These delicious Southern Salmon Croquettes are a quick and easy soul food classic done right! Nice and tender on the inside full of salmon flavor and aromatics, yet crunchy and delicious on the exterior from an irresistible cornmeal breading, you will make these time and time again. Serve with my Grits, Fried Corn, Fried Green Tomatoes or other southern classics for a complete down home meal. If you love these, try my Crab Stuffed Salmon and Crab Cake recipe too!!
This is definitely a Southern classic if I’ve ever known one. I grew up on Salmon Croquettes. We had them at least once a week growing up. My mama was what I would call a croquette queen (hey that sorta rhymes). She would throw these together so quickly on a weeknight, and we would feel like she had been slaving over a stove for hours like it was Sunday dinner. 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.
They were easy to make, so fast to throw together, and so delicious. With just a few pantry pulls that are sure to keep your grocery receipts nice and light, you can have this soul food comfort dish on the table along with my collard greens, fried okra and biscuits.
What Are Salmon Croquettes?
Salmon croquettes are basically a southern version of a salmon cake or salmon patty. It can be fried or baked. The contents are usually canned salmon though there are quite a few newer recipes that use fresh salmon that has been either chopped finely or ground to mold into patties. A thickener is added to help the patties form.
What Makes The Best Salmon Croquette Recipe?
Nothing makes salmon better than enhancing the flavors of the simple ingredients. These ingredients are key:
- Canned Salmon
- Cornmeal (optional)
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 as some other brands. It also tastes quite fresh. You will want to remove bones as well.
The other ingredients also help to enhance the salmon. We pair ours with aromatics like onions and peppers which really make the salmon shine. Instead of all purpose flour, my mama uses self rising flour. She likes to use this instead of all purpose flour because it is enhanced with flavor (salt), and also gives the croquettes a slight lift with the leavening as they fry.
Nowadays, we also roll the croquettes in yellow cornmeal that gives a slight crunchy exterior. This is new since my mama never used to do this. Finally additional flavors like worcheshire and red pepper flakes bring a nice kick to the final bite.
Salmon Croquettes with Flour or Salmon Croquettes with Cornmeal?
This is really a personal preference. If you prefer to roll your croquettes in flour for less of a crunchy bite and more of a fried chicken taste, this is the way to go. You can simply replace the corn meal in my recipe with flour.
However if you like a nice crunch, I would recommend going with the yellow cornmeal. The grittiness really serves the tender filling really well giving you two very distinct textures of taste.
Also you don’t have to roll them in anything! I am making the cornmeal optional for you. You can simply fry the patties.
How to Make Salmon Croquettes
This recipe couldn’t be easier. The filling can be mixed easily in one bowl. Just do it like my mama does, throw everything into the bowl and mix together with a fork or even your clean hands to combine the ingredients well.
Now the croquette filling is a little looser because we like our salmon croquettes very tender on the inside however if you want to stiffen them up, you can add a bit more flour. Don’t overdo it! Your croquettes will taste more like flour than salmon if you do. Honestly I would just leave the ratios the same and handle the croquettes with care.
We gently shape them into medium sized patties. I don’t make them too big because the bigger you make the patties, the harder it is to maneuver them. After they are shaped, you will carefully roll them in a light breading of cornmeal. Next comes the fun part! You fry these babies up. Not too much oil is needed since you aren’t deep frying them but more pan frying them. Golden brown is what you are looking for and it doesn’t require a lot of time.
Can you bake these Salmon Croquettes?
If you aren’t into frying these, you can certainly bake these. I have baked these at 375 for about 15 minutes. I simply spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray and also spray the outside of the croquette to help with browning.
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Southern Salmon Croquettes
- 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
- 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 15 minutes to firm up more).
- Add oil to cast iron skillet and heat until oil reaches 375. Fry croquettes until golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes on each side, and drain on paper towels then serve.