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Here’s how to make the BEST salmon patties recipe, aka salmon cakes! Canned salmon makes them fast and easy. Serve with tartar dipping sauce.

Salmon Patties

Here’s a delicious lunch or dinner idea that’s worked its way into our regular rotation: salmon patties! Otherwise known as salmon cakes, these babies are just like crab cakes but they use canned salmon instead. Using canned makes them fast and easy to make, and cheaper than using fresh salmon. Pair them with tartar sauce or remoulade sauce, and the contrast of the crisp, herb-scented patties against the creamy dipping sauce is unreal. This was a huge hit in our house, especially with our 4 year old. Who knew salmon cakes are perfect kid food?

Ingredients for this salmon patties recipe, aka salmon cakes

What are salmon patties? Also called salmon cakes, they’re similar to crab cakes but made with canned salmon. Ingredients typically include breadcrumbs or sometimes egg as a binder, and herbs and spices for flavor. The mixture is then formed into patties and pan fried until crisp. How is this different from salmon burgers? Salmon burgers often are made with fresh salmon: they’re larger and served on a bun. (But you could certainly make these into 4 large burgers as well!) Here’s what you’ll need to make this salmon patties recipe:

  • Canned salmon (boneless skinless)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Capers
  • Old Bay, onion powder, and salt
  • Dijon mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Egg
  • Olive oil, for pan frying

Can you use leftover salmon for salmon cakes? Yes! Simply use flaked cooked leftover salmon in place of the canned salmon. In the recipe below, 18 ounces canned salmon = 2 ½ cups cooked and flaked salmon.

Salmon patties recipe

More about canned salmon

What’s canned salmon? This is a fairly new product to us, versus canned tuna which is a pantry staple. But canned salmon is absolutely worth stocking in your pantry too! Here are a few things to note:

  • Canned salmon is much cheaper than fresh! Buying canned is a great way to have a shelf-stable seafood protein that’s much more economical than a fresh salmon fillet.
  • Look for boneless skinless canned salmon. Unlike tuna, you can easily find canned salmon that has edible skin and bones. Try to find a brand that’s boneless skinless for best results here.
  • Substitute it for tuna to make salmon salad. Canned salmon is great for salmon salad: substitute it in this Classic Tuna Salad recipe! Or try it in this Tuna Pasta Salad.

How to make salmon patties

Salmon patties are simple to make: the only part that requires a little technique is flipping them! Here are the main steps for how to make salmon cakes (or see the recipe below for specifics):

  • Mix: Drain the salmon and shred it with a fork. Mix it with the other ingredients (parsley, capers, spices, panko, Dijon mustard and mayonnaise).
  • Form and refrigerate: Form the dough into 8 patties that are about ½ inch thick. Refrigerate 15 minutes to firm up the texture. At this point, you can also refrigerate for about 1 day before cooking them.
  • Pan fry: Heat the olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add the patties and cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side until lightly browned on both sides. Make sure to flip them very gently.
Salmon Patties

Panko vs breadcrumbs, and how to make them gluten free

The panko or breadcrumbs are an important component to salmon patties. It gives them just the right texture so they’ll form into cakes (otherwise they easily fall apart). We like using panko since it’s easy to have on hand and very shelf stable. But here are a few more options — and some gluten free ideas:

  • Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb mixture that is airier and lighter than traditional breadcrumbs. It’s easy to keep on hand and great in many recipes (like Pistachio Crusted Salmon, Pecan Crusted Salmon or Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms).
  • Coarse breadcrumbs also work! Make sure to look for coarse since normal store-bought breadcrumbs are very fine (almost like the texture of sand). Or use homemade breadcrumbs.
  • Try gluten-free panko or homemade. For gluten-free, it’s easy to find gluten-free panko these days online or at your grocery. Or use gluten-free bread or crackers to make homemade breadcrumbs.

Old Bay seasoning and why it’s necessary!

Old Bay seasoning is the perfect seasoning for seafood like salmon patties! Here’s what to know about using it:

  • Old Bay is an American seasoning blend invented in Maryland that’s used to season shrimp, crab, clam chowder, and other seafood dishes. The main ingredients in Old Bay are paprika, celery salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Where to find Old Bay? In the US, you can find Old Bay in your grocery store in the spices aisle. Or, you can buy Old Bay online or make homemade Old Bay!

Serve salmon cakes with tartar sauce or remoulade!

The best part of salmon cakes? Dipping them! The best seafood sauces are tartar sauce and remoulade sauce. What’s the difference? Here’s what they are, and a few other options to try as well:

  • Remoulade is a cold mayonnaise-based sauce that originated in France in the 17th century and is popular in US Cajun and Creole cuisine.
  • Tartar sauce is similar to remoulade; it’s a mayo-based seafood sauce made with pickles, capers and herbs that’s popular in the US, UK, Australia, South Africa and more.
  • Chipotle ranch dressing is another fun option; it packs a little heat with adobo sauce.
  • Creamy cilantro sauce is a great sauce without mayo: it’s dairy-free and made with blended cashews!
  • Dill sauce is creamy and herbaceous
Tartar sauce

What to serve with salmon patties

How to make salmon patties into a meal? We served this as an easy lunch to Alex’s mom and our 4 year old recently, and they gobbled it up! It’s also a great healthy dinner idea, served over greens with quinoa or rice. Here are some ideas for what to serve with salmon cakes:

This salmon patties / salmon cakes recipe is…

Pescatarian, dairy free, and gluten-free with gluten-free panko.

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Salmon patties

Easy Salmon Patties (aka Salmon Cakes!)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 patties 1x


Here’s how to make the BEST salmon patties recipe, aka salmon cakes! Canned salmon makes them fast and easy. Serve with tartar dipping sauce.


  • 18 ounces canned salmon* (boneless skinless)
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and minced
  • ½ teaspoon each Old Bay seasoning and onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup plain panko or coarse breadcrumbs (or gluten free breadcrumbs*)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking
  • For serving: Tartar Sauce or Remoulade Sauce (required!)


  1. Drain salmon and shred it with a fork. In a medium bowl, mix it with the parsley, capers, Old Bay, onion powder, kosher salt, panko, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, and egg.
  2. Form the dough into 8 patties that are about ½ inch thick. Refrigerate 15 minutes to firm up the texture (or up to 24 hours).
  3. Meanwhile, make the tartar sauce or remoulade sauce.
  4. When ready to cook, heat the olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add the patties and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned, then gently flip them with a spatula and cook about 3 to 5 minutes more until lightly browned on the other side. Serve with the sauce. 


*If using leftover cooked salmon, 18 ounces equals 2 ½ cups flaked cooked salmon.

  • Category: Appetizer or Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Keywords: Salmon patties, salmon patties recipe, how to make salmon patties, canned salmon patties, salmon cakes, salmon cakes recipe, how to make salmon cakes, salmon cakes with canned salmon

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. This recipe looks delicious. Would it be possible to bake the patties in the oven instead of pan frying them. If so, at what temperature and for how long? Thank you!

  2. It’s so nice to make a simple recipe that is easy to prepare and tastes so good! I carefully flipped the patties and they crusted up nicely. This is a keeper for our family. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    1. Ahh we’re so happy to hear this! Thank you for trying them and they were a big hit over here too. Glad to hear you’ll be adding them to the rotation! Hooray.