Salmon cakes are among the best and easiest seafood dinners you can make for weeknight meals or special occasions.

By Micah A. Leal

Salmon patties are a classic seafood dinner that bring a casual coastal vibe to your table, whether you're just returning from a day at the shore or sipping on Chardonnay and dreaming of sea breezes from your landlocked suburban neighborhood.

Composed of only a few ingredients and panfried in minutes, a proper salmon patty is crisp on the outside with a tender, meaty center. Each succulent salmon cake captures the sweet flavor of salmon and the bright herby-lemon taste of seafood seasonings. A versatile companion to everything from a crisp salad to sautéed green beans, these savory pink patties look just as good on the plate as they taste. Here's everything you need to know about how to make salmon patties.

Get the recipe for our Classic Salmon Cakes.

Prepping the Salmon

If you are using freshly baked salmon, gently pull apart the fish into large flakes with a fork. Place the flaked salmon in the refrigerator. The salmon should be chilled when added to the other ingredients, as this helps in shaping the patties before frying them. (If you're using canned salmon, be sure to drain the salmon well before mixing with other ingredients.)

Combining the Ingredients

While the salmon is cooling in the fridge, combine the rest of the ingredients for the patties in a large bowl. Stir until the ingredients are well combined. By mixing together the other ingredients together before adding the salmon, you ensure that the flakes of salmon will not be mashed and can retain some of their shape when it's time to form and cook them. Once the salmon is chilled and you're ready to cook them—they're best fried and served immediately, so time your cooking accordingly—add the salmon to the cake mixture, and gently toss to thoroughly coat the fish.

Watch: How to Cook Salmon

Shaping the Patties

Dip hands into water. Shape scoops of the salmon cake mixture into four equal balls. Keep a bowl of water nearby so you can dip your fingers into the water as you're shaping balls. The extra water helps prevent the salmon mixture from sticking to your hands. Once the balls are equally divided, roll them into a panko breadcrumbs. Then, press them into four-inch discs or patties. Cover and chill them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to prevent the patties from falling apart in the pan.

Frying the Salmon Patties

Add olive oil to a large skillet and warm over medium-high heat. Make sure that the oil is hot before adding the patties by dropping a crumb of panko into the oil. If it sizzles, you can cook the salmon patties. If it does not, wait until the oil is hot enough to pass this test. Add the patties to the oil-coated pan, and cook for three to four minutes on each side, making sure not to overcook the patty as this results in a tough and dry texture. Salmon patties are best served warm, so if you have a few minutes before the rest of your meal is ready, place the patties in a 250°F oven until you are ready to serve.