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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.
Best salmon cakes I’ve ever made. Subbed crusty bread crumbs mixed with some panko and turned out perfect. Might cut back one the salt next time since Old Bay contains enough.
Made these tonight for dinner. So easy and the taste of the cakes were amazing. I will definitely make them again. They were so good that I called our neighbor’s and invited them over to try. I also made the tarter sauce. Yum…. I added a little Greek yogurt and next time will add a little more. Both recipes were easy to make and so good.
Thank you for the many recipes you post. 😊
We made these salmon cakes last night and they were delicious and so easy to make. We served them with asparagus, green salad (acidic dressing to balance the salmon richness) and remoulade sauce. Amazing. The only addition, a dash or two of tabasco for a spicy kick, Next time we will try to cover them with flour, egg wash and panko before frying to provide even more structure.
I’m from Australia and we don’t have ‘old bay’. What is in it or what could I use instead? I’ve tried and enjoyed some of your other recipes and have enjoyed them. Thank you, also for the clear instructions and photos.
Old Bay is a combination of spices including mustard, paprika, celery salt, black and red pepper and more. It’s widely available in the U.S. If you can’t find it where you live, here’s a recipe for homemade Old Bay seasoning. (And it’s a delicious seasoning for all kinds of other foods including popcorn, fries, and egg salad.) And so glad you like the recipes! 🙂
If you haven’t frozen them, how is it that you are giving instructions re; freezing and defrosting ? Has someone else tried this method ?
Hi Susan, although I haven’t frozen them I’ve frozen enough things similar to them that I felt confident that they would freeze nicely. 🙂
I have the horseradish sauce from another salmon recipe of yours. Do you think I can use that with these salmon cakes?
Sure, that’s fine!
This was delicious. Mine fell apart a bit so I would maybe add some additional panko and maybe an egg white
My cakes are very similar except after browning both sides I pop into a 375 oven for about 10 minutes to cook thru. Toaster oven works great too. Then a squeeze of lemon on top.
These are absolutely delicious. I always make triple portion and freeze.
These were absolutely delicious and so easy to make. I think I enjoyed them more than crab cakes.
I’ve made your awesome crab cake recipe many times and it is delicious. If I can’t find crab, I sub in a mild white fish like flounder, tilapia, even pollock works well. So when this recipe showed up in my email all I wanted to do was see the picture of ingredients because I knew it would look very similar to the crab cake picture. I’m giving this 5 stars even before I make it because it’s you, your recipes work, and I know it will be delicious. Great job, Jen! Thank you!
Delicious. They require a little work, but so worth it. Since we are just 2 people, I froze 4 of the cakes for another quick meal. (They only made 8 cakes, not 9)
These salmon cakes look delicious!
Can you tell me the name of the non-stick pan you use? I’m in the market for a new one.
Hi Whitney, I like All-Clad. This link shows a small and a medium/large skillet so the one you’d want is the 10-inch. Hope that helps and that you enjoy the salmon cakes if you make them!
I provide frozen meals to someone who has no knowledge of anything cooking related. Once salmon cakes are defrosted, how should I tell them to reheat one patty at a time in the oven or toaster oven? A few other questions: If using dried vs fresh dill, how much should I use, can I use miracle whip instead of mayo, and lastly will the cakes still be tasty without the tartar sauce which I know they will not make?
Hi Lynda, I haven’t frozen these, so I can’t say for sure, but I’d suggest reheating them in a 350°F oven for about 15 min. For dried dill, you’ll need about 2 teaspoons. I’ve never used Miracle Whip so I’m not sure what it tastes like. I would imagine it would be fine to use. And the salmon cakes will still be good without the tartar sauce. Hope that helps!
The best salmon cakes! The most time consuming part was dicing the salmon. Completely worth it, but is there any way to do this with a food processor?
Hi Brae, Glad you like these! You can use a food processor, but be sure to chop it into smaller pieces first and watch that it doesn’t get too pulverized.
This is a good recipe for freezing and always on hand.
These are great. I’m from Maryland and know that crab cakes are the best, but I make these in a mini version for small plates or appetizers and they are terrific. For a lighter sauce, I use my cucumber/yogurt/rice wine vinegar sauce, but they really only need a squeeze of lemon to brighten the great ingredients. Thanks for showing me another way to make seafood cakes!
Just wondering — can you cook these on a grill?
I wouldn’t recommend it, Stan. I’d be concerned they’d fall apart.
Love your crab cake recipe so I’m eager to try this one.
Can these be broiled?
Glad you like the crab cakes! 🙂
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!
Hi Jenn, I want to make these! We are not a fan of dill. What else could I use instead? Thanks so much, Ally in NJ
Hi Ally, You could just leave it out or replace it with parsley or a combination of parsley and tarragon.
Thank you Jenn!
When a recipe calls for scallions, does that always mean the green part only, or does it include both the white and green part? I always thought white only unless otherwise specified, but I see in your photos that you used the green portion. Thanks in advance for your help
Hi Gina, with the exception of this recipe (which I’ve just corrected!), I always specify whether you’ll need both the light and dark green parts or just one or the other. I see in the photo that it looks like it’s only the dark green portion of the scallions, but I’ve included the light green portion – they’re just a bit buried. Hope that clarifies and that you enjoy the salmon cakes if you make them!
I add eggs to this recipe and omit the mayonnaise. I tried without egg and it came out too moist. The egg gave a good crisp and cooked the patty better
I’ve made this recipe at least five times now and every time the cakes are flavorful and my wife loves them. A super recipe and great alternative to simply cooking salmon. Thanks Jenn.
We have a lot of salmon in the freezer from a fishing trip to Alaska and I am so glad we tried this recipe, will definitely be part of the rotation!
Made this recipe last week and it truly one of the best recipes I’ve used for Salmon. Delicious! I couldn’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch the next day. Perfect!
Another great recipe! Small changes out of necessity: I ended up substituting with ahi and used mostly celery leaves (rather than the stalk) for the anti-celery eaters in the house. It worked great! My whole family loved it. I also made the vinaigrette and thought it was great!
Wow!! These were absolutely delicious and a perfect way to use up some frozen salmon I had on hand. Made recipe exactly as written but only used 3 tbsp of oil for all 9 patties to cut down on grease. Probably should have used one more tbsp but what I’m getting at is you can get away with using less. I had lots of panko dredge leftover so I’ll know for next time I can coat heavily. Loved the crunch of the celery and the fresh dill made these perfect. Excited to have these for lunch leftovers!
This recipe is a big favorite in my house. Thinking about trying to lighten it up a bit for some family members with more dietary restrictions. Do you think I could sub Greek yogurt for Mayo? And cook in my air fryer?
Hi Gabby, Glad these have become a new favorite! You can replace the mayo with Greek yogurt, but because Greek yogurt has some tang to it, I’d suggest omitting the lemon juice. Please LMK how they turn out!
This was very good, I added chopped capers and did it in the air fryer. I had to use dried dill and chives instead of green onions, and I didn’t have celery. But the flavor was excellent. I did it for about 16 minutes in the air fryer.
I tried these also using Ahi tuna stakes instead of the salmon and it came out delicious.
Fantastic dish! I think I need to dice the celery even finer (maybe use a mini processor) because the salmon cake had a hard time sticking together. I also noted that the pan had to be hot enough to sear the cake to stay together. Despite the “visual” appeal, my family loved this dish!
Hello Jen! I love the recipe. Do you think this would work if I substitute ahi tuna steaks for the salmon?
Yes, Diana, I do that they would work with ahi. Enjoy!
Do you recommend the same herbs for ahi as salmon, or do you prefer something else?
Yes, I think the same herbs would work nicely here. Hope you enjoy!
I have made these several times and always with great results. So tasty! The recipe is very forgiving— I didn’t have celery and still delish.
I only had dried dill—no problem.
Before finding this recipe, I used to use canned salmon to make salmon patties. Not anymore! Try this even if you have diners who say they don’t like salmon. So good!
These were great. As can happen in a family, the salmon sat in the cold part of my fridge for a few days, was not as fresh as could be, yet the cakes were still delicious.
Will only put about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs for breading next time. Still had about 3/4 cup left over.
Only made 1/4 of the delicious tartar sauce. That was plenty.
To reduce fat, I did not fry in oil, sprayed cast iron skillet with Pam Buttered Flavor spray.
Of course it did not come out the beautiful golden brown as in the pictures, but was still crunchy and very tasty.
Made them in the morning for my lunch. Ate two for breakfast they were so good.
This was fabulous! Absolutely delicious! My husband who is not fond of fish was apprehensive when I said I would make salmon patties but when I served this to him—he gobbled it up and said that it was the most amazingly delicious patty he had ever had!
Personally, I would cut down on the salt just a bit, as it was a tad too salty for me,
Also I used 1/4 cup of olive oil instead of 1/2 cup of vegetable oil. With delicious results!
Thank you Jen! Wonderful recipe!
These were amazing!! I have made many of your recipes and loved them all. My husband says these are the best he’s ever had.
big success! And so easy. Here is a tip. We did half in fry pan and half in air fryer. Could not tell the difference! Thank you so much for wonderful recipes. Marti
Marti, how long did you air fry these and what temp?
Made the recipe exactly as written (hard for me not to improvise or estimate!) and it was FABULOUS. Great salmon cakes, will make again and again and will serve to company and share recipe with others. Many thanks.
Can I pulse the salmon in a food processor instead of dicing? Seems like it would save time
Hi, You can use a food processor, but be sure to chop it into smaller pieces first and watch that it doesn’t get too pulverized. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!
Love your website and recipes. Thank you. Have you tried making these salmon patties with an air fryer? Thank you xoxox
Hi Jacqueline, So glad you like the recipes! I don’t have an air fryer and don’t know much about using one so it’s hard to say for sure – I’m sorry! You may find these tips helpful in converting traditional recipes to air fryer versions. Hope that helps at least a bit!
Delish! I love all your recipes. Didn’t have dill but so so good. Trisha
Can I use an air fryer to fry? Can’t wait to try! I love all your recipes & just ordered your new cook book!
Hi Barb, It should work as long as you spray the cakes generously with oil.
These are the best salmon cakes we’ve eaten. It’s a lot of work but well worth the time. Nothing is more rewarding when everyone loves it and there are no leftovers! Thank you for another great recipe.
I bought too much salmon. If I make extra salmon cakes, should I freeze them cooked or uncooked?
I’ve made this recipe many times, and it’s amazing!
Hi Suzie, I would cook before freezing them. You can find freezer-friendly directions at the bottom of the recipe.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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!
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.
“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!
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!
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!