This old-fashioned salmon patties recipe is a classic Southern dish. They are also known as salmon cakes, salmon burgers, fish cakes, or salmon croquettes. This classic and easy recipe has been enjoyed for generations. This recipe is both simple and delicious. It is ideal for using a can of pink salmon or leftover cooked fresh salmon. It is perfect for a quick and easy weeknight meal.

For more classic dinner ideas you might enjoy this classic meatloaf for one, a single-serving tuna casserole, the perfect roasted cornish hen, or a Sunday dinner pot roast.

pan fried salmon paties on plate with lemon wedge.

Click the recipe link at the top of the page to go straight to the printable recipe card, which includes ingredient amounts, a detailed ingredient list, instructions, and recipe notes. You can also scroll through the post for helpful tips and step-by-step instructions. The recipe card is located at the bottom of the post.

Hands down, this is one of my favorite canned salmon recipes. It uses simple ingredients and is super quick and easy to make. With just a few ingredients, you can make a delicious and satisfying meal that’s sure to please everyone.

For something a little different, try adding fresh dill, chopped red onion, or green onions. Sprinkle in a little black pepper, garlic powder, or onion powder for even more flavor.

Ready in under 30 minutes, this old-fashioned salmon patties recipe is a winner.

Main Ingredients and Variations


To make old-fashioned salmon patties, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Canned Salmon: Red or Pink salmon both make great salmon patties.
  • Saltine Crackers: If you want to control salt, use the low-sodium or no-salt version of the crackers. Bread crumbs also work well; however, the salmon pattie made with crackers is my favorite way to prepare canned salmon patties.
  • Eggs: use the whole egg and lightly beat it before mixing it with salmon. Please don’t skip the egg, as it acts as a binding agent to keep the salmon patties from falling apart.
  • Old Bay Seasoning: Old Bay is the best seasoning for southern salmon patties. If you want a milder flavor, adjust the seasoning to your taste.
  • Chives or Dill: I mix fresh or dried chives into the salmon; however, chopped chives mixed into sour cream is a tasty topping.
  • Use salt and pepper to taste, add after cooking as the saltines might add enough salt.

Southern salmon croquettes, sometimes called salmon cakes, are a popular variation of this recipe. It typically includes diced bell pepper and celery. Salmon patties are a delicious and easy weeknight dinner regardless of your preferred recipe.

See the recipe card below for ingredient quantities and step-by-step directions.

Recipe Directions

Drain the liquid and empty the salmon into a medium bowl. Remove the skin and large bones, and flake the salmon apart with a fork. The soft small bones are edible and don’t need to be removed.

canned salmon and seasoning mixed.

Add in the bread crumbs, egg, and old bay season and mix well.

canned salmon, saltine, seasoning and egg in yellow bowl.

Divide the salmon mixture evenly into 4 balls.

canned salmon rolled into four balls.

Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil or olive oil over medium heat in a 12-inch heavy skillet or griddle.

Pat the salmon into a round disc about 1/2 inch thick. Fry the patties in a 10-12 inch cast iron skillet for about 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

What to Serve with Salmon Patties

  • The classic sides are mashed potatoes and peas or green beans and potatoes.
  • Keep your meal light and serve the salmon with a simple spinach salad.
  • Add a dollop of tartar sauce and a squeeze of lemon juice on top of the salmon patties.
  • Break apart the salmon patties and serve over a spinach salad with a side of homemade cornbread.

Cooking Tips

  • Don’t make the patties too large or thick otherwise, they may fall apart when flipping. The smaller size will be similar to salmon croquettes.
  • The pan must be hot, a cast-iron skillet is great for pan-frying the salmon patties.
  • If cooking for yourself a full can of salmon might be more than you want. Patty up the salmon per the recipe, tightly wrap it in plastic wrap, cover it in foil, and freeze.
  • Another option for those who don’t want leftovers is to buy the small salmon pouches and scale back the other ingredients.

Helpful Tools Used

You don’t need much to make these pan-fried salmon patties: a mixing bowl, a spatula, a large fork, and, of course, a skillet.

Cast iron Skillet – If making one salmon patty then the small 7-inch is the perfect size.

Storing Leftovers

Leftover salmon patties should be wrapped or covered in an airtight container and refrigerated for 1-2 days. Cold salmon is wonderful over a green salad! I also like to use the leftovers tossed in with pasta, garlic, and olive oil for a super quick and easy meal. There are so many ways to use these simple salmon patties.

To freeze the uncooked patties, double-wrap them tightly in saran wrap and store them for 2-3 months. If you don’t want to fry up four or five patties at one time, wrap three or four of the salmon patties as suggested above and freeze for later use.

Why are my salmon patties falling apart?

If the salmon mixture is too wet, the patties won’t stick together properly. Make sure to use enough cracker crumbs. The egg acts as a binding agent to keep everything together, similar to how you use crumbs and eggs in my mini meatloaf recipe.

What is the difference between canned red salmon and pink salmon?

Canned pink salmon is usually made from Atlantic salmon, while canned red salmon is typically made from sockeye salmon. The taste and texture of canned salmon can also vary. For example, canned pink salmon is often considered to be milder in flavor than canned red salmon. In terms of texture, canned pink salmon is usually softer and flakier than canned red salmon.

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pan fried salmon paties on plate with lemon wedge.

Southern Fried Salmon Patties

The best old-fashioned pan-fried salmon patties you ever tasted. Canned salmon never tasted so great!
4.58 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Servings: 4 patties
Calories: 180kcal
Author:Sydney Dawes

Ingredients

  • 1 (14.75-ounce) can Red or Pink Salmon
  • 1 large egg l lightly beaten
  • 12 saltines crumbled fine
  • 2 teaspoons old bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon chives chopped
  • 1 Lemon sliced into wedges

Instructions

  • Drain the liquid and empty the salmon into a bowl.
  • Remove the large bones and skin. Use a fork to flake the salmon apart.
  • Crumble up the saltine and place in a ziploc bag. Use a rolling pin to crush into a fine crumb.
  • Add in the cracker crumbs, egg, chives, and old bay season to the salmon and mix well.
  • Heat about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet or griddle over medium heat-high heat.
  • Evenly divide the salmon mixture into 4 round balls and pat into a disc shape about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Pan fry the patties for about 5-6 minutes on each side.

Notes

  • Don’t make the patties too large or thick otherwise, they may fall apart when flipping.
  • The pan must be hot, a cast-iron skillet is great for pan-frying the salmon patties.
  • If cooking for yourself a full can of salmon might be more than you want. Patty up the salmon per the recipe and tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and cover in foil and freeze.
  • Another option for those who don’t want leftovers is to buy the small salmon pouches and scale back the other ingredients.

Nutrition

Serving: 1patty | Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 444mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g
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