These healthy salmon cakes are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. They're made with fresh salmon and coated in a gluten free oat and herb crust. They make the perfect easy weeknight dinner even the kids will love!
These healthy salmon cakes make the best easy weeknight dinner! I don't know about you, but when it comes to making dinner for the family in the middle of the week I like quick and easy - which is exactly what this recipe is!
- Dietary characteristics - gluten free, dairy free, paleo options
- Cooked in olive oil
- Soft and tender inside with a crispy outside
- Kid friendly
- Great for a weeknight dinner
- Salmon - This recipe uses fresh, un-cooked salmon. Wild caught and skinless is best.
- Avocado oil mayo - Used to provide moisture to the salmon cakes. The Primal Kitchen brand is my go-to. Lite mayo will work in this recipe if needed.
- Oat flour - This is for the coating. Use gluten free oat flour to make these salmon patties gluten free.
- Olive oil (not pictured) - Used to pan fry the salmon patties. The olive oil will provide a savory rich flavor to the cakes. I also will use avocado oil which is a great substitute.
Fresh salmon vs canned salmon
When it comes to seafood, fresh is typically always best. Fresh salmon is going to give these salmon patties that nice fish flavor.
However, I know canned salmon is an easier option for some and it does work in this recipe. I recommend Wild Planet or Safe Catch. Use in the same manner as the fresh salmon in this recipe, but you won't need to chop it up.
Step by step directions
This is an easy dinner that's perfect to whip up during the week. You'll need a large bowl and a pan to cook the salmon cakes in. I used a cast iron but a non-stick will work as well.
Step 1 : Chop the salmon
Because we are using a fresh salmon filet, first we need to chop it up into pieces. Use a really sharp knife for this and a cutting board that you can wash off easily.
If your salmon filet has skin, remove the skin first and then chop into pieces. This doesn't have to be perfect, you just want smaller pieces of salmon to make the cakes.
No, we are not going to cook the salmon filet first. A lot of salmon cake recipes do this and I think it dries out the salmon since you end up cooking it twice. Salmon doesn't take that long to cook so when we pan fry it, it will cook through perfectly and have a soft and tender inside.
Step 2 : Mix in the rest of the salmon cake ingredients and coat
In a large bowl, add the chopped salmon along with the egg, avocado oil mayo, dijon mustard, diced onions, chives, lemon zest and juice, paprika, garlic, parsley, and salt. Toss to fully incorporate the salmon.
Then sprinkle in ⅓ cup of the oat flour. This is used to help bind all of the ingredients together. Place the other ⅓ cup in a separate shallow bowl.
Use a large cookie scoop or a ¼ cup measuring cup to scoop out the mixture. Use your hands to pat it down into a patty. Disclaimer - your hands will get dirty. Lay the patty down in the shallow bowl and coat with the oat flour.
Step 3 : Pan fry the salmon cakes
Place the salmon patties in a hot skillet with olive oil. Allow the patty to cook for about a minute before flipping it over to cook for another minute.
When the salmon cake is golden brown on both sides, it's done cooking. Place each salmon cake on a wire rack to cool down slightly before serving.
Step 4 : Prepare the sauce
The sauce on top is super simple to make. Simply mix together avocado oil mayo with lemon juice and chopped parsley until creamy. I like this sauce because it adds some citrus flavor and uses ingredients I already have on hand from making the salmon cakes.
If you prefer a tartar sauce, I recommend the Primal Kitchen tartar sauce which is found in most grocery stores.
It's best to have the salmon cakes cool down a little before serving. This will allow any excess oil to drip off and soak into the crust. If you serve the patty straight from the pan to a plate you will grab extra oil.
A wire rack or a cloth or paper towel is the best spot for the patties to cool down before plating.
Serve with a fresh salad, a few lemon wedges, and a drizzle of the sauce on top of the cakes.
- Store cooked salmon cakes in an airtight container in the fridge. They will keep for up to 4 days. To reheat, warm up a pan with a little olive oil and and place the patty in the pan. Allow it to warm up for about 30 - 45 seconds on each side. You can also microwave in 10 second intervals to warm it up.
- Store uncooked patties by wrapping each individual patty in saran wrap tightly and storing them in an airtight container. They will keep for 3 days in the fridge. When ready to cook, heat olive oil in a pan and cook both sides for a minute until the salmon is cooked through.
- To freeze, wrap each cooked salmon cake individually and store in an airtight container in the freezer. Thaw to room temperature and reheat on the stove when ready to eat.
Frequently asked questions
You need to have good "binding" ingredients in salmon patties. This recipe uses an egg and avocado mayo to keep all the ingredients together so it doesn't fall apart once baked.
This depends on your version of "healthy" but salmon cakes contain great Omega 3 fatty acids, lean protein, and both vitamins B and D.
Swap the oat flour with almond flour to make this recipe paleo friendly.
Yes, these salmon patties work great in an air fryer. I recommend drizzling some olive oil over top when they are in the fryer basket.
For more easy weeknight dinners, check out my:
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Crispy Healthy Fresh Salmon Cakes (Gluten free)
For the salmon cakes
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb salmon filet - skinless
- 1 egg
- 3 Tbsp avocado oil mayo
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- ¼ cup white onion - diced
- 1 Tbsp chives - chopped
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 clove garlic - chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh parsley
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ⅔ cup gluten free oat flour - divided
For the sauce
- 2 Tbsp avocado oil mayo
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- parsley leaves - a few
- Go ahead and heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
- While the oil is warming up, chop the salmon into small pieces. This doesn't need to be perfect, you just want the salmon in small chunks.
- Place the chopped salmon in a large mixing bowl and add the egg, avocado oil mayo, dijon mustard, white onion, chives, lemon juice, lemon zest, paprika, garlic, parsley, and sea salt. Mix well to coat the salmon in the mixture. This is best done with a rubber spatula or a large spoon.
- Add ⅓ cup of the oat flour to the bowl and mix to distribute.
- Use a large cookie scoop or a ¼ measuring cup to scoop out the mixture. Use your hands to pat it down into a patty and place it in the pan with oil. Cook for a minute, then flip the patty over and cook on the other side for another minute. When both sides of the salmon cake are golden brown, it's done cooking.
- Place each salmon cake on a wire rack or a cloth or paper towel to cool down slightly before plating. This also allows any excess oil to run off and soak into the crust.
- Prepare the sauce by mixing together the avocado oil mayo, lemon juice, and parsley in a bowl until smooth. Serve the salmon cakes on a plate and drizzle with the sauce and enjoy!