Salmon Cakes

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Made from fresh salmon and dill, these salmon cakes are as elegant as crab cakes but so much more affordable to make.

salmon cakes

When I told my friend Betsy Goldstein (superb cook, food lover, and Once Upon a Chef right hand) about these salmon cakes, she said, “Hmmm…I think I’ll wait until some of the reviews roll in to try those.” I laughed because I knew that she was thinking of the salmon cakes made from canned salmon that many of us grew up on. I promise: these are an entirely different dish!

Made from fresh raw salmon and seasoned with Old Bay, they’re as elegant as crab cakes but much more affordable to make. You can throw them together on a busy weeknight or serve them to company. And, as a bonus, they can be made entirely ahead of time and reheated. I love them best atop a green salad with a dollop of tartar sauce, but they’re also delicious alongside rice pilaf and a vegetable.

What you’ll need to Make Salmon Cakes

ingredients for salmon cakes

How to Make Salmon Cakes

To begin, finely dice the salmon into 1/4-inch pieces (or smaller). It’s important that the pieces are not too large or the cakes won’t bind together easily.

chopping salmon to make salmon cakes

Set the salmon aside and, in a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, Old Bay, salt, and pepper.

mayonnaise and seasoning in bowl for making salmon cakes

Whisk to combine.

whisked mayonnaise and seasoning for salmon cakes

Add the diced salmon, ¼ cup of the panko, the scallions, the celery, and the dill.

chopped salmon, herbs and sauce in bowl for salmon cakes

Gently mix until uniformly combined.

mixing ingredients for salmon cakes

Place the remaining 1 cup of panko in a shallow dish or pie plate.

coating salmon cakes with panko

Using a 1/3-cup measure, scoop the salmon mixture and form into a compact cake about 1 inch high. Place the salmon cake into the reserved panko and gently coat it all over in crumbs.

coating salmon cakes with panko

Repeat with the remaining mixture to form about 9 cakes. (At this point, you can refrigerate the salmon cakes for up to a few hours before cooking, if you’d like.)

salmon cakes on a plate ready to pan fry

Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place the salmon cakes in the skillet and cook without moving until golden brown, about 2 minutes.

frying salmon cakes

Carefully flip the cakes and cook until second side is golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Reduce the heat to medium if the cakes are browning too quickly.

frying salmon cakes

Transfer cakes to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining cakes (no need to change the oil).

draining salmon cakes on a paper towel

Serve the salmon cakes warm with tartar sauce and enjoy!

salmon cakes on a plate with salad greens

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Salmon Cakes

Made from fresh salmon and dill, these salmon cakes are as elegant as crab cakes but so much more affordable to make.

Servings: 9 cakes
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Salmon Cakes

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/4 lb skinless salmon fillet, finely diced into 1/4-inch pieces (see note)
  • 1-1/4 cups panko bread crumbs, divided
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, from 3 to 4 scallions
  • 1/3 cup finely diced celery, from 2 stalks
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Salad greens, tartar sauce and/or lemon wedges, for serving (see note)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, Old Bay, salt, and pepper. Add the diced salmon, ¼ cup of the panko, the scallions, the celery, and the dill. Gently mix until uniformly combined.
  2. Place the remaining 1 cup of panko in a shallow dish or pie plate. Using a 1/3-cup measure, scoop the salmon mixture and form into a compact cake about 1 inch high. Place the salmon cake into the panko and gently coat it all over in crumbs. Repeat with the remaining mixture to form about 9 cakes. (At this point, you can refrigerate the salmon cakes for a few hours until ready to cook, if you'd like.)
  3. Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place half of the salmon cakes in the skillet and cook without moving until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip the cakes and cook until second side is golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Reduce the heat to medium if the cakes are browning too quickly. Transfer cakes to paper towel–lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining cakes (no need to change the oil). Serve warm.
  4. Note: If buying a skin-on salmon fillet, purchase 1-1/3 pounds of fish to yield 1-1/4 pounds of fish after skinning.
  5. Make-Ahead: The salmon cakes can be fully cooked and refrigerated up to several hours ahead of time. To reheat: preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the salmon cakes in the oven and cook until crisp on the exterior and warm throughout, 10 to 15 minutes. The cakes may also be frozen for up to 3 months; defrost in the refrigerator before reheating.
  6. To make a quick tartar sauce: Whisk together 1 cup mayonnaise (best quality such as Hellmann's or Duke's), 1-1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon minced red onion, and 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
  7. To make a vinaigrette for the salad: Whisk together 1 small minced garlic clove, 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1-1/2 tablespoons real maple syrup, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, and 6 tablespoons vegetable oil.
  8. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cooked salmon cakes can be frozen for up to 3 months. Once cool, lay them out on one (or more) foil-lined baking sheet(s) and cover them loosely with plastic wrap. Freeze the patties in a single layer for about an hour, then remove them from the freezer. Wrap the cakes individually in plastic wrap and then put them together in a freezer bag or airtight container. Before serving, defrost in the refrigerator before reheating.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 salmon cake
  • Calories: 280
  • Fat: 22 g
  • Saturated fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 6 g
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 14 g
  • Sodium: 222 mg
  • Cholesterol: 37 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I made this last night because my husband has never had any type of fish cake and I used to make crab cakes at work all the time, so I wanted something different. I added a jalapeno and two stalks of asparagus to the mix (with only a small bit of celery) and they turned out great!! I definitely recommend putting them in the fridge for a bit first to give them time to bind together better. Such a delicious meal! I served them over arugula with some fresh halved grape tomatoes and thinly sliced red onion.

    • — Dani on July 27, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, enjoy your site as well as your cookbook! Just ate a delicious Salmon burger on a bun at a nice restaurant that topped it with a sauce, frisee and pickles. Other than making the cakes larger to fit a burger bun, would you recommend any changes to your recipe? And if its adaptable to a burger format, what sauce would you recommend that would also work with pickles?
    Thank you
    Mark

    • — Mark on July 25, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes, Mark! I don’t think you need to make any changes to the recipe although if you’re making them a bit bigger to fit a burger bun, you’ll get less than 9. I think this would be delicious topped with the tartar sauce (you can use this recipe) and some greens of your choosing (arugula would be delicious). Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on July 26, 2021
      • Reply
  • I made these last night for a birthday dinner and served them atop some arugula with a simple lemon and olive oil dressing. They were amazing. No tartar sauce needed, they shine on their own. Added some fresh tomatoes and cucumbers as well as some roasted green beans and rosemary roasted potatoes. I use your recipes several times a week and find them easy to follow and well liked by friends and family. This one is extraordinary.

    • — Deborah Allen on July 18, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made these fantastic salmon cakes twice in the past week – I used fresh salmon steaks, because they are about 1/3 less expensive than fresh fillets. It took a long time to debone and dice the steaks, but the cakes still came out beautifully formed with a slightly more mealy texture than the second batch I made – because this time I used the food processor instead of dicing the salmon by hand, and they tasted just as good, and took a lot less time. Thank you Jen, for this recipe!

    • — Soogan on June 22, 2021
    • Reply
  • Wonderful recipe! Having just made salmon with dill a few days ago, I opted instead for tarragon – which is cooperating with growing for me in a pot this summer (for a change…) – & the result was just great. Opted further to make it a sandwich on brioche hamburger buns. This will be a keeper whether as a sandwich or a main dish with salad. Thanks, Jenn! Your website is fantastic. Always top notch.

    • — Debra Shedrick on June 20, 2021
    • Reply
  • “Two Thumbs Up!!!!,” the instant review from my husband after being quiet with a few bites underway. I made the recipe to plan. Chopped the veggies. Skinned and chopped the end of the salmon filet. This recipe is without a doubt the best. I’ve made ATK’s recipe until now. No longer! This recipe delivered completely.

    Once again, Jenn, your work is truly the best. We trust your work. We read all of the reviews. Every recipe I have made from your collection starting in 2016 has been magnificent. Hope you will publish another book!

    • — Libby on April 3, 2021
    • Reply
    • Glad you enjoyed these and thanks so much for your kind words! I am publishing another cookbook — It will be available for purchase on September 14th!

      • — Jenn on April 5, 2021
      • Reply
  • Oh my gosh! I dislike fish but I could “tolerate” my grandmother’s salmon patties she made from canned salmon. Just barely.

    So I made this recipe from fresh salmon for hubby & thought, ok, I’ll try it.
    I can’t believe I really liked it! It’s healthy & you just use a wee bit of spray to fry it up. Cooks very fast. Thank you for finding me a fish recipe I like! Hubby LOVED IT! I can’t believe I ate salmon & liked it!

    • — Barb P on March 25, 2021
    • Reply

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