Can you cook salmon patties in air fryer? Absolutely! These air fryer salmon patties using canned salmon are easy and inexpensive to make. You’ll love dipping these air fried salmon patties in homemade tartar sauce, or serving them as sliders. At under 1 gram net carb per fish cake, these patties are perfect for low carb and keto diets. Get the recipe, learn the difference between salmon cakes, patties, and croquettes, and more!
Have you ever considered cooking salmon burger in an air fryer? If not, I hope this recipe inspires you to give it a go!
There are actually lots of types of seafood that you can use to make air fried fish cakes. These old fashioned air fryer salmon cakes are great for weight watchers and offer benefits you don’t get from white fish.
White fishes (e.g., cod and tilapia) are milder than salmon and count towards your seafood intake. They are lower in calories than oily fishes (e.g., salmon) and are some of the leanest proteins around. However, white fish contains very little of the beneficial fatty acids DHA and EPA, fats that fish like salmon are rich in.
To boost your intake of the omega-3s that are great for brain health, higher fat fish is king. Unfortunately, fatty fish tends to have stronger flavors than white fish. That’s where these air fryer salmon croquettes come in.
With this salmon cakes air fryer recipe, the flavors of fresh dill and lemon dominate. I think this might be a good recipe for kids who generally dislike fish. Plus, serving salmon as a salmon burger just makes it seem a tad more appealing, no?
So, try popping some mini salmon burgers in the air fryer tonight. It’s a great way to get the whole family eating healthy!
- 🐟 Salmon Patty vs Salmon Cake vs Salmon Croquette
- 📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
- ⭐ Benefits
- 🥘 Ingredients
- 🍋 Sauce for Salmon Patties
- 🍽 Equipment
- 🔪 How to Make Air Fryer Salmon Patties
- ️⏲ Cooking Time and Temperature
- ️🌡️ Leftovers
- 🧂 Spices
- 🥗 Side Dishes
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👩🏻🍳 Other Keto Canned Fish Recipes
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
🐟 Salmon Patty vs Salmon Cake vs Salmon Croquette
Salmon patties, salmon cakes, salmon croquettes... what’s the difference? Here’s the rundown:
- Patties: A salmon patty refers to a small flat cake of minced or finely ground salmon. It’s more likely to be breaded than what we call a burger. (Think of breaded chicken patties.)
- Salmon Croquettes: A salmon croquette often uses lots of a starchy binding ingredient to hold the fish together. The binder can be mashed potato, flour, or breadcrumbs. Croquettes are sometimes breaded and deep-fried (but not always). Various veggies and proteins can be used in croquettes (not just salmon).
- Salmon Cakes: A salmon cake also typically uses salmon, veggies, and binding ingredients. Salmon cakes can be deep fried, oven baked, or pan fried. They tend to use fewer starches than salmon croquettes, and are less likely to be breaded and deep fried.
Honestly, all of these terms tend to be used interchangeably. However, some expect fish cakes to have fewer starchy ingredients than fish croquettes. It’s something to keep in mind if you’re serving a crowd.
📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
One small salmon cake has 115 calories, 0.9 grams net carbs, and 13.1 grams protein. One serving of the lemon-dill tartar sauce (⅛ recipe) has 52 calories, 0.2 grams net carbs, and 0.1 grams protein. These salmon croquettes fit well into most keto and low carb diet plans.
Why make this salmon patties air fryer recipe? I talked a little about the nutritional benefits of salmon above. Here are some more details on why I think you’ll love this recipe:
- Omega-3 fats: Most of us do not meet the recommendation for seafood of two servings per week. It’s unfortunate, since salmon is an oily fish that is rich in the healthy omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Air fry salmon patties when you want a nutritious main dish!
- High protein: These salmon patties are a protein-dense food. You’re getting 13 grams of high-quality protein packed into each 115-calorie salmon cake.
- Calcium without dairy: These salmon cakes use canned salmon with the bones. This provides a rich source of whole food dairy-free calcium for those on diets with no dairy.
- Low-carb, keto, gluten-free, Whole30, Paleo: These air fried salmon cakes fit an assortment of special diets. Whether you’re on an ancestral diet, cutting carbs, or pescatarian, this salmon recipe will be a good fit.
- Inexpensive: Canned fish is one of the cheapest ways to get seafood into your diet. Pick up some canned salmon for this recipe, and enjoy the grocery savings!
- Fast: With fork mashed canned salmon, no food processor is required! Air frying salmon patties only takes about 10 minutes. It’s an easy weeknight dinner idea.
- Easy to customize: This is a flexible and versatile recipe. Get some more ideas for seasonings and sauces that go with salmon patties below!
- Meal prep: Make some extra salmon patties for later. You can use them in wraps, as a salad topping, and so much more!
- Delicious: This one needs no explanation. 🙂
What are the ingredients in salmon cakes? Here is what you need to make this recipe:
- Salmon tinned with the bones (drain it)
- Lemon zest
- Sliced scallions
- Fresh dill
- Almond flour (finely ground)
- Old Bay seasoning
- Olive oil
- Cooking oil spray
Note: The flower props used in the photos are NOT edible.
🍋 Sauce for Salmon Patties
I make lemon-dill tartar sauce to go with my air fryer salmon patties. Here are the ingredients to make it:
- Mayonnaise (I use an avocado oil mayo that is Whole30 and Paleo compliant)
- Chopped Dill Pickles
- Lemon Zest
- Lemon Juice
- Fresh chopped dill
My homemade tartar sauce is based on my old standby tartar sauce recipe: two parts mayo to one part chopped pickles. (P.S. If you don’t want to make your own pickles, Grillo’s dill pickles are just as good!) The lemon zest and dill weed add additional layers of flavor.
You can dip the salmon cakes in this lemon-dill sauce. Alternatively, you can use it as a spread on a salmon burger.
But what if you want to use a different dip? Luckily there are a number of other condiments that work well as a salmon patty sauce. Here are some ideas:
- Dill sauce
- Regular tartar sauce
- Fresh lemon juice
- Cocktail sauce
- Dijon mustard
An air fryer is the main piece of kitchen equipment needed to make these salmon patties. It’s also helpful to have a good knife to chop the herbs and green onions and a brush for the olive oil. A manual juicer and microplane are useful to juice and zest the lemons.
One thing you DON’T need for this recipe is a meat thermometer. Canned salmon has already been cooked, so you don’t have to worry about reaching a safe minimum internal temperature.
I create my air fryer recipes with a 10-Quart Kalorik Digital Air Fryer Oven. Whatever air fryer you have can be used instead. This includes the Ninja Foodi, Instant Vortex, Cuisinart, Philips, Pampered Chef Air Fryer, Actifry, Cosori, Nuwave, Power Air Fryer, etc.
If you use a different air fryer than I do, you may need to adjust the cooking time slightly. If you have a small air fryer basket, you may need to cook the salmon cakes in multiple batches. Always keep a close eye on the food the first time you try a new air fryer recipe.
🔪 How to Make Air Fryer Salmon Patties
Let’s make air fryer salmon patties! The prep only takes a few minutes.
Drain your canned salmon and mash it in a medium-sized bowl with a fork. Make sure to mash it well so you don’t see the bones. Stir in the lemon zest, scallions, dill, eggs, almond flour, and Old Bay.
Mist an air fryer tray with cooking oil spray. With clean hands, shape the salmon mixture into 8 small patties.
Try and make the patties the same shape and size for more even cooking. My patties were about 2½-inches in diameter and ½-inch thick.
I was able to fit all of the patties in a single layer on one air fryer tray. Don't overcrowd them. They’ll cook better and more evenly when air flow can reach the patties on all sides.
Brush half of the olive oil on the tops of the croquettes. They’re ready to air fry!
️⏲ Cooking Time and Temperature
How long to air fry salmon patties? Cook for a total of 10-13 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Put the salmon patties in the top rack position of the air fryer oven. Air fry for 5 minutes at 400F. Remove them from the air fryer, flip them over, and brush them with the remaining olive oil.
Return the tray with the salmon cakes back to the top rack position of the air fryer. Air fry for 5-8 minutes at 400F. When they are finished cooking, they should hold together well, but be juicy inside.
If you air fry them longer, they’ll be crispier and firmer. Be careful not to let them dry out!
I let the patties rest for 5 minutes before serving. While they rest, I make the sauce by whisking together the mayo, pickles, chopped dill, lemon juice, and zest. Serve the cooked salmon patties with the salmon cake sauce, and enjoy!
Keep leftover salmon patties in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. They can also be wrapped individually in plastic wrap, put in freezer bag, and frozen.
You can enjoy leftover salmon cakes cold. If you want to warm them up, they can be reheated in a pan on the stovetop or in the microwave. You can also reheat them for 3-5 minutes in an air fryer set to 375F.
What spices go well with salmon? Personally, I like Old Bay salmon cakes. Here are some other spices and seasonings that you can use with salmon:
- Italian seasoning
- Lemon pepper
- Cajun seasoning
- Jerk seasoning
Don’t let this list limit you. You can season up your salmon and seafood dishes with whatever herbs and spices sound good to you.
🥗 Side Dishes
What sides go with salmon croquettes? I usually serve them with large garden side salads. Here are some other ideas for what to serve with salmon cakes:
- Kale Apple Slaw
- Brown Rice (or cauliflower rice to keep it keto)
- Roasted or Steamed Vegetables
- Air Fryer Jicama Fries
- Air Fryer Frozen Sweet Potato Fries
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). I’ve listed the serving size as one salmon patty, though I expect most will have 2-3 in their meal. (Everyone in my family did!) I’ll leave it up to you to decide the number of salmon cakes you want on your plate.
These air fried salmon patties are 167 calories each with the tartar sauce, or 115 calories without. If you have a fat loss goal, try skipping the tartar sauce. Serve the patties with a simple squeeze of fresh lemon juice instead.
Even without the tartar sauce, you’re getting fats from the salmon, almond flour, olive oil, and eggs. This is far from a fat-free meal.
The amount of fat on your plate can be adjusted to fit your energy needs. Because I am in weight maintenance and am active, I was generous with the tartar sauce. If you are trying to maintain a calorie deficit for fat loss, it may be better to skip the sauce.
Without the sauce, these patties can easily fit into a level 1 (under 500 calorie) meal. Pile some (low oil) non-starchy veggies on your plate and you’ll feel full and nourished.
I hope you get the chance to try air frying salmon. Once you see how easy it is to make salmon patties in an air fryer, there’s no going back!
Keep salmon patties from falling apart by using binders! Eggs, crushed pork rinds, bread crumbs, panko, almond flour, and cornmeal are some binding ingredients. Also, smaller salmon patties tend to stick together better than larger patties.
Eggs help your salmon cakes stick together. Use other binding ingredients if you want salmon patties with no eggs. Flour (including gluten free flour), pork panko, and corn meal are some examples of binders. Add more of these if your salmon patties aren’t sticking together.
Yes, you can deep fry salmon cakes to get crispy outer edges. However, this adds a lot of added oil to your entrée, increasing the fat and calories. Air frying is a way to enjoy your favorite deep-fried foods with less oil.
Salmon patties are often made of heart-healthy fish and veggies, and can be a healthful addition to the diet. Air fried salmon patties are (in general) a better choice than salmon cakes that are heavily breaded and deep fried.
Air fry frozen salmon burgers from the store at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 minutes. Add additional cooking time if they have not reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can make salmon cakes with fresh salmon, but you’ll have to make extra effort to chop the salmon. Also, it will be far more expensive than this recipe for air fryer canned salmon patties. Why not fully enjoy your fresh salmon in this salmon with lemon cream sauce instead?
👩🏻🍳 Other Keto Canned Fish Recipes
Are you looking for more keto recipes using canned fish? You may enjoy these:
- Canned Salmon Salad No Mayo
- Sardine Salad with Collard Green Wraps
- Sardine Cakes Recipe (use almond flour as the binder)
Also, don’t miss the low carb recipes section! You’ll find a variety of other keto burger recipes!
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All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
"Keto" recipes on the web may not be appropriate for those using ketogenic diets as part of their medical nutrition therapy. That includes this recipe.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Air Fryer Salmon Patties (Salmon Cakes + Burgers + Croquettes)
- In a medium bowl, mash the salmon with a fork.
- Stir in the ½ teaspoon lemon zest, scallions, ¼ cup dill, eggs, almond flour, and Old Bay.
- Mist an air fryer tray with the cooking oil spray.
- Shape your salmon mixture into 8 small patties and place in a single layer on the prepared air fryer tray. My patties were about 2½-inches (6.35 cm) in diameter and ½-inch (1.27 cm) thick.
- Using your pastry brush, brush the tops of your salmon cakes with ½ tablespoon of the olive oil.
- Place the tray on the top rack of your air fryer. Air fry the salmon patties for 5 minutes at 400°F (200°C). Then gently flip the croquettes, brush with the final ½ tablespoon of the olive oil, and air fry for an additional 5-8 minutes at 400°F (200°C). (Exact air frying time depends on how firm you want them.) Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- While the salmon patties rest, make the lemon-dill tartar sauce. Simply stir all of the "for the lemon-dill tartar sauce" ingredients together. (Easy, right?!?)
- Serve the cooked salmon cakes with the tartar sauce. You can use the sauce for dipping, or serve the patties as mini salmon burgers (sliders) in buns. Enjoy!
This recipe has been updated from 2020 to include new photos, a new recipe video, and more nutrition information. Enjoy!