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Made from fresh salmon and dill, these salmon cakes are as elegant as crab cakes but so much more affordable to make.
When I told my friend and Once Upon a Chef right hand, Betsy Goldstein, 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 she was thinking of the salmon cakes made from canned salmon that many of us grew up on. I promise: these are a whole different animal. Made from fresh raw salmon and seasoned with Old Bay, they’re as elegant as crab cakes yet so much more affordable to make. What’s more, they can be made entirely ahead of time and reheated. I love them for brunch over a green salad with vinaigrette, but they also make a delicious dinner alongside rice pilaf and roasted asparagus. Either way, I serve them with homemade tartar sauce.
What you’ll need to Make 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.
Set the salmon aside and, in a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, Old Bay, salt, and pepper.
Whisk to combine.
Add the diced salmon, ¼ cup of the panko, the scallions, the celery, and the dill.
Gently mix until uniformly combined.
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.
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.)
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.
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 a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining cakes (no need to change the oil).
Serve the salmon cakes warm with tartar sauce and enjoy!
You may also like:
- Slow-Roasted Salmon with Fresh Herb Salsa
- Maryland. Crab Cakes with Quick Tartar Sauce
- Smoked Salmon Dip
- Pan-Seared Scallops with Lemon Butter
- Roasted Salmon Quinoa Bowls with Avocado, Cucumber & Green Goddess Dressing
Salmon Cakes Video Tutorial
Made from fresh salmon and dill, these salmon cakes are as elegant as crab cakes but so much more affordable to make.
For the Salmon Cakes
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1¼ lb skinless salmon fillet, finely diced into ¼-inch pieces (see note)
- 1¼ cups panko bread crumbs, divided
- ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions, from 3 to 4 scallions, light and dark green parts
- ⅓ cup finely diced celery, from 2 stalks
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- Salad greens with vinaigrette, tartar sauce and/or lemon wedges, for serving (see note)
- 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.
- Place the remaining 1 cup of panko in a shallow dish or pie plate. Using a ⅓-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.)
- 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.
- Note: If buying a skin-on salmon fillet, purchase 1⅓ pounds of fish to yield 1¼ pounds of fish after skinning.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Followed recipe as written and it was fabulous.
Fresh and flavorful!
These were fabulous. I made them from freshly caught cohoe salmon and the stronger taste was terrific.
These salmon cakes were totally delicious! I made them for the first time for dinner this week and my husband who is not a salmon fan loved them. Served it with rice pilaf, a green salad and Jenn’s quick tartar sauce. Another great recipe from once upon a chef!
I’m not a salmon fan but I’ve made this recipe twice using tuna and it’s turned out great! My family loves all of the recipes that I try from your website.
I have made this many times, simply delicious and tastes like a fancy restaurant dish. I made a few tweak this time and it turned out great – I added an egg to reduce the amount of mayo, (next time will try without mayo to see as it was very moist and used a dash of corn starch to hold it together), and air fried at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. I sprayed the air fryer with avocado oil and sprayed the tops. Tastes just like it was fried!
We used this recipe yesterday for Good Friday, but substituted the fresh salmon with two cans of salmon. My husband normally makes his own version of salmon loaf, it’s awful, ha ha! I said to him let’s see what chef Jenn has on her site for salmon. We followed the recipe but did not roll the salmon loaf in Panko crumbs. It was amazing and my husband said he would never make it any other way. We’ve tried tons of your recipes and have given an A+ to everyone. Thank you so much Jen you are amazing.
We love these! We always do this with our salmon leftovers on day 2. It’s a perfect way to make a fresh meal out of leftovers. Dare I say we like this more than the original meal day 1?!
My salmon cakes were falling apart but otherwise tasted very yummy. Any ideas what I did wrong?
Samantha, I’m sorry to hear they fell apart on you, but glad you enjoyed them. Nevertheless! Next time you make them, I’d try to cut the salmon into slightly smaller pieces. Also, try refrigerating them for an hour before cooking. Hope that helps!
Was wondering if I could use cod instead of salmon ?
Sure – enjoy!
Is there a substitute for the mayonnaise in the salmon cakes?
Hi Cathleen, You can replace the mayo with Greek yogurt, but because Greek yogurt is a bit tangy, I’d suggest omitting the lemon juice. Please LMK how they turn out!
Don’t you dare make fun of the canned salmon patties we grew up on! They were delicious, served with creamed peas and new potatoes!
I think canned salmon could be substituted for the raw salmon in this recipe.
We don’t have Old Bay seasoning in Ireland, does anyone have a recipe or a substitution for it? Thank you
Hi Sinead, If they don’t have it in Ireland, here’s a recipe for homemade Old Bay. (And it’s a delicious seasoning for all kinds of other foods including popcorn, fries, and egg salad.)
I’ve been making your Maryland Crab Cake recipe in my air fryer for years & it’s one of my favorites, but crab has been so incredibly expensive the past few years! These are a great substitute and turned out fabulous in the air fryer at 1/4 of the cost. Thank you! I served with the quick tartar sauce from your crab cake recipe with a little cayenne and garlic powder + lemon zest. Trader Joe’s has wild skinless salmon and it made the prep really simple. Will now be on my regular rotation without breaking my budget!
Second time making these – they’re delicious! I first put the salmon fillet skin side down in a heated skillet on medium heat for about a minute, which made removing the skin with a metal spatula quite easy. I also put the salmon cakes in the fridge for a good half hour after forming them, which helped firm them up and retain their shape (thanks to a tip from another one of your fans). Made a tartar sauce to go with it, and not a crumb remained. Thank you Jenn for yet another mouth-watering recipe.!
I made these yesterday, followed the recipe exactly as written and they are absolutely delicious!
These were really good!! I didn’t get 9 patties out of it, and they fell apart a little bit, but they tasted great. Next time I plan to double the recipe and freeze half.
Hello there! I will be doing this recipe tonight but would prefer to use my air fryer. Has anyone tried to do it in the air fryer? If so what are the settings you would recommend please. Thank you in advance!
I just tried the recipe with my air fryer on 350F for 8 minutes. Turns out great!
Did you flip them? Thanks
My husband went king salmon fishing a few weeks ago and I made this the very next day. They were absolutely amazing. I’m making them again today but going to double the recipe. I did have a heck of a time keeping the patties together. I’m just going to dice smaller today. I did not make a tartar sauce but a fantastic mustard sauce.
I’ve made this many times, following the recipe as written, and it comes out great. Recently I was pressed for time, so used cooked salmon instead of dicing raw salmon. I added all the panko into the mixture with 2 eggs. The result was just as good, and much less time consuming. Also, the cakes held together better, making it easier to saute.
Hi Jenn! I left you a comment about substituting Miracle Whip for Mayo just yesterday, decided to go with the Mayo! I got fresh salmon and wanted to know if I can make theses salmon cakes a day ahead of time and simply refrigerate with the same results?
Thank you as always for your quick responses and amazing recipes! xoxo
Hi Stacey, You can definitely make these a day ahead with excellent results. Enjoy!
You’re the best Jenn…not only ar your amazing recipes, but responding to everyone! 🤗 Thank you so much!!!
Hi Jenn! I made these delicious salmon cakes before and my sister and brother-in-law are in town and he can’t do dairy with the mayonaise. Can Miracle Whip be substituted or can you recommend another ingredient to replace the mayonaise? Thank you as always for your wonderful recipes! Sincerely, Stacey
Glad you like them! I’ve never used Miracle Whip so I can’t account for how it would change the flavor, but it should work. Please LMK how they turn out. 🙂
Flavor is good. Needs a bit more salt. But completely falls apart when trying to cook so you end up with crumbs much like hamburger which has been separated while cooking but definitely NOT cakes. Am really sorry as I like salmon cakes but this one is a disaster and definitely not worth the effort needed to make it. Will not go through this much work for so little reward again.
Did you refrigerate them before cooking?
Could I use canned Red Sockeye Salmon ? If so please give me an idea of the amount of salmon I would need. I was just gifted your latest book, 70 Quick Fix Dinners. Recipes all look and sound exactly what I need in my life right now for my family ! Look forward to cooking up a storm.
Thank you so much !
So glad you like the recipes, Yvonne (and hope you enjoy those in the cookbook too)! I haven’t made these with canned salmon, but a number of other readers have commented that they have with good results. And I’d use 1¼ pounds (so 20 ounces). I’d love to hear how they turn out!
Everybody in our family loves this dish! Kids are usually not big fan of seafood, but they loved this one! The most troublesome work is cutting salmon into small pieces. And coating salmon cake with panko is a delicate job. Other than that, it’s a fairly simple and straightforward process. Thank you for the recipe!
These salmon cakes were on point! Made these together with my teenage son. Had a great time making these delicious cakes and expanding the list of go-to meals. Thanks so much for these Jenn!
I really want to make these – they look delicious. I did give 5 stars, even though I haven’t made them yet, because I’m certain they are excellent! My question: I’m on an austerity budget right now….would it be so awful if I substituted canned, wild-caught salmon for the fresh salmon? If I did do that, are there alterations in the recipe you would suggest?
Hi Linda, 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!
Second time making the salmon cakes. They are delicious, tonight I am trying them in the air fryer.
How did they turn out in the air fryer?
I made these salmon cakes last night and they were delicious! It was a bit time consuming, but well worth the work. The only thing I did differently was left out the dill, which I did not mean to do. After I formed the patties I noticed my 2 tablespoons of chopped dill sitting on a cutting board – well shoot (not exactly what I said). Next I made the tartar sauce you included with this recipe, and the only thing I did differently was to add 2 tablespoons of chopped dill ;o) It also was delicious and paired nicely with the salmon cakes.
These were wonderful! A beautiful presentation and such a nice change from a filet of salmon!
Outstanding! 2 fish lovers and 2 eh, not so much in my family, and we all enjoyed this. The patties are on the smaller side but very rich. The tartar sauce is wonderful. Thanks, Jenn!
These salmon cakes are delicious and it was so nice to be able to use fresh dill and green onion tops from our garden in them. I really enjoy the flavors of Dijon mustard and Old Bay seasoning and I think they added extra zest and tanginess to the cakes. My mother made fish cakes from our local warm water fish with potatoes and they were delicious too yet these are nice for a change with the cold water salmon. I Can’t wait for my grandkids to try them.
These salmon cakes are DELICIOUS! I will certainly be making them again!
First time I’ve made a fresh salmon cake. These are FABULOUS!! I used 2 1/4 pounds fresh salmon and bumped up the other ingredient list a tad. Not one left after Father’s Day dinner. Will not need to look for any other recipe for salmon cakes because this is perfect!
Hi Jenn. I have been following your recipes and most are easily made. I’m a pescatarian so I have to pick and choose which will work for me.
I also live alone and wish there was a recipe adjuster so I can select the amount I want to make and have a more accurate measurement of the ingredients. I have also had my daughter view and make recipes as well.
Thanks in advance
Hi Ramona, Glad you find the recipes easy to make! Regarding scaling recipes, a reader shared is a website that will do that. It’s called AnyList if you want to check it out. I took a peek at it and it appears that there are a lot of free options but if you want to scale recipes, that’s an option you need to pay for. (Keep in mind that I haven’t tried it myself.) Hope that helps!
I made these salmon cakes last week and they were excellent. Fresh salmon makes all the difference. My husband really enjoyed them, too. Thanks for the recipe.
Absolutely wonderful! Thanks, Jenn!
Once again, Jenn…you hit it out of the Park!
Theses Salmon Cakes were AMAZING!!!
Simply the best! Thank you so much for all your delicious recipes! 🤗
These were a bit work but unbelievably good and I’m going to make them for appies for our dinner group! I wasn’t sure they would hold together but they did beautifully. Your suggestion to ensure the salmon was diced small was a good one. Thank you for sharing. Your recipes are my go-to and never fail!
As for Salmon Cakes,, you left out the part of needing to live where one can obtain Fresh raw Salmon. This was easy when I lived in West Washington State,, but now here in central NC, it’s unobtainable.
Hi Warren, if you have access to frozen salmon, that will work as well.
My variation. Used grated ginger, cilantro and finely chopped lemon grass. A little heat, too, with either cayenne or 10mL of harissa. Served with mango chutney and lemon risotto. Lovely combination of flavours.
I’m not a huge fan of salmon typically but these salmon cakes were just superb. They were easy to prepare and easy to cook and tasted wonderful. My husband said he had never had better. I will even make these for company sometime. I love your recipes and find that if I follow the directions, I get a superior product. Your weekly email is always fun and I keep them all for reference. Thank you. PS, tell your friend she needs to try these for sure.