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Delicious Baked Salmon Cakes are perfect for dinner or as a party appetizer. It's hard to believe these easy patties start with a can of salmon and bake in the oven.
Do you have shelf-stable salmon stashed away in your pantry? Good! You don't have to wait another minute to enjoy these healthy baked salmon patties that are packed with flavor.
Much like crab cakes, the presentation brings an element of fun to the dinner table! Serve them on buns for salmon burgers with all the fixings. Or drizzle salmon patties with aioli sauce and serve with a fresh green salad for a low-carb version.
They're perfect for busy weeknights because dinner is ready in under 30 minutes.
And similar to baked crab bites, you can even shape them into cute little bite-sized balls for a quick and easy snack or appetizer.
Keep the pantry staples to make this simple salmon patty recipe on hand, and you'll always have a dinner plan!
Here's what you need to make this easy salmon patties recipe:
- Panko breadcrumbs or crushed saltine crackers.
- Onion that is finely diced.
- Sharp cheddar cheese - The strong flavor of this type of cheese complements the flavor.
- Parsley - Fresh chopped parsley is best. Dried parsley will work, too, or omit this ingredient if you don't have it on hand.
- Worcestershire sauce
- Egg is lightly beaten and serves as a binder.
- Pink salmon, bones removed, well-drained. See the section below on different types of salmon that can be used. Canned tuna can be used to make tuna patties instead.
Types of Canned Salmon
When standing in the canned seafood aisle, you're faced with many choices:
- Red vs. Pink Salmon - Sockeye salmon is red and has slightly firmer flesh and a stronger flavor than pink salmon. Pink or humpback salmon is milder and has a softer texture. Both are from the Pacific waters. Another difference is the amount of fat, with red salmon having slightly more. For fish cakes, choose pink salmon when you can.
- Wild vs. farm-raised. According to The Cleveland Clinic, choose wild, which will have better nutritional content and fewer contaminants.
- With or without skin and bones. It's a personal preference. Technically, you can eat the small bones. They easily disintegrate or can be picked out. Alternatively, you can buy it de-boned with the skin removed, which is a little more expensive.
I'm a Wild Alaskan, pink salmon with the no skin or bones kinda gal. But, I have inadvertently gone the other route. It wasn't hard to remove the bones, and I left some of the skin on. Nobody was the wiser.
Follow these directions for baked salmon cakes that are perfectly golden brown on both sides.
- Combine onion, breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, and egg in a large bowl. Flake to separate big chunks of salmon and stir into the other ingredients.
- Scoop out ¼ cup portions of the salmon mixture, tightly compress and form into 8 small, slightly rounded patties. Place salmon patties on a greased sheet pan or parchment paper spritzed with cooking spray.
- Bake salmon patties for 10 minutes and then remove from the oven. Mist or lightly brush the tops with olive oil and CAREFULLY flip to the other side.
- Continue baking for 10 minutes more or until the salmon patties are golden brown on top. Allow cakes to rest for a minute or two before removing them to a serving plate.
Muffin Tin Method
Salmon cakes can be made in regular or mini muffin tins too! The benefits are:
- There's no need to handle the fish mixture or shape patties.
- The sides and the bottoms brown beautifully.
- There's no need to flip anything halfway through.
- You can easily measure doneness with a temperature probe.
To use this option, simply mix everything together as you normally would. Next, coat the muffin pan with cooking spray. Portion the mixture into each well and then gently compress with the back of a spoon.
The cooking time will vary slightly depending on the wells' depth, but it will generally take about 20 minutes.
These salmon patties are delicious with just a fresh squeeze of lemon or served as a burger with traditional toppings.
But they are EXCEPTIONAL with a smear of lemon garlic aioli. Mix together: mayonnaise, lemon juice, fresh garlic, and paprika. That's it!
Tartar sauce, remoulade sauce, and other toppings you love with crab cakes will complement baked salmon cakes too!
Fresh salmon can be flaked and used in this recipe. You'll need about 1 ½ cups.
Salmon patties can be cooked in a skillet. Heat olive oil in a pan and cook each patty for 5-6 minutes over medium heat before flipping it to the other side. Don't handle the salmon cakes too much. Try to flip each just once because they are fragile.
To cook salmon patties in an air fryer, heat the air fryer to 390°F. Spray the basket with oil, then add patties into the basket in a single layer. Spritz the tops of the salmon cakes with olive oil. Cook for about 10 minutes, carefully flipping once. The exact time will depend on your model of the air fryer.
- Leftovers - Store leftover salmon cakes in an airtight container for 2-3 days in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer.
- Reheat cooked salmon patties in the oven or air fryer at 350°F for 15-20 minutes.
Can you freeze salmon cakes?
Salmon cakes can be made and frozen before you're ready to enjoy them. Once you have everything out, making several batches of salmon patties for the freezer is easy. Here's how:
Prepare them, but don't cook them. Instead, freeze them in a single layer. Once the salmon patties are frozen solid, arrange them in a baking dish. Use parchment or wax paper to separate layers. Cover the baking dish with aluminum and plastic wrap, and label it! Or store the patties in a freezer bag, removing as much excess air as possible.
When you're ready to enjoy them, defrost them overnight in the refrigerator and bake the salmon cakes as usual. Or cook from frozen, adding about 10 minutes to the total cooking time.
For best results, enjoy them within 2 months of freezing.
We used this process for this recipe at our Make Ahead Meal Assembly Store!
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Baked Salmon Cakes (Patties or Muffin Tin Style)
Salmon Cakes or Patties
- ¼ cup onion finely diced
- ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 2 Tablespoons parsley chopped; can also you dry or omit this ingredient if you don't have it on hand.
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 15 ounces pink salmon bones removed, well-drained
Lemon Garlic Aioli
- 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove pressed or minced
- ⅛ teaspoon paprika
Salmon Cakes or Patties
- Preheat oven to 375 °F.
- Combine onion, breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, Worcestershire sauce and egg in a large bowl.
- Flake salmon until it's uniformly crumbly and stir into other ingredients.
- Scoop out ¼ cup portions of the mixture, tightly compress and form into 8 small, slightly rounded patties.
- Place salmon cakes on a greased baking sheet.
- Bake salmon patties for 10 minutes and then remove from the oven. Mist or lightly brush the tops with olive oil and CAREFULLY flip the delicate patties to the other side.
- Continue baking for 10 minutes more or until the salmon cakes are golden brown on top.
- Allow cakes to rest for a minute or two before removing to serving plate.
Lemon Garlic Aioli
- Mix ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle over salmon cakes or serve on the side.
- Leftovers - Store cooked salmon cakes in an airtight container for 2-3 days in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer.
- Reheat cooked salmon cakes in the oven or air fryer at 350°F for 15-20 minutes.