{Paleo} Weeknight Salmon Cakes

Salmon Cakes are somewhat of a comfort food to me.  Growing up, at least one lunch a week was either a salmon cake or a fish cake. Where we lived, this was commonplace and also something that my grandmother loved to eat for lunch and to feed to us.

While the childhood salmon cakes I remember were indeed made with canned salmon, that is probably where the similarities to my version end. They were nothing more than canned salmon, bread crumbs, a small white potato, an egg or two and some salt and pepper. And, when made by my grandmother, they were heavily pan-fried and served on an old-school potato hot dog roll with ketchup. Yep.

My Paleo Salmon Cakes do indeed use canned, wild salmon but have fresh herbs, spices, some sweet potato, eggs and a bit of almond flour to hold them together. They are cooked on the stove top so that they have a nice crispy crust and in only enough fat to keep the insides nice and moist.

These were inspired by one of my readers (Hi Janet!) who emailed me a couple of months ago and asked me to post a good, healthy, clean salmon cake recipe. I keep a list of reader requests so I had salmon cakes on the brain. That combined with this #Whole30 adventure finally made it happen. There is a salmon cake recipe in the book (It All Starts With Food) that I used as a base to develop this version.

I like to call these weeknight salmon cakes because they don’t take much time and you can make them in advance. Additionally,  you can make a double (or even triple!) batch and freeze a bunch of servings (uncooked) for later. Which is always a bonus when you are’re busy!

NOTES:

  • I like to buy the canned wild salmon in water with the skin and the bones. The only reason is cost. It is about $2.99 a 14.75-ounce can vs. $3 something for a MUCH smaller can without the skin and the bones. I like to remove the skin and bones but a lot of poeple don’t even bother and just crush it up along with the salmon. Alternatley, if it’s too gross to deal with or you don’t care about the additional cost, just buy the skinless, boneless. 
  • I have tested this recipe with both almond meal (ground up raw almonds with their skins) as well as tried it with almond flour (ground blanched skinless almonds that is finer and more powder like). I prefer the texture of the almond meal. If you don’t have it (Trader Joe’s sells it for about $4 per pound), just process some almonds in the food processor until they are almost powdery and like a meal but before the fat releases and it becomes almond butter. Or just use the Almond Flour or any other Flour (except Coconut) that you have.
  • I have also made these with smoked paprika and they are awesome.

Adapted From: No-Fuss Salmon Cakes from “It All Starts With Food”

4.9 from 24 reviews
{Paleo} Weeknight Salmon Cakes
 
Prep:
Cook:
Total:
 
9 Points Plus Per Serving -- Individual Serving is 2 Cooked Salmon Cakes -- Recipes Makes 6 Servings (12 Patties)
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 large sweet potato (about 10-ounces), cooked and mashed
  • ⅔ (two/thirds) cup almond meal
  • ⅓ cup packed finely chopped parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ to 1 Tablespoon hot sauce
  • ½ Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1¼ teaspoon paprika (see NOTES)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 14.75-ounce cans Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon (See NOTES about bones and skin)
  • 2 Tablespoons organic coconut oil or ghee for cooking (divided)
Instructions
PREP:
  1. Wash sweet potato and use a fork to poke several fork-holes in it. Wrap in a paper towel, place on a microwave safe plate and microwave until soft. My microwave has a "potato" setting. I think it's about 8 to 9 minutes long but check every couple minutes so you don't overcook it. If you prefer not to use the microwave, you can cook the potato in advance when the oven is on and keep it in the fridge (mashed and ready) for a couple of days.
  2. Let cool for a few minutes, remove potato flesh from skin and mash with a fork until the lumps are mostly gone. Toss into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add almond meal, chopped parsley, onion, lemon juice, hot sauce, salt, cumin, paprika, black pepper and eggs (Be sure not to put eggs directly on hot potato flesh or they can begin to cook!).
  4. Warning - gross looking salmon skin and bones pictures coming. This is how I quickly and easily remove the majority of skin and bones from the canned salmon. See NOTES above for more about this. Open the cans and drain most of the liquid out.
  5. Take the canned salmon into your hand and look for the "split" where 2 or more pieces of salmon are pushed together into the can. This is the natural place to separate the salmon and where you will most likely find the majority of skin and bones. Use your hands to gently scrape the skin and bones off.
  6. Separate the salmon again if there are more "splits" and do the same thing.Finally, using your hands, crush the canned salmon through your fingers into the mixing bowl.
  7. Stir until well combined. Line a baking sheet or large plate (that will fit in your fridge) with parchment paper.
  8. Use a 1 / 3 measuring cup, scoop out evenly sized salmon cakes (flatten bottoms) until you have 12 patties.
  9. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or all day (this is also the point you would freeze any that are not going to be cooked in the next 12 to 24 hours).
COOK:
  1. Heat a large frying pan (big enough to hold six patties) over medium high heat. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon coconut oil or Ghee per six patties. Let fat completely melt and get very hot. Slowly add patties and cook for 4 minutes.
  2. Gently flip and cook for an additional 4 minutes on the other side.Serve hot and Enjoy!

 Paleo Salmon Cakes Recipe from www.everydaymaven.com

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Comments

  1. Michelle says

    Hi there! I just LOVE your recipes. I’m finally able to cook one recipe for both myself (paleo) and my boyfriend (WW)!

    I have a question about cooking the frozen patties. Do you let them thaw first? And if so, for how long? Can you cook from frozen on low like you can with frozen sausage?

    That actually segues nicely into a suggestion for a post… Perhaps a post dedicated on proper freezing methods for different proteins and soups/stews… as well as how to thaw these types of items for cooking. I can wing just about anything but freezing freaks me out! Please help!

    Thanks so much for your blog!

    • says

      Hi Michelle,
      I cook them from frozen – I have found the final texture is better. If you “defrost” them first, they tend to get too watery. Great idea on the post – I’ll put it on my list! Thanks so much for reading :)

  2. Jana says

    I’m clearly late to the game on these, but can’t wait to try. I have some non-bone in canned salmon that I already bought – what’s the equivalent amount of the smaller cans to the (2) trader joe’s cans? I assume it isn’t ounce for ounce since you’re taking out the bones/skin.

    • says

      Hi Jana,
      This recipe has some flexibility so don’t make yourself nuts putting too fine a point on it. The TJ’s cans are 14.75 oz each (x2 = 29.50 oz minus bones, etc.). I would just use somewhere around 28 to 30oz of salmon. Hope you love it!

  3. Maria says

    These came out great, I didn’t have access to almond meal, but ground up the almonds myself. I would have used a pinch more of all the spices, overall, really great and will make them again (and I will wear plastic gloves when handling the salmon, your hands will have that smell for a little while 😉

  4. vanessa says

    Fantastic recipe!! Amended slightly, by using fresh ground, raw salmon instead of canned. This added quite a bit of moisture, so i had to add some breadbrumbs into ther ecipe until I found it to be the right ‘burger’ texture. Worked fantastically! 12 moist, delicious burgers. YUM! Thanks to my friend Erin for posting this recipe to her FB page :-)

  5. andi says

    Alysssa, I love this recipe and just made them again and wanted to report to you that I made half a batch and used one tbsp. coconut flour instead of the almond flour and they came out fantastic. I think I read somewhere that the ratio of coconut to almond flour is 1 tbsp. coconut: 1/4 cup almond flour. I figured I’d give it a shot and use a little less and it works really well.

    I confess I’ve eaten these cold and they’re still fantastic. Really appreciate all your recipes.

  6. Mary says

    That’s fantastic! Not sure why I never noticed the Whole30 recipes on your site before. I am making the salmon cakes now so I have some yummy, easy lunches for work. Breakfast is always tough, not really a meat for breakfast girl and I get sick of eggs. But I will go through all of your recipes and find some to cook this weekend so I have stuff all ready to go. Thank you for all your great ideas and recipes!!

    • says

      I love to make a big breakfast casserole Mary – it’s a life saver and makes eating a healthy breakfast across the week easy! (just search on my site for Paleo breakfast casserole). Happy New Year!

  7. Mary says

    This has been one of my favorite Paleo recipes over the past year! I have made them for co-workers and family and everyone loves them! I am starting the Whole30 (1st time!) on 1/1/15 and wondered if they are still Whole30 approved with your changes? I’m thinking yes, just need to check the hot sauce for hidden stuff, right?

  8. Val says

    love everything about it! As an added [fatty] bonus, I make paleo mayo and top the delicious little cakes with it… ok, so I smother them. I like mayo :)
    Genuinely fantastic. I make with fresh baked salmon, then cool and crumble. Something about the can creeps me out… no judgement, just my own weirdness. Seriously addicted.

  9. jessica says

    This recipe looks great! I dont have much time on my lunch break… how long will these last after being cooked? Are they good to eat cold?

    • says

      Hi Jessica!
      You can make a batch and freeze them, then pack for lunch and heat up in the microwave or oven for a couple of minutes till warm! Some people do like them cold – me personally, I like to warm them up.

  10. says

    We eat these regularly and absolutely love them! I make a double or triple batch and freeze the uncooked patties. We’ll eat these for breakfast with eggs, for lunch with a salad, or for dinner with a veggie and beans. Thanks so much for this recipe!

  11. says

    These were delicious! I am in Canada and maybe I just didn’t know what to look for but all I could find were 210gr cans, so I used two and halfed the recipe. The cans of salmon were over $4 each though, so while worth it for a healthy meal, they certainly weren’t the cheapest.

  12. Emily says

    Just came across this recipe and made them last night. They were Delish! My kids even loved them! I made a full batch so we now have some in the freezer for a future meal (what busy mom doesn’t like that ?!). I do have one question-do I thaw the frozen patties before cooking them?

    • says

      Hi Emily! So glad they were a hit. I have done it both ways – thawing first and cooking directly from frozen. If you thaw, they (obviously) cook very quickly. If you cook from frozen, you need to do it over a low light until they are totally thawed and then turn up the light to brown them.

  13. Suzy says

    I’ll admit, I didn’t have the highest expectations for these (due to the canned salmon) but they came out beautifully! My husband couldn’t stop eating them. I did make a couple of modifications: substituted organic canned pumpkin for the sweet potato and ground flax for the almond meal (didn’t have either on hand). The flax didn’t change the taste at all, just helped give the patties some heft. Maybe because I didn’t add as much as the almond meal is called for, my patties also were a little loose in the pan, but I found (by accident, actually) that letting them sit and cool in the pan kept them together nicely. I’m about to make some more now using the same modifications! Thanks for a great recipe.

  14. Chris says

    LOVE this recipe! My kids loved them (and they are picky eaters)! I passed this on to several people who have all raved about it. The addition of the sweet potatoes and cumin given a wonderful flavor. THANKS:-)

  15. says

    I can’t eat almonds and am interested in why you said not to use coconut flour? Wouldn’t that work too in slightly lower quantities? Also wondering if tapioca flour might work?

    • says

      Hi Shona!
      Almond flour and coconut flour are not interchangeable 1:1. Plus, coconut flour absorbs moisture and may dry out the cakes. I would try tapioca, arrowroot or potato flour. Hope it works out :)

  16. Bethany says

    Thank you thank you thank you for this recipe and the pics of the trader Joe’s fish- I was so shocked to find a spine in my big can (have usually bought the small cans) and your recipe gave me the confidence to give it a try. The almonds were AWESOME (I blended raw whole almonds) and I used a yogurt/dill/caper/lemon oil/ dip since I can have dairy.

  17. Mélissa says

    I second what Raghu said on July 3rd! Yummy.
    I can’t wait to make them again – that’s how good these were! I halved the recipe and it was still perfect. Left over patties were great with a salad today for lunch! Thank you so much for a delicous dinner.

  18. Shari says

    Thank you for this great recipe. Absolutely fantastic! Made them for a our small music group’s potluck. Kept them in a very low oven (170 F) for a couple of hours until we were ready to eat. Not dried out at all, absolutely delish! Everyone loved them, though mine didn’t look as beautiful as yours. I changed one thing: substituted butternut squash (roasted, pureed, drained) for the sweet potato. I also mad one patty without the eggs and though it was a little more fragile and had to be handled gently when flipping it over with the spatula, it didn’t fall apart and was just as tasty as the rest of them with the egg. I used a 4 Tbl (1/4 C) ice cream/cookie dough scoop, so made mine a little smaller.

  19. says

    I have made these with an egg substitute using ground chia seeds and water! I also did not have almond flour on hand and found when doing 1/2 the recipe that 1 Tlb. of coconut flour was fine for us. I make these at least once a month!
    Now to find a great sauce that is egg and dairy free!
    Capers are a must on top…:)

  20. Jean says

    These are delish! Thanks for sharing. As a side note, I added some organic/nitrate free bacon to the mix…just added a bit of additional flavor. Thanks for sharing the tip on getting rid of the bones from the canned salmon as well. Awesome!

  21. says

    Hi Lise,
    I have made these at least 40x and never had them fall apart. Also, what mayo/mustard sauce are you referring to – there isn’t one listed in the recipe? Are you sure you made this recipe? Thanks!

  22. Brenda says

    These are amazing! I have made them several times and cook a few and freeze the rest in single serve portions. These are a life saver! Thank you for the recipe!!

  23. Andi says

    These are fantastic! I halved the recipe since I live alone and I used the suggested smoked paprika. The texture is great and the taste is out of this world. Thanks so much!

  24. says

    These were hands down my husbandand mine favorite salmon wraps ever!! Thank ou so so much! I have never had a talent for frying…did what you said but got very dark. Am I supposed to keep adding coconut oil?Is there a secret to frying? Thanks so much for sharing your great recipes! You have a new fan!!!
    ..

    • says

      Thanks so much for the feedback Brenda – so glad you both are enjoying them! Did you use a non-stick pan? What temp did you have your heat at? Personally, I like them dark (darker than my pictures) but I know that isn’t for everyone.

  25. says

    I’ve made a lot of salmon cakes, and these are hands down my favorite. I make them all the time! Even my toddler loves them. Although I don’t usually eat paleo, I love having a go-to recipe in my back pocket for paleo guests. Thank you!

  26. jodi says

    New to paleo and have never had fish before, lol, bout to try to make these, all i have is one can of salmon though, hoping i can figure out the ingredient measurements and not mess them up…

  27. says

    Hi!

    One of the best recipes! i’ve converted so many people to paleo using this recipe 😉 I’ve ran out of almond flour and was hoping to make these today. Could i substitute almond flour for coconut flour? Maybe use only 1/2 cup of CF?

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Rebecca! Thanks – so glad you like it. I would not substitute with coconut flour – it behaves very differently than almond flour. Do you have any raw almonds, hazelnuts or sunflower seeds? If so, pulse them in the food processor or blender until you get a “meal” or “flour” texture and use that.

  28. Douglas Calvin says

    In the ingredient list you have 2/2 almond meal. In the comments you have 3/4 cup almond meal. What is the correct amount?

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Douglas,
      Thank you so much for pointing that out – it is actually 2/3 Cup of Almond Flour. Not sure why my recipe plugin isn’t displaying it properly. I did say 3/4 cup in the notes but that was not accurate. I just updated the recipe to read (two/thirds) until I can get that bug fixed. Have a great night :)

  29. Mirian says

    Can’t seem to manage my account here. I keep getting posts from this topic even though I did not ask for it. Could you please unsubscribe me from this post? Thank you.

  30. Jody says

    I made these last night and we loved them! Didn’t have parsley so threw in a tsp. of dill. I also didn’t have time to let them set in the frig before pan frying. They were still wonderful. I used 1/2 the recipe for my husband and I. I also used 1/4 cup to scoop them out. Then I smushed them a bit like hamburger patties. I made 4 and still have enough of the mixture to make 3 or 4 more for lunch today! I must admit the cumin and paprika were a stretch for me to throw in! Yet, I did and wow! Today I’m going to make a mayo dressing with capers to serve with them for lunch!
    Thanks so much!

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Jody! So glad you liked them and they worked with the changes. Enjoy the rest and thanks for reading :)

  31. Steph says

    Hi! I’m just wondering if you flatten the patties before you fry them? In the picture they look thinner and wider in the pan then when they are initially scooped out in the 1/3 meausing cup. Just wondering if they need to be flattened to cook properly (within the 4min, flip, 4min time period) Thanks!

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Steph,
      My measuring cups aren’t deep (at least the stainless steel ones shown) so they aren’t too thick but if your 1/3 measuring cup is on the thicker side, then flatten for sure. You want them to look like a hockey puck. Enjoy!

  32. Meagan says

    Hi! These look amazing! I only have wild-caught salmon fillets. Do you think it would work to use those instead of the canned salmon? What should I do differently?
    Thank you!

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Meagan,
      You would need to cook the salmon, let it cool and break it up with fork. Just really simple with some salt – maybe steam it or bake it!

  33. Errin says

    My daughter is on a spectrum diet and can not have any almond flour or grains. Will it stay together with everything but the flour!

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Errin,
      What exactly is a spectrum diet (trying to figure out what she can have!). These really do need some type of binder but maybe you could double the eggs?

  34. says

    I’m not a big salmon eater but I’m trying to eat it more since it’s so good for me. I have all these ingredients on hand and my fiancé loves salmon cakes so I think I’ll make a full batch, have a couple for lunch, then stock my freezer with the rest. Thanks!

  35. Amanda says

    Nice, easy, inexpensive meal. Kids liked it, too. I had leftovers cold for breakfast and it was nice, too. I didn’t make any modifications except to leave the bones in the salmon. Thanks for the idea.

  36. Tana says

    Trying these with some leftover salmon. I find the “bones” in salmon mush up pretty easily and have never had a problem with them, especially if the works goes in a food processor. The bones are a fabulous source of calcium.

  37. Mirian says

    Made this with fresh pink salmon in the food processor. It set very well. I now have freezer food for the week. Thanks!

  38. says

    This dinner was DELICIOUS!! Was a little uncertain of canned Salmon, but my goodness it is so yummy! We ate all the cakes and wanted more. I will double next time for sure.

  39. Julie Taylor says

    Oh my GOODNESS these are amazing! I didn’t have parsley, used green onions and added extra and these were so good I was gobbling them as soon as they came out of the pan. Yum. :)

  40. Kate says

    To Kylie from June 11 regarding eggs. Try using some chia seeds soaked in water. I have used this in baking and it works out beautifully. 1 tblspn chia seeds in 3 tblspns water = 1 egg. Mix and leave to sit for between 5 to 10 mins. It goes all gloopy for want of a better word and binds beautifully. I just use black chia seeds because that’s what I can mostly get. I made the recipe as it was posted though, but I’m sure the chia seeds would work.

  41. Jordan says

    Thank you for the recipe! I made it tonight and couldn’t leave it overnight to set. Still turned out very good, didn’t want to stop eating them!

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Jordan,
      The salmon cakes only need about 20 to 30 minutes to set in the fridge, not overnight! Glad you liked them :)

  42. Holly says

    Thanks for posting this recipe. I whipped up a batch of hopefully paleo friendly salmon cakes substituting ground flax seed for the saltines that I used to use. I liked them, but the rest of my family already ate. I’ll try your recipe soon.

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Holly, we just had these for dinner again 2 nights ago. My most recent adaption is to use smoked paprika in place of regular – really good!

  43. Kylie says

    I’d like to make these for my son but he’s egg-free. If I left out the eggs, would the flour and potato be enough to bind them or do you think they’d fall apart?

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Kylie,

      I haven’t tried them with egg but they definitely need some type of binder or they will fall apart. Maybe you could try a “flax egg”?

  44. Cori says

    i had some canned salmon left over that i didn’t know what to do with…i just made these and they are fantastic! what a great summer dinner for my paleo family! thank you!!

  45. says

    Great recipe, must taste delicious! I want to make a surprise for my wife on Saturday for our anniversary and I would like to give it a try, although I don´t believe I am skilled enough. Any special tips for unskilled men from nice skilled ladies? Thanks a lot for the idea anyway!

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Lorne,
      I suggest breaking the recipe down step by step and getting all of your prep work done before you start mixing anything together. Have EVERY ingredient measured out, chopped, prepped, etc. on the counter and then start following the recipe. It will make it a lot easier to try something new. Happy Anniversary and Enjoy!

  46. says

    Alyssa,
    I didn’t grow up with salmon cakes, and my first experience with canned salmon (after decades of fresh/frozen fillets) was . . . unappealing to put it mildly.
    I’ve been looking for a tasty-looking canned salmon recipe, since it seems like an inexpensive (compared to the fillets) way to vary our diet.
    I’ll have to give these a shot–thanks for clear directions and good photos!
    kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts recently posted..Mu Shu -ish (Leftover) Chicken Burritos (Quick Take)My Profile

  47. Eha says

    Fantastic recipe which makes the one I have used for eons SO much better! Yes, I use the same Alaskan salmon, tho’ in Oz it is sold in a slightly different packaging. This is an oft-time meal for me and I DO love the almond meal and sweet potato also! Those two are always in the house . . . thanks a million :) !

    • EverydayMaven says

      I think more people probably leave the skin / bones in than don’t Norma. I may be in the minority on this one.

    • EverydayMaven says

      Thanks Heather! I need to make another batch because the freezer stash is getting low and they are a lunch-life-saver!

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Cathy,
      When I tried this Salmon Cakes with coconut flour, I found them to be too dry and gummy. 3/4 Cup almond meal for 12 cakes works out to be 1 Tablespoon of almond meal per patty so if you eat 1 serving (2 patties) that is 2 T of almond meal.

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Kat,

      Right now, I think the almonds are a better option (for me) than grain flours so everything in moderation.

  48. says

    I am delighted to add these salmon cakes to our dinner list this week, Alyssa! The addition of almond meal and sweet potatoes is marvelous, and I love that you can freeze a batch for another night. Thanks for sharing!
    Hannah recently posted..Southwest Quinoa SaladMy Profile

    • EverydayMaven says

      Thanks Hannah – anything that can be made in advance and frozen is a win to me ;). See you this afternoon!

  49. says

    Love your version! Great idea to add sweet potato. I will definitely try this. Re: removing the skin and bones: the bones are an excellent source of calcium and the sking contains omega 3 fatty acids. The skin is safe to eat if your salmon is wild and has been swimming in uncontaminated waters. Here’s my baked version.
    http://joinmefordinner.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/salmon-quinoa-patties-with-lime-yogurt-sauce/
    Like you, it is our go-to weeknight meal, as there are always some in the freezer. Love your site!
    Elaine recently posted..Warm Spinach Salad with Fried Egg and PotatoesMy Profile

    • EverydayMaven says

      Hi Elaine and thank you! Yes, my parents always leave the skin and bones on for that very reason. I just don’t like to crunch down on a piece of bone – it freaks me out (lol!). Off to check out your baked version…

  50. LeAna says

    Great recipe! I made something similar recently and was a bit short on time (we don’t own a microwave) so instead of baking. I used my trusty food processor to grate the sweet potato and just tossed everything together. It worked great!

    • EverydayMaven says

      Good to know LeAna – I also considered this as an option but since I am only cooking the patties 4 min on each side, I wasn’t sure the potatoes would cook through.

      • LeAna says

        Oh yes! And I did a mix of a few pan fried for a couple minutes then finished off in the oven while I worked on the remaining ones and some just in the pan and some just in the oven. I preferred the ones that were cooked both in the pan and finished in the oven

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