An easy, delicious and budget-friendly weeknight dinner; oven baked salmon patties made with sweet potato, green onions, capers and lemon zest and coated in panko bread crumbs. This easy dinner will become a family favourite.
Recipe was originally published on October 11, 2011 and updated on August 26, 2022.
I try to include a variety of foods into my dinner plans, and seafood, including salmon, is something that I try to have every week. Here’s the thing, salmon can get really expensive, so having a recipe made with canned salmon in your back pocket can be really helpful.
For canned fish I also love to make a white bean salad with tuna, kale and apples, and while that recipe uses tuna, you can definitely swap in salmon.
Why this recipe works
I’ve tested this recipe so many different ways and the key to these being as delicious as fried salmon cakes is in the bread crumb coating. The patties will still have that delicious crisp despite being baked in the oven.
I’ve shared the step-by-step instructions and photos below with my tried and true method of coating in bread crumbs so that your patties won’t fall apart.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Canned salmon you can use whatever kind your family likes, just be sure to drain all of the liquid. You can keep the bones in or remove them, if preferred.
- Sweet potato adds bulk, delicious flavour and also acts as a binder. This gets cooked and mashed before assembling the patties.
- Panko is used both in the patty mixture as well as for coating for a delicious crispy exterior.
- Green onions add a bit of freshness.
- Capers are a classic pairing with salmon (think your favourite smoked salmon bagel), they add some salty, briny flavour.
- Egg is a key ingredient for binding so that your patties won’t fall apart.
- Mayonnaise again will act as a binder and also add some fat.
- Dijon adds a bit of bite and is a flavour pairing that works so well with salmon.
- Garlic gets grated and mixed in. You could also mince it, but I find grating using a microplane helps it to spread evenly through the mixture.
- Lemon zest helps keep these tasting nice and bright.
- For the perfect crispy coating, brown the panko bread crumbs in some olive oil. I find if you skip this step, the panko won’t brown enough and the patties will end up looking quite sad. Just heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently for about 3-5 minutes until the panko has browned. You’ll want to remove them right away from the pan so that they stop browning.
- Because the mixture is wet, you aren’t able to dip the patties in the bread crumb coating like you would a chicken finger. You can see my method below, the key is to scoop the mixture using an ice cream scoop and place it on top of the bread crumbs. Press down to adhere the bread crumbs to the bottom of the patty and then sprinkle some of the remaining bread crumbs on the top and press down lightly to adhere. This method will shape the patty and coat it in bread crumbs at the same time. Carefully transfer (using two hands!) to the baking sheet.
Step by step instructions for the mixture
- Preheat oven to 425F. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook sweet potato until fork tender, about 10-12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and cook, stirring frequently until browned, about 3-5 minutes.
- Transfer to a large bowl and mash with a fork. Whisk in egg, mayonnaise, Dijon, lemon zest and salt. Fold in ½cup bread crumbs, capers and green onions until combined with sweet potato mixture.
- Stir in the chunks of salmon. The batter should be wet and resemble that of a meatball.
Step by step instructions for shaping
- Place remaining bread crumbs on a plate. Using a standard ice cream or cookie scoop, scoop salmon mixture, one scoop at a time and place on top of browned bread crumbs.
- Using hand, press down, adhering bread crumbs to the bottom of the patty while forming it into a roughly 3-inch, round patty. Sprinkle bread crumbs from plate on top of the patty, pressing down to adhere to the top. Using two hands, carefully transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining salmon mixture, you should have eight patties.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until cooked through. Because we’ve browned the panko ahead of time, there’s no need to fuss with flipping the patties.
What to serve these with
I love to serve them with a tartar sauce. They go well with salads or roasted veggies, I’d often pair them with Greek orzo salad or serve them on top of a kale avocado salad. In terms of veggie sides, pesto cauliflower or roasted delicata squash are great.