Salmon Croquettes. Doesn’t that sound like a fun, fancy thing to try for dinner tonight? They’re made with mostly pantry ingredients, with a crisp outside and tender inside.
Although “croquette” might sound refined and complicated (because doesn’t every French word?), salmon croquettes are straightforward to make.
To make them more budget-friendly and quicker to prep, I use canned salmon.
Keep a few cans of salmon and tuna stashed in your pantry, and you can pull together a fast, healthy, and legitimately tasty dinner on the fly (these Avocado Tuna Cakes and the Salmon Cakes in my cookbook are perfect examples).
Canned salmon is widely available, even if you don’t have easy access to fresh seafood.
For another easy appetizer recipe that uses already prepared salmon, Salmon Dip pleases a crowd with hot smoked salmon.
Further—and this is key—these croquettes do not taste like they use canned salmon.
- Spices, herbs, and colorful vegetables add flavor and freshness to salmon croquettes.
- A crispy crust on the outside gives them a tantalizing texture and southern vibes.
Salmon Croquettes vs. Salmon Patties
Since I love this Salmon Patties recipe, I spent some time digging into the difference between a salmon patty and a croquette.
- Salmon croquettes are a southern take on a salmon patty.
- “Salmon patties” is a more general term and doesn’t necessarily dictate a particular profile of spices or herbs.
- Croquettes are more typically southern (I still remember the Louisiana salmon croquettes I ate in New Orleans) and thus typically include more southern-inspired spices.
- Croquettes are lightly breaded to create a crispy crust. Dredging the salmon with cornmeal or with flour creates that tasty exterior.
- Croquettes are typically made with canned salmon. (For a patty with fresh salmon, check out Salmon Burgers.)
How to Make Salmon Croquettes
- Instead of deep-frying the croquettes, I lightly pan fry them with oil (I like olive oil over vegetable oil but you can use vegetable for a more neutral flavor).
- The pan fry vs. deep fry approach keeps them healthy, with less calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol.
- Thanks to the cornmeal, the croquettes still developed a scrumptiously crisp crust.
- Canned Salmon. Canned salmon is incredibly easy to use for recipes like this one, and it’s just as healthy as fresh salmon. It’s rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins.
- Eggs. How do you keep salmon croquettes from falling apart? Eggs are the answer! They help bind all the ingredients together to form perfect patties.
- Bell Pepper + Onion. I snuck a couple veggies into the croquettes for beautiful color, southern flavor, and added nutrition.
- Greek Yogurt. Greek yogurt helps make the patties creamy on the inside and gives them a hint of tanginess. It’s a healthy swap for mayonnaise.
- Worcestershire Sauce. A dash of Worcestershire adds umami goodness.
- Hot Sauce. Gives just the right amount of heat without making this recipe spicy. Feel free to kick it up a notch if you please.
- Celery Salt. Salty and unexpectedly wonderful.
- Fresh Parsley. For a touch of freshness. Cilantro would also be tasty here.
- Cornmeal. Cornmeal creates the scrumptious crispy exterior for the croquettes.
- Salmon Croquettes Sauce. Greek yogurt, fresh lemon juice, mustard, hot sauce, and herbs create a sauce that’s a little tangy, zippy, and creamy all at the same time. You’ll never want tartar sauce again.
- Drain the salmon.
- Beat the eggs.
- Add all the croquette ingredients (except the cornmeal) to the large bowl with the salmon.
- Mix until combined.
- Create 8 salmon patties, and coat them in the cornmeal.
- Place the patties on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
- Prepare the dipping sauce.
- Cook the salmon croquettes in a large skillet over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side until golden brown. Drain on paper towel. ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate croquettes in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days.
- To Reheat. Very gently rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Place croquettes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer the frozen croquettes to an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
What to Serve with Salmon Croquettes
Salmon croquettes sides can include anything from starchy vegetables like potatoes, to green vegetables, crisps salads, or even eggs for a breakfast version.
- Grits. Salmon croquettes and grits are a perfect match! Try the tasty grits from my skinny Cajun Shrimp and Grits recipe.
- Salad. Healthy Potato Salad, Arugula Salad, or Broccoli Quinoa Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing would be delicious with this dish. Fruit Salad would also be a great addition to the meal.
- Vegetables. Serve some Grilled Eggplant, Roasted Broccoli, Grilled Potatoes, or Roasted Asparagus with this recipe for a healthy side.
- Fries. Keep things classic with Air Fryer French Fries or Sweet Potato Fries, or spice things up with these Parsnip Fries.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Nonstick Skillet. Ideal for cooking these salmon croquettes.
- Mixing Bowls. A nice set of mixing bowls is a must-have in my kitchen.
- Baking Sheet. A kitchen tool I use almost daily.
Salmon croquettes are the unexpected, healthy, and super satisfying recipe your weeknight back pocket didn’t know it needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, this recipe is gluten free as written. I do recommend double-checking the labels of your Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce to ensure both are certified gluten free. Be sure to dredge the salmon croquettes with cornmeal, not flour.
Yes, you can meal prep these salmon croquettes. Prepare the patties (through Step 5) up to 1 day in advance. Cover and store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook.
Yes, you can use fresh salmon for this recipe. Make sure the salmon is pre-cooked, flaked, and free of bones and skin.
FOR THE CROQUETTES:
- 15 ounces canned boneless, skinless salmon packed in water* look for a sustainable brand and make sure the bones/skin are removed
- 2 large eggs
- 1 small red bell pepper finely diced
- 1/2 small white or red onion finely chopped
- 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce optional; I used Tabasco
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
- 1/3 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal or all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil divided (for cooking the patties)
FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE (Optional):
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Pinch kosher salt
- 2 to 3 dashes hot sauce optional
- 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley cilantro, or basil (optional)
- Drain the salmon well and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Lightly beat the eggs in a separate bowl.
- To the bowl with the salmon, add the bell pepper, onion, Greek yogurt Worcestershire, kosher salt, pepper, celery salt, hot sauce, parsley, and beaten eggs.
- With a fork, mix until evenly combined.
- Place the cornmeal in a shallow dish (a pie plate works well). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and place it near the cornmeal.
- Shape the salmon mixture into 8 patties, then lightly coat both sides of each in the cornmeal. To shape the patties, squeeze lightly with your hands discarding a little bit of liquid that may come out of the patties. Press them together gently but with enough force so that they hold together. The patties will feel loose, wet, and delicate; be patient and do your best, they’ll cook up fine! Place the patties on the baking sheet as you go.
- Cover the pan with plastic and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 1 day.
- While the patties chill, prepare the dipping sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, Dijon, salt, hot sauce, and herbs. Refrigerate if you won't be serving within 30 minutes.
- To cook the patties, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, swirl the pan, then gently place the first batch of patties in the skillet so that they are not touching (I can fit 4 at a time in my skillet, but you may need to cook additional batches if your skillet isn't large enough). Cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until the outsides are crisp and golden and the interiors are cooked through. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, swirl, then repeat with remaining patties. If at any point the croquettes begin to stick, add more oil as needed. If desired, keep the croquettes warm in a 250 degree F oven between batches. Enjoy hot with dipping sauce.
- *Depending upon the size of salmon cans available at your store, you may have a little more or less than 15 ounces if you use the full amount in the cans; err on the side of a little more salmon, vs. less (for example, if your store carries 6-ounce cans, use 3 for 18 ounces of salmon total vs. 2 for only 12 ounces salmon total).
- TO BAKE IN THE OVEN (will be drier than stovetop method but certainly very edible!): Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the patties on the baking sheet as directed (no need to refrigerate). Mist the tops with nonstick spray. Bake in the center of the oven for 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, gently flip the patties, and coat the other side with nonstick spray. Return to the oven and continue baking until the croquettes are golden and cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes more.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate croquettes in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days.
- TO REHEAT: Very gently rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Place croquettes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer the frozen croquettes to an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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