These homemade salmon patties use canned salmon for an easy shortcut to rich, flavorful burgers that the whole family will love. Build these salmon burgers with your favorite toppings or use the salmon cakes as a standalone appetizer with our quick tartar sauce!
These simple salmon burgers are perfect for a quick summer dinner!
Just mix everything up, shape a few patties, and pan-fry your salmon cakes (or bake them in the oven).
Serve the patties on their own with a bit of our homemade tartar sauce, add them to a quick caesar salad, or stack them up with a whole wheat bun and toppings for a hearty burger!
What kind of salmon should I use for burgers?
We use drained, canned wild salmon in this recipe, but you can also use leftover lime grilled salmon or lemon garlic steelhead. Just flake any leftover cooked salmon into pieces before mixing your patties together.
Our team also tested this recipe with fresh salmon fillets. You can buy a full fillet if you like, remove the skin, cut it into cubes, then blitz it in a food processor or mince it by hand with a sharp knife to break it into pieces. This method works perfectly well, but it adds a few extra steps that really aren't necessary here (and honestly, we'd rather save those gorgeous fillets for something like our Balsamic Roasted Salmon instead!)
As always, we recommend using sustainably-managed, wild-caught Alaskan salmon wherever possible. Sockeye salmon is great if you can find it, but pink salmon is typically easier to find in cans or pouches (and it's cheaper!) We like canned wild salmon from Vital Choice (available online) or Wild Planet wild salmon (available at most grocery stores).
How to cook salmon burgers
On the stovetop
Heat a light layer of canola, vegetable, or avocado oil in a large skillet (we like using a cast iron pan or nonstick skillet) until it's hot and shimmering, then cook your salmon patties for 4-5 minutes per side until they're golden brown.
In the oven
Lay burger patties on a large baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat (if you don't have a nonstick baking mat, you can use parchment paper or just lightly oil the baking sheet). Bake at 400° F for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.
Note: You can flip the burgers midway through cooking or pop them under the broiler on low for the last minute of cooking if you'd like a crispier exterior, but we usually skip that step because #lazy.
On the grill
When patties are formed, cover and refrigerate them for at least an hour before cooking (this will help keep them together on the grill). Heat your grill to medium-high heat, then oil the grill grates very well to prevent sticking. Cook the burgers for 3-5 minutes per side, using a wide spatula to carefully flip them halfway through cooking.
Note: Honestly, we don't LOVE cooking these salmon patties on the grill - fish patties in general can just be a pain to grill and sometimes it's more trouble than it's worth. Can you do it? Yes! Absolutely! But again, we say: #LAZY.
Let's talk about toppings!
These easy salmon patties go well with just about everything. Serve them alone with a bit of tartar sauce or pop them on your favorite burger bun. Some of our favorite combinations:
- In these photos, we topped our salmon burgers with a bit of quick homemade tartar sauce, crispy bacon, and fresh arugula.
- A quick, creamy slaw is great here!
- For a BLT-style salmon burger, add mayonnaise, crispy bacon, lettuce or spinach, and a thick slice of tomato.
- Add sliced or mashed avocado (always a good choice)
- Want to add some cheese? Use a sharp white cheddar cheese, or add a spread of whipped goat cheese or whipped feta. They'll add a bit of creaminess and tartness without competing too much with the flavor of the salmon.
What kind of sauce should I use for salmon burgers?
These burgers are great with just a bit of mayonnaise and mustard, but we also love whipping up a quick tartar sauce!
Whisk mayonnaise or Greek yogurt together with a bit of lemon juice, mustard, and diced pickles for a quick, tart sauce that's perfect with salmon. You can also add a few handfuls of fresh dill if you have it!
A few salmon burger FAQs
Yes! Mix and shape these patties up to 24 hours in advance, then store them in an airtight container in the fridge until you're ready to cook them. Store the patties in a single layer if possible, or place a square of waxed paper or parchment paper in between each patty if they're stacked to prevent sticking. If you want to make these salmon cakes more than a day in advance, we recommend freezing them.
Yes! Mix and shape the patties as directed, then line a plate with a nonstick baking mat (or a piece of waxed paper) and arrange patties in a single layer. Freeze, uncovered, for 1-2 hours, then transfer frozen patties to an airtight container and store for up to 2 months. You can cook these patties straight from frozen when you're ready to eat them (you'll just need to extend the cooking time by a few minutes).
Burgers are done when they've reached an internal temperature of at least 160° F. You can use an instant-read digital thermometer to double-check the internal temperature if you like! A good visual cue for doneness is to cook the patties until they are a nice golden brown.
Quick and easy salmon burgers with canned salmon and a quick homemade tartar sauce.
FOR THE TARTAR SAUCE (optional)
- ½ cup greek yogurt or mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons minced dill pickles (you could also use capers)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon or Stone Ground Mustard
- Salt to taste
FOR THE SALMON BURGERS
- 2 6-ounce cans of salmon, drained
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon or Stone Ground Mustard
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tablespoon canola or avocado oil, for frying
- 4 strips thick-cut bacon, cooked until crispy (see recipe notes)
- 4 sandwich rolls or burger buns, halved
- 1 heaping cup fresh arugula
- ½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
MAKE THE TARTAR SAUCE (optional)
- Combine greek yogurt or mayo, pickles, lemon juice, and mustard in a small bowl with a pinch of salt. Stir to combine.
- Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
MAKE THE SALMON PATTIES
- Use clean hands to mix salmon, bread crumbs, mustard, eggs, parsley, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl.
- Divide salmon mixture into four equal-sized portions. Use your hands to shape each portion into a patty, about ½ inch thick.
- Heat oil in a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Carefully place salmon patties into skillet (you may need to work in batches depending on the size of your skillet). Cook for 4-5 minutes per side, until patties are cooked through. When done, patties will be golden brown and lightly crispy.
ASSEMBLE YOUR BURGERS
- If you have time, lightly toast your burger buns (use a toaster, toaster oven, or hot oven).
- In a small mixing bowl, toss together arugula, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside. Note: If you're short on time, skip this dressing step and just use plain arugula!
- Time to assemble! Spread a thin layer of tartar sauce across each bun piece. Top each bottom bun with a salmon patty, another spoonful of tartar sauce, crispy bacon, and a small handful of the arugula. Top with the other half of the bun and serve immediately.
If you’re adding bacon to your burgers, cook it right before you cook the salmon patties. Cook bacon in the oven (our favorite method) or crisp it up in a skillet. If you use the skillet method, remove the bacon once it’s crispy but leave the bacon fat in the pan! Use that fat instead of canola or avocado oil to cook your burgers later on.
What kind of salmon should I use? We developed this recipe with canned salmon to keep things simple. We recommend using pink (usually cheapest), coho, or sockeye salmon (we like Vital Choice or Wild Planet). You can swap leftover baked salmon for the canned salmon here if you like - just flake your leftover salmon into the bowl before you mix the patties. You can use a fresh salmon fillet if you prefer (see the post above for instructions on how to make this swap) but we prefer to use canned salmon here to keep things easy and save those beautiful salmon fillets for recipes like this easy Mustard Roasted Salmon!
How to cook salmon burgers. We prefer cooking these salmon burgers on the stovetop (in a large skillet with a light layer of canola or avocado oil) or in the oven on a lined baking sheet (at 400°F for 15-20 minutes). If you’d like to grill these burgers, chill the patties for at least an hour in the fridge, then oil your grill grates and cook over medium-high for 3-5 minutes per side. Flip seafood burgers carefully on the grill, as fish patties like to fall apart! See the post above for more detailed instructions on these alternate cooking methods.
Additions and Substitutions. Use cilantro or dill instead of parsley in the salmon patties. Skip the homemade tartar sauce and use store-bought tartar sauce, mayonnaise, ranch dressing, or blue cheese dressing instead. Use tuna instead of salmon if you like.
A note about the tartar sauce. This is a very basic recipe that leans on fridge staples: feel free to riff! Use Greek yogurt if you like more of a tart flavor; use mayonnaise if you’d like the sauce a bit mellower (or use a mix of both!) Use capers instead of pickles if that’s what you have on hand. Add a handful of chopped dill or parsley to brighten up the sauce. Add more or less lemon juice depending on your tastes. Spice it up with some cayenne pepper, hot sauce, paprika, or horseradish.
Toppings! We kept things simple with a bit of crispy bacon and dressed arugula here. Add sliced tomato, mustard, sliced or mashed avocado, a quick cabbage slaw, or cheese (white cheddar, whipped feta, and whipped goat cheese are all good) if you like.
Make Ahead Tips. Uncooked salmon patties store well in the fridge or freezer if you’d like to make them ahead of time! Mix and shape the patties as directed, then store in an airtight container for up to 24 hours in the fridge or up to 2 months in the freezer. Store patties in a single layer or, if you need to stack them, layer a small square of parchment paper between each patty to prevent sticking.
- Serving Size: 1 Burger
- Calories: 460
- Sugar: 6.1 g
- Sodium: 2081.5 mg
- Fat: 18.9 g
- Carbohydrates: 35.1 g
- Protein: 35.8 g
- Cholesterol: 152.5 mg
Keywords: seafood, summer, sandwich