Subscribe to get a free eCookbook with my top 10 recipes + new weekly recipes!

Salmon Cakes

5 stars based on 22 votes

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 immediately 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 (naturally…I’m a proud Marylander), 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.

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.

how to make salmon cakes

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

how to make salmon cakes

Whisk to combine.

how to make salmon cakes

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

how to make salmon cakes

Gently mix until uniformly combined.

how to make salmon cakes

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 reserved panko and gently coat it all over in crumbs.

how to make salmon cakes

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.)

how to make salmon cakes

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.

how to make 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.

how to make salmon cakes

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

how to make salmon cakes

Serve the salmon cakes warm with tartar sauce and enjoy!

salmon cakes

My Recipe Videos

Salmon Cakes

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. 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 one month; 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.

Once Upon a Chef Cookbook - Coming Spring 2018 - Available for Preorder!

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.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    I always wanted to make salmon cakes but the process seemed a little daunting. This recipe was simple and delicious. The tarter sauce was simple to make and was a nice complement. Thank you again for another great recipe.

    - Maria on January 19, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These are excellent! Second time making them. I follow the recipe exactly, including the tartar sauce. I’ve also made Once Upon A Chef’s crab cakes, and they are also excellent. But I do appreciate the salmon cake recipe since it is much cheaper than the crab! Thanks for another great recipe Jenn.

    - Julie on January 14, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hello,I made this recipe with tilapia,and it so delicious! Thank you !

    - Gita on January 14, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I like this recipe very much. I am a gluten free and low carb cook. I often use canned salmon and fresh in a 1:1 ratio. This makes the patties stick together. Canned tuna with fresh tuna or any other fish works as well for patties. Instead of bread crumbs, I use a small amount of potato starch, arrowroot flour or even coconut or almond flour.

    - Barbara on January 12, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These are delicious! I made them for Christmas Eve in small appetizer portions and they were gone in minutes. Huge hit with everyone, even the kids. I made them another time for dinner and, again, the whole family loved them. I also made the tartar sauce recipe. Great recipe!

    - Lisa on January 11, 2018 Reply
  • I didn’t try salmon cake yet but The vinaigrette is out of this world! Had it with an arugula mixed green salad, sliced green apples, halved walnuts and crumbled feta. My hubby is in love! I love all your recipes- can you please share more dressing/vinaigrette recipes?

    - Asra on January 8, 2018 Reply
    • Hi Asra, glad you enjoyed the vinaigrette! You can find more salad dressing recipes by scrolling through this recipe section. Hope you find some options you like!

      - Jenn on January 8, 2018 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Thanks I saw these . This vingarette GEM was hidden in your salmon cake recipe though. Are there other hidden vinagrette recipes that you can point me to?

        - Asra on January 11, 2018 Reply
        • No more hidden gems, Asra 🙂 This vinaigrette is actually the same one from this salad. It’s my go-to!

          - Jenn on January 11, 2018 Reply
  • I look forward to trying these. I just wanted to say that i love that on your site users only review recipes that they have actually tried, and that your system allows all to comment more generally!

    I hate going to blogs where everyone has given 5 stars saying the recipe LOOKS great versus actually being able to vouch for it.

    - Kathryn on January 5, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Amazing yummy dish. Since my wife is gluten-free this was an easy to modify recipe substituting the panko for a gluten-free version of panko from Kinnikinnick. No other changes needed.

    - Jeremy Gup on January 2, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Just made these delicious salmon cakes, big success! Thanx Jen!

    - Vera on December 28, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn, thank you for another great recipe! I made these last night from our own caught, frozen B.C. Coho salmon. They were so good! And the easy tartar sauce topped them off! I served them with your Asian Slaw with peanut dressing which is one of our favorites. Perfect dinner!!

    - Deb E. on December 28, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn,

    I made these lovely salmon cakes last week for a light dinner and we really enjoyed them. A nice change from crab cakes, which we love. Definitely will make them again. I made your au gratin potatoes yesterday to serve with our prime rib and they were decadent. Almost could have passed on the prime rib and made a meal of the potatoes! I think we’re about ready for a food detox:-)

    Happy New Year from California!

    - Linda Grimes on December 26, 2017 Reply
  • 3 stars

    I made these as an appetizer for Christmas and personally thought they were overly salty and just average tasting.

    After multiple ‘sample tests’ with our family we decided to omit the final panko crust and simply sear them in a non-stick pan on both sides without oil. It worked well though it didn’t pack the usual wow factor I get from recipes on this website and I didn’t get any accolades for this one.

    - Val on December 25, 2017 Reply
  • I am new to the site and happened up on this recipe which looks wonderful! Can I use frozen salmon? We live on the coast in the deep South and fresh is almost never available. Can’t wait to try this and many more!

    - Sandra Ryce on December 22, 2017 Reply
    • Sure, Sandra. This is a great use for frozen salmon. Welcome to the site!

      - Jenn on December 22, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made these for dinner and we all enjoyed them. It was a different way to prepare salmon than the same old recipes I use. My 6 year old really liked them too. She put hers on a Kings Hawaiian roll. This was an easy weeknight recipe. I’m thinking these will make nice holiday appetizers if I make a mini size. Thanks for the recipe.

    - Tonya on December 18, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These were very tasty, although I’m going to guess I fell victim to not having chopped my salmon small enough, because mine didn’t stay together well. Regardless, they were good enough for me to try again to master them.

    - Jolie Griffin on December 18, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Jolie, Sorry you had trouble with them staying together. You do need to finely chop the salmon – if you have a food processor, you might find it easier to chop it in there in 2 or 3 batches (just be careful not to purée it).

      - Jenn on December 18, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Another keeper to add to the digital file!
    The salmon cakes were easy to make and absolutely delicious. No need for tartar sauce. A good squeeze of lemon adds the finishing touch!
    Happy holidays Jenn!

    - Kitty on December 18, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Received some salmon as a gift the same day this recipe was posted. Used the salmon for the salmon cake recipe, it was so delicious. I can’t wail to make it again.

    - Chris Schwarz on December 17, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Fantastic as usual. My husband has told me for years he does not like salmon cakes even from restaurants because they are so awful. I used a friend’s high quality canned salmon from Alaska once and he liked it, so I just let him think this was the same thing, but I took out a Copper River Salmon I had already skinned the day before and diced. He just died and went to heaven at which time I told him it was made from fresh salmon. He wants it again and again.

    - Rochelle on December 17, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I served these last night for a dinner party and my husband and friends raved. The fresh salmon makes all the difference! I followed the instructions to fry the cakes early in the day and then reheat before dinner – worked great and I was able to have a glass of wine and enjoy my guests. Thank you!

    - Sarabeth on December 17, 2017 Reply
  • Oh boy, what a great treat. Easy to make and besides, what can you do when you crave MD crab cakes in a kosher kitchen?

    - Larry T on December 16, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These salmon cakes are delicious. The flavour packed a powerful punch with just the right amount of crunch. Thanks for sharing. Will become one of my go to recipes when I feel like salmon! Happy Holidays!

    - Nanners on December 16, 2017 Reply
  • Can you use canned sockeye salmon for this recipe?
    Your recipes are very tasty.

    - Mark on December 15, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Mark, I’ve never tried this with canned salmon, but it would probably work. Please LMK how they turn out if you try it!

      - Jenn on December 17, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jen-
    I am one of the few people that hates salmon! Is there another fresh fish that you think might work in this recipe? I love crabcakes and really like the idea of trying a fish version…

    - Dawn C on December 15, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Dawn, I think this would work nicely with cod or tilapia as well. Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on December 15, 2017 Reply
  • I like the way you made the salmon cakes. I Love salmon, and a good crab cake. I’m also from Md. not far from Annapolis so I know what you are talking about when you say crab cakes. Them good old Blue crabs. Thanks for the salmon recipe! Merry Christmas!!

    - LORRAINE on December 14, 2017 Reply
    • Merry Christmas to you! (And hope you enjoy the salmon cakes if you try them :))

      - Jenn on December 15, 2017 Reply
  • You can find Old Bay at Walmart in Canada.
    Looking forward to trying this recipe.

    - Bev G. on December 14, 2017 Reply
  • Could I substitute nonfat Greek yogurt for the mayonnaise? Looks delicious 🙂

    - RK on December 14, 2017 Reply
    • Hi RK, I think mayo would be best but you could get away with using the yogurt. But because Greek yogurt has some tang to it, I’d suggest omitting the lemon juice. Please LMK how they turn out!

      - Jenn on December 15, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    OH MY WORD!!! THESE ARE FABULOUS! I served them with a spinach salad using the vinaigrette recipe suggested and the combination was absolutely amazing (and being a Maryland girl, I’m spoiled by crab cakes and find other seafood cakes a disappointment), Thank you for the recipe!! My whole family raved about this meal.

    - Paula Reed on December 14, 2017 Reply
  • I live in Canada and don’t think I can find Old Bay seasoning. Can you suggest an alternative? I love your recipes and have already preordered your cookbook.

    - Wendy on December 14, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Wendy, Thanks for your support with the cookbook! 🙂
      If you can’t find Old Bay, you can make your own – here’s a recipe (and it’s a delicious seasoning for all kinds of other foods including popcorn, fries and egg salad).

      - Jenn on December 14, 2017 Reply
    • Every single supermarket carries old bay, I live in Canada too . Also, every fresh fish market carries, and Walmart. Lots of options!

      - Alina on December 18, 2017 Reply
  • I will be making this recipe soon – looks delicious!

    - Debra on December 14, 2017 Reply
  • The Old Bay spice recipe on geniuskitchen.com is very good if you cannot find the spice at your grocery store. I think it is much better than any store bought version I have tried. Also you can control the salt if that is important to you. I also swear ty their fajita and taco spice recipes…you will never use store bought again.

    - Darlene on December 14, 2017 Reply
    • Great tip, Darlene – thank you. It is also available online here.

      - Jenn on December 14, 2017 Reply
    • Could not find it, can you send it?

      [email protected]

      - Ines Malardino on December 15, 2017 Reply
      • Hi Ines, I took a peek and see two Old Bay recipes on Genius Kitchen: this and this. If Darlene sees this maybe she can share which of the two she’s used.

        - Jenn on December 15, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    We make salmon cakes (we call them salmon patties) quite often but we do use canned salmon. It is very economical and when using the kind that contains bones (softened in the canning process), it has the added calcium and other health benefits.
    Your recipes, as well as the style and ease of use of your newsletter, are just excellent. I am always so glad to see “Once Upon the Chef” in the email box and save it for last, like dessert, after finishing other email. Praise and gratitude for your wonderful work. (Even though I can’t join in with the dismissal of canned salmon!)

    - Annie Cross on December 14, 2017 Reply
    • Thank you, Annie – so sweet! 😊

      - Jenn on December 14, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn,
    Nice update of a classic dish.
    I would add chopped capers to the tartar and shallots also work well in place of red onions.
    I am making this tonight.
    Thanks.

    Bernie

    - Bernie Kitts on December 14, 2017 Reply
  • Can these be baked?

    - Anne P. Murphy on December 14, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Anne, In testing the recipe, I tried spraying the cakes lightly with oil and baking them on a lightly greased baking sheet at 375°F for about 15 minutes – they were good but they didn’t get nearly as crisp on the exterior as the pan-fried ones. So, yes, it will work but you won’t get exactly the same result. Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on December 15, 2017 Reply
  • I’ve been looking for a good fishcake recipe! I love salmon but was wondering if this we be good with a white fish?

    - Sherri on December 14, 2017 Reply
    • Sure, Sherri, I think this would work with almost any fresh fish – my first choice may be cod. Please LMK how they turn out!

      - Jenn on December 15, 2017 Reply
  • I’m so excited because I bought a box of Old Bay on amazon.uk – I’ve never used it before, and now I have the perfect recipe to try. I know what we’re having for dinner on Saturday!

    - Jayne on December 14, 2017 Reply

Add a Review or Question

Hungry for More?

Subscribe to my free weekly newsletter — where I share new recipes and seasonal menus for every occasion.

Your email address will never be used for any other purpose.
Curious? See a sample newsletter.