These Salmon Patties (or salmon cakes, or salmon croquettes) are such a simple, frugal 20-minute recipe packed with healthy ingredients! Whatever you call them, they’re sure to be a win with your entire family, especially when served with a cool, creamy lemon sauce.
Salmon is one of my favorite ways to get LOTS of bang for your buck in terms of nutrition in a short amount of time. But sometimes salmon is really expensive, which makes it harder to eat frequently.
Enter: CANNED SALMON. It’s always wild caught, it’s super cheap (around $3 a can!), and it’s already cooked, just like canned tuna.
My kids (age 1 and 2) are hit or miss when it comes to tuna, so I was a bit apprehensive to serve this to them, but I am pleased to report that they LOVED these salmon patties. Woo hoo! It’s such a healthy, economical meal that’s perfect for the whole family.
And the SAUCE. These salmon patties are served with a cool, creamy, simple lemon sour cream sauce that’s potentially my new favorite sauce ever. (They are also delicious served with a traditional homemade tartar sauce if that’s your thing, too.)
In this post I’ll explain a little more about canned salmon, including what the heck to do with the bones and skin that come with it, how to form and fry the patties to perfect, circular, golden brown deliciousness, and suggest sides to serve them with. Plus, I have some other budget-friendly seafood recipes for you.
How to use canned salmon
Canned salmon, just like canned tuna, is ready to eat as it comes. It’s fully cooked, and flakes apart easily. And it’s always wild caught!
One thing that sometimes unnerves first-time canned salmon users is that it often comes with some salmon bones and skin mixed in with the meat.
But fear not!
Can I eat the bones and skin in canned salmon?
Yes you can! They’re both fully edible, and you likely won’t even notice that they are there. Especially the skin- it just melts right into everything and actually has a LOT of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids salmon is known for.
And the bones? They’re super high in calcium and also healthy for you.
THAT SAID, I personally remove the larger bones just because it kind of grosses me out. I’ve left them in before and kept thinking as I took each bite about the bones, and because I was thinking about it too much, I didn’t enjoy eating as much as I normally do.
It’s completely up to you whether you remove the skin and/or bones- either way, these salmon patties will be delicious!
How to make salmon patties
This salmon patties recipe is so easy it’s almost not fair. You’re going to love how stress-free this is on busy weeknights, and it only takes about 20 minutes total! Here’s how.
- First, mix the ingredients for salmon patties. The can of salmon, an egg, a minced jalapeño, some red onion, frozen corn, bread crumbs, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Then, add the liquid from the can of salmon gradually, until the desired texture is reached. It should clump together easily in your hands. I almost always end up adding all the liquid.
- Form 8 patties (or 16 for an appetizer). I use a large disher scoop to measure out the mixture evenly, then use my hands to flatten the patties and round out the edges until they are as close to a perfect circle as possible.
How to fry salmon patties
It’s so easy to fry up these salmon cakes in a little bit of olive oil. Here’s how.
- I prefer to use a nonstick skillet for this, because it helps keep the patties intact with very little effort. But I’ve also used a well-seasoned cast iron skillet for these salmon patties, and it works really well too. I recommend 12-inch, as you can fit 4 of the patties very easily at a time.
- Fry the patties for two minutes on each side in extra-virgin olive oil.
- After you flip them, press down on the patty with the back of a flat spatula. This will help flatten the cake, and get more surface area to come in contact with the hot oil. This means more golden brown crispy goodness. YUM.
- Set them on a paper towel when you’re done to absorb any excess oil, so they aren’t greasy.
What to serve with salmon patties
I like serving these salmon croquettes with a simple salad. Or, you can put them on a bun like a burger, using the lemon sauce as a spread. Here are some recipes to serve them with.
- Broccoli Salad with apples, walnuts, and cranberries
- Deconstructed Wedge Salad
- Tangy Cucumber and Radish Salad
- Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Creamy Lemony Vegetable Pasta Salad
- Carrot Fries with Spicy Mayo Dipping Sauce
Other Budget-Friendly Seafood Recipes
- New England Baked Haddock
- Shrimp and Grits
- Shrimp and Zucchini Fritters
- Southern-Style Oven Fried Catfish
- Tex-Mex Tuna Melts
- Easy Crab Cakes
- Classic Tuna Casserole from Scratch
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Salmon Patties (aka Salmon Cakes or Croquettes)
For the patties
- Place salmon in a medium sized bowl, reserving the liquid. Flake apart with a fork and remove any large pieces of bone and/or skin, if you prefer (I personally leave the skin in and remove large bones, but both are completely edible).
- Add bread crumbs (1/2 cup), egg, minced red onion (1/4 cup), minced jalapeño, frozen corn (1/2 cup), paprika (1/2 teaspoon), kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon), and black pepper (1/4 teaspoon). Stir well with a spoon or use your hands to mix it thoroughly, adding the liquid from the can gradually until desired texture is reached (I usually add all of it). The mixture should clump together easily.
- Form 8 small patties with your hands, rounding them out on the edges and flattening them as you go to about 1/2 inch thickness. (Tip: I used a large disher scoop to measure out each patty before forming them so they would all be the same size.)
- Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet. (I prefer nonstick for this recipe, but cast iron also works great). Add four of the patties to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, until browned. Flip carefully, and press down with the back of the spatula to flatten the patties a bit. Cook for another 2 minutes, or until browned on the other side. Transfer to a paper towel, then repeat with the remaining four patties.
- Meanwhile, if making the creamy lemon sauce, combine the sour cream (1/2 cup), lemon juice (1 tablespoon), kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon), and black pepper (1/4 teaspoon).
- Serve hot with the creamy lemon sauce, if desired. You can eat these on a bun like a burger, on the side of a salad, in pita pockets, or on their own!
- Make them an appetizer: form 16 small patties instead of 8 and serve them with the lemon sour cream sauce to dip into.
- Troubleshooting for patties falling apart: Something that can help with patties like this staying together is cooling off the mixture. You can do this before or after forming the patties – but the colder they are, the better they will stay together. Another trick is to cook them for a longer time at a lower heat – this will ensure the inside is cooked (and therefore the egg, which will help bind it together well), without overdoing the outside.
Nutrition Information Disclaimer
The provided nutrition information is my best estimate and does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. I use an automatic API to calculate this information. Feel free to calculate it yourself using one of these tools:
This recipe first appeared on Bowl of Delicious in March 2014 as Salmon Croquettes with Lemon Dill Sauce. It’s been edited to include new photos, an improved recipe, and more pertinent information in the post.