These Easy Salmon Cakes with Tzatziki Sauce are packed with flavor from onion, garlic, celery, and lots of dried (or fresh!) dill. Moist and tender on the inside, super crispy on the outside, and I could eat them every single day for the rest of eternity and be a very happy gal.
Easy Salmon Cakes with Tzatziki Sauce
Ok ok. Salmon cakes don’t really sound like something you’re going to read about, immediately bolt to the grocery store to pick up the needed ingredients, and then make in the same day.
Unless you’re reading about THESE salmon cakes. These salmon cakes which are packed with flavorful FRESH salmon, moist on the inside, super crispy and irresistible on the outside. These salmon cakes that are overflowing with flavor from cooked onion, garlic, and celery, and then studded with underlying hints of tangy dijon mustard, creamy mayo, and dried dill.
And it’s not just me. I know they’re delicious because Kevin, who wouldn’t normally fawn over something with salmon and cakes in the same breath, devoured them just as fast as he’d gobble up a batch of spaghetti and meatballs.
Secrets to perfect easy salmon cakes
- Use fresh salmon! I know most recipes for salmon cakes call for canned salmon, but I just can’t bring myself to buy it. What I like to do is gently bake a one-pound filet of skin-on salmon (seasoned generously with salt and pepper), and then flake it myself before adding the rest of the ingredients.
- Panko breadcrumbs. I like panko because it’s light and airy, but still binds the salmon together.
- Egg. An egg is essential for holding the cakes together, plus it adds a little bit of richness and moisture to the cakes.
- Plenty of salt and seasoning. While salmon has more flavor than most fish, it still needs a little bit of help. Plenty of salt, tangy dijon, and just a touch of dried dill add loads of flavor, while letting the flavor of the salmon shine through.
- Don’t over mix! Stir everything just until it comes together, then form into patties.
How to make Easy Salmon cakes with Tzatziki Sauce
- Season salmon generously with salt and a little bit of pepper and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Use a fork to flake the salmon and transfer to a boil.
- While the salmon cooks, sweat the onion, celery, and garlic in a little bit of olive oil.
- Add cooked veggies, panko, egg, green onion, dill, dijon, mayo, lemon juice, and a little bit of salt to salmon.
- Form into four large or eight small patties.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet or griddle to a medium heat. Brush skillet with olive oil. Add salmon patties, and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes per side.
- Serve with Tzatziki Sauce
Can you make Easy Salmon Cakes ahead of time?
Yes! If you just want to make them one or two days ahead of time, I’d make them all the way through forming them into patties, then wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge. You can also cook them up, cool them, wrap them in plastic and then into a ziplock baggie and freeze. Pull them out and reheat them in a 350 degree oven.
Do I have to use fresh salmon?
I have not made this recipe with canned salmon, but I imagine, as long as you sub out the exact amount of salmon, you’d be fine. Just watch out for salt, as a lot of canned salmon has added sodium.
Substitutions and tips and tricks for recipe success
- I don’t really have any substitutions here! Everything is key to a successful recipe.
- If your salmon cakes don’t seem to be very sturdy before cooking, try chilling them for 15 minutes or so.
- Be sure your skillet isn’t too hot. You want a consistent medium to medium-high heat, if it’s any higher, the cakes will burn and won’t be hot on the inside.
- 1 lb. fresh Atlantic salmon, skin-on
- 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp salt, divided
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp. dried dill
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. mayo
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 green onions, sliced thin and divided
- Tzatziki sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a small baking sheet with foil.
- Place the samon on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Use a fork to flake the salmon.
- While the salmon cooks, heat a small skillet to a medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add 2 teaspoons oil. Add onion, celery, and garlic. Season with a 1/4 tsp. salt. Sweat the vegetables (turn the heat down if they start to brown) until they're slightly softened, about 5 minutes. (You still want them to have a litlte bit of a bite to them.) Cool for a minute or two.
- Add the egg, dijon, dill, mayo, lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the flaked salmon, cooled veggies, panko, and all but 2 tsp. of the green onion to the wet ingredients. Use a fork to stir the mixture until combined. Form into four large or eight small patties.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet or griddle to a medium heat. Brush with remaining olive oil. Add salmon patties, and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes per side.
- Serve with Tzatziki Sauce and garnish with remaining green` onion.