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How to Make Salmon Patties

Learn how to make Salmon Patties with canned salmon, a quick and easy meal that you can have on the table in less than thirty minutes. Salmon Patties are crispy on the outside and kids love them!

Cooked salmon patties on a plate.

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 croquettes 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.

Southern Salmon Patties

I’m not sure how salmon patties came to be a Southern staple, but I’m guessing because canned salmon was inexpensive, didn’t require refrigeration, and took little time to prepare and serve. All we needed was a little ketchup and some mac and cheese and supper was done.

I like to keep my Southern salmon patties simple—add an egg, some finely minced onion, a little bread crumbs and that’s it. That’s the way my Granny made them and that’s the way my Mama makes them so that’s the way I make them. 

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Easy Baked Fish Sticksa kid-favorite perfect weeknight meal!

Tools for Easy Salmon Patties

All you really need for this recipe is a big ole cast iron skillet. Seriously. You mix everything in a bowl and then fry them in a skillet.

And I like to serve my salmon patties on a fun fish platter like this one because it makes everyone smile!

Ingredients

👋 Want the printable recipe? Just scroll down!

  • 2 cans pink or red salmon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 onion, finely minced 
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 

How to Make Salmon Patties

This recipe is so easy, you’ll be making these delicious patties every week!

Step 1. 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. 

Canned salmon in a bowl.

Step 2. Then put salmon in a large bowl and add eggs, onion, breadcrumbs and salt and pepper.

Canned salmon with eggs and bread crumbs and onions in a bowl on a blue background.

Step 3. Mix everything together until well blended and form into patties.

**Cook’s Tip: I usually get 8 or 9 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.

Formed patties on a plate.

Step 4. Then I lay the patties on a 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. 

Step 5. Pour oil into a large cast-iron skillet and heat on medium-high heat.

Step 6. Place salmon patties in pan and fry about 3 minutes on each side, until well browned and crisp.

Frying salmon patties in a skillet.

Step 7. Drain the patties on a paper towel lined plate for a few minutes before serving. I like to add zing with a little red wine vinegar sprinkled on top, but the rest of my family is happy with just ketchup.

Do You Need a Sauce?

Lots of people want to know if they should make a sauce for salmon patties. You certainly can, and I would recommend something like Comeback Sauce or a spicy Remoulade.

But honestly, our go-to sauce has always just been Heinz Ketchup. And I like malt vinegar too, although my husband does not.

But really, nothing fancy and no trouble.

No homemade ketchup. Just don’t.

Can You Freeze Salmon Patties?

You sure can! It’s best to freeze the salmon patties before cooking so you won’t lose the crispiness 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.

What to Serve with Easy Salmon Patties

I usually serve my Southern salmon patties with something simple, like my Stovetop Mac and Cheese, or just some Green Beans. And you can never go wrong with Old-Fashioned Fudge Pie for dessert!

If you’ve tried this recipe, please rate the recipe and leave a comment below!

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Cooked salmon patties on a plate.

How to Make Salmon Patties

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Salmon patties are a delicious and economical way to feed your family.

Ingredients

  • 2 14.75 oz. cans pink or red salmon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 onion, finely minced
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons Canola oil

Instructions

  1. Drain salmon and pick out round backbones and larger pieces of skin.
  2. Put salmon in a large bowl and add eggs, onion, breadcrumbs, 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Drain on paper towel lined plate for a few minutes before serving.

Notes

Expert Tips for Making the Best Salmon Patties

  • 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. 

How to Freeze Salmon Patties

  • 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. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 4 servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 459Saturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 262mgSodium: 860mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 49g

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More Fish Recipes You’ll Love:

Easy Baked Fish Sticks

Apricot-Chili Glazed Fish

Broiled Shrimp with Vegetables and Sriracha Peanut Sauce

Update Notes: This post was originally published January 25, 2011, and on October 27, 2018, 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.

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DE

Monday 30th of January 2017

What size cans?

Lucy

Wednesday 26th of July 2017

14.75 ounce

Shanta

Monday 22nd of August 2016

Amazing recipe , taste just like grandmas! My picky four year old fell in love, two thumbs up !

Lorie Marschie

Friday 26th of February 2016

Used ritz crackers, chives to this.. Mom always made these with creamed peas!! These parties are amazingly good? took me back to when I was a kid! Thanks

Jenny

Sunday 29th of March 2015

Just made salmon croquettes on Friday!! I coat them with cornmeal before I fry them. Traditions!!

Linda

Thursday 7th of August 2014

We grew-up in Detroit,Michigan and we had these once a week,us kids all loved them and I make them for my family. Think I will have to make them again soon I forgot how good they are! We called them Salmon Croquttes! Thanks