The BEST Salmon (Fish) Cakes Recipe

Salmon CakeSalmon is our favorite fish to cook when we are in the mood for seafood.

My husband, the Accidental Recycler (AR), is from the Northwest and when I married him, he brought with him, his mother’s Steamed Ginger Salmon recipe, like a dowry. I gave him Kimchi in return.

I’ve had the freshest salmon from one of his neighbors who’d returned from a “Salmon Run“, the day before. It was fresh as if I caught it myself. Actually, it was better since I didn’t have to catch it. I don’t know if I could eat it, if I’d caught it myself.

I’ve also had the good fortune of tasting the Northwest style smoked salmon straight out of a neighbor’s backyard smokehouse. Northwesterners along the Pacific coast have more smokehouses in their backyards than BBQ grills.

What’s so great about salmon?

Salmon is one of the most nutritious fish there is. 1/2 fillet serving size of wild coho salmon has almost 3000mg of Omega 3 Fatty Acids – a key anti-inflammatory nutrient – is low in sodium, high in Niacin, Protein, Selenium, B6, B12, and Phosphorus. And as it turns out, Pacific salmon – especially from Alaska – is one of the best sustainable and ocean safe choices for fish, according to Moneterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch.

“Seafood Watch recommends wild-caught salmon from Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington as these are ocean-friendly choices. “Avoid” salmon farmed in open net pens. Salmon farmed on land in “closed” or “contained” farms is a viable alternative that points the way to a more environmentally-friendly future for salmon farming.”

And the recent news about lethal virus in Sockeye salmon – not for humans – in British Columbia had us worried but U.S. Fish and Wildlife reported that wild Pacific salmon is resistant to the virus and that even those salmon that were tested positive were not showing clinical signs. It’s good to know that U.S. Fish and Wildlife is doing everything they can to protect the wild salmon population. And from visiting fisheries out in WA., I know they (U.S.F.W) take salmon’s welfare very seriously and they mean business!

Now you know why the politicians from the Northwest are pushing to ban – and me included – Frankenfish. Wild salmon is so important in maintaining the ecological integrity of the Pacific Northwest and they should be protected from being destroyed by more aggressive genetically engineered (GE) salmon. Or in the worst case scenario, if GE salmon is approved, I want to know which salmons are GE and which ones are wild by having them properly labeled so that I can avoid buying GE salmon.

Enough of salmon lesson and on with the Salmon Cake Recipe

Ok, ok…..I had to give you some background so that you will appreciate why salmon is so important to our diet and what type of salmon to buy.

So, anyway, since we never eat farmed salmon, whenever we see a big sale on “Wild Caught” salmon from Alaska or from the Pacific, we buy a few pounds and freeze them. Sometimes, we don’t even get to freeze them as AR grills pounds of salmon with his “secret” marinade and they get gobbled up pretty fast. And YES, there is a HUGE taste (and nutritional) difference between FARMED and WILD salmon. 

But when AR grills or bakes too much salmon, then, it’s up to me to take care of the leftovers. And this salmon cake recipe is the easiest way to polish up whatever cooked salmon that’s left in the fridge. Of course, you can always cook this dish from scratch and not wait for leftovers.

Actually, you can use any kinds of fish for this recipe – Pacific cod , Pacific halibut, Scrod (Haddock), and even crab. They are all sustainable and will hold up well when you shape them into cakes. This recipe is how I usually make salmon cakes, with peppers and not with peas and corn, as pictured below, but I ran out of peppers and used frozen organic peas and corn instead. And they worked fine as well.

Some fish cake calls for bread crumbs and lots of herbs but I don’t like to overpower the fish and I don’t want to use fillers like bread crumbs; I want to taste the fish, not the bread crumbs or overpowering herbs.

Salmon Cake Recipe

The BEST Salmon (Fish) Cakes Recipe

Yield: 6 servings


  • 1 – 1 1/2 lbs of Wild Caught Salmon
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Good Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 C. Diced Small Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/4 C. Diced Small Yellow Pepper
  • 1/4 C. Diced Small Red of Yellow Onion
  • 1 Tsp. Chopped Fresh Tarragon
  • 1 Tsp. Chopped Fresh Dill
  • 1 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 2 Tbsp Horseradish
  • 1/4 Tsp each, Sea salt and Black Pepper
  • Olive oil


  1. Rinse salmon in cold water and pat dry. (If you have leftover salmon, you can skip to step 3.)
  2. Put salmon, skin side down, on a 9″x13″ glass pan. Brush with olive oil lightly and sprinkle salt and pepper. Bake in the oven at 350 °F or grill on the outdoor BBQ grill for about 20 minutes until it’s flaky but not overcooked. It’s better to be slightly undercooked since you’ll be finish cooking it later. When salmon is cooked, set it aside to cool and then, chill it in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, sauté peppers and onions in a oiled pan until soft and onions translucent. Set aside and let it cool.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, mix slightly beaten egg, mayonnaise, mustard, tarragon, dill, parsley, and horseradish. Add pinches of salt and black pepper.
  5. Take the chilled salmon out from the fridge, crumble the fish in chunks, and add them to the mixing bowl.
  6. Add the sautéed peppers and onions to the mixing bowl and mix well.
  7. Cover and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  8. When salmon mixture is chilled, shape them into patties, the size of hamburger patties.
  9. Add about 2 Tbsp of olive oil on a pan and brown patties on both sides in batches – about 3 minutes each side – over Medium heat. Keep them warm in the preheated oven at 250°F until ready to be served.

My husband loves Salmon Cake over greens and I love having it  as a sandwich on Brioche.

Either way, you don’t need any dressing or condiment as every flavor you’d want, is in the cake. You can make little patties and serve them as  sliders or make them bigger and serve them as entreé.

If you want to make them for this Thanksgiving, make them a day ahead, keep them refrigerated and reheat them right after you take out the turkey for about 10 minutes at 350°F.

Your guests will be totally impressed!


  1. Dolls Houses says

    Wow it looks amazing and it’s really easy to bake! Thank you for sharing the recipe with us and we wish you a Merry Christmas!

  2. Evon Cassier says

    I love wild salmon but I’ve been reluctant to buy it because I’m ignorant about how damaging the Fukushima radiation dump was to pacific fishes. Do you have info about it?

    • says

      I think there are more issues with farmed salmons than wild pacific salmon being radioactive. I’m sure the U.S Fish WIldlife in the Pacific Northwest is thorough in protecting their salmon population as this is their livelihood. I’m sure they are doing everything they can to protect it.

  3. says

    These look fantastic Karen! Will they hold up to freezing and reheating? Would be great for us to be able to make a big batch and freeze for later.

    • says

      Actually, YES! I made a batch and gave a few to my brother and he reheated them on the pan and they came out perfect as if I just made them!

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