Salmon Patties recipe with canned salmon makes an easy weeknight dinner that you can have on the menu anytime. Ready in less than 30 minutes, this recipe is a keeper and a kid favorite!
If you grew up in the South, chances are you ate salmon patties pretty regularly. Or maybe fish sticks like my kids had once a week!
You can call them salmon croquettes or salmon cakes if it makes you feel better about eating salmon from a can, but the shape is that of a hamburger patty so we always called them patties.
These days, busy weeknights mean you need an easy recipe using simple ingredients to get food on the table fast and this easy salmon patties recipe fits the criteria perfectly. It’s just what you need to make the entire family happy.
My recipe for salmon patties is simple—grab a can of salmon, add an egg, some finely minced onion, a little bread crumbs or saltine cracker crumbs and that’s it.
And I promise, you don’t need expensive fresh salmon—canned works just fine! Best of all, you still get the heart-healthy omega-3 fats from canned salmon.
After you make this recipe, you’ll keep canned salmon as a pantry staple! But, if you do have leftover fresh salmon, you can certainly use that in this recipe. My favorite salmon recipe makes great leftovers.
For full ingredient amounts and instructions, please scroll down to the printable recipe card.
- canned salmon
- bread crumbs or saltine crackers
- salt and pepper to taste
- vegetable oil
How to make salmon patties
Step 1. Prepare the salmon.
Drain the canned salmon and pick out the round backbones and larger pieces of skin.
**Cook’s Tip: The bones are soft and will incorporate into the fish so don’t worry if you miss some.
Step 2. Mix ingredients.
Put the fish in a large bowl and add eggs, onion, bread crumbs, and salt and pepper.
Step 3. Form patties.
Mix everything together until well blended, then form into patties.
**Cook’s Tip: I usually get 8 or 9 uncooked patties out of 2 cans of salmon. You don’t want to make them too large in diameter or thickness or they won’t cook as quickly. You can store the patty mixture in the refrigerator if you want to make the recipe ahead.
Step 4. Fry salmon patties.
I like to lay the patties on a parchment paper lined baking sheet or a plate and place it right beside the stove. These salmon patties don’t take long to cook, so you’ll want to have them ready to go before you start cooking.
Pour oil into a large cast-iron skillet and heat on medium-high heat.
Place salmon patties in pan and fry about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crisp.
Step 5. Drain and serve.
Drain the patties on paper towels for a few minutes before serving. I like to add zing with a little red wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice sprinkled on top, but the rest of my family is happy with just ketchup.
Sauce for salmon patties
If you’d like to make a dipping sauce for the salmon patties, I recommend something like Comeback Sauce or a spicy Remoulade, or even tartar sauce. And you can never go wrong with chopped green onions, fresh dill, or a little lemon zest–although now we’re getting a little fancy.
Our go-to sauce has always just been Heinz Ketchup. And I like malt vinegar too, although my husband does not. My sons always add hot sauce.
But really, you don’t need anything fancy here. No homemade ketchup. Just don’t.
Can you freeze salmon patties?
You sure can! It’s best to freeze them before cooking so you won’t lose the fried crispness in the freezer.
Spread the salmon patties out on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for several hours until the patties are frozen. Wrap the patties in plastic wrap and then place inside a large freezer bag.
When ready to use the frozen salmon patties, remove from freezer and allow to thaw then cook as described above.
Can you cook salmon patties in the air fryer?
Yes, you can. Spray the air fryer basket with oil, and spray each side of the salmon patties with oil. Cook on 400 for 8-10 minutes.
Are salmon patties good as leftovers?
You can use an airtight container to store any leftovers in the fridge, but I prefer to eat the salmon cakes immediately after cooking.
Substitutions or additions
- garlic powder
- seasoning like Old Bay
- red bell pepper
- fresh herbs
- almond flour
- lemon zest
- egg substitute
What to serve with salmon patties
You can also use these patties to make salmon burgers and serve with toasted buns. Add a little hot sauce and some green onion to your burger for variety!
For more delicious recipes, check out our Fish section here.
- 2 14.75 oz. cans pink or red salmon
- 2 eggs
- 1 onion, finely minced
- ½ cup bread crumbs or crushed Saltine cracker crumbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons Canola oil
- Drain salmon and pick out round backbones and larger pieces of skin.
- Put salmon in a large bowl and add eggs, onion, bread crumbs, and salt and pepper. Mix together until well blended then form into patties. I usually get 8 or 9 out of 2 cans of salmon.
- Pour oil into skillet and heat on medium-high heat. Place patties in pan and fry about 3 minutes on each side, until well browned and crisp.
- Drain on paper towel lined plate for a few minutes before serving.
- Try to pick out the larger round bones and extra skin.
- The bones are soft so if you miss some don’t worry. They will blend in with the fish.
- Salmon patties should be about three inches in diameter and not too thick to ensure even cooking.
- Mix and form all patties before heating the oil or beginning the cooking process.
- Have your salad or sides ready so that you can serve the salmon patties immediately.
- Freeze before cooking.
- Spread the salmon patties out on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet in the freezer for several hours until the salmon patties are frozen.
- Wrap the salmon patties in plastic wrap and then place inside a large freezer bag.
- When ready to use the frozen salmon patties, remove from freezer and allow to thaw then cook as described above.
Update Notes: This post was originally published January 25, 2011, and on August 1, 2022, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.
This post is part of my favorite Southern Foods at Home collection.