Salmon Burgers With Creamy Tartar Sauce


How do you top the perfect salmon burger? With tartar sauce of course.

Salmon Burgers with Creamy Tartar Sauce
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Active Time:
40 mins
Chill Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins

A fish sandwich and a burger collide in this epic barbecue cross-over that's simple enough to execute on a weeknight. Our Salmon Burgers with Creamy Tartar Sauce will make you forget everything you know about burgers—in the best way possible.

These homemade salmon burgers are composed of salmon, herbs, capers, and lemon, incorporating all the elements we typically use to complement the fish into one simple sandwich. The fish mixture has a chunky texture to help the patties keep their shape and stay moist, but the bright mayo sauce doesn't hurt, either. Since the salmon is used as the predominate binder, these patties only require a minimal quantity of breadcrumbs to retain their shape and moisture. The dill and tarragon add freshness to the patty, and the lemon zest, capers, mustard, and shallots round out the flavor profile.

Learning how to cook salmon burgers can actually be simpler than figuring out how to tell when your burgers are just medium-rare. These fish patties only require about 3 minutes of cook time on each side, but our secret weapon in ensuring consistent results every time is a thermometer. This superhero kitchen tool is the most accurate way to get a read on the doneness of your burgers—cook until the temperature heats 145 degrees, and you've got surefire success.

A buttered and toasted brioche bun is a great choice for this tender burger; lettuce and tomato are great toppings that also happen to be commonly found on both fish sandwiches and burgers.


  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (from 1 medium shallot)

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • 1 pound skinless salmon fillets, cut into ½-inch pieces, divided

  • ¼ cup chopped capers, divided, plus 1 tsp. reserved brine (from 1 [2-oz.] jar)

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill, divided

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon, divided

  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, plus 1 Tbsp. fresh juice (from 1 lemon), divided

  • ¼ cup plain dry breadcrumbs 

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • ½ cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 brioche hamburger buns, toasted

  • Toppings: shredded iceberg lettuce, beefsteak tomato slices


  1. Place shallot, mustard, one-fourth (4 ounces) of the salmon, 1 tablespoon of the capers, 1 tablespoon of the dill, 1 tablespoon of the tarragon, and 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest in a food processor. Pulse until mixture is mostly smooth, 5 or 6 pulses, stopping to scrape down sides as needed using a spatula. Add remaining 12 ounces salmon to food processor; pulse until salmon is chopped into about ¼-inch pieces and well combined with pureed salmon mixture, 5 to 6 pulses.

  2. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Add breadcrumbs, ¾ teaspoon of the salt, and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper; gently mix together using your hands. Divide mixture evenly into 4 (about 4-ounce) balls; shape each ball into a 4-inch-wide, ½-inch-thick patty. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap; chill 30 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, stir together mayonnaise, lemon juice, caper brine, and remaining 3 tablespoons capers, 1 tablespoon dill, 1 tablespoon tarragon, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Cover and chill tartar sauce until ready to use.

  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add salmon patties. Cook until golden, crisp on top and bottom, and a thermometer inserted into thickest portion of patties registers 145°F, about 3 minutes per side. Serve patties on toasted buns with tartar sauce, lettuce, and tomato slices.

Related Articles