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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 salmon patty recipe will transport you to your favorite coastal city.

salmon patty recipe without mayo on a plate with lemon wedges and fresh parsley

Why You’ll Love This Old-Fashioned Salmon Patties Recipe

  • A Well-Loved Classic. I wanted this salmon patty recipe to be reminiscent of the old-fashioned ones I’ve tasted in my travels. This means a tender, creamy interior, a lightly crisp exterior, and a touch of spice.
  • Exceptionally Versatile. Also known as a salmon cake, these salmon patties are not quite as hefty as large-scale Salmon Burgers, but just as satisfying when it comes to ease and flavor. They’re also much more versatile—serve them as a protein for salads, put them in meal bowls, or make them into sliders.
  • Easy to Make. Inspired by the fresh versions I’ve eaten in Seattle and the Southern salmon patties and Salmon Croquettes I’ve tried in Charleston and Louisiana, this recipe adopts a little Midwest practicality: it uses canned salmon. Don’t worry! Thanks to punchy lemon juice and an array of spices, they taste plenty fresh.
A plate of easy and healthy Salmon Patties

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 Salmon Patties

The Ingredients

  • Canned Salmon. 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 also costs a fraction of the price. Win!
  • Greek Yogurt. Rather than make salmon patties with mayo, I swap Greek yogurt. 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.

The Directions

a bowl with canned salmon and ingredients for salmon patties
  1. Put Everything in a Big Bowl. Make sure you have room to mix the salmon patty ingredients.
mixing ingredients for salmon patties
  1. Combine. Be gentle. I like to use a fork or my hands.
shaped salmon patty
  1. Shape the Patties. You’ll have 6.
shaped salmon patties cooking in a skillet
  1. Heat the Oil. Use medium heat (I like cast iron, but any sturdy frying pan will do).
  2. Cook on the First Side. In about 3 minutes, the bottom will be dark golden.
salmon patties cooking on a skillet
  1. Flip and Cook on the Other Side. The second side is usually a little faster.
  2. Serve. Top with Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and fresh parsley. ENJOY!

Recipe Variations

  • Air Fryer Salmon Patties. 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. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F while prepping the patties. Spritz the formed patties with oil and cook for 6 to 8 minutes. Flip, 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.
  • Salmon Patties Without Canned Salmon. If you prefer to make salmon patties from fresh salmon, cook your salmon first, then flake it and add it to the recipe as directed. A few easy ways to cook salmon are Grilled Salmon in Foil, Air Fryer Salmon, Poached Salmon, and Oven Baked Salmon. These salmon patties can also be made with any leftover cooked salmon you have in your fridge. Pesto Salmon would both make yummy salmon cakes.
  • Other Seafood Options. Although I haven’t tried it, this recipe would be a good base for crab cakes. You can use real lump crab meat or flaked imitation crab. Tuna is another option; I would suggest adding a little more lemon. Or, see these Avocado Tuna Cakes for inspiration.

Storage Tips

  • 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 Ideas

Leftover salmon patties are the perfect easy weekday lunch. Enjoy cold or warm over a bed of your favorite greens 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!

Simple canned salmon patty recipe cooked in a skillet

How to Serve Salmon Patties

  • On a Bun. Go slider style. Add thinly sliced tomatoes, red onions, and a smear of Greek yogurt or tartar sauce. Serve with Sweet Potato Fries.
  • On Their Own. My favorite, with a big dollop of Greek yogurt and a squeeze of lemon. This is nice with a starchy side like Roasted Potatoes or a hearty salad like 7 Layer Salad.
  • On a Green Salad. Choose your favorite crisp greens and veggies for a nutrition-packed meal. Arugula Salad is perfect.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Make Sure to Buy Boneless Salmon. 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.
  • Beyond Breadcrumbs. If you don’t have breadcrumbs, you can make your own with extra pieces of day-old bread or swap them for an equal amount of finely ground whole wheat cracker crumbs. Avoid saltine crackers, which are too salty. Panko breadcrumbs will work nicely; I don’t recommend cornmeal, as I worry it would also be dense.
  • Make Sure Your Pan Is Hot. Let it preheat completely and the oil heat completely before adding the patties to ensure you get a nice crisp outside.
  • Monitor the Heat. It’s a fine line between getting the patties crisp and making sure they don’t burn. Keep an eye on them and turn down the heat if needed. They’ll have a good amount of color (like the photos) but you don’t want them to be black outside and undercooked inside.
A closeup of the best salmon patties recipe in a skillet

Salmon Patties

4.73 from 272 votes
Canned salmon makes this recipe for salmon patties super easy! A healthy, budget-friendly meal that comes together in just 30 minutes.

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Servings: 6 patties

Ingredients
  

  • 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

For serving:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Lemon wedges

Instructions
 

  • 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!

Video

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1patty (without yogurt topping)Calories: 89kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 3gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 28mgPotassium: 66mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 207IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 36mgIron: 1mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. Best salmon patties I’ve ever made (also, only salmon patties I’ve ever made, so do with that what you will)5 stars

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