Panko-Crusted Salmon Cakes

Panko-crusted salmon cakes on a plate

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 16 mins
Chill Time: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 31 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 8 cakes
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
531 Calories
35g Fat
26g Carbs
32g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 531
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 35g 45%
Saturated Fat 6g 31%
Cholesterol 164mg 55%
Sodium 473mg 21%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 9%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 32g
Vitamin C 97mg 483%
Calcium 106mg 8%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 753mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Salmon cakes are a great way to use leftover cooked salmon, but this dish is so good that you may find yourself cooking up some salmon just to make this recipe. 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.

"The recipe was quick to make. I used the full amount of panko and they held together perfectly. I crusted some in panko and left some without, and there really wasn't much of a difference. The non-crusted cakes crisped up beautifully." —Danielle Centoni

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked and flaked salmon, about 12 ounces

  • 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

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, optional

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup panko (or freshly toasted breadcrumbs), plus more for coating, if desired

  • Nonstick cooking spray (or olive oil or vegetable oil), for hands

  • Olive oil (or vegetable oil), for frying

  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for panko-crusted salmon cakes

    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 gently mixed 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.

    Add 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. Form the cakes 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. If cooking in batches, keep them 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

Tips

  • 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, despite chilling them beforehand, you can add a little bit of mayonnaise to help bind them into cakes.
  • For a less messy way to form the cakes, try using a 1/4 cup dry measuring cup. Scoop the mixture with the cup and then pack the mixture in. Invert it onto a plate and the cake should pop out cleanly.

How to Store and Freeze Salmon Cakes

These will keep in the refrigerator in a sealed container or well wrapped for 3 to 4 days. You can eat them cold or even room temperature, or feel free to reheat them gently in a skillet over medium-low heat for several minutes, or wrapped in foil and put in a low oven (about 325 F) for 10 to 15 minutes.


Alternately, you can store these cakes either cooked or uncooked in the freezer. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and freeze until solid. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and transfer to a zip-close freezer bag. The salmon cakes will fry the best if you defrost them slowly in the refrigerator. If they've already been cooked, you just need to reheat them. If you're starting with uncooked frozen cakes, follow the frying instructions as directed in the recipe.