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Someone holding a plate of 3 crispy salmon fish cakes with lemon and salad

Basic crispy salmon fish cakes

Fish cakes! These are nothing fancy, but are full of delicately flavoured salmon and fresh, subtle flavours. My favourite part is the crispy exterior - mmmmm!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Cuisine British
Servings (click to change) 4 -5 people (based on 2 fish cakes each)
Author Helen

Equipment (affiliate links)


for the fish cakes

  • 14 ounces potatoes peeled and diced (about 4 smallish potatoes)
  • ½ cup peas frozen (2½ ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 9 ounces salmon I used 3 portioned fillets (or use another kind of fish, or canned/tinned salmon or tuna)
  • 1 lemon (zest & squeeze juice over to serve)
  • 2 teaspoons mustard any type
  • 1 handful parsley fresh & finely chopped (or use other fresh herbs such as basil and oregano)
  • 1 handful grated cheese about an ounce (I used a sharp cheddar but any strong cheese works e.g. parmesan)
  • 1 pinch chili flakes optional
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper

for the crispy coating

  • 3 tablespoons flour (roughly)
  • 1 egg whisked
  • 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs (roughly) I used Japanese panko, but any work


  • Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water until tender (about 15 minutes). Add the peas for the last few minutes. Drain then return to the pan and lightly mash with the butter (I prefer to leave the potato a bit ‘chunky’). Tip into a large bowl.
  • Meanwhile, put the salmon in a microwavable dish with 100ml milk, then cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes or until just cooked (a thicker piece of fish might need a minute or 2 longer).
  • Flake the salmon into the bowl with the potato, then add the lemon zest, mustard, fresh herbs, cheese, chili flakes, and mayonnaise. Add a generous grinding of salt and pepper and mix well.
  • Cool the mixture for a while in the fridge (half an hour is fine), then take golfball-sized amounts of mixture and shape into 8 to 10 fish cakes.
  • To coat the fish cakes, put the flour, egg and breadcrumbs in separate dishes, then roll the fishcakes first in the flour, then in the egg and lastly in the breadcrumbs. Place on a plate or baking tray ready to cook.
  • Heat up a good drizzle of oil in a frying pan, then pan fry the fishcakes for about 5 minutes on each side or until golden and crispy. Serve immediately.


Freezing the fish cakes

These fish cakes freeze really well. Simply freeze them between layers of baking paper in a Tupperware. When ready to eat, defrost in separate layers then cook as from fresh.

What kind of fish to use

I used salmon but any fish would work. I think smoked fish would work especially well. You could even use tinned fish (which would probably be cheaper!).

If cooking fresh fish...

Don't waste the milk you cook the fish in if you decide to microwave fresh fish in milk as suggested. Freeze it and use it for the sauce when you make this fish pie!

When pan frying the fish cakes...

Don't be tempted to keep moving them around. Leave them for around 5 minutes on each side so that they can get nice and crispy. 


Calories: 265kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 18gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 219mgPotassium: 429mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 395IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 44mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let me know if you liked it!