These moist, flaky, and simple Salmon Patties are an easy, versatile recipe to serve as an appetizer or main dish. Budget-friendly, quick-cooking, one bite of this healthy salmon patty recipe will transport you to your favorite coastal city.
Also known as a salmon cake, these light and lean salmon patties are not quite as hefty as large-scale Salmon Burgers, but just as satisfying when it comes to ease and flavor.
I wanted this salmon patty recipe to be reminiscent of the old-fashioned salmon patties I’ve tasted in my travels.
This means a tender, creamy interior, a lightly crisp exterior, and a touch of spice.
Inspired by the fresh salmon patties I’ve eaten in Seattle and the Southern salmon patties and Salmon Croquettes I’ve tried in Charleston and Louisiana, today’s healthy salmon patties adopt a little Midwest practicality: this recipe uses canned salmon.
Don’t worry! Thanks to punchy lemon juice and an array of spices, they taste plenty fresh.
(For another great salmon patty recipe with canned salmon, check out the Salmon Quinoa Cakes in my cookbook.)
Benefits of Canned Salmon
In the context of salmon patties, canned salmon has distinct advantages over fresh:
- It’s available at any grocery store, no trip to the seafood counter required.
- Canned salmon is convenient. No need to separately cook the salmon before adding it to the salmon patty mixture.
- Canned salmon is packed with the same nutrients as fresh salmon, meaning these salmon patties are just as good for you as if they were made with fresh.
- It costs a fraction of the price.
5 Star Review
“Just made these along with some tzatziki sauce and they were absolutely devoured by my wife and grandkids. The recipe was so quick and easy to make that I’ll surely be making them again .”— Derek —
How to Make the Old-Fashioned Salmon Patties
Maybe someday I’ll live in a city with amazing access to affordable fresh salmon but for now, I’m very content with a platter of these crispy, tender canned salmon patties.
Seasoned simply and served with a dollop of healthy Greek yogurt, fresh herbs and a squeeze of fresh lemon, this is the best salmon patties recipe you can enjoy any night of the week in under 30 minutes.
- Canned Salmon. Loaded with healthy fats, Omega-3s, and vitamins like vitamin D and vitamin E, salmon is without a doubt one of my favorite protein sources. Its firm, meaty flavor and texture make it ideal for these hearty salmon patties.
- Greek Yogurt. Rather than make salmon patties with mayo, I swap Greek yogurt for a healthy touch. It provides a creamy interior texture and a bit of tang.
- Egg. Binds with the breadcrumbs to give the salmon patties body and structure, which is essential to keeping the salmon patties from falling apart. Egg also prevents the salmon cakes from being dry.
- Breadcrumbs. An essential ingredient for binding the patties. I prefer breadcrumbs over salmon patties with flour (which I find too dense).
- Garlic Powder + Onion Powder. Two everyday pantry staples that add a whole lotta pizazz to these simple salmon patties.
- Cayenne Pepper. For a little southern flair that gives these salmon cakes just the right amount of kick. For more spice, try this Blackened Salmon.
- Parsley. For a little freshness and a finish of color. Fresh dill would complement the salmon as well.
- Lemon. Brightens and complements the salmon and hides the fact that it’s canned.
- Dijon + White Vinegar. To give the patties punch. For a more mild flavor, use brown or grainy mustard.
- Combine the salmon patty ingredients in a large bowl.
- Gently toss to combine.
- Scoop and shape into 6 equal patties.
- Heat oil in a large skillet (I like cast iron, but any sturdy frying pan will do) over medium heat. Cook the salmon patties on the first side for 3 minutes, until deep golden brown.
- Flip and cook salmon patties on the other side for 2 to 3 minutes more, until deeply golden and cooked through inside. Serve topped with Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and fresh parsley. ENJOY!
Once the salmon patties are cooked, you can take the recipe a few directions for serving.
- On a bun, slider style. Add thinly sliced tomatoes, red onions, and a smear of Greek yogurt or tartar sauce.
- On their own (my favorite), with a big dollop of Greek yogurt and a squeeze of lemon.
- On a salad, choose your favorite crisp greens and veggies for a nutrition-packed meal.
- To Store. Uncooked salmon patties can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. Individually wrap each patty and store it in an airtight container. Cooked salmon patties can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
- To Reheat. Reheat gently in a lightly oiled skillet on the stove. I like to splash a little water in the skillet with the salmon, then cover to lock in moisture and help the patties steam and prevent them from drying out.
- To Freeze. Cooked salmon patties can be frozen for up to 3 weeks in the freezer. Let thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat on the stovetop as directed above.
Leftover salmon patties are the perfect easy weekday lunch. Enjoy cold or warm over a bed of your favorite greens (like this Arugula Salad) for a simple salmon cake salad or warm a patty and serve it on a toasted English muffin with a fried egg. The possibilities are endless!
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Mixing Bowls. This space-saving set of nested glass mixing bowls is my favorite for tossing together ingredients for sweet and savory dishes.
- Skillet. No kitchen should be without a trusty cast iron skillet.
- Citrus Juicer. This handheld juicer is my fav for freshly squeezed lemon juice without any seeds.
Midwest sensibility, meet coastal living!
Frequently Asked Questions
If you do not want bones, look for canned salmon labeled boneless. Most canned salmon does contain small pieces of bones, but if you select boneless, you are not likely to notice. If your can isn’t labeled and you are not sure of the amount of bones, compare calcium content on the nutrition label between brands. If the calcium content is low, most of the bones have likely been removed. If it is high, the bones are likely included in the salmon.
While I have not personally made salmon patties in an air fryer (only this Air Fryer Salmon), I believe you can do so with success. I suggest preheating your air fryer to 400 degrees F while prepping the patties. Then, spritz the formed patties with oil and cook for 6 to 8 minutes. Flip the patties, spray with additional oil and cook for a few more minutes until brown and crispy. Note that the time and temperature may need to be adjusted depending on the model of your air fryer but this is likely a good starting point to experiment with.
These salmon patties can also be made with any leftover cooked salmon you have in your fridge. Simply flake it, then use in the recipe as directed. Poached Salmon and Pesto Salmon would both make yummy salmon cakes.
Although I haven’t tried it, this would be a good base for crab cakes.
Sure! I would suggest adding a little more lemon. Or, see these Avocado Tuna Cakes for inspiration.
- 1 large egg
- 1 (15-ounce) can salmon drained (wild-caught if possible)
- 1/2 cup Italian seasoned dry whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley plus additional for serving
- 1–2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil for cooking the patties
- Greek yogurt
- Lemon wedges
- In the bottom of a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the drained salmon to the bowl. Add the bread crumbs, Greek yogurt, Dijon, white vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne.
- With a fork, lightly mix to combine, breaking apart the salmon further. Gently stir in the parsley.
- Scoop the mixture by 1/3 cupfuls and shape into 6 patties that are about a 1/2 inch thick. Arrange on a plate.
- In a large cast-iron or similar sturdy-bottomed skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium. Swirl to coat.
- Brown the patties on both sides, until the outsides are very deep golden brown and the patties are cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes total. When flipping the patties, be very gentle and use a long, flexible spatula, such as a fish spatula. Serve topped with Greek yogurt, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkle of fresh parsley. Enjoy!
- TO STORE: Uncooked salmon patties can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. Individually wrap each patty and store it in an airtight container. Cooked salmon patties can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
- TO REHEAT: Reheat gently in a lightly oiled skillet on the stove. I like to splash a little water in the skillet with the salmon, then cover it to lock in moisture and help the patties steam and prevent them from drying out.
- TO FREEZE: Cooked salmon patties can be frozen for up to 3 weeks. Let thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat on the stovetop as directed above.
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