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How to make salmon patties (Southern,Baked)

How many fishy, bland salmon patties have you had? Say “y’all drive safe” to those things and dive in to big flavor with these southern classics. They’re easy to make with pantry staples and you’ll never have to dig anything out of the freezer to get it done.  Fabulously low carb and easy to make gluten free, too.

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two salmon patties on a plate with greens

I am so bad about the freezer. I love to freeze extras and  make food ahead so I can have it on hand.

But did you notice that frozen food isn’t exactly on-hand?

It’s frozen

Sometimes you just need a recipe that’s always ready. A pantry staple that tastes wonderful and hits the table in less than 30 minutes. (Hello, something that’s not spaghetti.)

These salmon patties are it.

Salmon patties run the gamut from basic fish (skin and bones included) and saltine crackers to a more dressed up version like these. We like a little dash of hot sauce on ours, but you could add a cheese sauce which is classic but I never do.

What’s the difference between salmon patties and salmon croquettes?

Do not confuse these salmon patties with croquettes. They are both delicious southern classics made of salmon, some sort of breadcrumb, and egg to bind it all together.

The key difference is that the salmon in a croquette is pounded and ground into a paste and often mixed with flour whereas the salmon in a patty is generally flaked.

Croquettes are fried whereas salmon patties can be baked, fried, or pan-fried. The latter tend to have a denser, less airy texture. 

What kind of salmon goes in salmon patties?

This recipe uses canned wild Alaskan salmon–it has the best flavor and quality.  

You will need to clean away the skin and bones from the meat. If you think that might make you puke, buy your salmon in a can already cleaned.

Purchase already cleaned wild Alaskan salmon on Amazon

You will pay more for it, but you can avoid getting quite as messy. Buy at least two cans if you go this route.

Ingredients you’ll need for salmon patties

Here’s a list of what you will need to make southern salmon patties: 

ingredients for southern salmon patties
  • Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon OR canned cleaned salmon
  • Egg
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Dijon mustard
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Onion
  • Mayonnaise
  • Saltines or Ritz crackers or gluten-free bread crumbs
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • Fresh parsley

How to make salmon patties gluten free and low carb

You can make this dish gluten free and low carb by swapping the crackers with parmesan cheese.

About 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup will do perfectly. Just until the cakes hold together.

You can also use gluten free bread crumbs. If you tolerate wild yeast sourdough, use dried bread crumbs from a few old slices.

The steps

Do I need to clean canned salmon?

I prefer buying the taller cans of salmon. The quality is just a little better. The only downside is that their contents have not been cleaned of bones and skin.

I highly recommend sorting through the can and discarding any skin you find.

You can leave the bones in the salmon. They are very fine and will not cause any harm if ingested. In fact, they will add a little extra calcium to the mix. 

Not in the mood to clean your salmon? You can easily find canned salmon that has already been cleaned. It comes in small cans and can be found where you might find canned tuna.

Make sure to buy a product that has been packed in water as opposed to oil.

Should I fry or bake salmon patties?

You can do either! I lean toward baking as it produces less of a mess, but frying adds a depth of flavor that is to die for.

If you choose the fry, I recommend using a high-quality oil such as lard or avocado oil.

You can use coconut oil as well. Just make sure you buy refined coconut oil unless you want coconut-flavored salmon patties. 

How to keep salmon patties from falling apart

Flaky salmon won’t bind together on its own so it’s important to add other ingredients to the patties that will help them stay together.

Eggs are a pretty universally used binder. When combined with the bread crumbs (crushed crackers or almond flour will work too) in this recipe they work well to pull everything together. The mayonnaise has a similar binding effect.

All that being said, it is still important to handle the patties with care, especially if you choose to fry them. 

Can salmon patties be frozen?

They can! You can freeze them before or after cooking them. Arrange either cooked or uncooked patties in a single layer in an airtight container.

If you find yourself with multiple layers, separate each with a piece of parchment paper to prevent the patties from sticking together.

Store them in the freezer for up to 3 months before thawing them in the refrigerator. 

If you freeze the patties uncooked, thaw them in the refrigerator before baking as you would had they never been frozen.

If you freeze cooked patties, thaw them in the refrigerator before reheating.

Once thawed, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cover the patties loosely with aluminum foil and bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.

You can also reheat them in a little bit of oil over medium heat on the stovetop.

two salmon patties with sour cream and lemons on a plate

What to serve with salmon patties 

These baked salmon patties are delicious on their own as a snack or an appetizer but I love serving them as an entree with a simple side dish or two. Here are some ideas for you. 

two salmon patties on a plate with greens

How to Make Salmon Patties (Southern, Baked)

Salmon cakes are an easy and fast pantry staple that tastes great! Gluten free and low carb options are available.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Rachel Ballard


  • 1 14-ounce can Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon OR two cans of cleaned salmon
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard or any mustard for that matter
  • 1/2 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning this is a must
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder or 3 tablespoons diced onion
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 sleeve of crumbled saltine or Ritz crackers if making gluten free or low carb substitute 1/4-1/3 cup good Parmesan cheese or gf bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley optional


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray or line with parchment.
  • If cleaning your salmon, open the can and empty contents into a medium bowl. Clean away any skin or bones and transfer the cleaned fillet into a separate medium bowl.
  • If using already cleaned salmon, just drain away any water and empty the contents into the bowl.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, leaving the crackers or Parmesan cheese until last.
  • Divide the mixture as evenly as you can, making five or six balls. Transfer the balls to the cookie sheet and press them down until they are about 1/2 inch thick. Drizzle with a little olive oil (optional) before baking.
  • Bake until evenly browned, about 20-25 minutes. Serve warm.


Serving: 1pattyCalories: 85kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 1gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 300mgPotassium: 83mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 273IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
Course Main Course
Cuisine American

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  1. 5 stars
    I loved it. Word to the wise though, the mustard is a no-go. Very unpleasant. It added bitterness. Use a little lemon instead.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ll take pantry ready over frozen any day. These were indeed fast to prepare and sooo delicious. I fried them in butter which was admittedly decadent and served them on a big bed of greens. We were eating in 20 minutes flat after arriving home after vacation to an empty fridge.

    1. SO GOOD
      SO EASY
      Saved Us on A Broke Day
      Great Recipe 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍
      We Ate with Apple Sauce and peas
      Gone in A Flash
      Making More Tomorrow

  3. 5 stars
    Made this tonight. Loved them. Neighbor loved them too.
    Few changes: used dry mustard, little less than a sleeve of saltines, added no salt, added a bit of chopped red pepper and celery for a little zip and crunch.
    I do not take off skin or bones but mash it all up together. The bones have useful calcium. The skin might have mercury but I don’t eat it often enough to be too concerned. I only had dried parsley on hand so just added a pinch or so and used some grated parmesan for the tops of the patties/cakes.
    Will make it again and soon!

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About the Author

Rachel Ballard, RN, BSN brings more than 20 years of professional nursing expertise to Feast and Farm. With a love for nutrient dense foods that support wellness, she works to distill complex health information and current trends into recipes that fuel the best version of yourself. Read more about Rachel here.