Salmon Cakes

A few ingredients from your pantry and fridge are all you need to whip up an impressive salmon cake that can be served with salads or placed atop a toasted bun. Canned salmon may not be synonymous with high-end fare, but with the right flavor combinations and cooking method, you can transform this grocery store staple into a delicious dish. This salmon recipe calls for everyday ingredients you likely have in your pantry (canned salmon, breadcrumbs, red onion, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce) and fridge (eggs, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, celery) to create a sophisticated meal that you can whip up on a weeknight for an impressive and healthy dinner. Salmon cakes will also keep in the fridge for several days, so you can make a batch on the weekend to take to lunch during the work week. A good recipe for salmon cakes calls for salty, tangy, spicy, and fresh ingredients that complement the rich savoriness of salmon. Salmon is buttery with a hint of sweetness, which is complemented by the brightness of lemon juice and the depth of browning in a skillet. While salmon cakes are inherently different from a traditionally prepared filet, the same principles apply: layering different flavors to accompany and complement the taste of the fish. Aside from the salmon itself, these cakes get their structure from the incorporation of breadcrumbs and eggs. Our recipe builds this base of flavor by first sautéing red onion and celery until they caramelize, which lends a subtle sweetness to their earthiness. Mayonnaise is used to offer tang, richness, and moisture, and lemon juice brightens the mixture. Finely chopped herbs (dill and parsley) are stirred in, further freshening the salmon cakes with the vibrancy that typically goes into some of our favorite preparations of salmon. Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce are thrown into the mix to contribute mouth-smacking savory flavor, and a small amount of vinegary hot sauce gives the slightest touch of heat. Dress these salmon cakes up on a bun with some pickled onions, tomato, and tartar sauce. Enjoy them with a salad of fresh lettuces and herbs. Requiring little more than half an hour to prepare, this recipe may become your new weeknight dinner favorite.

Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
6 salmon cakes


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for pan frying

  • 1 cup chopped red onion, 1/4-inch dice

  • 1 cup chopped celery, 1/4-inch dice

  • 1 (14.75-oz.) can salmon, drained, or 1 3/4 cup cooked, flaked salmon

  • 1 3/4 cup panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 hot sauce (such as Crystal Hot Sauce)


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Sauté onion and celery until very soft and browned, about 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together salmon, breadcrumbs, eggs, mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill, parsley, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce until mixture is well combined. Season with salt and pepper, and add sautéed onion and celery to mixture; stir to combine.

  3. Prepare a plate by covering it in several layers of paper towels; set aside. In a clean skillet, heat additional oil to lightly coat the bottom of the skillet over medium-high heat. Separate the mixture into 1/3 cup portions and shape each portion into a 3/4-inch-thick round patty. Place patties in hot oil over medium heat, cooking no more than 3 at a time, for 3 or 4 minutes on each side, until the outside is evenly browned and the patty is cooked through. Transfer cooked patties to paper towel-lined plate. Add more oil to skillet if necessary and repeat cooking process until all patties are prepared.

    Salmon Cakes
    Micah A. Leal
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