When I was a kid, these easy southern salmon patties were a tasty and economical meal in our house. Easy to make using pantry staples, try these few change-ups that make the classic even better.
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When I was a kid, these easy southern salmon patties were a staple meal in our house. It was always tasty - and inexpensive and very easy to make. Using pantry staples, all you might need to buy is the canned salmon and you're ready to start cooking.
This Mexican Street Corn Salad pairs super well with these salmon patties, too.
Which filler to use - crushed saltines or bread crumbs?
Mom always used crushed saltine crackers and eggs for the binder in Southern salmon patties - and she let us kids crush the crackers, which, as kids, we thought was pretty awesome and fun. We did it by hand, and I'm sure Mom probably finished them off to just the right texture. If you want to try bread crumbs instead, make sure they're the fine style and use the same amount as the crushed saltines.
Mom's "secret" ingredient - and a couple of mine
Besides the standard ingredient onion, Mom added finely-diced celery to her salmon patties, and that's how I continue to make them to this day. The celery gives a fresh bite to the overall flavor of these salmon patties.
While she never added more than salt and pepper as seasonings to her salmon patties, I've taken to adding some Old Bay Seasoning instead of salt and pepper, along with a touch of lemon juice and a hint of cayenne pepper.
I have seen some Southern Salmon Patties recipes call for adding a layer of bread crumbs or panko to the outside of the patties, but it's completely unnecessary with this recipe! My recipe uses a bit more crushed saltines and egg than other recipes I've seen, and those two things are going to make your patties crisp up on the outside just right. The additional saltines and egg don't hinder the flavor at all (remember, you're adding a few new very flavorful ingredients in this recipe). The other thing is, panko bread crumbs weren't really a "thing" here in the USA until the last 20 years or so, so they're not traditional to the dish.
Is flipping food in hot oil a cause for holding your breath?
It doesn't need to be. Watch this really quick (30 seconds) kitchen hack for turning foods in hot oil and you'll never approach the pan in fear again!
It's also a great method for flipping sandwiches and other foods that could tend to fall apart.
How to make Southern Salmon Patties
You'll need canned salmon, of course (although fresh cooked salmon will work just as well). Aside from that, pantry staples for Southern Salmon Patties include saltine crackers, egg, celery, onion, lemon juice, Old Bay Seasoning, cayenne pepper and some cooking oil.
Here's the steps:
- Drain the salmon and discard the liquid. If it has bones, you can leave them if you like (they're soft and edible), or remove them.
- Crush the saltines in a Ziploc-type bag using a rolling pin, or use a food processor - but not too fine, just a few seconds' worth of processing.
- Beat the eggs and dice the onion and celery.
- Toss all the ingredients except the cooking oil into a bowl and mix everything really well.
- Form the mixture into patties about ½- to ¾-inch thick and about 4 inches in diameter - this will give you eight patties. Just eyeball the sizes, no need to get a ruler 😉
- Heat the cooking oil in a skillet to around 325F. Add the patties using a spatula (safety first!) and fry about five minutes. Turn the patties (see the video above or on YouTube for a great hack on safely flipping food in oil without it falling apart). Fry about five minutes more, then remove and place on paper towels to soak up excess oil.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
Can you reheat Southern Salmon Patties?
Yes, you can. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat the salmon patties, I don't recommend using a microwave, because you'll sacrifice the crispiness on the outside. To retain crispiness, simply reheat them in a tiny bit of oil in a skillet, or pop them in a toaster oven at a lower heat setting until heated through.
More Seafood recipes to try
Southern Salmon Patties
- 15 ounces canned salmon drained (remove bones if you prefer)
- 3 eggs beaten
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- ½ cup finely diced celery
- 1½ cup crushed saltine crackers
- 1½ teaspoons lemon juice freshly squeezed (make a cocktail with the rest)
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning original recipe
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper just a pinch, add more if you like
- cooking oil, about ⅓ inch in the skillet
- Drain the salmon and discard the liquid. Remove bones if you prefer, but they are soft and quite edible. Put the salmon in a large mixing bowl.
- Toss the eggs, onion, celery, crushed saltines (I use a food processor to grind them up), lemon, Old Bay and cayenne pepper to the bowl. Mix well to fully incorporate the crushed saltines and eggs into the remaining ingredients.
- Make individual patties from the mixture, about ½ to ¾ inches thick and about 4 inches in diameter. How large you make them will determine how many patties you get.
- Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet or saucepan (non-stick really helps with cleanup) to about 325℉.
- Place a patty on a spatula and slide it into the hot oil, using a rubber or silicon spatula to push the patties gently off of the spatula. Repeat for each patty.
- Fry on each side for about 5 minutes each side, or until golden brown. Use this handy kitchen hack for turning the patties in hot oil without burning yourself, breaking up the patties, and getting oil all over your stove.
- Remove from the patties from the oil and drain on paper towels. Serve hot.