salmon cakes appetizer
salmon cakes appetizer

Easy Salmon Cakes

These bite sized croquettes are great for entertaining because they are easy to make and look impressive. These hors d’oeuvres have all the components of a complete meal (potatoes, salmon, and asparagus) in one, and while they seem very fancy, they can be made with canned salmon. This recipe was inspired by The Traveling Locavores food blog.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes
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Recipe Rundown

pan-fried salmon cakes with asparagus and aioli
salmon cakes served on a board with dill

During my culinary school days, I once made over 300 salmon croquettes for a catering event. We were short staffed and it was a race against the clock, but I absolutely loved the pressure to get it done.

There’s no greater way to become a better cook than moving as quickly as you possibly can and problem solving on the fly.

Today, I’m offering some time-saving short cuts. For example, I got the idea to use canned salmon instead of fresh from fellow food blogger, The Traveling Locavores. On their site, I came across a recipe called Mommy’s Salmon Croquettes and was intrigued by the name.

Their post begins with a hand-written recipe from 1969. I can’t EVEN. If there’s ever a reason to zone out in the kitchen, it’s over some person’s scribbled recipe, especially when I know that person made it every Tuesday for dinner.

As I read and reread the recipe, it occurred to me that I didn’t want salmon with a side of potatoes and asparagus. Rather, I wanted an hors d’oeuvre that is a bite sized version of that meal. I think I’ve achieved that by incorporating the potato as a binder for the salmon and the asparagus as a garnish. I’ve also added a saffron aioli because I think a croquette needs sauce to balance out the dryness.

In retrospect, a lemon aioli would have been better…

mayonaise in a bowl with soaking saffron to make saffron aioli
No need to make mayonnaise from scratch. Save time by adding saffron infused water to store bought mayonnaise.

How to Make Salmon Croquettes

A croquette is best when the primary flavor of the food comes through–in this case, that’s salmon.

Tip 1

Binders like potato, flour, eggs should be secondary, and there should never be a raw spice taste, which can happen with croquettes. I once served a chickpea croquette to a chef for a test of my culinary skill. She loved it, but the spices! She explained they were not cooked.

A light bulb went off. Of course the spices in the middle of the cake aren’t receiving direct contact with the heat source. The takeaway? Toast your spices.

Tip 2

Shape croquettes and use a binder if they don’t stick together.

I was assisting a chef with 100 quinoa edamame sliders, and we had a heck of a time binding them without eggs. These were intended to be vegan and gluten free, so our only hope was to use pumpkin nut flour and to rotate them in and out of the freezer.

salmon cakes on a board with saffron aioli
For a gourmet touch, garnish your salmon cakes with a sprig of fresh dill or blanched asparagus tips.

The Verdict: Fresh Salmon vs. Canned Salmon

In most cases, I advocate for fresh fish over canned. Obviously.

In a croquette though? I believe there is a comparable taste, and you can find really sustainable canned salmon. Therefore, I will be using canned salmon from now on for these croquettes, but feel free to play around with fresh fish. This is a versatile base for crab or any fatty fish.

Salmon Cakes

These bite sized croquettes are great for entertaining because they are easy to make and look impressive. These hors d’oeuvres have all the components of a complete meal (potatoes, salmon, and asparagus) in one, and while they seem very fancy, they can be made with canned salmon. This recipe was inspired by The Traveling Locavores food blog.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: entertaining, fish, quinoa, gluten free, salmon
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 14 2-inch cakes
Calories: 40kcal
Author: Chef Sara Furcini


  • 3 5 oz canned salmon drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1 golden potato peeled, large dice
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp capers drained
  • 1/2 cup canola or olive oil to panfry
  • salt and pepper to taste

Saffron Aioli

  • 1 small pinch saffron
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1/4 cup mayonaise
  • 14 tips asparagus blanched and shocked
  • 1 oz fresh dill for garnish


Make the Cakes

  • Mash the salmon with a fork in a medium size bowl and stir in the egg. Meanwhile, drop the diced potato in a small pot and cover with water. Add a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer until completely soft, then drain. Mash the potatoes or run through a ricer and add potatoes to the salmon.
    Combine the salmon, mashed potatoes, dijon, and capers until the mixture sticks together when pressed. Use your hands to form patties that are flat on the top and bottom and approximately 2-inches in diameter.
    Warm the oil in a large pan over medium heat and carefully set the salmon cakes in the hot oil to pan fry. Adjust the temperature as needed so that the cakes cook about 2 minutes per side until golden brown. Try not to flip the salmon cakes more than once as they can be fragile.
    Transfer the salmon cakes to a sheet tray lined with paper towels using a fork or slotted spatula.

To Make the Aioli

  • Set the mayonnaise in a small bowl. In a separate bowl or ramekin, add the saffron and water. Soak for 10 minutes to allow the water to absorb the flavor and color of the saffron. Strain over the mayonnaise and stir until smooth. To garnish, place a dollop on top of the salmon cake and add a sprig of fresh dill. Place the blanched asparagus on top if desired.
    saffron soaking in water


To blanch and shock asparagus means to submerge asparagus in boiling, well-salted water (blanch) just until cooked–about 30 seconds. To shock means to stop the cooking process by moving the asparagus to ice water. This protects the vibrant green color and prevents the asparagus from over-cooking.


Calories: 40kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 45mg | Potassium: 69mg | Vitamin A: 180IU | Vitamin C: 3.1mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.6mg

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment or a rating. Proud of your work? Tag me @thefrayedapron on Instagram, I wanna see!

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sandy axelrod
sandy axelrod
2 years ago

I am so honored that my Mommy’s Salmon Croquettes inspired your beautiful hors d’oeuvre!!! I love the idea of making these bite sized and using the potatoes as a binder. Perfect timing for the holidays. Looking forward to trying your version quite soon.

Funny thing is that I too think a sauce is needed, I served mine with Lemon Garlic Aioli. Mommy served canned cranberry sauce with hers.

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