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!
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.
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!
How to Serve Salmon Cakes
- Add them to a niçoise salad
- Serve them as an appetizer with this creamy horseradish dressing
- As a “burger” with this green slaw (increase patty size to ⅓ cup)
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)
- 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.