Salmon Patties Recipe

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These simple salmon patties are a great, frugal option for dinner. They take only minutes to mix up and cook!

One part of your challenge to increase your omega-3s this week is to eat more fish, especially salmon. A lot of people have an aversion to preparing fish in their homes, and for good reason I think. It’s easy to mess it up, and tough, soggy, or dry fish are all pretty gross. You never want to waste money on good food just because you’re not quite sure how to prepare it.

My confession: I’ve never bought any salmon other than canned salmon. It’s just too pricey and I’m not sure what to do with it. This meal was my mother’s standby for a Friday night when my dad (old-school Catholic) was not eating meat and my mom (non-Catholic) had to roll with it.

Salmon is super high in omega-3 fats (click here for health benefits), low in saturated fat, and at $1.99/can before even being on sale, canned is a really a frugal source of protein. Unlike other canned foods, fish holds almost all of its nutrients when cooked and canned. The entire entree can be served for $2.25, tops, especially if you reclaim bread heels to make bread crumbs. I typically serve salmon patties with:

… rounding out the meal total to $4.25 for 6 people, with cents to spare for a quick salad and honey on the biscuits.

The first time I made these, I called my mother for the recipe and made a triple batch for a group of 15 women (and their kids) at a pregnancy resource meeting. I didn’t know what to expect when opening the can of salmon, and I spent 15 minutes per can trying to pick every bone out! I was worried I would kill someone if they choked on a bone or something. I told all the ladies that they probably shouldn’t try this one at home, too time-consuming and annoying. Then I found out that you do not need to get out every little rib bone – they are soft enough to eat and actually recommended. Sheesh.

Here’s what canned salmon looks like out of the can:

Please don't even pin this picture of salmon from the can! Haha

The Salmon Patties really only take about 5 minutes to mix up and 5 more to fry up. Quick and easy!

4.5 from 2 reviews
Salmon Burgers
 
Author:
Recipe type: Meatless Entrees
Ingredients
  • ~1 lb. canned salmon (make sure it’s wild Alaskan salmon)
  • 1 Tbs. chopped onion
  • ½ tsp. salt (adjust as needed)
  • 1 well-beaten egg
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs. chopped parsley (dried is fine)
  • ¼ cup crushed crackers (homemade if you want to control the ingredients) or bread crumbs (dry oatmeal works too for GF or almond flour for grain-free)
Instructions
  1. Remove skin & backbones of salmon.
  2. Flake fish.
  3. Add seasonings, crushed crackers/bread crumbs/etc., onion, egg and parsley.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Shape into 2" patties.
  6. Saute in hot butter, ghee, coconut oil, tallow, lard or (not-so-hot) olive oil in skillet till golden brown on both sides (usually about 2-3 minutes per side).
Notes
Added Bonus: Leaving some bones in adds calcium and minerals! Gross, but healthy... (My Mom says that finding a little circle of the back bone within a salmon patty was like finding a treasure when she was young. It was soft and just part of the patty. So why did she remove all of the bones when I was a child?)

Time Saver: It's easy to get a small amount of onions if you already have them in the freezer (or even used dried).

Cost: $3.00 or less (using Meijer brand pink Alaskan salmon 14.5 oz, reg price)

Super Foods: 2 (3 if you use olive oil) and 1 honorable mention (2 with whole grain bread crumbs)

From a helpful comment on this recipe under the recipes tab: Another way to sneak veggies into salmon patties is to mix in finely chopped carrots and/or red pepper. I chop up the onion, carrot and red pepper (two more super foods!) pretty fine, then heat w/ olive oil just long enough to get the kitchen smelling awesome (I add the red pepper last so it doesn’t lose much flavor). Then let that stuff cool enough to not cook the egg and finish the patties. Yum.

These simple salmon patties are a great, frugal option for dinner. They take only minutes to mix up and cook!

This is a pretty basic recipe that’s probably even right on the salmon can. But you have to have the courage to go buy some if you never have before. I’ll take the hit of the 15-minute bone-picking expedition for you just so you can feel comfortable buying, preparing and eating salmon! You can do it! Eat more fish! Be sure to read more about how to buy safe salmon...

UPDATE: I made these patties the night of the post so I’d have pictures to add, but I used a food processor for the first time to make them after a commenter recommended it. They tasted fine, but they were so ugly I’m embarrassed to use the photos! If you want the flaked look and mouthfeel, stay away from the food processor. My son did say at dinner – twice – “Can I have some more of the green stuff?” Color = ewwww, taste = great. :)

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38 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. says

    We have always enjoyed salmon patties too. I’ve started making them in my food processor. ( I see them all the time at Goodwill for about$5 if you don’t have one.)
    I just gently peel off the dark skin and put all the ingredients into the bowl, let it run a little bit and it’s done! It breaks down the bones so well you can’t even tell they are still in there. There is a lot of bio-available calcium in those bone, so don’t throw them out! :-)
    I’ll try your recipe next time and use the food processor to chop the onions first.

    Laryssa @ Heaven In The Home’s last blog post..Scripture Sunday-Abide

    • Katie says

      I like it! That’s a good way to leave the bones in, and less yucky picking in the salmon. Trying it tonight! Thanks!!!

      • Katie says

        Ohhhhh,…so I tried this, and I don’t have the heart to upload the pics. Maybe later…but they turned out very aesthetically UGLY. Perhaps I overprocessed, I’m not sure. It made a regular paste. They tasted all right, but I missed the flakiness, so I don’t know that I’d do this again. My son, who is a great eater but rarely asks for seconds, asked TWICE for “more of that…um…green stuff please!” I added some veggies (carrot and spinach) and when processed so much, it was kind of a grey-green mush. Hmmm…I shouldn’t experiment when I’m trying to take pictures of a tried-and-true recipe for a post! :)

  2. Jen says

    Hi Katie,

    If you ever get brave enough to try an actual salmon fillet, they are awesome grilled! Place the fillet skin down on a piece of foil, then place several dollops of good organic, grass fed butter on top. Add salt and pepper to taste, and a squeeze of lemon juice, if desired. Wrap it up into a packet, and grill. It stays very moist cooked like this, and is so YUMMY! :)

  3. says

    I’m inspired, I’m making Salmon patties tonight, thanks!!

    For a while I quit using canned salmon because it seemed that it was all farmed and I wasn’t keen on the farmed fish. But, I recently found wild in the can at Costco – yay!

    Deanna’s last blog post..Tri Report

  4. says

    I usually stock up on canned salmon during lent because I can get it for 3/$5. I also use the basic recipe that you do but I add minced garlic and lemon juice. I sometimes serve it with Caesar salad. Very good!

    DarcyLee’s last blog post..Feeling Organized

    • Katie says

      Canned salmon always reminds me of tuna, so although I haven’t tried it, I bet it would work just fine. Let us know if you do!

  5. says

    i grew up eating salmon patties. only we couldn’t afford canned salmon so my mom made them with canned mackerel. they were still good.

    we had them with cottage fried potatoes (homemade hash browns) and steamed green cabbage. mom made hers with crushed saltine crackers and egg, but i suspect your version would be a bit more to my taste these days.

    thanks for a trip down memory lane, and a great reminder that it’s time to introduce this meal to my family!

    gourmetmomma’s last blog post..Leftover Love: Pasta with “Stuff”

    • Katie says

      I put leftover salmon patties (cold) on my salad yesterday and used spicy mustard as the dressing…delish!

  6. Mary Przybyla says

    When my mother made salmon patties, she apparently did not remove at least the little round backbone pieces of bone. I remember thinking of them as a prize if found in MY salmon patty. They were soft and simply part of the patty.

    I wonder why I feel the need to remove them all these years?

  7. Elisabeth says

    We eat these at least twice a month. I season the patties with dill then treat them like falafel, stuffing them into homemade pitas and adding tzatziki sauce, diced tomato, etc.

  8. says

    Hi, Katie – I wonder how you could make these gluten-free? Perhaps a couple tablespoons of ground flax meal in place of the breadcrumbs?

    I was just perusing the canned fish aisle yesterday, and thinking how my Mom used to make salmon patties and I never have, then here was your post (Five Things Women Should Eat) in my Google Reader today, which led me here. Great timing!

      • says

        Oh look at that, you sure did mention it – I just missed it in zooming through my Google Reader, LOL! Thanks so much – I’ll give ’em a try!

    • Renee says

      I use Glutino gluten free crackers to make my salmon patties. I usually use the “vegetable” crackers, but have used the cheddar for a whole new flavor. Try adding in some mayo when you are mixing up your salmon patties. Keeps them moist and tasty.
      See if you can find Henry & Lisa’s wild salmon. I think it is the best and no skin bones to pick thru.

  9. JD says

    This is a great recipe. So easy! I’ve been taking the lazy way out with the onion part- I just run out to my garden and snag some chives and cut them up in the mix with a pair of sissors. We’ve had a few killing frosts already, but those chives keep holding on, so I’ll keep using them!

  10. birthrightrose says

    I love this idea! Tuscan salmon sandwiches!! We’re going to try these SOON! Thanks, Elisabeth!

  11. Ashleigh says

    How funny, I love grilling salmon fillets on the bbq (fillet skin side down on a piece of foil, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, grill for about 20 minutes or until it starts to flake), but I’m afraid of canned salmon. My mom had a can of salmon in the pantry for YEARS. We wouldn’t let her ever make anything with it because we didn’t like fish as kids. I think my brother finally donated the can to a food drive just to make sure she didn’t ever use it!
    Now that I’m the mom, I’ll have to try cooking with canned salmon (especially now that we are on the East Coast and wild Alaskan salmon is more expensive than when we lived in WA).

  12. Heidi says

    I just bought some canned salmon and I was a little nervous about using it, but Salmon patties are on the menu for the week. This is just the boost, and hand holding I needed to feel like I can actually crack open the cans of salmon I bought!
    Thanks!

  13. kitblu says

    I use everything in a can of salmon; the liquid goes to the cats. I mash and use the remaining for salad or sandwich filling with minced onion, garlic, hot & sweet peppers and capers with some mayo or yoghurt for binding.

  14. Marie says

    I never knew you were supposed to remove anything from canned salmon, we always just eat it all up, and since bones are so full of nutrition I think that’s a good thing. The bones are so soft you can’t even tell they are there. When I make salmon patties my two boys, 2 yrs and 4 yrs, eat the uncooked mix like crazy, they prefer it to the cooked patties.

  15. says

    I’ve never picked bones out of salmon — they’re the best part! The bones of any canned fish are so soft you couldn’t possibly choke on them, and they’re full of minerals. But really, I just love the soft “crunch” in my teeth.

  16. asdf says

    I have, in almost 80 years of eating salmon patties made with tinned salmon (either commercial or tinned after salmon fishing), never removed the skin nor the bones. The skin provides even more omega-3 fats as well as protein and the bones calcium and other minerals; neither are particularly noticeable.

  17. Kristen C says

    Is there a good substitute for the egg? I love salmon patties, but have a son with dairy, egg, soy and nut allergies…

    • says

      Kristen,
      I would guess that the flax egg/water sub would work just fine…anything to bind it all together. Psyllium husk/water gel probably would as well. Let me know if you try one and it’s successful for sure and I can add a note to the post for other egg-allergic folks! Thanks!! :) Katie

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