Salmon Patties is a longtime family recipe that’s so easy and delicious. Canned wild caught salmon is mixed with fresh crunchy vegetables for an easy dinner that can be made with whatever you have on hand. Leftovers are versatile and tasty too.
Salmon Patties is one of THE recipes I think of when naming off recipes my mom was famous for. When my brothers and I were young and she was a single mother trying to make ends meet, canned salmon patties was go-to fare. But, also to be fair, I give full disclosure that my little brothers never really took to them, being especially that they’re made with canned fish. I can still see their faces and hear their Noooo!’s of protest. But my mom and I loved them. Especially topped with her signature fry sauce– it’s a Utah Thing– that’s a required condiment. Fast forward to my own kids and husband who, lucky for me, took to them and loved having them regularly. My mom would always serve salmon patties with broccoli, so my oldest son Chris renamed the meal “Salmon Poggies with Trees” (“poggies” being the only way he could pronounce “patties” at the time). This name stuck for many years after.
If you’re like those who can’t really get on the bandwagon for patties made with canned salmon (with bones and skin?!), you’re missing out. Canned salmon is super nutritious and packed with flavor that isn’t “fishy”. Adding crunchy veggies to the patties imparts fresh flavor and a really nice crunch. They’re ready in no time and as you can see, can really look pretty fancy too. I challenge encourage you to give this recipe a try.
Ingredients for salmon patties-
Canned salmon- I highly recommend buying wild caught red salmon, though I’ve made the salmon patties using pink salmon frequently. The flavor is a bit more mild with pink salmon. See note number one in the printable recipe regarding how much salmon to buy.
Crushed saltines- Saltines, when mixed with the mayonnaise and egg, serve as a binder to help hold the salmon patties together. You may use other crackers or breadcrumbs if desired. The texture is better with crackers than with breadcrumbs, however.
Mayonnaise and hot sauce- Mayo and a bit of hot sauce also helps to bind the ingredients in the recipe, but also serves as adding good flavor. The hot sauce isn’t too much. If you don’t want to use mayonnaise, you could add an extra egg white.
Egg- Egg helps to ultimately hold everything together during cooking for good texture.
Fresh vegetables- This recipe is decades long in my family and the most popular ingredients for excellent flavor and crunch are celery and scallions, so I highly recommend at least adding those. Green pepper adds another delicious fresh crunch. You can experiment using chopped spinach, red bell pepper, and jalapeno as well.
Parmesan cheese- Parmesan may be omitted but gives a nice sharpness to the salmon patties.
Salt- Canned salmon is pretty salty, but adding an extra dash creates more brightness for a delicious bite.
Sauces and lemon slices- Long ago, my mom made homemade “fry sauce” or “pink sauce” to serve with our salmon patties and we can’t imagine them any other way. I also include a dill sauce recipe for those who may like a more traditional sauce. Lemons squeezed over the whole business makes everything fantastic.
How to make salmon patties-
Lightly mix the canned salmon, crushed saltines, mayonnaise and hot sauce in a medium bowl. Don’t break up the salmon too much. Also, leave the skin and bones in with the salmon. These are full of nutrients and the bones are so soft, you won’t even notice them.
Next, add the egg and crunchy vegetables; in this case, green bell pepper, scallions, and celery. Add Parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt. Again, use a light hand in mixing for a good texture.
Refrigerate the patties for at least 30 minutes and up to a couple hours. To keep the patties from sticking to the plate, you can sprinkle extra saltine crumbs on the plate before placing them in the fridge.
I combine a neutral oil and butter to fry the patties. Using medium heat, fry on each side a few minutes until golden brown. We’ve found that the patties retain the best flavor and texture when cooked just until golden.
The salmon patties are so delicious with my mom’s famous fry sauce, what I call pink sauce in the recipe. She’d just mix mayonnaise and ketchup together but I bump up the flavor a bit more with pickle juice, salt, and onion powder. I also give you an option for a simple dill sauce.
Perfect salmon patties are lightly crisped on the outside and freshly crisp and tender on the inside.
Salmon Patties shown here just how we love them. Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on top, generously top with pink fry sauce, drizzle with a little hot sauce. Excellent with salad and potatoes, or broccoli “trees” if you’re so inclined.
Salmon patties have been such a staple in my family circle, I wish I’d posted it when my mom was still with us. But, hopefully I’ve done her proud in finally sharing it with a few changes that she’d say made them healthy and even more delicious. But never without the sauce. 😉
How to serve Salmon Patties-
The recipe makes four main dish-size patties and is easily doubled using a large 14.5 oz can of salmon. Patties can also be made smaller for appetizers or sliders. Try leftovers mixed into scrambled eggs, or top your patties with a poached egg for a Salmon Patty Benedict. The patties are also delicious crumbled up over any fresh tossed salad. I hope you’ll give this easy, fresh recipe a try. Maybe it’ll live on for generations in your family too.
- 1 7.5 oz can canned salmon red, wild-caught is best (see note #1)
- 6 saltine crackers crushed
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp hot sauce like Frank's Wing sauce
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp celery minced
- 2 tbsp scallions minced
- 2 tbsp green pepper minced
- 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese grated, plus extra to sprinkle on patties before serving
- pinch salt
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 lemon quartered, to serve alongside the patties
Pink sauce for topping
- Drain juice from the salmon and add to a medium bowl. Add 6 crushed saltines, 2 tbsps mayonnaise, 1 tbsp hot sauce, and stir briefly. Add egg, 2 tbsps celery, 2 tbsps scallion, 2 tbsps green pepper, 1 tbsp Parmesan and a pinch of salt. Mix lightly until incorporated, leaving some larger chunks of salmon.
- Form mixture into 4 loose patties. Place patties on a plate, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, up to 2 hours. See note #2
- Make the sauce(s) while you refrigerate the salmon patties.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp butter over medium heat until butter has melted. Gently add the patties and cook until just golden, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook another 3 minutes or so, adjusting heat if necessary.
- Serve immediately with desired sauces. Leftovers can be refrigerated for two days, in plastic or airtight container. Great crumbled in scrambled eggs or over any tossed salad.
- Mix all ingredients in a small bowl, tasting for flavor. If you like a spicy sauce, add some hot sauce or serve along side the pink sauce.
- Mix all ingredients in a small bowl, tasting for flavor.
- I use Trader Joe's 7.5 oz. Sockeye Salmon. Most small sized canned salmon is 5 or 6 oz. and works fine but to get 4 patties, you'll want to add more veggies than is called for in the recipe, just an extra tablespoon of celery and green pepper works great. You can also add an individual serving pouch to make up the amount of salmon necessary. If you're doubling the recipe (I frequently do) with a 14.5 oz can, no adjustments are needed to increase the amount of salmon.
- If you skip refrigerating the patties, they won't hold together very well when you fry them. It's still possible to cook them without refrigerating, but be careful when flipping and understand you a patty or two may become more of a mash, than a patty.
- Feel free to experiment with vegetables you have on hand in place of the celery, scallions, or green pepper. I've added chopped fresh spinach and red bell pepper with success. If you want a little kick, add a minced jalapeno.