How to Make Salmon Cakes (3 Ways)

Sneak good fats and veggies into your diet when you learn how to make salmon cakes, cooked 3 ways! Eaten with a fork or held in your hand, these easy salmon patties come together in no time at all for a low carb appetizer or healthy addition to any meal. Make them in the air fryer, oven, or on the stove! Gluten and Dairy Free. 

salmon cakes on a plate with asparagus and a dipping sauce

Part 1 of our full week of omega-rich recipes, these salmon cakes are part of our Restorative Health Series, meaning they’re made with nutrient-dense ingredients to help nourish your body! 

Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too….Salmon Cake, That Is! 

Are you tired of ham and turkey? Me too. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love Leftover Turkey Nachos Salad Bowls or Ham and Vegetable Soup. However, after the holidays, I’m ready for something different and super nourishing, especially after all the holiday desserts and beverages. That’s where salmon comes into play! Not only is it delicious and full of flavor, but it’s also packed with healthy fats, making it the perfect option to kick off our omega week! 

However, I know cooking (and eating) salmon can be a bit intimidating, especially for those who don’t particularly love fish. So, before we jump into recipes like Baked Salmon with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce or Maple Bourbon Glazed Salmon (both of which I highly recommend), I thought I’d ease us into things by teaching you all how to make salmon cakes! In my humble opinion, they’re the perfect kid-friendly option for appetizers, dinners, and more. The best part is, they’re so tasty you won’t even remember they’re good for you, and the kids will be excited to eat them! Score! 

3 salmon patties stacked on top of each other

Unlike frozen varieties, these easy salmon patties are made with whole food ingredients, are high in fiber, and ready in minutes. Plus, the omega fatty acids will help fight inflammation and leave you feeling energized. We’ll get into that later, though. For now, keep reading to learn how to make salmon cakes! 

Are Gluten Free Salmon Cakes Good for You? 

The short answer is yes, but let’s dig a little deeper than that. Shall we? Made with simple ingredients, these salmon cakes are full of healthy fats, vitamins, nutrients, fiber, and anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the inclusion of fresh vegetables, salmon, coconut flour, eggs, and spices. However, the real star of the show is the salmon as it’s full of omega 3 fatty acids!

Salmon – The King of Omega 3 Fatty Acids 

Crucial for optimal health, omega 3’s are a type of polyunsaturated fat and cannot be produced by the body. This means that we must get them from food sources such as salmon, leafy greens, chia seeds, eggs, and more. They exist in 4 different forms which you can read more about here and have many health benefits. For example, consuming adequate omega 3’s can help lower blood pressure, regulate cholesterol levels, fight depression and anxiety, reduce inflammation, reduce the symptoms of autoimmune diseases, support bone health, and more! 

Nutrition Tip: To get the most omega 3 fatty acids in every bite, opt for Sockeye salmon over Atlantic salmon! 

3 salmon cakes one made in the skillet, one made in the air fryer, and one baked

How to Make Salmon Cakes (Cooked 3 Ways)

These salmon cakes come together so easily, you’ll wonder why you ever bothered with store-bought varieties! Keep reading to find the ingredients you’ll need and step-by-step instructions to make easy salmon patties. 


ingredients for paleo salmon cakes

Salmon – Use either cooked salmon that has been removed of its skin and flaked. Or, opt for canned varieties instead, and make sure they are well-drained. Both options will provide you with healthy fats and delicious flavor. 

Pro Tip

Note: Leftover or freshly cooked salmon works best to shape the salmon patties/cakes. 

  • Shredded or Riced Vegetables – Peeled cauliflower, carrot, or sweet potatoes work best and pair well with chopped onions! Just be sure NOT TO USE vegetables that have a high water content. 
  • Herbs and Spices – I used garlic, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and fresh parsley for a slightly smoky, savory flavor somewhat reminiscent of curry. Feel free to experiment with your own flavor combinations if you’re feeling adventurous!
  • Eggs – Eggs act as a binder, helping hold the rest of the ingredients together while also adding protein, healthy fats, and flavor to these gluten free salmon cakes.
  • Coconut Flour – Made from the fruit of the palm tree, coconut flour is a great low-carb, gluten free alternative to regular flours that adds medium-chain triglycerides and a slightly sweet flavor to any recipe. 

Ingredient Swap: Gluten free oat flour or Gluten free all-purpose flour may be substituted. However, a rule of thumb is that you will need to adjust the amount used, substituting at a 1:4 ratio (coconut flour for gluten free all-purpose flour). Also, it is important to note that the texture of your salmon cakes will vary based on the type of flour you use. 


Patty Preparation:

No matter which cooking method you choose, the first step is to form your salmon cakes. To do so follow the steps below.

  • salmon cake ingredients in a clear mixing bowl
  • mixed ingredients for salmon cakes

Combine. To begin, combine the salmon, vegetables, onion, spices, and coconut flour in a large bowl. Once mixed, add in the egg, and combine the ingredients again. 

  1. Fold. Add the fresh parsley (or herbs of choice) to the bowl, and gently fold it into the salmon mixture. 
  1. Form. Using your hands, form 6-7 patties that are about ½ inch to 1 inch thick and 3 inches wide
Pro Tip

Pro-Tip: Use a cookie scoop to make equal-sized salmon patties. 

  • two hands rolling a salmon cake
  • salmon cakes on a baking sheet

Then, follow the directions for whichever cooking method best fits your needs! 

Stove Top Method

  1. Heat. Place 1 tablespoon of oil or butter in a large pan over medium-high heat, and add 3-4 patties. 
  2. Fry. Let the patties cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until they are golden-brown and cooked through. 
  3. Repeat. Remove the cooked salmon cakes from the pan, and place them on a paper towel or plate. Repeat the frying process, adding 1-2 teaspoons of oil or butter as needed until all of the mixture has been used.
baked paleo salmon cakes

Air Fryer Method

  1. Chill. Once formed, chill the cakes in the fridge for 10 minutes, so just the patties can hold their shape better before air frying.
  2. Air Fry. In the last few minutes of chilling, spray the air fryer with cooking oil, and preheat it to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, cook the patties in batches for 10-12 minutes, making sure to flip them over halfway through cooking.
salmon cakes in an air fryer

Oven Method

  1. Preheat. To start, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper before setting it aside.
  2. Bake. Add the salmon cakes to the prepared baking sheet, and let them bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping them over halfway through cooking. 

YouTube Video

Tips for Easy Salmon Patties

Learning how to make salmon cakes is a pretty easy process. However, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks to ensure you get the best flavor and prettiest patties every time! 

Use Fresh Ingredients. Fresh salmon and herbs will result in the most robust flavors, making your salmon cakes even more delicious. 

Use a Big Spatula. Using a large spatula to flip the patties ensures that they stay intact. Make sure it can easily slide underneath the entire pattie to flip with ease! 

Be Sure to Flake the Salmon. The key to creating gluten free salmon cakes that don’t fall apart is in flaking the salmon. For the best results, use a fork to create pea-sized salmon pieces before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. 

Serving Suggestions

What I love about these easy salmon patties is how versatile they can be to serve! For example, they make great appetizers when paired with dips like tartar sauce, roasted red pepper sauce, or aioli

salmon cakes stacked on a plate iwth a fork

Or, serve them as part of a complete meal with sides such as rice, salad, roasted veggies such as asparagus, fries, sweet potato tots, and more!  


These easy salmon patties are best served right away. However, they can also be stored for easy meal prep using the following methods! 

Fridge: Place leftover gluten free salmon cakes in an airtight container, and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days

Freezer: Store your salmon cakes in the freezer either cooked or uncooked by wrapping them individually, and placing them in an airtight container. Then, they will stay fresh for up to 3 months. Just make sure to thaw them in the fridge overnight before frying or reheating. 

To Reheat: For the best results, reheat your gluten free salmon cakes in a pan over medium heat until the desired temperature is reached. You can heat them in the oven or microwave, but the patties may become slightly soggy. 

Common Questions

Can I Use Something Other Than Salmon?

Yes, the taste and nutrient content of your patties will vary, but you can use any other fish, crab meat, or lobster to form patties instead if you prefer.

What’s the difference between fresh and canned salmon?

When it comes to nutritional benefits, there’s not much difference between canned and fresh salmon varieties. This being said, an arguably more important debate is whether to use wild-caught or farmed fish. Farmed salmon fillets have as many grams of omega--3 fatty acids as wild salmon because farmed salmon are fattier. That being said, wild salmon is richer in other nutrients, due to the environment in which they feed (wild). Source

Can I use different seasonings /veggies?

Yes! Feel free to experiment and include your favorite herbs and spices to make these salmon cakes your own. For vegetables, peeled carrot, cauliflower, or sweet potato work best. However, starchier veggies such as green onion, cauliflower, or broccoli all work! Just make sure whatever you use doesn’t have a high water content.

salmon cakes on a plate with asparagus and a dipping sauce

How to Make Salmon Cakes (Cooked 3 Ways)

  • Author: Lindsay Cotter
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 7-8 patties
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Learn how to make salmon cakes in the air fryer, oven, or stovetop for an omega-rich recipe that is gluten-free, paleo, and easy to make!


Recipe updated 1-6-2022

  • 8-10 ounces cooked salmon (flaked and skin removed) or two 5 ounce cans of boneless salmon (drained) * (See notes)

  • 1 teaspoon garlic (minced) or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/3 cup yellow onion, diced

  • 1/3 shredded or riced vegetables* (See notes)

  • 1/2 teaspoon regular or smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine kosher or sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2-3 Tablespoons coconut flour (about 25 grams) *See blog for substitutes

  • 2 large eggs

  • 3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (or herb of choice) or 1/2 teaspoon, dried



  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked flaked salmon, onion, riced vegetables (*See notes), spices, and coconut flour, and mix to combine.

  2. Add the egg to the mixture, and stir to combine. Fold in the fresh parsley.

  3. Next, using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into equal-sized balls, spoon batter onto a prepared baking sheet. Shape/press into 1/2 inch to 1 inch patties, about 3 inches wide.

  4. Note- To help patties keep shape, chill precooked patties in the fridge fore 15-20 minutes before frying.

To Cook


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil or 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pan over medium heat. Once the pan has heated and the butter is sizzling, add in 3-4 patties/cakes at a time. Fry each salmon cake for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown and cooked through.* If salmon cakes brown too quickly, reduce the heat. 

  2. Transfer the cooked salmon cakes to a paper towel or plate, and repeat the process, cooking the remaining salmon cakes, adding 1-2 teaspoons more oil as needed.

Air Fryer

  1. Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray.

  2. Add 4-5 patties to the air fryer basket, and cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-14 minutes, flipping halfway through. 

  3. Remove the cooked patties out of the air fryer, and repeat the process until all of the patties have been cooked. 


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit 

  2. Place the uncooked patties in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden-brown, flipping them over halfway through cooking.

  3. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and let the salmon cakes cool completely.


*Peeled carrot, cauliflower, or sweet potato work best! (Do not use high water content vegetables.)

*Tip: Leftover or freshly cooked salmon is best. Or, use 10 ounces of well-drained canned salmon.

*If the salmon mixture is too moist to hold the patty shape, add 1 Tablespoon more of coconut flour, and chill the batter for 30 minutes.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • chill time: 10
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Main, appetizer
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 78
  • Sugar: 0.9 g
  • Sodium: 94.6 mg
  • Fat: 3.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 2.7 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 9.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 69.7 mg

Keywords: paleo, salmon cakes, gluten free, freezer friendly, low carb, dairy free, gluten free, air fryer

Did you already know how to make salmon cakes? Either way, I would love it if you give this recipe a try and let me know in the comments below! 



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