A versatile recipe for salmon croquettes that’s quick and easy enough for a weeknight while also being elegant enough to be served as an appetizer. Top off the croquettes with a creamy caper sauce made with whole capers for salty pops of flavor.
We wanted a salmon croquette recipe that was easy and convenient to make but tasted anything but. And while this recipe is made with canned salmon, you’d never know. Thanks to a mixture of herbs, spices and aromatics, each bite is bold in flavor and ultra-savory.
Salmon Croquettes vs Salmon Patties
We have recipes for both salmon patties and salmon croquettes, so what’s the difference and what are salmon croquettes?
- Salmon croquettes are essentially a Souther variation on salmon patties.
- Salmon croquettes generally features Southern spices while salmon patties are a general term and don’t specify any particular flavor profile.
- Croquettes are most often made with canned salmon while salmon patties can be made with either canned or fresh salmon.
- Croquettes are lightly breaded and fried to create a crisp crust.
- Salmon patties tend to have less mix-ins as well.
How to Make Salmon Croquettes?
Our Pan-Seared Salmon or Broiled Salmon is always a go-to for quick weeknight dinners. But when we’re craving something with a bit more flare, these salmon croquettes are the first choice.
Relying on canned salmon means this recipe is unfussy and ultra convenient. Then for impressive crispiness without the hassle of deep frying, coat the croquettes in panko breadcrumbs and give the cakes a quick pan-fry in butter.
- Canned Salmon: you’ll need one 14- to 15-ounce can of salmon. If you can only find smaller cans of salmon, get a couple and err on the side of more salmon than less. Essentially, make sure you have at least 14 ounces of salmon.
- Sandwich Bread: to create ultra-moist salmon croquettes we rely on a technique known as a panade. We use this technique to create the best baked chicken meatballs.
- Eggs: you’ll need two large eggs. Make sure to use eggs labeled as large. If you use smaller eggs, the mixture may come out too dry. And if you use extra-large or jumbo, the mixture may be too wet.
- Aromatics: onion, jalapeno, and garlic lay the foundation of flavor. It’s important to mince these really well so they incorporate into the salmon mixture without causing it to fall apart in the pan.
- Parsley: feel free to play around with different herbs. If you like cilantro, use that! Basil, chives and a bit of tarragon would also work well.
- Seafood Seasoning: use what you like or have on hand. We like Magic Seafood Seasoning or Old Bay Seasoning.
- Panko: use any kind of Panko you like—whole-wheat Panko, regular or gluten-free panko will all work.
- Butter: you just need a couple tablespoons of butter to cook the croquettes in.
- Salmon Croquettes Sauce: this sauce is inspired by a tartar sauce but is so much easier and requires less prep work. We toss whole capers (no need to mince) with a mix of mayonnaise, Dijon and horseradish. It’s creamy, savory and just punchy enough.
1. Drain the salmon (reserve a couple tablespoons of the juice). Pick through and remove any skin and bones.
2. Make a panade by tearing bread into pieces and mixing with a couple tablespoons of salmon juice.
3. Add the remaining salmon croquette ingredients and mix to combine.
4. Form the salmon mixture into patties and chill.
5. Coat salmon croquettes in seasoned Panko.
6. Cook croquettes in butter in nonstick skillet until golden brown.
7. Mix together the sauce ingredients.
8. Serve salmon croquettes with sauce.
Make Ahead Tips
- Salmon croquettes can be prepared (through step 4) and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead of time. We do not recommend prepping them any further in advance.
- The aromatics (onion, jalapeño and garlic) can be minced and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days ahead fo time.
- The salmon croquette sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
We don’t recommend baking croquettes—pan searing makes them much crispier than baking ever will. Having said that, if you must bake them, we recommend baking them on a parchment lined baking sheet in a 400ºF oven until golden brown on both sides, this should take about 10 minutes per side.
Leftovers, Storage and reheating
- Leftover cooked salmon croquettes should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Stored this way, cooked salmon croquettes will last up to 5 days.
- Cooked salmon croquettes can also be frozen. To freeze salmon croquettes, arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until sold. Once solid, transfer the croquettes to a resealable zipper-lock bag and store in the freezer for up to 4 months. Let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- Reheat cooked salmon croquettes over medium-low heat in a nonstick skillet with a splash of olive oil until crisp and warmed through. You can also gently microwave them until warmed through.
What to Serve with Salmon Croquettes
Serve salmon croquettes with all kinds of sides (we’ve got tons of side dishes for salmon). Something carby and starchy like grits or mashed potatoes is classic, but they also pair beautifully with a crisp-tender vegetable or side salad. And if you’re looking to turn leftovers into a delicious brunch, make a salmon Benedict by topping them with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce.
Carby: pair these salmon croquettes with our light and flavorful Celery Root Mashed Potatoes or Polenta Fries. Or lean into the Southern vibe and serve these with out Healthy Cornbread (or Gluten-Free Cornbread).
Vegetable: our Chorizo Corn Maque Choux is the perfect pairing for salmon croquettes! It’s Southern and savory yet bright and crisp. We also love to pair these croquettes with Sautéed Broccoli and our Caesar Cauliflower Potato Salad.
Salads: Our Peach and Sweet Corn Salad paired with salmon croquettes makes the perfect summer dinner. Our Cabbage Salad, Butter Lettuce Salad, Fennel Salad and Garden Salad are all great options as well.
Test Kitchen Tips & Variations
- It’s very important to mince the onion, jalapeño and garlic. If they’re cut too large, the salmon croquettes may not stay together and could fall apart in the pan.
- Use whatever fresh herbs you like. Parsley is versatile, but cilantro, chives and basil are all great options.
- If you want these croquettes to have more of a spicy kick, consider using a serrano (or two) and add a pinch of cayenne to the mix.
- If you need these to be gluten-free, use a piece of gluten-free bread and gluten-free Panko.
- If you need these to be dairy-free, pan fry the croquettes in olive oil or vegetable oil instead of butter.
Anything fresh, zesty and crunchy is a natural pairing with salmon. Check out this round up of sides for salmon (more than 50 recipes!).
Yes, canned salmon is fully cooked.
There are a few key steps to keeping salmon patties from falling apart. First, use a binder in the salmon mixture such as eggs, breadcrumbs or a panade (bread and liquid). This recipe uses eggs and a panade. Secondly, allow the salmon patties or salmon croquettes to chill thoroughly before cooking. Chilling gives the bread time to soak up excess moisture and allows all of the ingredients to “set.”
More Salmon Recipes to Try
Our all-time favorite and easy salmon recipe is this pan-seared salmon. This 5-star recipe is perfect every time!
Give our Miso Glazed Salmon a try when you’re craving something super savory!
- 1 (14-ounce) can salmon, drained
- 1 piece whole-wheat sandwich bread
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup minced sweet white onion
- 1 large jalapeno, minced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
- 2 teaspoons seafood seasoning, divided (such as Magic or Old Bay)
- ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon
- 1 tablespoon refrigerated prepared horseradish
- 3 tablespoon capers or pickle relish
- Drain salmon over a small bowl (reserve juice). Pick through and remove any bones and skin.
- Tear bread into bite-sized pieces and add to a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons salmon juice to bowl with bread. Using your hands or a fork, mash to combine.
- Add salmon, 2 eggs, ½ cup minced onion, 1 minced jalapeño, 2 minced cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons minced parsley, 1 ½ teaspoons seafood seasoning, ½ teaspoon black pepper and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt.
- Mix to combine then divide into 8 (1½-inch) patties. Arrange in a single layer on a plate and refrigerate 15 minutes.
- In a shallow bowl, mix together ½ cup Panko and ½ teaspoon seafood seasoning.
- Heat 2 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until butter has melted and foaming subsides, about 3 minutes.
- Carefully coat salmon patties in panko mixture to coat.
- Add patties to skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.
- Mix together ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon Dijon, 1 tablespoon horseradish and 3 tablespoons capers; season with pepper to taste.
Photography by Megan McKeehan.