Old Fashioned Salmon Patties Recipe

This old fashioned salmon patties recipe is just about as simple and easy as it gets! Some folks call these “salmon croquettes” or “salmon cakes,” but no matter what you call them, they’re a staple menu item in the South!

Salmon patties on blue plate.

Use red or pink canned salmon and add a little onion, celery, seasonings to make a quick and easy dinner!

Perfectly seasoned and delicious, you’ll love these baked or pan-fried!

What are salmon croquettes?

Salmon croquettes, also known as “salmon patties” or “salmon cakes,” are a combination of canned salmon mixed with breadcrumbs, egg and seasonings.

They can be baked or pan fried…either way, they’re a staple pantry food in the South!

Why you’ll love this recipe!

This salmon patty cake recipe is pretty easy to make and uses simple ingredients!

  • Quick and easy – ready in about 10-minutes
  • Healthy – tons of Omega-3 in it! Essential fatty acids are good for you!
  • Affordable – this pantry recipe makes about 5-6 patties and costs under $4 

This classic recipe uses the pan-fried method of cooking, however, you can bake them if you prefer. See recipe notes.

I grew up eating these with ketchup but now, I like to serve them with a Remoulade sauce

What you’ll need

This easy croquette recipe calls for canned pink salmon, (or red canned salmon), red onion, celery, dill weed, Old Bay Seasoning, egg, breadcrumbs and a little vegetable oil for pan frying (you can bake them if you want: see recipe card below for details). 

This recipe uses one can and yields five fish patties that are about 1/2 cup each.

The trick to making nice fish cakes that don’t fall apart is to refrigerate them prior to cooking

Visual ingredient list labeled

How to debone canned salmon

First, you’ll need to debone the fish…here’s how:

Drain any liquid from the canned fish, then place the can upside down on a plate

Canned salmon draining on plate

Gently slide a sharp knife between the filets where you see a thin white bone…

Knife inserted into tuna

Slide a sharp knife under the spine of the bone and gently remove it; use knife tip to remove remaining bones; scrape away any fish skin and discard

Removing bones from fish

How to make salmon patties

The secret to making these fish cakes so they won’t fall apart is to have the right ratio of ingredients. In this easy recipe, the egg to breadcrumbs ratio is 2 eggs to 1/2 cup breadcrumbs. 

Flaked salmon in a bowl

After you’ve deboned it, place it in a large mixing bowl and fluff with a fork.

Add remaining ingredients : chopped celery, chopped red onion, Old Bay seasonings, dill weed, a lightly beaten egg and breadcrumbs. Combine well and form the mixture into 1/3 – 1/4 cup size balls, then flatten, lightly dust with breadcrumbs and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Salmon croquette ingredients in bowl

Refrigerating helps them set up, or firm up a bit so they won’t fall apart when you place them in the skillet with the hot oil.

How to cook Salmon Croquettes

I grew up eating these pan fried, but if you’re trying to eat a little healthier, you can bake them! They still turn out nice and crunchy on the outside! I like to serve them with either sauteed yellow squash and onions or some good old fashioned fried potato cakes!

Pan-Fry Method

If you prefer pan fried patties, you’ll need a little frying oil. Use any high heat oil: canola, vegetable, corn or peanut oil.) Olive oil is not recommended because it can’t tolerate high heat. 

In a heavy bottom skillet (I recommend a cast iron skillet), over medium heat, add enough oil to reach the middle of the patty. (This amount will vary depending upon how big your skillet is and how thick your patties are.)

Heat the oil to around 300ºF – 325ºF. I recommend using a meat thermometer to ensure accuracy. Why? If the oil isn’t hot enough, the cake will fall apart in the frying pan.

Once the oil is hot enough, place the cold patty in a single layer in the skillet. Do not crowd the skillet – you will have to work in batches

Cook for about 3-minutes on each side; drain on paper towel and serve

Salmon patties cooking in cast iron skillet.

Baking Method

Place patties on a parchment lined baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking oil

(Do not do a final “dusting of breadcrumbs” if you’re baking these

Bake at 400ºF for 15-25 minutes or until crispy golden brown

Recipe tips

Use canned salmon – you can use either pink or red salmon. Fresh is too precious to use for this recipe!

Canned fish contains tiny bones. Use the tip of a sharp knife to gently slide these out as best you can. Most often, these tiny bones are soft and flexible and go unnoticed in a cooked patty. If you can’t get every single fish bone out, don’t worry! These tiny white membranes soften during the cooking time; it’s highly unlikely anyone will choke on one.

Chill the fish cakes for at least 15-minutes to prevent them from falling apart

Don’t flip them more than once

Use an oil that is tolerant of high heat, like canola, corn or vegetable oil. Do not use olive oil (it cannot tolerate high heat)

Use a meat thermometer to ensure the oil is around 312ºF

Patties should reach an internal temperature of 145ºF

The first batch of croquettes will be a little bit lighter in color than subsequent batches. This is due to the oil being used more than once. If the darker color patty bothers you, start each new batch with fresh oil.

Want to add a little spice? Add a teaspoon of Cajun or Creole seasoning to the mixture!


How do I keep salmon patties from falling apart?
4 ways to keep your salmon patties from falling apart:

Use the right ratio of egg to breadcrumbs.
Refrigerate the salmon patties before cooking.
Make sure the oil is hot enough.
Don’t flip the salmon patties more than once.

What’s the difference between pink and red salmon?

Both are cold water fish found in the Pacific Ocean. Red, or “sockeye salmon” has a bit of a stronger flavor and is more expensive than the pink.

Are croquettes gluten-free?

Salmon croquettes require some kind of grain to help the egg bind the ingredients together. Typically, the grain is plain (unseasoned) bread or Panko crumbs.

Can I use fresh dill instead of dried dill?

Yes! If you prefer to use fresh dill, you’ll need to increase the amount slightly. Why? Dried herbs are stronger than fresh. Generally speaking, 1 tablespoon of dried herbs is equivalent to 3 teaspoons of fresh herbs.

Storage and reheating

If you have any leftover salmon cakes, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days. To reheat, I’ve found the best results when I place the patties in aluminum foil and place them on a baking sheet in a 300-325° F degree oven for about 20 minutes. You can also microwave these for a few minutes on low. 


You can easily put a different spin on your old fashioned salmon patties! Just swap out a few simple ingredients:

Use green onion or white onion instead of red onion

Out of fresh celery stalks? Add 1/2 teaspoon or so of celery seed to the salmon mixture

Don’t have breadcrumbs? Crush up some saltine crackers or Ritz crackers

Want spicy Cajun salmon croquettes? Add in a teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning, or a dash of Louisiana Hot Sauce.

What to serve with salmon patties

Some folks like to serve these old fashioned salmon patties with ketchup, cocktail sauce or tartar sauce. 

Since the salmon is your protein so you’ll want to add a few side dishes, right? My favorite side dishes for salmon croquette are equally as quick and easy!

You might like a crisp coleslaw – either a no mayo coleslaw or a spicy creamy Creole slaw

Another good option is to serve this with Maple Pecan Carrot Souffle, Southern baked beans, pan-roasted corn or cream style corn. My pesonal favorite is a big bowl of Southern purple hull peas!

And don’t forget those delicious greens! Collard greens or green bean casserole!

Need something sweet? How about homemade peach cobbler or a quick and easy pecan pie! 


Two salmon croquettes with one cut in half on white plate

I usually get 5-6 salmon croquettes out of a 14-ounce can of salmon. It really depends upon how big you make the patties. The smaller they are, the quicker they cook!

I think you’ll like this simple old fashioned salmon patty recipe! It’s quick and a perfect meal when you need to get dinner on the table fast! Enjoy this family favorite! And if you’re a big fan of salmon, try to smoked salmon spread…perfect for entertaining!

If you make this recipe, please scroll down and leave a rating and comment. I love to hear from you! Thank you!

Salmon patties stacked on blue plate.

Old Fashioned Salmon Patties Recipe

Classic Southern Salmon Patties recipe with canned salmon, celery and red onion.
5 from 22 votes
Print Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American, Southern
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Refrigeration time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 5 servings
Author: Anecia Hero
Cost: $5


  • Cast iron skillet


Salmon Croquettes

  • 14 ounces pink salmon (14.75 oz. can)
  • ½ tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • ½ cup oil (see recipe notes) , for frying; (vegetable, corn, canola)
  • 1 teaspoon dill (dried); double the amount if using fresh
  • ½ cup bread crumbs (plus a little more for final dusting) see recipe notes ( or panko crumbs; or crumbled saltines)
  • 2 tablespoons celery finely chopped (about one large stalk)
  • 3 tablespoons red onion finely chopped
  • 2 whole eggs lightly beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


Make the Croquettes

  • Drain liquid from canned salmon
    14 ounces pink salmon
  • Place salmon on saucer and gently remove skin and bones
  • Place salmon in medium bowl and fluff with fork
  • Lightly beat eggs; pour into bowl with salmon
  • Add remaining ingredients; combine well
    ½ tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning, 1 teaspoon dill, ½ cup bread crumbs (plus a little more for final dusting) see recipe notes, 2 tablespoons celery, 3 tablespoons red onion, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, 2 whole eggs
  • Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup; place salmon into measuring cup, pat down till firm; gently remove patty from cup
  • Once all patties are formed, roll each patty lightly in breadcrumbs, place in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes (this step is optional, but I recommend it if your pan frying; skip this step the final breadcrumb coating if your baking them)
  • Heat cast iron skillet with enough oil to reach the middle of the patty; you want the oil to be about 316-325 degrees; hot, but not too hot
    ½ cup oil (see recipe notes)
  • Using a spatula, place salmon patties in hot oil; turn heat down to medium
  • Cook salmon patties about 3-4 minutes per side or until they are golden brown; carefully flip the cakes and continue to cook another 3-4 minutes; remove from pan
  • Place on paper towel to drain
  • Serve with remoulade sauce (see recipe notes)


This recipe makes about five  1/2-cup portions of salmon croquettes; you can make them smaller by using 1/4 cup measuring cup if you like them smaller
Use 1/2 cup for the patty mixture; if you want, you can pour a little breadcrumbs onto a plate and lightly dust each formed patty before refrigerating. This makes an extra crunchy exterior, but it it totally optional. I recommend a final dusting for pan fried but NOT for baked patties.
The amount of oil will depend upon the size of your skillet and the number of salmon croquettes you are making. Use enough oil to come up to the middle of the salmon cake.
  • The amount of oil in this recipe is based on a 12″ cast iron skillet; if you use a smaller skillet, you might not need as much oil; you want about 1/2 inch of oil in the skillet
  • If you use a smaller skillet, cook the salmon croquettes in batches
  • Place chilled salmon patties on a parchment lined baking sheet
  • Bake @400ºF for 15-25 minutes, or until croquettes are warm in the center (time may vary due to oven)
Remoulade sauce recipe
Note: this Remoulade sauce recipe makes about 3-4 cups, so if you’re just making a few salmon patties, you might wanna half the Remoulade sauce recipe.

Nutrition Estimate

Serving: 1pattyCalories: 137kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 10gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 681mgPotassium: 164mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 79IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 127mgIron: 1mg
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  1. 5 stars
    These turned out great! Just the way my mother and grandmother made them! Less is more. Simple and DELICIOUS! Thank you!!