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Salmon Croquettes {old-fashioned salmon patties}

A Southern classic, Salmon Croquettes are prepared with cooked salmon —canned or fresh — that’s shaped into patties and pan-fried until flaky on the inside and crispy on the outside.  

Season these fish cakes with sliced green onion, red bell pepper, and garlic and serve them with a tangy homemade tartar sauce. This dinner is fast, delicious, and easy on your budget!

a plate of salmon croquettes with homemade tartar sauce

Salmon Croquettes

Until just recently, my chief taste tester (a.k.a. my hubby) was NOT a fan of salmon. I don’t know exactly what changed about that, but after years of avoiding eating salmon dishes of any kind, he has now learned that he actually likes salmon — yeah!

That means that we will be enjoying fresh salmon on the grill this summer and it also means that I’ll be making these easy and delicious Salmon Croquettes for dinner every now and then.

I found salmon filets on sale and ended up grilling more than we could eat for dinner, so I decided to flake up the leftovers and make Salmon Croquettes (or salmon patties) like my grandmother used to make from canned salmon.

What I learned is that this recipe can be made with either fresh grilled salmon or with packaged salmon (sold in the canned tuna aisle), both with tasty results.

Ingredients and variations

One reason I like making this dish is that you can easily vary the recipe depending on what you have on hand and still come up with a very tasty dinner. The one thing to be sure about, though, is to always use a quality salmon, whether fresh or canned, for the best flavor.

  • Cooked salmon — either canned or fresh, flaked. If using canned, remove the bones and skin and drain off the liquid (see next ingredient).
  • Mayonnaise — I use the light/low-fat version. You can substitute sour cream or omit it all together and use some of the drained liquid from the salmon can instead.
  • Fresh lemon juice — to brighten up the flavors
  • Dijon mustard — I use whole grain Dijon
  • Sliced green onions — both the whites and tops or use grated white onion instead
  • Red bell pepper — chopped fine. I like red bell pepper because it has a milder, sweet flavor though you could also use green bell pepper.
  • Garlic powder — or one clove garlic or minced garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • Egg — to bind it all together
  • Panko breadcrumbs — tossed right into the mix. You can also substitute saltine cracker crumbs.
  • Canola oil, for frying
preparing salmon croquettes with fresh onion and peppers

Instructions

  1. Flake the salmon with a fork in a large bowl.
  2. Add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, green onions, red bell pepper, garlic, and salt. Use the fork to stir it all together.
  3. Sprinkle the Panko breadcrumbs over the mixture and toss gently.
  4. Scoop up about 1/3 cup of the mixture into the palm of your hand and shape into a patty, but don’t pack it tightly together. You should get eight patties from this recipe. It’s not entirely necessary, but refrigerating the patties for a few minutes before frying helps them stay together.
  5. Heat up the oil in a large skillet, then cook the croquettes for 5 minutes on each side until lightly browned.

How do you keep salmon patties from falling apart?

After shaping the croquettes, refrigerating them for 15 to 30 minutes will help them hold together when frying. Use a wide spatula and flip the patties over gently during cooking.

Can you freeze salmon croquettes?

Salmon croquettes can be frozen, but it’s best to freeze the patties before they are fried. Seal in a freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. After cooking, salmon croquettes can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of day.s

Homemade tartar sauce

Capers and fresh parsley make this homemade tartar sauce a delicious compliment for the croquettes.

ingredients for tartar sauce

To make the tartar sauce, whisk together the mayonnaise with fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, chopped Italian parsley, capers, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Easy peasy!

You can vary the recipe for the sauce, too. Skip the capers and add fresh dill to make a dill aioli.

Here are other quick and delicious recipes you can make for dinner in 30 minutes or less!

  • Chicken Dijon — A fresh twist on the French classic, Chicken Dijon is infused with minced rosemary and simmers to perfection in a creamy white wine Dijon mustard sauce.
  • Balsamic Pork Chops — Full of flavor and extremely tender, these boneless pork chops simmer in a balsamic vinegar sauce and are served over wild rice.
  • Old-Fashioned Potato Soup — This lightened up version of Old-Fashioned Potato Soup is one creamy, delicious bowl of comfort food that won’t leave you feeling guilty. 
  • Crispy Oven Fried Fish Filets — Use a one-two-three breading process for crispy baled fish every time. Adding a little Dijon mustard to the homemade tartar sauce makes all the difference!
  • BBQ Turkey Stuffed Peppers — Stuff BBQ-flavored turkey mixture into red, yellow, or green sweet bell peppers for a leaner version of the classic stuffed peppers recipe.
  • BBQ Chicken Pizza — BBQ Chicken Pizza is the easiest gourmet pizza ever! Topped with spicy sauce, mozzarella cheese, red onions & bacon, this is a weeknight meal your family will love!
A plate of salmon patties with lemon slices

Serving idea

Shape the salmon croquettes a bit larger and serve them on buns like salmon burgers with lettuce and the homemade tartar sauce. How’s that for a delicious and healthy meal idea?

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First Published: March 15, 2016. Last Updated: March 25, 2020
Yield: 4 servings

Salmon Croquettes

A plate of salmon patties with lemon slices

Season these fish cakes with grated onion, red bell pepper, and garlic and serve them with a tangy homemade tartar sauce. This dinner is fast, delicious, and easy on your budget!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

Croquettes

  • 14.75-oz. can pink salmon, bones removed, drained and flaked
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (whole grain)
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Tartar Sauce

  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (whole grain)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons capers, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

Instructions

Croquettes

  1. in a large bowl, flake the salmon with a fork. Add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, green onions, red bell pepper, egg, garlic, and salt. Stir together until well combined.
  2. Add the Panko breadcrumbs and toss gently. Use a 1/3 cup scoop to portion out the mixture into the palm of your hands. Shape into 8 patties; the mixture will be loose - do not pack tightly together.
  3. Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Add the croquettes and cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned and crispy.

Tartar Sauce

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise with fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, chopped Italian parsley, capers, garlic, and a pinch of salt. 
  2. Serve immediately with croquettes or cover and chill until ready to use.

Notes

Original recipe by Cooking Light

If using fresh salmon, you'll need about 2 cups flaked cooked salmon.

Refrigerating the salmon patties for a few minutes before frying helps them stay together.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 394Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 104mgSodium: 872mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 25g

Did you make this recipe?

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Poilin

Thursday 30th of May 2019

Thank you for this ... did you cook the salmon first?

Sheila Thigpen

Friday 31st of May 2019

Yes, you must use cooked salmon in this recipe.

Alita

Monday 1st of October 2018

I used can salmon and added the capers to the croquettes. It was great. Is there a per serving calorie count and nutritional information for this recipe?

sheilathigpen

Thursday 14th of March 2019

Alita, I've just updated the nutritional values -- so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

Donna T.

Tuesday 28th of August 2018

How can this be gluten free if you use Panko Breadcrumbs. OR did you us the gluten free panko breadcrumbs. You didn't specify.

sheilathigpen

Tuesday 28th of August 2018

Hi, Donna. I think you misread my description -- it's GUILT-free, not gluten-free, although I assume you could make it with gluten-free panko. Have a great evening!

Allison

Friday 30th of December 2016

My husband had to watch his cholesterol, so this salmon dish should be perfect!

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