You can sub in fresh minced onion and garlic for the powders; however, you’ll need to saute the fresh vegetables before adding them to the mixture—the salmon cakes do not cook long enough on their own to soften fresh vegetables.
  • Canned salmon comes with some small bones in it—no need to take them out. The canning, mixing, and cooking processes breaks the bones down to where they are completely edible (and even a good source of calcium).
  • You can make this recipe using fresh or thawed frozen salmon filets by first roasting the filets until flaky in a 400°F oven—about 7-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filets. Then flake the salmon and use just as you would with canned salmon. Fresh and frozen salmon contain no sodium, so use 1/2 teaspoon of salt in your salmon cakes mixture.
  • This recipe works well with gelatin, flax, and chia eggs. To make two flax or chia eggs, combine 2 tablespoon chia seeds or ground flax seeds with 6 tablespoons of warm water—let sit for 5 minutes, or until thick and gelled. To make two gelatin eggs, combine 2 tablespoons of unflavored gelatin powder with 2 tablespoons cool (room temp is fine) water. Let sit for a minute or two to bloom. Then stir in 4 tablespoons of boiling water vigorously until the gelatin is dissolved. Let the mixture sit for 1-2 minutes to thicken and gel.
  • You can make these salmon cakes paleo and Whole30-friendly by using 1/3 cup blanched almond flour and 2 tablespoons coconut flour in place of breadcrumbs.
  • Yes, you can bake these salmon cakes. Bake on a greased or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet at 375°F for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown. They won’t be quite as crispy as the fried version, but they’ll still be delicious.
  • This recipe also works beautifully with canned tuna!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 3 patties
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 477Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 168mgSodium: 629mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 32g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.
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