Baked Salmon Cakes drizzled with lemon garlic aioli are easy enough for a weeknight dinner and fancy enough to serve as a party appetizer.
It's hard to believe these golden brown patties start with a can of fish and cook in the oven. They can be made in a muffin tin too!
Do you have shelf-stable salmon stashed away in your pantry in case of an emergency? Good! You don't have to wait another minute to enjoy these healthy, lower-carb salmon patties.
Much like Crab Cakes, this presentation brings an element of fun to the dinner table! Serve it on a bun for a seafood style burger.
Best 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 a slightly firmer flesh and stronger flavor than pink salmon. Pink or humpback salmon is milder and has a softer texture. Both are from 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. Choose wild according to The Cleveland Clinic which will have better nutritional content and less contaminants.
- With or without skin and bones. It's a personal preference. Technically, you can eat the bones. They easily disintegrate or can be picked out. Alternatively, you can buy it de-boned and 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 really wasn't that hard to remove the bones and I left some of the skin on. Nobody was the wiser.
Can you use leftover fresh salmon?
Yes! I've never made it this way. But, fresh salmon can definitely be flaked and used tin this recipe. You'll need about 1 ½ cups.
Top Baking Tips
Follow these tips for baked salmon patties that are perfectly golden brown on both sides.
- Oil the pan with cooking spray or olive oil.
- After 10 minutes of baking, mist or lightly brush the tops with olive oil and CAREFULLY, flip them to the other side.
- Allow them to set for a few minutes after you remove the baking sheet from the oven.
Muffin Tin Method
If you love the ease and speed of making muffin tin dinner recipes. And, salmon cakes can be made this way too.
- There's no need for handling the fish mixture or shaping 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. 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 upon how deep the wells are, but will generally take about 20 minutes.
Salmon patties can be fried in a skillet too. Heat olive oil in a pan and cook each patty for 5-6 minutes over medium heat before flipping it to the other side. The most important thing to note if you use this method is to NOT handle the cakes too much. Try to flip each patty just once because they are fragile.
These salmon cakes 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!
Looking for an easy holiday appetizer? Make tablespoon-sized salmon bites. This size will cook more quickly. Check and flip them after 7 minutes and then cook for about 5 minutes more.
Or...cook them in a mini-muffin tin!
Make-ahead and Freeze Instructions
Once you have everything out, prepare a second batch for the freezer. Assemble the salmon cakes, but don't cook them. Arrange them in a baking dish or aluminum tin. Cover with aluminum and plastic wrap. Don't forget to label it!
Defrost them overnight in the refrigerator when you're ready to enjoy them and then bake salmon cakes as you normally would. For best results, enjoy them within 2 months of freezing.
This is the process we used for this recipe at our Make Ahead Meal Assembly Store!
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Baked Salmon 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
- 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 uncovered 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 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.