You are absolutely going to love these Salmon Patties.
This recipe is a reader favorite. I have made it dozens, if not hundreds, of times. This post is packed with tons of information on how to make the most delicious salmon cakes from canned salmon and a few other simple ingredients.
I'm confident it will certainly be one of your family's favorite dinner recipes as well!
😍 Why this recipe works
- Family favorite: This recipe is one of my most popular recipes and has been viewed almost 2 Million times. Even people who don't love salmon tend to really enjoy the taste of these salmon patties. They are definitely one of my favorite things to make for dinner.
- Pantry dinner: Ever find yourself needing to make dinner but the only meat you have is frozen? Or do you have hungry mouths to feed and haven't quite made it to the store? This is the best backup dinner because it uses canned salmon. I always have some in the pantry specifically for these reasons.
- Quick and easy: No matter what you have going on, you can have a complete and easy weeknight dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes.
- So many variations: The recipe I have listed below is tried and true, but I have made salmon patties countless times with different ingredient substitutions and swaps. If you don't have any of the ingredients listed in the recipe card below, you most likely have something on hand that will work.
✔️ Ingredients needed
For a full ingredient list with quantities, scroll down to the recipe card below. For variations, scroll down to see how you can swap ingredients.
- Canned Salmon - see next section for more information
- Eggs - these are used as a binder to hold the fish patties together
- Bread Crumbs
- Parmesan cheese - this makes them wonderfully golden brown
- Lime - Citrus juice tastes fantastic with salmon
- Oil - for frying
🐟 More about canned salmon
If you've never used canned salmon, I feel it is my duty to educate you first. And based on the sheer number of reader comments this recipe has gotten, people are very passionate about this subject.
Red or Pink
Depending on where you're shopping, you may find one of both varieties. Either will work in this recipe. I used red salmon for the photos and pink salmon for the recipe video and process photos.
Red canned salmon is typically more expensive. It is considered a higher quality with better flavor. The texture, however, is firmer and a bit drier.
Pink salmon is more cost-effective. The salmon flavor is not as strong, so you may want to choose this variety if you're feeding people who don't love to eat fish. It is also more most and forms nicely in the patties.
Every variety of canned salmon I've ever bought said that it was wild-caught. I would not recommend using one if it says farm raised.
Bones and Skin
Canned salmon comes in two variations: with or without skin and bones.
If you buy boneless skinless canned salmon, it is very similar to canned tuna. You only need to drain it and follow the recipe. This is what I currently use and I buy the 8-ounce cans at Costco.
If you buy canned salmon that contains the skin and bones at the grocery store, the meat has been pressure cooked along with skin, a small amount of fat, and bones including the spine and ribs. You can choose to eat everything in the can or you can carefully pick out the skin, bones, and fat to separate them from the meat. The bones are really soft because they've been soaking in liquid under pressure. The lightest squeeze in between your fingers crushes them. The bones, the skin, and the darker grey meat are full of nutrients, although they may alter the overall taste.
Bottom line: You can eat the skin/bones/fat or you can leave them out. They are completely edible and it is 100% a matter of preference.
➡️ How to make salmon patties
Full detailed instructions are listed in the recipe card below.
- If using canned salmon with bones and skin, separate the meat or just mix everything together. Drain any liquid.
- In a large bowl, mix the canned salmon with the remaining ingredients (except for the oil). Heat a very large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil.
- Form the salmon patties by hand and gently place them in the hot pan. Once they are crispy and golden brown on the bottom, flip them once to get crispy on the other side.
- Once done, serve hot with your favorite sides.
🔄 Recipe variations
Throughout the years I've been constantly changing this recipe to add variation. My readers have made some really great suggestions too!
Instead of using panko bread crumbs, you have several different options. Crushed Saltine crackers work great. When I make my Southern salmon patties, I add cornmeal for a crunchy texture. I've done this before (but used a mixture of cornmeal and breadcrumbs) and it gave my salmon cakes a great texture. You can also make them with crushed crackers. If you need a gluten free option, almond flour or hazelnut meal make a great substitution.
I've always used eggs as a binder to hold the salmon mixture together. Many readers have suggested using mayonnaise. It makes them moist and flavorful. Mayo is basically eggs and oil, so it works. I have had to make an eggless version due to an allergy. A good substitute for egg is to mix flax seed with water and it will work well as a binder.
I like to add green onions to my salmon patties because I usually have them on hand, they're easy to use, and they add great flavor. You can also mince a yellow onion and saute it in oil over medium heat before combining with the other ingredients. Crispy fried onions, like the kind you add to green been casserole, also taste great. You can also dice a bell pepper and mix that in.
The flavor of lime is fantastic with any salmon recipe, but you can easily replace with lemon juice. For extra citrus flavor, you can even mix in the lemon zest.
There are so many other ingredients you can mix into your salmon patties to give them great flavor. Fresh herbs including basil, thyme, and especially fresh dill taste amazing. You can mix in a bit of Dijon mustard or hot sauce to boost the flavor. Old Bay seasoning is fantastic in recipes like salmon patties as well as crab cakes. Of course, salt and black pepper can always be added.
🍳 Alternate cooking methods
I think these taste best when fried in oil on the stove, but you can also bake them or cook them in the air fryer.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the patties on top. Spray or brush with olive oil. Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 5-10 minutes, flip, spray or brush with more olive oil, and bake another 5 minutes. They will not be as crispy, but you can broil each side before flipping to get them crispy.
Air Fryer method
Spray or brush both sides of each patty with olive oil. Place in basket and air fry on 400°F until crispy, about 10 minutes.
🍽️ Serving suggestions
We usually serve these up with a side of brown rice or potatoes as well as a green vegetable such as a salad or wilted spinach. I always double or triple the recipe because I love eating a leftover salmon patty on top of a green salad for lunch the next day.
You can turn salmon patties into salmon burgers. This is actually how my husband eats salmon patties. I serve his on a bun with some tartar sauce and shredded lettuce. Other tasty dipping sauces we've used are my homemade basil garlic aioli or my Cajun remoulade.
🍴 Storage and Reheating
Leftover salmon patties should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. They are best if consumed within 3-5 days.
They can be eaten cold and are quite delicious on top of a green salad with some avocado, sunflower seeds, and a light vinaigrette dressing.
To reheat, they can be heated on the stove in a bit of oil over low heat, or in the microwave in one minute increments at half power.
Because of the popularity of this recipe, I get a ton of reader comments, suggestions, and questions. Here is some additional information to help you make the best salmon cake recipe.
Can I use fresh salmon?
I get asked all the time if these can be made with fresh salmon. My answer is yes - you can make these with fresh salmon if you want to cook the fresh salmon first. But, I have only ever used canned salmon and because of the taste and convenience, this is what I recommend.
Can salmon patties be made ahead?
I get asked this all the time. YES. You can prepare the salmon mixture, shape the patties, wrap them individually with plastic wrap or separate with parchment paper, and then refrigerate or freeze them to be cooked at a later time. This is a good option if you have to deal with busy weeknights and need to have dinners prepared ahead of time. Be sure to fully thaw before cooking.
Why won't the salmon patties hold their shape?
Because the salmon doesn't have the same fat content as ground beef, they patties tend to be more delicate than a hamburger patty. Two eggs should be enough, but if you added extra lime juice or too many bread crumbs, you may find it difficult to keep them from falling apart. If the patties won't hold their shape, add and additional whole egg or 1-2 egg yolks and they'll work better.
If you’ve made this or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out. I love hearing from my readers!
Full Recipe Instructions
Salmon Patties Recipe
CLICK TO PLAY RECIPE VIDEO
- 18 ounces canned salmon (3-8oz cans with no skin/bones or 2-14.75 cans with skin/bones, drained, red or pink salmon)
- 2 eggs
- 6 green onions (minced)
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- 1 lime (juiced)
- 4 tablespoons avocado oil (can use olive oil, increase oil if you like them extra crispy)
- Drain salmon. If using canned salmon that contains bones and skin, you can either remove them or crush the bones and mix everything together.
- In a large bowl, combine the salmon, eggs, green onions, panko bread crumbs, parmesan, and lime juice. Use your hands to combine the mixture. Form them into 8 patties that are no more than one inch thick. If making salmon burgers, you can make the patties larger to fit the bun.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil. When the oil is hot enough to bubble when a bread crumb gets tossed in, add your salmon patties. Be sure to leave enough room to allow space in between each patty. If your pan isn't large enough, you may need to cook them in two batches. Cook until golden brown, about 5-10 minutes, then flip and cook until golden brown on the other side.
- Serve warm. They also taste excellent cold on top of salad.
- Recipe easily doubles or triples if you want leftovers, however you may need to cook in batches to ensure they crisp properly.
- Popular reader variations/add-ins include lemon juice, crushed crackers, sauteed yellow onion, corn meal, fresh dill
This recipe was originally published in June 2015 and has been updated with process photos, helpful information and cooking tips. Don't worry - I didn't change the recipe!