Panko-Crusted Salmon Cakes

Panko-Crusted Salmon Cakes recipe

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Chilling Time: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 6 to 12 servings

Salmon cakes are a great way to use leftover cooked salmon, but this recipe is so good that you may find yourself cooking up some salmon just to make them. The cooked, flaked fish is combined with minced green onion, fresh parsley, eggs, panko breadcrumbs, and a little cayenne for a kick if you like. After the mixture is formed into patties, the cakes are chilled to assure they won't fall apart; then they are pan-fried until nice and crisp. You can dust the patties with a little extra panko before frying if you want an extra crunchy coating.

Serve these delicate yet flavorful patties for lunch or dinner with lemon wedges for squeezing and a big green salad dressed with a lemon garlic vinaigrette. They make perfect appetizers as well when served with a dipping sauce, tartar sauce, or rémoulade on the side.


  • 2 cups (about 12 ounces) cooked and flaked salmon
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons minced green onion (or red onion or shallot)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional: 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup panko or freshly toasted breadcrumbs (plus more for coating, if desired)
  • Olive oil or vegetable oil (for frying)
  • Lemon wedges (for serving)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Panko-crusted salmon cakes ingredients

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  2. In a medium bowl, combine the salmon, onion, parsley, salt, pepper, and cayenne if using. Mix to combine everything thoroughly.

    Panko-crusted salmon cakes ingredients in a bowl

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  3. Move the mixture to one side of the bowl and crack the eggs into the other side. Use a whisk or fork to beat the eggs.

    Salmon cake ingredients mixed with egg

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  4. Gently combine the salmon mixture and the beaten eggs. Don't overwork the mixture after you've added the eggs, or the patties can lose their tender texture.

    Salmon cake ingredients with egg in a bowl

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  5. Stir in the panko or toasted breadcrumbs, starting with 1/3 cup. Take 1 tablespoon of the mixture and try to pat it together into a cake. If the patties don't come together, add another tablespoon of panko, mixing and testing until the mixture adheres.

    Adding panko breadcrumbs to salmon cake mixture

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  6. Spray your hands with cooking spray or oil them with olive oil or vegetable oil and form the cakes. Make them about 3 inches across and 1 inch thick. Place them on a baking sheet, cover, and chill for 1 to 2 hours for the best final results.

    Shape salmon cake into ball

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  7. Dredge the cakes in extra panko or toasted breadcrumbs, if desired.

    Crust salmon cake in panko breadcrumbs

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  8. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add some olive oil or vegetable oil. Cook the salmon cakes, as many as fit in a single layer, until golden brown on one side, about 4 minutes.

    Adding oil in a cast-iron pan

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  9. Flip over and cook the patties until golden brown on the other side and cooked through, another 4 minutes. Place the cooked cakes on a platter and keep warm while you cook any remaining cakes.

    Panko-crusted salmon cakes in a cast-iron pan

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  10. Serve the panko-crusted salmon cakes with plenty of lemon wedges and enjoy.

    Panko-crusted salmon cakes with lemon wedges

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack


  • For crispier cakes, fill the pan with about 1/2 inch of oil for the cakes to fry in. If you'd like to use less oil, just coat the pan.
  • Make sure you don't crowd the pan when frying the cakes; they should not touch each other. This assures the cakes will get nice and crispy on all sides.
  • If you find that the salmon mixture just won't hold together, you can add a little bit of mayonnaise to help bind them into cakes.