Breakfast/Brunch Lunch Meal Prep Seafood

Easy Salmon Cakes (Pan-Fried or Air-Fried!)

If you’ve never had salmon cakes, think of them as crab cake’s cousin from a couple of blocks down. I usually add in a chopped green bell pepper for some veggies. Seasoned with Old Bay seafood seasoning, you really can’t go wrong with these; they are juicy on the inside and have a beautiful crisp crust on the outside!

A plate of canned salmon patties over Cajun grits.

What did you call these in your family? Salmon Cakes? Salmon Patties?

I actually grew up calling them Salmon Croquettes. *fancy* My mom would make these on special occasions and it would always be SUCH a treat when I would see that red can of salmon in the pantry! These make a great meal option for breakfast/brunch, lunch, OR dinner. They are super versatile, plus only cost about $6 to make a full batch!


  • Canned Salmon – We aren’t using fresh salmon in this recipe; Canned is the way to go for salmon patties! Be sure to get the kind without bones or skin. It’s a PAIN to get those small bones out of tuna.
  • Green Bell Pepper – To add a bit of crunch (and some extra veggies) to our salmon croquettes, try adding chopped green bell pepper! I like to sauté the peppers for a few minutes before mixing them in, but that’s totally optional.
  • Panko Bread Crumbs – Panko bread crumbs (plus an egg) are going to help keep everything together during cooking.
  • Old Bay – Old Bay is a great all-purpose seafood seasoning for our salmon patties! Just a tablespoon gives us all the flavor we need.

A plate of canned salmon patties over Cajun grits.

How To Pan-Fry or Air-Fry Salmon Cakes

Salmon cakes are one of my favorite low-maintenance meals because you essentially just dump everything in a bowl, mix, and chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Then form your patties and cook them!

Of course, we grew up eating pan-fried salmon croquettes since there weren’t any of the fancy kitchen gadgets that we have available now. However, I’ve included instructions to air-fry these babies as well!

You’re going to get the same taste and overall feel regardless of how you prepare them. Pan-frying in a bit of oil gives that beautifully seared crust, where air-frying saves you those calories while still creating a tasty patty.

A quick tip: Before you add your beaten egg, taste the seafood mixture and adjust the seasonings to your preference. Sometimes you may want to experiment with spices, but you can’t do that when you’ve already added the raw egg in!

There are so many ways I like to eat salmon cakes. For breakfast/brunch: try serving them over some creamy grits. For lunch or dinner: have them over some lettuce leaves like a salad. You can also make these for a quick appetizer and serve them with some remoulade sauce! The possibilities are almost endless.

Check out my Tiktok & Instagram for a full video on how to make these. And if you’re looking for a tasty crab cake recipe, check out Plate Night In – because you know I got you covered!

Other Tasty Seafood Ideas

Easy Cold Shrimp Salad on Croissants

Honey Soy Glazed Salmon

Garlic Butter Shrimp Scampi

A plate of canned salmon patties over Cajun grits.

Easy Salmon Cakes (Pan-Fried or Air-Fried)

Shani W.
Salmon cakes, salmon croquettes, or salmon patties… whatever you call them, these super easy Salmon Cakes are packed with flavor and protein! We have a modern take on this classic recipe by offering air fryer instructions as well as how to pan-fry them the old-fashioned way.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Lunch
Servings 8 patties


  • ½ ct. green bell pepper
  • 10 oz. boneless, skinless salmon
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 ct. egg
  • vegetable oil for frying – skip if you are using the air fryer!


  • Dice half of the green bell pepper into even-sized cubes. Add it to a skillet and sauté for 6-8 minutes, until soft. Remove from heat.
  • In a large bowl, add the canned salmon, sautéed bell pepper, breadcrumbs, mayo, Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire, hot sauce, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir with a fork until combined. 
  • Taste the mixture and adjust seasonings to your preference if necessary.
  • Add in the egg and stir again until well combined.  Cover the bowl, and chill the mixture in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.
  • Using your hands, create salmon cake patties from the mixture.

If pan-frying:

  • Coat a non-stick skillet with vegetable oil.
  • Sauté on medium heat for 7 minutes on one side until golden brown, then flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve over greens or creamy grits. Enjoy!

If air-frying:

  • Spray the air-fryer basket/bottom with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Cook on 375°F for 10-12 minutes until golden brown, flipping them halfway through the cooking time. Enjoy!
Keyword Air Fryer Recipes, Appetizers, Meal Prep, Salmon Cakes

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A plate of canned salmon patties over Cajun grits.

The Coined Breakdown

  • Total Cost per serving: $0.76
  • Total Cost (8 patties): $6.08
  • Those Other Guys: $14.99 per serving

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