These Salmon Patties are made with fresh salmon, Panko breadcrumbs, and a handful of other simple ingredients for a super flavorful but easy weeknight dinner or appetizer.
We like to serve them with our freshly homemade Tzatziki Sauce, which is a cool yogurt dip and pairs perfectly together.
Easy Salmon Cakes
We love the distinct flavor and flaky texture of salmon, and cooking it in a variety of ways. Crab Stuffed Salmon and Honey Mustard Baked Salmon are stand-outs, but another one of our all-time favorites is this recipe for salmon patties. If you’re not a fan of salmon, I think these salmon cakes might change your mind.
Many salmon patties are either too dry or flavorless – these ones are neither. They’re perfectly moist on the inside with a golden brown exterior and lots of flavor. I use a combination of Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, and Dijon mustard to ensure that every bite is packed with flavor.
These salmon patties are surprisingly easy to make and cook quickly. We enjoy them with our homemade Tzatziki sauce, which is a Greek cucumber and yogurt dip, and pairs perfectly together. You can serve these for dinner or as an appetizer.
Salmon Patties Recipe
The tzatziki sauce for serving is made with just a few ingredients while the salmon patties feature a handful of ingredients to create a robust, savory flavor.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
For the Tzatziki Sauce
- Greek yogurt: Use plain, unflavored Greek yogurt.
- Cucumber: Any cucumbers work, just make sure to remove the seeds and pat dry.
- Red onion: These have a subtle peppery flavor and are milder than yellow onions when raw.
- Garlic: For aromatics and a zippy element.
- Lemon juice: Lemon juice adds a bring, tangy flavor.
- Salt and pepper: For taste.
For the Salmon Patties
- Salmon: Use fresh salmon if possible (see notes below).
- Onion & Celery: For flavor.
- Panko bread crumbs: This type of bread crumb has a light and crispy texture, which is preferred over Italian bread crumbs for this recipe.
- Eggs: This helps bind the mixture together.
- Dijon mustard: For a tangy, zippy flavor.
- Lemon juice: Use fresh for optimal flavor.
- Worcestershire sauce: A splash of this adds depth of flavor.
- Seasonings: Old Bay seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Fresh parsley: Adds a pop of fresh flavor and color to the patties.
- Olive oil and Butter: For richness and moisture.
Fresh vs Canned Salmon
When making salmon cakes, a fresh salmon filet is the best option. However, you can substitute the fresh salmon with leftover cooked salmon (though any seasonings used may change the flavor) or 14 to 15 ounces of canned salmon. If you use canned salmon, be sure to drain it well.
How to Make Salmon Patties
While there is a bit of hands-on time to make these salmon cakes, the process is fairly simple and these are still ready within an hour. Here’s a brief summary:
(For all the details, scroll below to the complete printable recipe card.)
- Prepare the tzatziki. Combine all of the ingredients and adjust the seasoning as needed. Cover and chill in the fridge.
- Bake the salmon filet. Place the salmon skin-down on the baking sheet then brush with olive oil. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bake at 375 degrees F until the salmon flakes easily, which is usually 12 to 15 minutes. Then cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Remove the skin and any bones, flake the salmon with forks, and cool.
- Combine the rest of the ingredients. Sauté the onion and celery in butter and olive oil until softened and golden. Combine the flaked salmon, onion and celery, and all the remaining ingredients in a bowl, stirring gently to combine.
- Form the patties. Form the mixture into even patties, pressing together to compact them and flatting them into 1/3 to 1/2-inch thickness.
- Sauté the salmon cakes. Sauté the patties in a combo of olive oil and butter until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Repeat until all patties are cooked.
- Serve. Serve immediately with the tzatziki sauce.
Tips for Success
If this is your first time making homemade salmon cakes, here are a few things you’ll want to consider:
- What to do if the mixture is too moist. If the mixture is too moist, which can happen using canned salmon, just add a bit more bread crumbs.
- What to do if the mixture is too dry. If the mixture is too dry and won’t hold together, add a tablespoon of mayo.
- Swap mayo for Greek yogurt. For a slightly healthier swap, you can use plain Greek yogurt in place of mayo.
- Adjust the breadcrumbs. If you decide to use finer breadcrumbs than Panko breadcrumbs, use less so the patties don’t fall apart.
Fresh from the pan, these salmon patties are great dipped in a side of Tzatziki for a delicious appetizer. For more of a meal, I like to serve them with some vegetables like roasted asparagus or roasted cauliflower. They also go nicely with a caesar salad or creamy cucumber salad.
Make Ahead & Storing Leftovers
- Make ahead & freeze. You can make your salmon patties in advance and freeze until ready to cook. Make the salmon as directed to form the patties then freeze in an airtight container separated by parchment paper. Thaw in the fridge, then cook.
- Leftovers in the fridge. Leftover salmon cakes will last in an airtight container for 2 days in the fridge. Reheat by sautéing on the stovetop until just warmed through. You can also add cold salmon to salads instead of reheating.
More Salmon Recipes:
For the Tzatziki Sauce
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup finely diced peeled cucumber , squeezed dry of any excess liquid
- 3 tablespoons finely diced red onion
- 1 clove garlic , finely diced
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- pinch of black pepper
For the Salmon Patties
- 1 pound fresh salmon filet
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil , divided
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch of salt
- few turns of cracked black pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter , divided
- 1 cup finely diced sweet onion
- 1/3 cup finely diced celery
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs)
- 2 large eggs , lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley , minced
- In a medium bowl, combine all of the tzatziki ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Cover and chill until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place salmon skin-side down on the baking sheet. Brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with the garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Bake uncovered until the salmon easily flakes with a fork, about 12-15 minutes (time will vary based on the size and thickness of the fillets.) Remove from oven, cover with foil, and rest 10 minutes. Discard skin, flake salmon with forks, remove any bones, and cool to room temperature.
- Warm 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once it bubbles, add in the onion and celery. Sauté until softened and golden (about 5 minutes) then remove from heat.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the cooled flaked salmon, sautéed onion and celery, bread crumbs, eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, and fresh parsley. Stir gently to combine.
- Form mixture into 13-14 even patties, pressing them together so they're compact, then gently flattening them into 1/3 to 1/2-inch thickness.
- In the skillet you used to sauté the vegetables, warm 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter over medium heat. Once bubbling, add half of the salmon cakes and sauté 3 1/2 to 4 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through. (Keep a close eye on them and if they brown too quickly, reduce heat.)
- Transfer salmon cakes to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and butter and repeat cooking the remaining salmon cakes.
- Serve with Tzatziki sauce and enjoy!