Need a healthy, quick, and high protein meal? These salmon patties with cornmeal are exactly that! Made with canned salmon, all you have to do is mix the ingredients and pan fry for a delicious lunch or dinner!
Why these patties are awesome
My parents always rave about the crab cakes they had once in Florida. Upon hearing this story many many times, I thought "how could a seafood “cake” be any good?" Enter these salmon patties!
- Quick & Delicious: These salmon patties can be thrown together in a matter of minutes thanks to canned salmon! And even with them being that quick, they are still packed with so much flavor.
- Gluten free & Protein filled: These patties are gluten free and super high in protein making them filling and easy to serve to friends who might have a gluten allergy.
- Versatile: You can serve these in so many ways. They can be the main protein on a salad or with rice. Or, they can be chopped up and enjoyed in a taco or put on a burger.
- Minimal ingredients: This recipe requires 6 main ingredients and then a few basic spices. How simple is that?!
Looking for more quick lunch ideas? Try these!
Ingredients and Substitutions
All substitutions are a 1:1 substitutes unless otherwise noted.
Egg: This egg is the binder for the patties. When adding cornmeal or flour to meat, you need something to glue the ingredients together which is exactly what an egg does when cooked.
Substitutions: Sorry, no substitution for this. An egg replacement like Just Egg may work but it has not been tested.
Canned Salmon: The key ingredient! We just used the highest rated canned salmon from Target, so nothing fancy. Just make sure it doesn’t have bones or you remove them and that the salmon juice is drained.
Substitutions: You can use any canned salmon you like. You can also use whole cooked salmon (just cook at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes) and mash it more as you mix the other ingredients. You can also use tuna for a different flavor.
Cornmeal: Corn meal is similar to breadcrumbs in that it has a coarser texture than flour. This gives the salmon patties a bit more texture and crunch for an extra yummy bite! It also keeps them gluten free.
Substitutions: Bread crumbs can be used in place of cornmeal.
Unsweetened Greek Yogurt: Many recipes use mayonnaise to provide moisture, but we always like to use Greek yogurt when we can. This provides the moisture while also adding more protein.
Substitutions: Any unsweetened Greek style yogurt can be used. Or, you can use mayonnaise.
Dijon Mustard: Mustard is a great ingredient because it adds tons of flavor without adding multiple ingredients. It adds tang, spice, and a little sweetness all from one ingredient.
Substitutions: Spicy brown mustard, regular brown mustard, or any kind of Dijon can be used. Yellow mustard should NOT be used.
Lemon Juice: Lemon and fish go together like yin and yang. It adds brightness to the salmon patties and helps to enhance the salmon flavor.
Substitutions: We use lemon juice from the fridge but you can use fresh squeezed lemon juice or lemon zest from one lemon in place.
Spices: We use a combination of garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper for these salmon patties. These keep the flavors pretty classic and neutral so the patties can be used in lots of different ways and compliment many recipes.
Substitutions: We do not recommend using fresh minced onions or garlic for this recipe as it will affect the texture. You can leave out the cayenne for less spice if desired or use 1 teaspoon of Sriracha or other hot sauce instead of the cayenne. For a more southern salmon croquette recipe take, you could swap the onion, garlic, and cayenne for old bay seasoning.
Recipe Testing Notes
Throughout our testing of these salmon patties without cornmeal, we learned some things that worked and didn't work. Here are the key takeaways!
- Mash with a fork: We tried blending some of the ingredients using a food processor and we tried just mashing together with a fork. Using a fork worked better to preserve the flavor and texture of the salmon, plus it means using less equipment.
- Pan fried is best: We tried these salmon patties in the air fryer, in the oven, and on the stove top. Baking them in the oven worked but they didn't taste nearly as good. This is likely because the salmon patties have hardly any fat to ooze out and create a crisp texture in the oven. Airfryer worked decently well, but again because of the lack of fat they were rather dry after air frying. Pan frying in butter or oil gave by far the best result.
- Let them cook: These patties are composed of already cooked ingredients, except the egg. So, you only need to cook them long enough for the egg to set, which is longer than you might think. In order for these patties to set, they need to cook a full 3-4 minutes on each side. Also, they'll be rather dark when flipped.
- The filling will be loose: We tried this recipe with more cornmeal to create a stiffer batter. However, we found that using less cornmeal resulted in a looser consistency and therefore a more tender salmon patty. Less cornmeal also tastes way better! Just form a patty as best you can to transfer to the pan; once it’s cooked it will stay together much better.
How to Make This - Step by Step
These salmon patties are super simple to make, but be sure to scroll all the way to the recipe card for the full detailed instructions.
Step one: Mix
Mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Heat a medium pan or large pan over medium heat to high heat with butter or oil (vegetable oil or olive oil will work).
Step two: Shape
Shape the salmon mixture into 6 evenly sized round patties, each about ½” -1" thick. I shape mine a little smaller than the size of an average burger, or about 2-3" in diameter.
Step three: Cook
Cook the salmon patties for 3-4 minutes on each side in the hot oil. Be sure to give each patty 2” or so around them to allow hot air to circulate and steam to escape. This ensures a crisp, golden brown exterior. If the patties seem oily, you can let them rest on paper towels after removing from the pan to absorb any excess oil. Then, enjoy!
Watch How to Make This - Step by Step
For the best salmon patties, mix the ingredients with a fork and use the fork to mash and break down the salmon. Using a fork is the best way to break the salmon up enough to create a patty while still maintaining a good texture. You just need the mixture mashed enough to bind everything together.
The cornmeal and egg should keep the salmon patties together. But, a more tender salmon patty will have trouble staying together until cooked. I've found the best way to keep them together long enough to get them on the pan is to roll them into a ball in my hands, then gently flatten and form a ball in my flat palm. Then I will flip my whole hand (like a spatula) over, flopping the patty onto the pan in one piece.
Salmon croquettes are typically the Southern version of a salmon cake or southern salmon patties. They usually use canned salmon, peppers, onions, and Worcestershire sauce. Salmon patties can use canned salmon or fresh salmon and can have a variety of flavor add-ins.
Yes, a can of salmon is cooked. This is what makes these salmon patties with cornmeal such an easy recipe that is also lightening fast!
Ways to Serve
These salmon patties are super versatile! Here are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy them.
- Alone with sauce: These are delicious eaten on their own with a little aioli of sorts. I like to whip up a sauce of Greek yogurt (or sour cream), lemon juice, salt, and pepper to have with these salmon patties. Other sauces include tartar sauce or our Chipotle Flamethrower Sauce.
- As a salad: I will often have these over a bed lettuce or a bagged salad mixture for a quick lunch.
- With rice or potatoes: For a more classic dinner, enjoy these with a grain like rice and a vegetable like potatoes or asparagus for a complete dinner. Another option with rice is to make a poke style bowl with sticky rice, fresh veggies, and soy sauce.
- As a burger: Feeling the summer burger vibes? Try these salmon patties with all the classic burger fixing (maybe without ketchup though) on top of a soft brioche bun!
- For breakfast: Another favorite way to eat these is with egg benedict or a breakfast bowl. We will add sweet potatoes and avocado for a little southwest flare.
Want to Save It For Later? Here's How!
These salmon patties with cornmeal are great for storing or making for meal prep! Although, they are best served fresh.
Fridge: To store, place salmon patties in an airtight container in a single layer or with parchment paper between layers. They will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Freezer: To freeze these, store them the same as noted above. They will keep in the freezer for up to one month. If you want to freeze the filling before it's fried, you will need to flash freeze the patties.
This means placing the shaped patties on a baking sheet and freezing just long enough so you can handle them. Then, transfer to an airtight container until ready to make. When ready to cook, let them thaw overnight in the fridge beforehand.
Reheating: I don’t mind eating these salmon patties cold as leftovers or for lunch. If you want them warm, you can microwave for 1-2 minutes or air fry for 5 minutes from the fridge. To reheat from frozen, lay them on a baking tray or place the frozen patties in the air fryer to bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until heated through.
Salmon is one of the most consumed fish out there. There are 1 species of Atlantic salmon and 7 species of Pacific salmon. Salmon migrate to sea to grow and then return to the freshwaters they were born in to spawn. Due to habitat degradation, most salmon that we eat is hatchery-raised. (source)
Salmon Pattie Pairings
If you're wondering what goes with salmon patties, here are some of our favorite ways to make it a complete meal!
- Instant Potato Pancakes: These are delicious with salmon patties and they can all be made in the same pan!
- Chipotle Hollandaise Sauce: For those eggs benedict or breakfast bowl we talked about!
- Airfryer Butternut Squash: Another must for the breakfast bowl. This recipe can be made with frozen butternut squash or sweet potato.
Did you try this and love it? Leave us a review, we would love to hear from you!
- 1 egg
- 2 - 6 oz cans pink salmon drained
- ¼ c cornmeal gluten free
- 2 tablespoon Greek yogurt unsweetened
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- oil or butter for frying
- Heat a pan with oil or butter over medium heat. Add all the ingredients, except the oil to a bowl. Mix well with a fork, lightly mashing the salmon as you mix to create a batter.
- Shape the salmon mixture into 6 evenly formed patties, about ½" thick and 2"-3" in diameter.
- Transfer these to the hot pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. They should be slightly darker than golden brown.
- Remove from the pan and let rest on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. Enjoy!