Southern Fried Salmon Patties

Southern Fried Salmon Patties are a southern classic that turns leftovers into a delicious meal! Salmon cakes are an economical way to feed your family, too!

Southern Fried Salmon Cakes Recipe

This recipe for southern salmon patties uses fresh salmon that’s been roasted in the oven with fresh lemon zest and black pepper. You can roast the salmon and let it cool, or just use leftover salmon the next day!

It’s a great way to stretch an expensive protein, and create the best salmon patties with homemade tartar sauce.

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You might have seen or had salmon croquettes growing up. Your southern mom cracks open canned salmon, and lovingly picks through for any bones or pieces of skin. Mixes up saltine crackers, some Old Bay seasoning, and other “stuff.” Gingerly places the patties in the frying pan, and in the blink of an eye, your dinner is served!

Lemon Pepper Roasted Salmon

Use this Baked Lemon Pepper Salmon Recipe as your starting point! While canned salmon is extremely economical and great for budget cooking, when you do the math if you can get two meals out of one piece of protein, we’re in business folks!

Serve the salmon cakes as a main dish, or make little mini ones for an appetizer-style serving!

How to Make Southern Fried Salmon Patty Recipe

mashed up leftover salmon in a bowl

Using your leftover cooked salmon, mash up 2 cups of the salmon into a large bowl. Since the salmon was already seasoned with salt, black pepper, and lemon zest we’ll add a few more things to this salmon mixture.

leftover salmon with mayonnaies in a bowl

A hefty plop of Duke’s Mayonnaise is a great place to start. And, every southern household has it ready to go!

For added flavor and saltiness, I opted to add some crispy French Onions. They give a sweet onion flavor without having to use an onion.

leftover salmon mixture for salmon cakes

Crush up some oyster crackers in a baggie and add those in as well. Side note: use what you have on hand! If you only have saltine cracker crumbs, bread crumbs, or panko breadcrumbs, use those!

I like to add blackened seasoning! It’s got a little bit of a kick, without being too overwhelming. It’s got a little bit of everything in it; garlic powder, onion powder, peppers, and other flavors.

Mix everything around with a fork to keep it light, and try not to pack everything in too much.

formed salmon patties

Form patties using either a cookie scoop or measuring cup, then press out with your hands. Like you’re making a hamburger patty!

Frying Salmon Patties

In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, add some oil. About half an inch up the pan. I like using a neutral oil like vegetable oil.

Place patties into the hot oil and fry for a few minutes on each side. You’re wanting to brown each side.

You’ll want to fry the easy salmon patties in batches — not crowding the pan. Leave 1-2 inches of space between each one.

Everything is cooked, we just want it golden brown and crispy!

Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate to soak up any excess oil. Add a sprinkle of salt on top and fry up the rest!

southern fried salmon cakes

Serving this Classic Recipe

My favorite way to serve this salmon patties recipe is with homemade tartar sauce!

It’s a light, acidic hit that they need!

Serving fresh lemon wedges so people can squeeze lemon juice over their salmon cakes might be the best part. It’s those few seconds where you’re so excited to eat this great recipe, and a little hit of lemon juice and maybe some hot sauce just brings out the final flavor!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you keep salmon patties from falling apart when frying?

You might need to add some more cracker crumbs. You can also add in a sprinkle of all-purpose flour, corn meal, or some almond flour to help bind everything together.

Do you have to put eggs in salmon patties?

No, not necessarily. In this recipe, the salmon patty mixture uses mayonnaise, which has egg in it. If you don’t want to use mayo, I would add one egg to help bind it all together.

What do you eat with salmon patties?

I like to serve cole slaw or a light salad with salmon patties. But, you can also serve baked beans, green beans, fried green tomatoes, homemade biscuits, or any other easy recipe you like!

Additions to Salmon Patties

You can some sauteed green onions, bell peppers, or even parmesan cheese to change the flavor profile of your leftover salmon patties. This is the easy way to make change the flavor of the salmon.

A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce never hurt anything either, people! It’s a secret ingredient for making plain recipes into delicious recipes! This and a few shakes of soy sauce. Next time you’re making something and it tastes off, give a dash of these.

Finally, if you end up with leftovers just store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can reheat them on a cookie sheet in a 425-degree oven. Or use the air fryer!

In conclusion, you can find all the measurements and notes in the printable recipe card below!

Be sure to save this recipe to your favorite food board on Pinterest!

Southern Fried Salmon Patties
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Southern Fried Salmon Patties

  • Author: Sweetpea
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: southern


  • 1/2 pound leftover cooked salmon
  • 1/2 cup french onions
  • 1/2 cup Duke’s Mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup crushed oyster crackers
  • 2 teaspoons blackened seasoning
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • lemon wedges

Tartar Sauce

  • 1 cup Duke’s Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sweet relish
  • Juice of one lemon


  1. In a large mixing bowl, flake cooked salmon, making sure there are no bones.
  2. Add 1/2 cup french onions and 1/2 cup of Duke’s mayo.
  3. Stir with a fork to combine
  4. Add 3/4 cup crushed oyster crackers and 2 teaspoons blackened seasoning
  5. Stir with a fork to combine
  6. Using a measuring cup and your hands, form into patties that are half an inch thick, and a little over 2 inches wide.
  7. Heat vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, add oil up to half an inch high in the skillet.
  8. Pan fry in a cast iron skillet with vegetable oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
  9. Stir all ingredients together for tartar sauce – check to see if you think you need any salt or pepper.
  10. Serve salmon cakes with tartar sauce and lemon wedges on the side.

Keywords: southern fried salmon patties

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