Salmon Croquettes

I’m here to give you the absolute best Salmon Croquettes you have ever tasted. Folks on this internet have all types of recipes for this Southern delicacy but it ain’t like my Mississippi mama’s recipe. With just a few ingredients like canned salmon, veggies, flavor enhancers and spices, you can throw this salmon croquettes recipe together in no time. This is easy and fast soul food done right!

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Overhead of salmon croquettes or salmon cakes on white platter with tartar sauce

This is definitely a Southern classic if I’ve ever known one. I grew up on Salmon Croquettes y’all. We had them at least once a week growing up.

My mama was what I would call a croquette queen. She would throw these together so quickly on a weeknight, yet we would feel like she had been slaving over a stove for hours like it was Sunday supper. She also loves to make some for a delicious weekend breakfast served along with biscuits and syrup. That’s the true Mississippi way.

She learned to make them from her mama, my Big Mama, and now I am passing them on to you with a few small updates.

What Are Salmon Croquettes?

A salmon croquette is basically a salmon cake with a fancy name. This recipe is pretty popular in the South because of its versatility, ease and economical ingredients. Salmon is mixed with binders like eggs and flour along with onion, spices and sometimes herbs then compacted to form small patties. Those are then pan fried until golden and served up.

They are great as a main dish, snack or even an easy appetizer.

The Lowdown on this Salmon Croquette Recipe

  • Cuisine Inspiration: Southern and Soul Food Comfort
  • Primary Cooking Method: Pan-Frying
  • Dietary Info: Pescatarian, Can be Gluten-Free with a few adjustments
  • Key Flavor: Savory, Crisp on the outside and tender on the inside
  • Skill Level: Easy y’all

Ingredients You Need To Make This Soul Food Salmon Croquette Recipe

Ingredients to make salmon croquettes on the table.
  • Canned Salmon: Make sure you begin with high-quality canned salmon. It will make a big difference in the final flavor. My mother particularly likes Pillar Rock salmon. The flavor is milder and isn’t as fishy tasting as other brands. You will want to remove bones as well.
  • Aromatics: Onions and peppers really make the salmon shine. Make sure they are chopped finely. We like to use our food processor to make sure they don’t distract from the soft texture.
  • Egg: This is our main binder that will hold everything together.
  • Flour: This is our other binder. Instead of all-purpose flour, my mama uses self-rising flour. She likes to use this type of flour because it is enhanced with flavor (salt), and also gives the croquettes a slight lift with the leavening as they fry.
  • Cornmeal: It’s optional but yellow cornmeal really gives the croquettes a nice crunchy exterior.
  • Seasonings: Worchestershire for some depth, seasoned salt to add some flavor, and red pepper flakes and black pepper bring a nice kick to the final bite.

How to Make Salmon Croquettes

Step 1: Mix the Filling

  1. Add the salmon, flour, onion, green pepper, egg, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper flakes and black pepper to a large bowl.
  2. Mix everything until it is well combined. Just do it as my mama does, mix with a fork or even your clean hands or use disposable gloves to combine the ingredients well.

PRO TIP: This croquette filling is a little looser because we like our salmon croquettes very tender on the inside. That requires you to handle the filling with care. However, if you want to stiffen it up a bit for easier handling, just add a little more flour. Don’t overdo it as your croquettes may taste more like flour than salmon!!

Step 2: Form the Patties

  1. Gently shape the filling into small to medium-sized patties. Don’t make them too large because the bigger you make the patties, the harder it is to work with them.
  2. After they are shaped, carefully roll them in a light cornmeal breading if using. Or you can omit if you prefer the good ole fashioned way.

PRO TIP: After you shape your patties, place them in the fridge for about 30 minutes to let them really firm up. This will allow for easier handling.

Step 3: How to Cook Salmon Croquettes

  1. Next you fry these babies up. Not too much oil is needed since you aren’t deep frying them but we want it to get to around 350 F. Make sure you don’t overheat the oil because you will burn the outside of the patties while not cooking through the inside.
  2. Golden brown is what you are looking for, and it doesn’t require a lot of time. About 2-3 minutes on each side is all that is needed.

When the croquettes are finished cooking, remove them from the pan and let them drain a bit on a piece of paper towel. This will make them less greasy when serving.

What to Serve with my Southern Salmon Croquettes

Recipe Substitutions

  • Salmon: Not a fan of canned? You can definitely sub in some cooked salmon that you have left over. Or even switch to canned crab meat.
  • Self-Rising Flour: If you don’t have any in the pantry, just make it yourself. For every cup of self rising flour you need, whisk together 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp of salt.
  • Cornmeal: Either leave out all together to make these the more traditional Southern way or replace with some breadcrumbs or panko for a more crunchy texture.
  • Vegetable Oil: Any neutral high smoking point oil will work great here. Canola or even avocado oil are cool.

Recipe Variations and Additions

  • Vegetarian: Use mashed chickpeas for a fun non-fish alternative.
  • Cajun: Kick a bit of Cajun seasoning and hot sauce into the mix and serve with some remoulade boos.
  • Asian Vibes: Swap out that Worcestershire for soy sauce and throw in some ginger and rice vinegar. Want some heat? Throw in a bit of sriracha too! That’s good eatin!
  • Add some lemon: Brighten it up with a bit of lemon.

How to Store this Salmon Croquette Recipe

  • Leftovers: These salmon croquettes are best served immediately after cooking. For leftovers, place them in a container in a single layer or with a piece of parchment between the layers. Store in the fridge for up to three days.
  • Freeze: Store leftovers as outlined above and then freeze for up to one month.
  • Reheat: To reheat, lay them out on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with some oil and heat in a 350° F oven for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
A southern fish croquette on a plate cut in half to show inside.

Expert Tips and FAQs

  • Salmon quality. Choose a high-quality brand of canned salmon. Just make sure not to over-flake it so you have different textures for the patties.
  • Remove all the bones. Make sure you really take your time to remove these so no one gets a bite of bones.
  • Chill: After you form the patties, let them chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm them up and hold their shape a bit better when frying.
  • Handle with care while cooking. They are a bit delicate but that’s what makes them so light and crispy in texture.
  • Serve immediately. The flavor is best hot and freshly cooked.
How do you keep salmon croquettes from falling apart?

The trick to making salmon croquettes that don’t fall apart is making sure they have ingredients to bind them together. In this recipe, egg and flour keep them together. They are still a bit fragile but if you handle with care, they will cook up perfectly. Remember to also pop in the fridge for about 30 minutes to let them set up a bit firmer before cooking.

Is canned salmon cooked?

Yes, canned salmon is already cooked. This helps to cook the croquettes much faster.

Can you bake salmon croquettes?

If you aren’t into frying these, you can certainly bake these at 375° F for about 15 minutes. For best results, I spray the baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and then spray the outside of the croquette to help with browning.

Can you Make these Ahead?

I don’t recommend making these ahead of time but if you need to save some time, you can make the croquette mixture 24 hours in advance and them shape and cook the croquettes when you’re ready.

Overhead of two southern salmon croquettes on a plate.

More Southern Seafood Recipes

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Salmon croquettes on a white platter with a spatula.

Southern Salmon Croquettes

These delicious Salmon Croquettes are an easy soul food classic done right! Tender on the inside full of salmon flavor, yet crunchy on the outside!
4.55 from 191 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Servings: 12 medium sized croquettes

Ingredients

  • 1 (14.75) pink salmon can with bones removed
  • 1/2-3/4 cup self rising flour
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion we use the food processor, this was about ½ an onion for us
  • 1/4 cup finely diced green pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp worcheshire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal optional (you can omit or use flour if you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, add salmon, flour, onion, green pepper, egg, worcheshire sauce, salt, pepper flakes and black pepper and mix until well combined. The mixture will be somewhat softer and looser so you will have to handle with care but don’t worry, they will fry up just fine.
  • Add cornmeal to a plate and set aside.
  • Shape medium to small sized patties then carefully roll in cornmeal and set aside. (If you want to make them easier to work with, add to the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up more).
  • Add oil to cast iron skillet and heat until oil reaches 350. Fry croquettes until golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes on each side, and drain on paper towels then serve.

Video

Notes

How to Store Leftovers
  • Leftovers: These salmon croquettes are best served immediately after cooking. For leftovers, place them in a container in a single layer or with a piece of parchment between the layers. Store in the fridge for up to three days.
  • Freeze: Store leftovers as outlined above and then freeze for up to one month.
  • Reheat: To reheat, lay them out on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with some oil and heat in a 350° F oven for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.

Nutrition

Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 58mg | Potassium: 49mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 45IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.3mg
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This post was originally published July 2019 and republished in July 2022 for new photos and content.

Filed Under:  Seafood, Southern Classics, Stovetop

Comments

  1. Made these with some fresh Coho and they were divine. Fantastic flavor and held together perfectly.

  2. These salmon croquettes were perfectly tender and so easy to make! They had the best salmon flavor and were perfect appetizers for a dinner party I threw last week. Thank you for this amazing recipe!

  3. At first glance, I thought these were fried green tomatoes, but then I saw they were salmon croquettes and was immediately intrigued! Wow, do these sound delicious? I can’t wait to try them.

  4. The salmon croquettes were fantastic and super easy to make. I will use the same ingredients to make the croquettes; I love their texture!

  5. My grandmother made these often. I’ve tried various recipes, but none quite hit her mark until this one. Thank you, Grandbaby Cakes. She sometimes used torn up heels from a loaf of bread instead of self-rising flour, but otherwise, I’m right back in her small galley kitchen in Arkansas when I taste these.

    1. Bought a case of canned salmon last fall when it wasn’t so high. Been making these the size of a hamburger bun and freezing some for a fast microwave meal.
      I make up fresh horsey sauce each time I eat them and make sandwiches with that and a 1/4 inch slice of a large sweet onion.

  6. Thanks for the recipe. It was so good and turned my pouch of boring salmon into something delicious! Will be saving.

4.55 from 191 votes (97 ratings without comment)

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