Learning how to make salmon cakes can be a huge help come dinner time, especially on those nights that you haven’t planned ahead. Because if you have just a few pantry staples on hand, including canned salmon, this dinner comes together easily and bakes up in under 20 minutes!
Easy Salmon Cakes
I first served these fish cakes to my daughter when she was about 18 months old. I was surprised that she liked them. Now that she’s older, she doesn’t reliably eat them, but she does sometimes so I like to keep them in rotation. She prefers to dip them in ketchup, while we adults like them topped with mayonnaise and relish. I love that I can put the ingredients into the food processor, portion patties with a measuring cup, and they can bake away while we play (or get the rest of dinner going!).
Salmon Cakes with Canned Salmon
They are a budget-friendly way to get a dose of the good fats in salmon into little ones. Both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods sell well-priced canned wild salmon that’s significantly less expensive than buying it fresh or frozen. Plus, you can stash a can in your pantry and whip out a dinner in no time at all.
How to Make Salmon Cakes Step-by-Step
Making homemade salmon cakes is super easy and is possible to do on a busy weeknight. Here’s what the process looks like:
- Drain the salmon and add it to a food processor with egg, cornmeal, and cheese. (You can also mix with a fork in a medium bowl.)
- Pulse to grind into a batter.
- Use a 1/4-cup measuring cup to portion rounds, then flatten until about 1/2-inch thick.
- Press into a small bowl of breadcrumbs and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake and eat!
Healthy Salmon Cakes
These salmon cakes only have a few ingredients including canned salmon, egg, a little cheese, and cornmeal. The outside of each patty is pressed into breadcrumbs, which crisp up nicely as they bake. Each patty has 13 grams of protein, which is pretty good for their small size!
Salmon Patties with Mayo
I’m not sure what it is about these that make them pair so well with mayo, but they do! Try topping them with a little mayo and a little ketchup. Maybe add in some pickles. The combination of flavors is seriously good.
How to Make Baked Salmon Cakes
Instead of pan frying, which is messy and hard with kids around, these salmon cakes are baked in the oven. This means that here’s hardly any clean up and they don’t have excess oil. I learned how to make salmon cakes this way and never went back because it’s so easy and reliable. The salmon cakes are coated in breadcrumbs (I use these gluten-free breadcrumbs from Ian’s), so they get a subtle crunch.
Tips for the Best Salmon Patties
No matter how you make salmon cakes, the most important thing is to make sure that the batter is uniform and holding together well. This is easily achieved in the food processor, which makes the mixture into a nice and smooth batter. Stop it and scrape down the sides, then blend more until it’s mostly all smooth. This is great if your canned salmon has bones (which are loaded with calcium!) because it blends them right up.
Best Salmon for Salmon Cakes
We love Safe Catch canned salmon and tuna because it’s tested for mercury levels so I don’t worry about giving it to my kids. (It was also SO reassuring when I was pregnant since the recommendations are to steer clear of mercury for the safety of the developing baby.) And the flavor isn’t too fishy (if you’ve ever had bad canned tuna, you know what I mean!), but instead is fresh. We’re a big fan of their tuna pouches and tend to order their products in bulk to keep in the pantry!
These tender fish cakes make an easy pantry meal when you haven’t planned ahead for dinner.
- 2 5-ounce cans wild salmon, drained of liquid
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. All ingredient except the breadcrumbs in a food processor and process until uniform and moist. (Or, mash very well with a fork or clean hands.)
- Spread the breadcrumbs onto a plate. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to form the mixture into patties. Press both sides into the breadcrumbs and place on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature with relish, ketchup, or mayonnaise.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days and reheat for about 6-8 minutes in a 375 degree oven or for 15-30 seconds in the microwave.
If for some reason your salmon is drier and the mixture isn’t holding together well in the food processor, you can add 1 additional egg white.
You can use canned tuna instead of salmon.