Oven-Fried Salmon Cakes


I’ve been a naughty girl. I know that to manage my blood pressure I need to meditate every day, drink hibiscus tea, eat cold-water fish and potassium-rich foods, and pay attention to my stress level. I know these things! But over the last few months, I’ve been feeling so good, I thought I could get away with skimping on those good habits. You can probably guess what happened: My blood pressure skyrocketed.

[Insert here: self lecture on how I know better.]

So now I’m back to all my good habits, and my blood pressure is returning to a less worrisome range.

Which is all a long way to say: Friends, make sure you get enough Omega-3 fatty acids.

These salmon cakes are a delicious, easy way to do that. I’ve been eating them a lot! They’re fast – less than an hour from pantry to plate — and they use ingredients you probably have in your kitchen right now. They’re great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and, like a favorite little black dress that makes you feel good and goes with everything, they’re easy to adapt to your mood and what’s in your kitchen.

For more on how to lower your blood pressure, these two articles from Chris Kresser are helpful:
How (and Why) To Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturely
6 Ways To Lower Blood Pressure By Changing Your Diet

Delicious Salmon Cakes | meljoulwan.com

Oven-Fried Salmon Cakes from Well Fed 2

Serves 2-4 |Prep 25 min | Cook 30 min | Whole30 approved

  • 1 (14.75 ounce) can wild-caught pink or red salmon

  • 1 cup cooked (or canned) sweet potato, mashed

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • 1/2 cup almond flour

  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

  • 2 scallions, white and green, very thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • zest from 1 lemon

  • 2 tablespoons ghee, melted

garnish with any of these:

Preheat the oven to 425F and cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.


Drain the liquid from the salmon and using your fingers, crumble the fish into a large mixing bowl, removing the bones and flaking the fish. Add the sweet potato, eggs, almond flour, parsley, scallions, Old Bay Seasoning, salt, hot pepper sauce, paprika, black pepper, and lemon zest. Mix well and refrigerate for 10 minutes.


Brush the parchment paper with some of the melted ghee, then use a 1/3 measuring cup to scoop the cakes and drop them onto the parchment. The patties should be about 2 1/2 inches wide and about 1 inch thick. Brush the tops of the cakes with ghee, then bake for 20 minutes. Carefully flip each patty with a spatula and return to the oven. (Brush with more ghee if that tickles your fancy.) Bake an additional 10 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and your sauce of choice.

You Know How You Could Do That?

Replace Old Bay Seasoning with these spices…

Indian: 2 teaspoons curry powder (I like Penzeys Maharajah.)

Middle Eastern: 2 teaspoons cumin; top with Tahini Dressing

Mediterranean: 2 teaspoons dried rosemary leaves; tip with diced tomatoes

Tropical: 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger, 1 clove crushed garlic; top with diced mango and Olive Oil Mayo

Asian: 2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder and a splash of coconut aminos

Tex-Mex: 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, lime zest; top with Lizard Sauce

Jerky: 2 teaspoons Jerk Seasoning

Print this recipe
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  • Kathryn says:

    No reason to pick out the bones! Just crush them up with your fingers and they mix right in. They’re so soft you will never notice them!!

    • I gotta disagree — the bigger, round, hollow bones (I think they’re the spine) stay too crunchy for my taste. But if the bones don’t bother you, there’s no harm in eating them.

    • Terri says:

      I highly recommend breaking, blending, or pureeing the bones and eating them. They are a great source of calcium (One of the best non-dairy sources by far). I’m 57 and was just diagnosed with osteoporosis in my lower spine so I just researched this.
      These cakes are delicious and I love the idea below about using avocado mayo as a sauce.

  • Always a top choice in our house! I especially love the Indian twist.

  • Axy Smith says:

    The easiest way to handle bones that I’ve found is using my hand-mixer or blender to puree the salmon. It also gives the patties a lovely creamy texture!

    • Jaime says:

      Rrrrrealllyyyy… I never would have thought of blending the salmon. The bones/skin are my biggest gripe about using canned salmon. I may just have to give this a try. I know I absolutely could not stomach eating the cakes with the bones in. I’m a texture girl.

      • Tana FRIE says:

        Yup. The extreme heat from the canning process makes the bones disintegrate easily and the bones are a good source of calcium. A food processor would break all that down even more efficiently if you’re really worried about it. Now if it’s fresh salmon, that’s a whole other thing.

  • April says:

    These look wonderful! Are they Whole30 compliant or does the almond flour disqualify them til after Whole30? Thanks very much for all you do!

  • Selena says:

    These are delicious!! I decided to make these late last night so I could have them for breakfast… topped with a little avocado mayo.. I think these will be a weekly staple. Thank you!!

  • David says:

    These are incredibly yummy. Do you think I could make enough for leftovers, and be able to keep them crispy when I reheat? Any tips?

    As always, thanks much for your help and inspiration!

    • I’m glad you like them!

      They store well in the fridge and the freezer. To reheat, you have two options:

      Stovetop: I usually bring about 2-3 tablespoons water to boil in a skillet then add the cold salmon cakes. When the water is evaporated and the cakes are almost heated through, I plop a little fat in the pan and re-crisp them.

      Oven: Wrap in foil and reheat at about 350F until hot, then open the foil to the cakes can get crisp, about 5 more minutes.

  • Kimberly says:

    How many 6oz cans of wild plant skinless boneless salmon do you think equate to one 14.74oz can of salmon with bones and skin? I love salmon cakes and really want to try these!

    • Two and a half cans would be exact, but that’s annoying. I think two cans will work just fine because once the large can is drained, it’s probably about 12 ounces anyway. Or you can go the other way: use 3 cans of salmon and add another egg. It doesn’t have to be exact — I mess with the ingredients all the time based on what I have around, and they work just fine.

  • David says:

    Don’t mean to sound like Charlie Brown but because of budget I made only four and sliced my finger on the salmon can in the process. So I was shaping them with one hand. They came amazing though. Thank you Melissa! Here’s a photo: http://instagram.com/p/vo3pT7xGr7/

  • Liz says:

    I made the middle eastern version last night with the Tahini sauce and they were delicious! I can’t believe how cheap they are with the canned salmon from Trader Joe’s.

    • Right on! Glad you liked them. I’m started making a batch every week — just rotate through the different flavors. You can use tuna and white potatoes, too, if you want to change it up!

      • Lucy Wray says:

        We had these today, and hubby really liked them! I substituted pumkin instead of sweet potatoe & 1/4 tsp. Of the following:Nutmeg, Cayenne pepper,dry mustard, & ginger. (I didnt have Old Bay Seasoning) We started our Whole 30..Dec. 1st enjoy your post muchly! 🙂

  • Annalise says:

    I made these Salmon Cakes this week for lunch. Amazing! This recipe will be a new staple in my house; as are many of your recipes. You have a brilliant talent for creating healthy and delicious food. Thank you a million times over for sharing your gift with the world.

  • johanna says:

    OH My Stinkin Heck these are FANtastic!!! Finally got around to making them (bookmarked first day I got your cookbooks mind you) and needed to clean out the pantry this week.

    YOU are a genius Melicious! I started out with the can of salmon and thinking “wtfudge, bones? are you kidding me??” and after deciding to pick out only the big vertebrae ones, we went to town making them (ok Hubby went to town!) We substituted the almond flour with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free (allergic to almonds) and instead of the egg (another allergy) used your cream of tarter+baking soda trick from the meatballs, and wow were they good! Never thought I’d want to eat a salmon cake for breakfast, but these are that deelish…

    When is Well Fed 3 coming out, and sign me up!!! Thank you so much for ridiculously wonderful recipes that no one ever knows all the other crap they eat is really missing from these meals! (Still waiting on the Schwetty Balls btw!) :^D

  • These look so delicious and easy Melissa!

  • Linda says:

    Can crabmeat be substituted? I miss crab cakes!

  • Anui says:

    Do you have a calorie or ww point on these wonderful recipes

  • Irina says:

    I just made those. Delicious! Easy, fast, healthy.

  • Irina says:

    Forgot to add- I used chestnut flour instead of almond. Didn’t have it. I am planning to make them with the almond flour next time to compare:)

  • Peta says:

    Hi Melissa, I am in Australia and have not heard of Old Bay Seasoning are you able to tell me what this ‘blend’ is please 🙂

  • Sophia says:

    Am absolutely in LOVE with these!!! However, I have noticed that perhaps the almond flour is bothering my stomach. Melissa, can you recommend a substitute for the almond flour in these little yummy gems???

  • Sophia says:

    Sorry, forgot to ask if the almond flour substitute can also be whole 30 compliant

  • Rita Serrano says:

    Can I use a fresh salmon as opposed to canned salmon? I have some in the fridge I bought and would love to make these.

    • Yes, that will work great.

      • Rita Serrano says:

        Great thank you for replying so quickly.. Trying to make small lifestyle changes so eventually my whole way of eating is different … It geat to have website/blogs like this.. Thank you and look forward to more recipes that are easy and not intimidating. 🙂

      • shaleena says:

        For those of us new to this creative cooking process, can you tell me what I would have to do to the fresh salmon in the fridge in order to be able to use it for the patties? And would small yellow potatoes work with the salmon as well? I’m planning to make it Indian style. Thanks!

        • Just flake the salmon with a fork and follow the instructions in the recipe — and yes, you can replace the sweet potatoes with any variety of white. You’ll need to boil or microwave the potatoes until tender, then mash with a fork.

  • Sarah says:

    I used the 6oz can of salmon that was already de-skinned and boned and just cut everything in half- Delicious!

  • Alice says:

    I am in love with these! My husband and I are loving our Whole30 and these have been a staple. However, I am suspicious that I have an egg sensitivity. Could you recommend a substitute? I was thinking of simply adding more sweet potato as a binder.
    Thanks! You are an amazing resource and so wonderful to share your passion with us!

    • Here’s what I suggest: Make a batch without egg, then cook just one cake in the oven and see if it holds together. If it does, you’re good to go to bake the rest. It should work without the egg, I think — just flip very carefully. If that doesn’t work, try adding 2 tablespoons arrowroot mixed with 2 tablespoons water. That should do the trick.

  • Joanna says:

    This was probably my favorite thing that I’ve made all month while on Whole30! I subbed tuna for the salmon, Lebanese Seven Spice for the Old Bay, and a small diced red onion for the scallions… it was so, so scrumptious. Thank you! 🙂

  • Diane says:

    If I used fresh salmon do I cook it first?

  • Viviane Mays says:

    I made this tonight and am in love!! I’m diabetic and my doctor & nutritionist recommend that I count carbs. Any idea what the carbs count is in these cakes?
    I’m so glad I came up on this site! Thank you.

  • Dee Carter says:

    Ditch the canned salmon and use fresh pink boneless skinless salmon from Sam’s club. Simply grind in a food processor and I promise you will not be disappointed!!!

  • Heather Ball says:

    I made these for dinner last night. They were fantastic and I can’t wait to make them again. I had thought about leaving out the sweet potatoe but chose not to. Boy am I glad I left it in. Yummo!

  • Stephanie Lambert says:

    I made these two nights ago and my family loved them!! I put all of the ingredients in the food processor and that made everything so easy! My family said they would like this weekly and that made this mama so proud! Thank you for such a great recipe!!

  • Kat says:

    Lush! I made these with canned pumpkin instead of sweet potato as I had some hanging about and I have no clue what Old Bay Seasoning is so I just put extra chilli in! Awesome recipe thank you.

  • Heather says:

    I cannot wait to try these! If I am making ahead and freezing them….should I cook them first? Or can I freeze the prepped patties before cooking then defrost and cook as per the directions?

    Thank you!

    • I think cooking, cooling, freezing, defrosting, reheating is the best order of operation 🙂 Let them cool after cooking, then stack them with a piece of parchment paper in between each layer. When you’re ready to eat, defrost in the fridge and reheat in a covered pan on the stove over medium-low heat or pop into the oven wrapped in foil. You could also microwave to reheat if you’re in a hurry,

  • Chasidy Hall says:

    What can be used in place of sweet potato or pumpkin? Picky eaters around my house! Or is it subtle enough they might not notice?

    • It’s very subtle, so I’d be surprised if they noticed. But you can use white potato instead — you don’t really taste it. It’s more for texture and to take the place of the breadcrumbs usually used in fish cakes.

  • Elizabeth Morgan says:

    So I feel dumb asking this but what is ghee? And can this be made without the flour? As I only have all purpose and self rising, at the moment I don’t have the money to go by it. I am trying to go healthy and want to make these!

    • Not dumb at all!

      Ghee is butter that’s been clarified. That means it’s been melted to separate the fat from teh proteins. You drain off the proteins and are left with just the healthy fats.

      Having said all that, you can use whatever cooking fat you like in all of my recipes. So if you don’t have ghee, you could use coconut oil, pastured lard, duck fat, etc.

      You can omit the flour, but you might want to add an additional 1/2 cup of sweet potato to make up for it. Enjoy!

  • Adam Trainor says:

    These little salmon cakes look great and you right in saying they will go with anything. Will be nice on a bed of salad. They sound very light to eat so you won’t have that full/bloated feeling after eating them. Not too sure on the hot sauce though!
    Can you use regular flour rather than almond flour?

    • You can leave the hot sauce out if that’s not your thing and yes, you can use regular flour, but then it’s definitely not paleo.

      • Adam Trainor says:

        Hmmm good point! How about gluten free flour? Sorry I’m a little bit new to this eating paleo

        • You can use gluten-free flour, but most gluten-free flours are also not paleo. They’re usually based on rice and corn.

          Your options, if you don’t want to use almond flour, are coconut flour, tapioca starch, or arrowroot — or you can just leave the starch out completely.

  • Adam Trainor says:

    I will give them a go without the starch and see how they turn out. I think they should be ok without it. But if not I will use coconut flour. Thanks for your help.

  • Denise says:

    Hello, I swear you have the absolute best recipes. My family loves every single one of yours I have tried. My two year old is now meatball obsessed. Anyway, two questions: 1. If I leave out the hot sauce so the kiddos can eat them do I need to replace that moisture with something else? 2. Could I roll these into meatballs instead of cakes? If so what size would you make them and what would be the best cooking method? Thanks!

    • 1. No need to replace the hot sauce; it’s for flavoring only.

      2. You could make them into balls! I would say either 2 tablespoons (kind of small) or 1/4 cup (golf-ball-ish). Baking would be best, probably 10-15 minutes.

  • Nicole Staker says:

    Not sure which hot sauce you used that is whole30 compliant? Don’t most of them have sugar?

    • There are lots of hot sauce brands that contain just vinegar, peppers, and salt. Just read the labels and you’ll be fine. If you want to skip the hot sauce issue, you can just add a little more cayenne instead.

  • Kate says:

    How amazing were these salmon cakes!!! I used chinese five spice instead of the Old Bay and they were just magnificent. I had some leftover too so I heated one up this morning and put my scrambled egg on top, so it was like unbelievably yummy toast. Thanks for the great recipe

  • Lindsay Chhaya says:

    This was soo good! We had left over salmon that we had barbecued on a cedar plank so I used that instead of the canned salmon. This is one of our favorites! Thank you!

  • Amy says:

    We’re on our third week of our first Whole 30. You’re site has been so helpful through the experience. This has been our favorite recipe, I just made our third batch! They work perfectly for my husband to take with him to work and eat cold (if they make it that long)! Thanks so much for sharing your recipes.

  • Amy Dresser says:

    These were great! Could you make them with crab meat instead to have crab cakes? 🙂

  • Heather says:

    Linda, did you try this with crab? I love crab cakes! I’d love to know how it turned out!!

  • Leslie says:

    I love these! I’ve been making them every week since you posted them. They are perfect anytime of day and they hold together so well. Sometimes I use tuna and sometimes I substitute 1T of coconut flour for the almond flour and they turn out just as great.

  • Malaika says:

    Mel, these are SO DAMN GOOD! A total winner, winner, salmon cake dinner! Boys loved it, I loved it. I have enjoyed all of your recipes but this one totally rocked my world. AND, it was my very first time making the mayo. I completely geeked out on it. It was such a cool little sciencey thing!

  • Camille Guimaraes says:

    Do these freeze well?

    • They freeze great! Cook them, then let them cool and wrap in aluminum foil. I usually do a serving (2-3 cakes) in each packet. Defrost in the fridge, then either reheat in the oven, microwaved, or in a non-stick skillet.

  • Camille Guimaraes says:

    Thanks! Love these so much, still have to try the variations!

  • Joseph says:

    Would this work egg free?

    • I haven’t tried making them without the egg, so I can’t guarantee the results. HOWEVER, I have made salmon burgers with canned salmon — without egg — and they worked just fine. So… I think these will work without the egg, although you might want to blitz the whole thing in a food processor to make more of a paste to help them hold together minus the egg. Let me know how it turns out!

  • Sherri says:

    I’m not paleo or Whole30, but I wanted to give these a try. Fried salmon croquettes are a soul food staple here in the South, but frying can leave your house smelling like greasy fish for a week! Baking them was an awesome alternative. They were so flavorful and filling. Mine were pretty dense, so next time I will make them thinner and smaller. Yum-o!

  • Becca says:

    I just made these and love the taste but for some odd reason mine did not crisp despite following the directions 🙁 Not sure what I might have done wrong besides being a horrible cook.

    • Without being in the kitchen with you while you’re cooking, there’s no way for me to know what might the issue might be. But here are some maybes… maybe your oven doesn’t run as hot as mine; try increasing the temp by 25F. Maybe they just need to bake longer. Maybe they need a little more ghee on the outside. Hope these suggestions help! (If you have a broiler, give them a few minutes under the broiler to crisp them up!)

  • Cait C says:

    My prep day is usually on Saturday, and I would like to prep these for Monday night. Since we are at the gym so late, I’d love to come home, warm up the oven and cook them. Do you think I can pre-form these on a try, then stick them in the oven Monday, or do you recommend just going ahead and cooking them, then reheating?

    • Either method will work. If you want them crisp(iest) when you eat them, wait until Monday to bake. They’re still good when you bake and reheat, but they’re a little more crispy the first time around.

      • Cait C says:

        Awesome 🙂 Thanks for the quick reply!!

      • Cait C says:

        Just a quick update! They turned out delicious (as usual), but they were a little…wet. They seemed to be less sturdy than usual, but it didn’t affect the taste at all. My husband even made up a song about how much he loves “fish cakes.” These are always my go-to when I am stuck for something quick, and I love knowing I can add them to my prep day!!

  • Maureen says:

    I just made these and we loved them thank you. Hubby doesn’t even like salmon but he ate 4 and asked for more 😉

    I made them without egg and used coconut instead of almond due to allergies. It worked just fine, but you do need to be careful when you flip them.

    I have both of your books and looking forward to the next.

  • Kayla says:

    Making these tomorrow for Valentines Day. 🙂 I’m not a huge fish fan so I’m a little scared. I only like one seafood item and that’s crab lol. I’m going to use frozen salmon instead and bake the samon, then in a bowl I’m going to take two forks and run them through it. I’m also subsitiuting the almond flour for a gluten free flour since there wasn’t almond flour at the grocery store. I’m hoping they are good, just a little scared. I do love crab cakes so I’m hoping to love this!

    • I hope you enjoy them! That’s pretty bold making a recipe that you’re pretty sure you won’t like 😉

      • Kayla says:

        I heard salmon tastes good and isn’t fishy and read the comments that it taste good. Plus, old bay is an amazing seasoning. I’m trying to make more recipes that aren’t processed or have too much processed ingredients in them since I have celiac disease and need to eat healthier foods then the gluten free foods, so I need to expand my horizons on food. 🙂

  • Kayla says:

    I just made them and for me not being a fish fan or a sweet potato fan these were really, good! Next time I’m leaving the lemon zest out though…I didn’t have a grater so I used a paring knife and it added small chunks of lemon so when eating it in the salmon cake it wouldn’t taste good. Will make again. 🙂

  • Mondak says:

    Just wanted to thank you for this recipe. We make a salmon patty recipe that we were really missing while being on Whole30. I was going to try to substitute some of the ingredients to make them compliant, but I stumbled upon your recipe and figured it was worth a try. I have never been able to enjoy sweet potato, so I was a little nervous. Wow, these were AMAZING!! I might never make our old recipe again. These were so good, we made a double batch and ate them over salad mix for days after. MMMMmmm. I did leave out the Old Bay just as a personal preference.

  • Jennifer Jenkins says:

    I planned on making these today but I can’t get my hands on any ghee. Is there anything you would recommend as a substitute ?

  • Abby says:

    Melissa you’re so awesome!

    Day 1 of my very first whole30 today. I made these yesterday and heating them up today and had them with lizard sauce for tea. SO MUCH YUM! I’ll be honest, when I was making them I was not convinced but I was so wrong and these are just fab.

    Thank you thank you thank you! I have more of your recipes on the menu this week and will definitely be buying your books!


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