These easy canned salmon patties (aka salmon cakes) are the perfect weeknight dinner. They come together quickly, are great for meal prep, and are even low-carb, keto and paleo—everyone is happy!

How to Make Salmon Patties (Paleo, Keto, and Low-Carb)

Most salmon cakes are loaded with breadcrumbs, Panko, or even potatoes to bind ingredients together and to make more hearty patties. They’re so common, it’d be easy to think you couldn’t make salmon cakes without some type of carby filler. 

But, here’s the good news, with a few thoughtful ingredient additions you can make delicious, healthy and low-carb salmon patties!

First things first, when removing an ingredient that add bulk and works as a binder, it’s important to replace it with something that will also bind add structure (not rocket science, eh?). 

Tip 1: add an egg

For these salmon cakes, instead of using breadcrumbs I chose to use an egg for binding and adding structure. The egg is also incredibly important when making salmon patties with canned salmon.

Why? Well, when protein is heated during the cooking process, the protein molecules unfold and extend. The molecules then have more surface area to bond to other protein molecules, which create a network of cross bonding, aka clumping. 

So, when we use pre-cooked (canned) salmon, instead of raw salmon, we lose out on that lovely molecular expanding, bonding, and contracting process. So to create a salmon patty that holds together and doesn’t crumble the moment you try to flip it, we need to add a raw protein that can undergo that process, and you guessed it, bind everything together!

Overhead photo of salmon cake ingredients (egg, salmon, herbs, shallot, mayo, salt and pepper)in a large bowl.

Tip 2: be smart with the add-ins

Since we aren’t relying on breadcrumbs to absorb excess liquid we need to keep added moisture to a minimum. To do this, I call for just a tablespoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of mayo. Now, I tried using greek yogurt instead of mayo, but yogurt is higher in moisture and mayo just tastes better. Plus, it’s just a tablespoon.

Aside from added moisture, it’s important to prepare the add-ins (shallot and herbs) very small not chunky. The chunkier the shallot, the more risk of the patties to fall apart.

I recommend grating the shallot on a box grater, then giving it a pass with your knife too, just to ensure it’s tiny. Then thoroughly mince the parsley and chives. 

Tip 3: high heat and a nonstick skillet 

To create a nice golden crust be sure to adequately heat 12-inch a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, then add the oil, let it heat up just until shimmering, and add the cakes.

Avoid messing with the cakes as they cook and allow them to sear for 2–2½ minutes before flipping to the second side. The less you mess with them the less likely they are to fall apart. 

Overhead photo of prepared salmon cakes arranged on a white plate, ready to be cooked

Canned Salmon Makes For Easy Salmon Cakes 

Canned wild salmon is a staple in my pantry! It’s a great go-to when you’re short on groceries, aren’t sure what to make, or are short on time. 

To simplify the process of making salmon cakes, and to cut down on prep work and cook time, I turn to canned wild caught salmon. Sure, it’s not as fresh as, well, fresh salmon, but it’s a great way to add heart-healthy fat and protein to your diet without the added cost and time.

I prefer to pick through and remove any bones or cartilage I find in my canned salmon (very common). However, the bones soften through the canning process which makes them safe to eat. Plus they are packed with calcium, so if you don’t mind some added crunch, go ahead and keep them in!  

Use High-Quality Canned Salmon

These two brands are my favorite!

Overhead of a salmon nicoise salad on a white oval plate

How to Serve Salmon Cakes

Photo of salmon cakes stacked on a white plate with lemon slices on a gray table with a blue napkin.

Other Salmon Recipes to Try

We’ve got tons of healthy salmon recipes, here are just a few of our favorites!

Easy Salmon Patties (Cakes)

Print Recipe
4.78 from 18 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Yield 7 patties
Category Dinner
Cuisine American
Author Lauren


These easy canned salmon cakes are quick to make, low-carb and full of heart-healthy protein and fat! Add this to your weekly meal prep for great on-the-go lunches or quick weeknight dinners.


  • 1 (14.75 ounce) can wild salmon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons grated shallot
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon each kosher salt and cracked pepper
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • Drain salmon then remove and discard any bones or cartilage. Transfer salmon to a medium bowl and flake salmon into small chunks using a fork.
  • Add 1 egg, 2 tablespoons grated shallot, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon chives, 1 tablespoon dill, 1 tablespoon parsley, 1 teaspoon Dijon, ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper, and pinch cayenne to salmon and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Using a ¼ cup measure, scoop level amount of salmon mixture and form into a patty 2½-inches in diameter and ½-inch thick; transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining mixture. 
  • Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon oil and heat just until shimmering. Place half of salmon patties in skillet and cook, without moving, until golden brown, 2–2½ minutes. Carefully flip patties and cook until second side is golden brown, 2–2½ minutes. Transfer patties to a wire rack.
  • Wipe out skillet with a paper towel and repeat cooking process with remaining tablespoon oil and salmon patties.
  • Serve as desired, we like to top them with tartar sauce.



A nonstick skillet is essential here! You can also use a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. If you have neither, use a regular skillet and make sure to add more oil to the skillet during cooking to avoid any stickage. 


Serving: 1pattyCalories: 117kcalCarbohydrates: 0.5gProtein: 10.5gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 159mg
Keywords Canned salmon cakes, easy salmon cakes, Easy salmon Patties, keto salmon cakes, Keto Salmon Patties, Paleo salmon cakes
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment below and tag @ZestfulKitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #zestfulkitchen!
Close up photo of salmon cakes stacked on a white plate with lemon slices on a gray table with a blue napkin.

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine,,, and more.

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How many stars would you give this recipe?


  1. These are great. I didn’t have a few spices but ad libbed. I used my air fryer at 380 for 15 minutes- flipped half way through. Delish and one bowl. Super easy!! Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this at the last minute tonight so I only had dried herbs on hand and they still turned out fantastic. I also made them air fryer like a previous review mentioned. Thank you for a great recipe!

  3. These are ridiculously good. Even without dill they were quite tasty. I let the mixture sit in the fridge for about 30 mins before forming and frying. They held together perfectly. Thanks!

  4. 5 stars
    I made these tonight and they were amazing. I didn’t have fresh dill which next time I will make sure I have on hand. Thank you for this recipe I will be sharing this with everyone.

    1. Hi Toni! I’m so glad you enjoyed them! Fresh dill is great with these, but they definitely can stand on their own without it. Thanks for sharing it with people!

    1. Hi Morgan, definitely! I haven’t tested this, but I would recommend chilling the patties for 30 minutes or so before grilling, this will help them stay together while grilling. I would also recommend oiling your grill grates pretty well before adding the patties to avoid sticking. As for heat, medium should work well at about 3 minutes per side. Let me know how it goes!

    1. Hi Meagan,

      Great question! I haven’t tested this recipe as baked but I think it should work fine! I would bake them at 375-degrees for about 10 minutes (on a lightly greased baking sheet), then broil them at the end to add some color. I would broil for 3–5 minutes per side. Let me know how it goes!

  5. 4 stars
    Yum! My husband and I loved these, and they were so quick and easy. They did seem pretty salty (and I am a salt-loving gal), so I wonder if it should be reduced a bit. A great weeknight dinner from kitchen staples. Served with a pot of rice, a salad, and fresh tomatoes; delicious! Thank you!

    1. Hi Lucy! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe—thank you for the note on the salt level! I will adjust that.

  6. 5 stars
    Delicious! I added a quarter cup of almond meal because I accidentally put it too much lemon juice and they were still perfect!

    1. Hi Aleah,

      I haven’t tested this, but I assume it would work well! I’d bake at 350ºF and start with 8 minutes, adding more time if needed. Let me know how it goes!

  7. I made these using leftover baked salmon. I had no lemon juice, so I used apple cider vinegar. They were delicious! Will make them again.

  8. This was my first time ever making salmon patties and OMG these will definitely be a staple in my house. Thank you for sharing this gem❤️