Salmon Patties (AKA, salmon cakes or salmon croquettes) are a flavorful, quick and easy recipe that’s crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, and perfect for getting more brain-boosting, heart-healthy omega-3s into your diet!
Well, we're officially immersed in the no meat on Fridays season of Lent at our house. This means that, once a week, I have to remind myself to avoid meat approximately 47 times over the course of the day. Since fish is allowed on Fridays, however, Lent also means that I tend to make more of it at this time of year than any other.
I don't know why that is. Fish is easy to cook and loaded with nourishing healthy fats and I should be serving it to my family more often. So with y'all as my witnesses, from here on out, I resolve to incorporate more fish into our diets! Fortunately, even if I can't make it to the seafood counter, this easy Salmon Patty recipe requires little more than a trip to the pantry.
Have y'all cooked with canned salmon before? It's kind of crazy to me that you can buy wild-caught Alaskan salmon in little cans right next to the tuna fish. And honestly, the two can be used pretty interchangeably in a lot of recipes.
Salmon Patties are sometimes referred to as Salmon Cakes (think: Crab Cakes) or Salmon Croquettes (think: throwback to circa-1977...it was a mighty good year). As mentioned above, they could just as easily be made with tuna. In this here version, the salmon is mixed with a bunch of other good stuff before being formed into -- you guessed it! -- patties, lightly coated with more crunchy panko, and then pan fried. Dinner. Is. Served!
One of the things I love about this Salmon Patty recipe is that it's quick to whip up with ingredients that I can easily keep on hand:
- Canned salmon. Scroll down a couple headings if you're interested in my extensive thoughts on canned salmon. 😉
- Panko breadcrumbs. I recommend Panko over regular breadcrubs for salmon patties with a nice, crunchy exterior.
- Parmesan. I prefer freshly grated, but the canned stuff will work in a pinch.
- Fresh parsley. Again, the flavor of fresh chopped parsley is wonderful, but if you don't have any on hand, you may substitute 1 tablespoon of dried parsley instead. (Since dried herbs are more potent than fresh, you only need ⅓ the amount.)
- Lemon juice. Fresh-squeezed or bottled will work fine. I keep a bottle of 100% lemon juice in the fridge (with no added ingredients). It sure is a handy time-saver.
- Worcestershire sauce.
- Dijon mustard.
- Garlic salt.
- Freshly ground black pepper.
- Hot pepper sauce. I use Tabasco, but whatever you happen to have in your pantry will work fine. Feel free to add more for an extra kick!
(And as for a colorful, flavorful accompaniment, I highly recommend fresh, amazing Mango Salsa!)
How to Make Salmon Patties
(The below photos are intended to be helpful, but please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for FULL DIRECTIONS.)
These tasty salmon croquettes mix up in a flash and cook in mere minutes!
- Dump drained salmon in a medium bowl.
- Add eggs, Panko bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, garlic salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce.
- Mix together until well combined.
- Divide the mixture into four equal balls.
- Form each ball into a ¾-inch thick salmon patty. Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Place Panko breadcrumbs in a shallow dish.
- Press both sides of each salmon patty into breadcrumbs.
- Heat up a large saute pan and add olive oil and butter to pan; swirl to coat.
- Add the salmon patties to the pan.
- Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until golden brown.
- Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- Serve warm with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
Canned Salmon Options
Now, before we get on with the recipe, I feel that it's my obligation to educate you canned salmon novices on the different varieties available. Canned salmon is traditionally sold with small, soft bones and pieces of skin intact. Everything in the can is totally edible, and the bones actually add a nice boost of calcium. However, if you happen to be on the squeamish side (like myself)...for the love of all that is good and holy, do yourself a favor and buy boneless, skinless canned salmon.
Because if you don't pay attention to the label, you might be ready to make your recipe. You might open up the cans, and look upon the contents in shock. You might consider pitching them straight into the trash before heading back to the store. And you might decide that you don't have time for a trip to the store. Besides...your German mother ingrained in you an inability to waste perfectly good (albeit, shudder-worthy) food.
But you might also know for dang sure that you won't be able to cook with -- much less eat -- any sort of fish that contains skin, small bones, and unrecognizable bits and pieces. So you might resolve to remove every last teeny-tiny particle of non-salmon meat from both cans. It might take you a good 45 minutes to do so. But after all is said and done, you might eat your salmon cakes with an extra sense of satisfaction and accomplishment for not having to bite into any foreign objects after all of that hard work.
Hypothetically speaking, of course.
So if you are old-school, if you are tough, if you don't mind ingesting harmless skin and bones (tiny though they may be), go for the regular canned salmon. But if you are a card-carrying member of the Weak Stomach Club, make sure you look for that boneless/skinless phrase on the can (and realize that it may come in a pouch as opposed to a can).
Whatever your preference, either variety is already cooked. And either will work perfectly fine in this Salmon Patty recipe! 😉
My picky kids were all over these salmon cakes (dipped in ketchup, of course, but hey...I'll take it). And I loved that they were getting a nice dose of the healthiest-of-healthy fish oils as a part of their ketchup-dredged dinner. Thanks to the crunchy coating and all of the layers of flavor, they don't taste fishy at all.
The next time you're in the mood for an easy, pantry-staple meal that will make your family smarter while simultaneously improving their cholesterol, I hope you'll give Salmon Patties a spin! I can safely say that they'll be going on our regular rotation 'round these parts. Even long after Lent is over. 🙂
More Easy Seafood Dinners
The BEST Salmon Patties
- 2 (7.5-ounce) cans canned salmon (Alaskan wild-caught and boneless/skinless), drained
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs, DIVIDED
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¾ teaspoon garlic salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- A few dashes hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- In a medium bowl, mix together drained salmon, eggs, ¾ cup panko bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, garlic salt, pepper (to taste), and hot pepper sauce (to taste). Divide the mixture into four equal balls and form into ¾-inch thick patties. Place patties on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Place the remaining ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs in a shallow dish and press both sides of each salmon patty into breadcrumbs. Heat a large saute pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add olive oil and butter to pan; once melted, swirl pan to coat. Add the salmon patties and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and serve warm with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Adapted from Food Network.
Post originally published on February 26, 2015, and updated on September 23, 2019, and May 7, 2023.