As someone who has planned entire vacations around eating as much seafood as possible, I was surprised at my own negligence when my younger sister called to draw my attention to a serious hole in my recipe index: I needed a Salmon Patty recipe!
Another word for a salmon cake, these light and lean salmon patties are not quite as hefty as a large-scale salmon burger. They remind me of the fresh salmon patties we ate in Seattle and the Southern salmon patties I’ve tried in Charleston and Louisiana. I took that inspiration, then made them over with a little Midwest practicality.
As much as I adore cooking fresh salmon—Baked Salmon in Foil is one of our absolute favorite healthy salmon recipes for easy weeknight meals and fancy company alike—on most evenings, the idea of making fresh salmon patties is just too much. This endeavor would require first cooking the salmon, then flaking the salmon, then adding the remaining ingredients to turn the salmon into a salmon patty, THEN cooking it again. Too. Much.
Plus, when I spend the money on a nice piece of fresh salmon, I usually like to enjoy the salmon just as it is.
How to Make the Best Easy Salmon Patty
My solution to turning salmon patties into an any-night healthy weeknight meal: canned salmon.
Using good-quality, responsibly sourced canned seafood produced these delicious Avocado Tuna Cakes, and it’s an excellent resource in this Salmon Patty recipe too.
Plus canned salmon has distinct advantages over fresh:
- It’s available at any grocery store, no trip to the seafood counter required.
- It’s 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.
Maybe someday I’ll live in a city with amazing access to affordable fresh salmon. When that day comes, using it to make a salmon patty won’t feel like the splurge equivalent of rubbing face cream all over my arms or using the fancy olive oil to roast vegetables, BUT for now, practicality rules.
How to Flavor Salmon Patties
I wanted this salmon patty recipe to be reminiscent of the old fashioned salmon patties I’ve tasted in my travels. That meant a tender, creamy interior, lightly crisp exterior, and a touch of spice.
Further, since I elected to make salmon patties using canned salmon, I knew I’d need to jazz them up with zippy ingredients to give them a fresh taste.
My fresh flavor + tender texture goals translated to:
- Dijon Mustard + White Vinegar. To give the patties punch.
- Greek Yogurt. For a creamy interior texture and bit of tang. I also used this Greek yogurt trick in my tasty Salmon Burgers recipe.
- Bread Crumbs. To bind the patties.
- Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, and Cayenne. For a little Southern flare.
How to Serve Salmon Patties
Once the salmon patties are cooked, you can take the recipe in two 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 crisp green salad alongside.
Side Dishes That Go Well with Salmon Patties
Don’t overthink it! This Salmon patty recipe is ideal with simple sides. Try:
- A big green salad like this Spinach Strawberry Salad
- Quick Sautéed Zucchini
- Creamy Cucumber Salad
- Baked Fries. So classic!
How to Store and Reheat Salmon Patties
Salmon patties can be kept in the fridge and freeze well too.
- 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.
Midwest sensibility, meet coastal living!
Salmon Patty Recipe
- 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. Enjoy immediately, topped with Greek yogurt, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
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