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

  • Thank you for the great recipe! I have done it a few times and it always turns out great. My kids dislike fish these days (and they liked it as babies, I don’t get it) but these salmon cakes are stil a winner. No leftovers. I had to make old bay spice by myself, no luck with the shops here in Croatia, hopefully I did it justice.

    • — Vlatka on January 22, 2021
    • Reply
  • Wow – every single thing I have made from Jenn is soooo delicious and this was no exception. I didn’t even make a sauce, just ate the salmon cakes in all of their crispy goodness. I was out of panko so just used regular breadcrumbs from Trader Joe’s and they looked just like the picture!

    • — Cindy A on January 8, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was brilliant! Your recipes are well written, with great pictures. I was impressed, that the timing was so spot on. My salmon cakes were done at the four-minute mark, at 122°F!
    I used a supermarket Parmesan Panko mix, and I used Japanese mayo. I felt a bit guilty hacking up a very large 2-pound fillet of Costco Norway salmon, but it was so good!

    I highly recommend this recipe, thank you Jenn!!!

    • — Carol on January 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can you recommend a substitute for Mayo in this recipe?

    • — Cristina on December 16, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Cristina, I think you could use Greek yogurt in place of the mayo. But because Greek yogurt is a bit tangy, I’d suggest omitting the lemon juice. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on December 16, 2020
      • Reply
      • I didn’t have Greek yogurt, so I used an egg instead and they turned out great! Delicious recipe. My husband and son gave them rave reviews.

        • — Cristina on December 17, 2020
        • Reply
  • Can this be made with canned salmon? What step would be different?

    • — Roger Hinds on November 9, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Roger, I haven’t made these with canned salmon, but a number of other readers have commented that they have with good results. (I don’t think you’d need to make any modifications to the recipe.) Please LMK how they turn out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on November 9, 2020
      • Reply
  • Help, Jenn. I just reviewed these salmon cakes but my review says I’ve already reviewed. That’s impossible since this is the first time I’ve made them.

    • — Phyllis on October 24, 2020
    • Reply
    • It looks like it worked, Phyllis. Glad you enjoyed them! 🙂

      • — Jenn on October 24, 2020
      • Reply
  • For years I’ve made my mother’s salmon cakes recipe from canned salmon. Never again! These fresh salmon cakes are over the moon. I baked them, then broiled them to avoid the extra calories and the mess. I served them with the recommended tartar sauce, couscous and a butter lettuce salad. I will freeze four cakes for another delicious meal. Thank you, Jenn, for another successful dinner.

    • — Phyllis on October 24, 2020
    • Reply
  • Bonjour Jenn !

    Ces « salmon cakes » sont fabuleux !!

    Was looking for new ways to prepare salmon when I decided to go back to your site (already have a few of your recipes we like). Made those yesterday evening and we both were very impressed. The taste is out of this world and the suggested tartar sauce goes perfectly with them. I used my steak tartare mold to form the cakes and it was as easy as it gets. The recipe is a keeper for sure.

    I couldn’t find the « Old Bay » seasoning up here in Quebec City, but was able use a homemade blend close enough.

    I’m a French speaking person, so I apologize for my English.

    • — Michel on October 17, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad you enjoyed them (and your English is great)! 🙂

      • — Jenn on October 18, 2020
      • Reply
    • Bonjour Michel & and Jenn !
      Discovered your site before Xmas, and I am now a ”real” fan. My husband liked so much all the 15+ recipes I’ve made, that he gave me your book at Christmas 🙂
      I’m getting ready for these salmon cakes tonight and just want to let know Michel, that I live in Quebec City also, and the Old Bay seasoning is usually available in IGA’s supermarkets. It is often in small plastic box by the producer ”La route des Indes” in the ”special spices” area.
      Thank you Jenn for all these great recipes.
      Martine

      • — Martine on January 17, 2021
      • Reply
      • ❤️

        • — Jenn on January 17, 2021
        • Reply
  • Hi, Jenn, made these today for lunch, along with salad and your most delicuous dressing and the tartar sauce. I didn’t have sweet pickle relish so used chopped dill pickles instead. Other than that followed the directions exactly. Turned out perfect, no issues with cakes not staying together. We all loved it. ps We also had your French apple cake for dessert. I have made this so many times. This time I added a third cup of plumped golden raisins with the apple. Most delicious. Thank you again for the most wonderful recipes and inspirations!!

    • — Marion on September 17, 2020
    • Reply
  • This was delicious and a nice change of pace for our family. Has great flavor combinations – love the fresh dill! But I save my five star reviews for dishes that would go into an every other week rotation. As it is, I would probably make this every 6-8 weeks. Also, the kids (9 and 13) haven’t tried it – not sure it will go over well. But hubbie said it was good and that says a lot.

    I didn’t have quite enough panko. I used panko for the filling and for the coating I used crushed ritz crackers – which worked well.

    I also thought I chopped my salmon fine enough but it was a little challenging to manage the shaping and flipping. Next time I will chop more finely.

    • — Werbs on September 2, 2020
    • Reply
  • Delicious salmon cakes. I have made these before, but this time I discovered that I was out of Old Bay. That’s never happened before! I substituted Pamlico Bay seasoning (found in the Outer Banks of North Carolina) and added a bit of diced red pepper (because I had it). Excellent!

    • — Laurie on August 31, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hello. I have leftover grilled salmon from last night. Could I possibly use that for the cakes. Maybe not bake as long? I’m not good with frying.
    Thanks Jenn

    • — Mary on August 1, 2020
    • Reply
    • Unfortunately, I don’t think it will work here, Mary – I’m sorry!

      • — Jenn on August 2, 2020
      • Reply
      • This recipe worked well for me to use my leftover grilled salmon. If you are not comfortable with frying, you could dip only one side of the salmon cake in the breadcrumb and brush with either melted butter or olive oil. Cook the cakes in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 7 minutes. Broil on high for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.

        • — Kim on September 8, 2020
        • Reply
  • Hi Jenn – 2 questions:

    1. Can these be frozen? If yes, would you do it raw or cooked? And then how to defrost and cook?
    2.To be a bit healthier, can these be baked? If so, how?

    Thank you!

    • — Tina on July 22, 2020
    • Reply
    • Yes, you can definitely freeze these (after cooking). And I like these best pan-fried, but you can get away with cooking them in the oven. I’d use a combination of baking and broiling; bake them in a 350-degree oven on a lightly greased baking sheet for about twenty minutes, or until hot (and it’s not necessary to flip them), then slide them under the broiler for about a minute to get them golden brown on top. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 23, 2020
      • Reply
  • I make this last night for supper and they were so good! The instructions were detailed and easy to follow and these will definitely be going into the meal rotation! They were very crisp on the outside and had a great flavor!

    • — Cindy on June 25, 2020
    • Reply
  • If using dried dill.. how much would you use?

    • — Pam on June 22, 2020
    • Reply
    • You’ll need about 2 teaspoons. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 22, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn… I have made so many of your recipes and they are always a big hit at our house. I want to make your Salmon Cakes and I was wondering if I could bake them in my oven instead of frying them?

    • — siobhan on June 15, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Siobhan, I like these best pan-fried, but you can get away with cooking them in the oven. I’d use a combination of baking and broiling; bake them in a 350-degree oven on a lightly greased baking sheet for about twenty minutes, or until hot (and it’s not necessary to flip them), then slide them under the broiler for about a minute to get them golden brown on top. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 16, 2020
      • Reply
  • Love this recipe! Wondering if I can make it in a loaf pan?

    • — Cathy on June 9, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you like it! Technically, it will work to make it in a loaf pan, but I think you’ll miss the crispy exterior of the pan-fried cakes. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on June 9, 2020
      • Reply
  • Our family loves this recipe. We have had it several times since I discovered it and I have already reviewed it once (5 stars all the way). However, I felt compelled to return to share what I did with the leftovers this time around in case others are looking for a way to mix it up. We usually just reheat in the oven and eat them as cakes. Today, though, I put some bacon in the oven and slowly reheated the cakes on a lightly oiled skillet med-low heat, flipping a couple times to protect the panko from burning. I sliced a tomato as thinly as I could and tore up some arugula. I spread mayo on 2 slices of fairly thick bread and after resting the bacon on paper towels, I stacked the tomato on one slice of bread and lightly salted it. Placed the bacon on top of that, followed by the salmon cake (broken up a bit to fit the bread), topped that with the torn arugula and the other slice of bread. This “blt” was the best sandwich I have EVER had.

    • — Shannon C on May 28, 2020
    • Reply
    • Oh my gosh, Shannon — that sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 28, 2020
      • Reply
  • I loved these cakes and left a 5 star review. One question. I am gluten free and used gluten free panko. I know from experience it is not a great product; even though I have tried a couple of brands, it’s always heavy and flavorless – not a great substitute. I have made salmon cakes previously using cornmeal for the binder and coating. Do you think it would work here? Or mix cornmeal and GF flour? I think I have seen GF matzoh meal too? Any other suggestions?

    • — Maxine F on May 28, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad you liked them! Honestly, I don’t think any of those alternatives would work very well – I’m sorry! For the best results with consistency, I’d stick with the GF panko.

      • — Jenn on May 29, 2020
      • Reply
    • I am avoiding grains, so I substituted the bread crumbs with pork rinds which I placed in a strong plastic bag and smashed to smithereens with a rolling pin. I measured out 1-1/4 cups and proceeded with the recipe as written. It was delicious!

      • — Paula on June 9, 2020
      • Reply
  • Totally delicious moist and tender – much better texture than the ones made before with canned or cooked leftover salmon. One recommendation: I don’t care for dill and I have a recipe for salmon cakes with a Thai taste which I used to make. So tasty and full of flavor! I cut the salt in 1/2 and added 1 TB fish sauce, dropped the dill and added Thai red curry paste, I used 1 TB but that might be too much for some. It was fabulous and I could have added chopped fresh cilantro if I’d had some. Next time I will.

    • — Maxine F. on May 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • I have never reviewed a recipe before – ever, but I had to review this one. These salmon cakes are wonderful! They are light, refreshing, and oh so easy. I have used Ina Garten’s recipe for years, but these are sooooo much better and simpler. I used the frozen atlantic salmon from Costco and served with a dill sauce. Perfection!

    • — Julie on May 17, 2020
    • Reply
  • SO delicious! The dill, chives, and celery paired so perfectly with the salmon, and used a food processor to make chopping easier. I used Cucumber Tzatziki (from Trader Joes) instead of tartar sauce!

    • — Michelle on May 11, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Ms. Segal
    I made these salmon cakes 2 weeks ago and they were delicious; I was a bit short on the salmon; I had some large frozen sea scallops, I chopped them up and added them to the salmon, yummy.
    I’m a big fan of your recipes it’s always fresh, new, simple and delicious. Thank you.

    • — Laurent-Paul Durell on May 7, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed! 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 8, 2020
      • Reply
  • Made these last night. My husband was not thrilled about the idea of salmon cakes, but he ended up going back for seconds and praising them. There was even a high five involved. I was sure to remove the bloodline (as I always do when serving salmon) because although it is perfectly safe to eat, I didn’t want the stronger flavor to affect the experience. The recipe says to use a non-stick skillet. I just threw all of my non-stick cookware away, so I used my heavy bottom stainless steel and it was fine. They didn’t stick at all. The celery, scallions and old bay all blended beautifully and the panko helped it not feel so heavy. Perfect meal to end a beach day hunting for seashells on the Cape with our 4 years old daughter (she also loved the cakes). Thank you for the recipe!

    • — Shannon C on May 3, 2020
    • Reply
  • I just made these for my family and they were a HUGE hit! We’ve been freezing lots of protein and I was trying to figure out what to do with the salmon since it never quite tastes the same coming out of the freezer. Thawed and made these. We didn’t have dill, so we put them on brioche buns, topped em with some guac. My husband said it was the best meal I ever made. THANK YOU! I love every recipe on your site.

    • — Jen Mahan on March 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I have made these salmon cakes several times for my partner and toddler to rave reviews.
    I have only been cooking seafood for about a year (I don’t like fish myself but my partner and 2 year old son love it) and have recently bought some canned light tuna for the first time. I have zero experience cooking with canned tuna (actually canned meat in general, haha) and was trying to figure out what to do with it. Do you think I could use this recipe as a base to make tuna cakes? Or would you have any suggestions for a good recipe for canned tuna? With everything going on in the world right now, I thought it might be a good time to try some recipes with canned meat.
    Thanks in advance and hope you and your family are well.

    • — Bry on March 25, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Bry, so glad you all have enjoyed these! I would be inclined to suggest against using canned tuna for these but a few readers have commented that they have and have been happy with the results (keep in mind I’ve never tried it myself). Please LMK how it turns out if you try it! 🙂

      • — Jenn on March 25, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Another one of your no-fail recipes! I have always used the recipe that my mother-in-law gave me almost 30 years ago that calls for canned salmon. It’s always been fine but when I saw this recipe, I was intrigued by your use of fresh salmon. It makes all the difference! The flavor combination is perfect and the crispy Panko crust sends them over the top! No more canned salmon for me. We ate half of them last night and put the other half in the freezer, but something tells me they won’t stay in there long. Thanks for another winning recipe!

    • — Jane on March 7, 2020
    • Reply
  • In a word…SCRUMPTIOUS!!!
    I LOVED this recipe Jenn, a lot more work than canned salmon,
    BUT SOOOOO WORTH IT!!!
    Thanks Jenn

    • — Gigi B on February 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • Simply Amazing. Everyone enjoyed them. Thank you for the delicious recipe. I’ve enjoyed every recipe I’ve made from your website. 🙂

    • — Angela on February 17, 2020
    • Reply
  • What can I substitute for Old Bay? My family doesn’t like the flavor.
    Judy

    • — Judith on January 12, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Judith, I’d recommend taking a peek at this recipe which is a homemade version of Old Bay. You can choose a few of the spices your family likes and combine them instead. Hope that helps and that you enjoy the salmon cakes! 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 13, 2020
      • Reply
  • This is one of my favourite recipes of Jens and is a great way to get my whole family on board with eating salmon!
    I always struggle to get the salmon cut finely enough and my cakes usually fall apart so last night I pulsed it in the food processor and it worked great – the cakes stayed together really well!

    • — Ashley on January 12, 2020
    • Reply
  • We love salmon but as most cooks you make the same old. I’m going to make this this week. I find chopping veggies kind of calming. I don’t like the thought of chopping salmon. I did see Ina Garten use the food processor to pulse salmon. Your comment? Btw I just sign up for your weekly newsletter. I hope you do not share with advertisers.

    • — Judy Schell on January 6, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Judy, Thanks for signing up (and, no worries, I don’t share the list with anyone). I believe Ina Garten uses cooked salmon in her salmon cakes, which is a bit easier to chop in a food processor. You can chop raw salmon in the machine, but be sure to chop it into smaller pieces first and watch that it doesn’t get too pulverized. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on January 6, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I rarely write reviews but I had to on this one. I wasn’t expecting much as I’m not a salmon lover, but I’ve been trying to empty out my freezer. Had a salmon fillet and decided to try the the salmon cakes. After removing the skin I only had a little more than 3/4 lbs of salmon. Adjusted the recipe and ended up with 6 full sized cakes and one half sized. My husband and I devoured them all. So delicious. And we loved the tartar sauce. Will be making both recipes often.
    Thanks so much for sharing your recipes All have been wonderful and I am looking forward to trying many more.

    • — Shannon on January 5, 2020
    • Reply
  • These salmon cakes are outstanding. It was a little time consuming dicing the salmon, but after eating them, I concluded it was time well spent. I served with remoulade.

    • — Suzie DeAngelis on December 2, 2019
    • Reply

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