Shrimp Cakes

One of our hands-down favorite recipes is this one for shrimp cakes. My father pulled the original recipe from Bon Appetit magazine years ago, which he has since changed just ever so slightly.

Dad doesn’t even like shrimp, and usually refuses to eat it, but he loves making and eating these shrimp cakes. The base is made with sweet potatoes and they are seasoned with spices, jalapeño chiles and cilantro.

This really is one of the best recipes on this site, so if you have even an inkling for making these, do it!

Shrimp Cakes

Shrimp Cakes Recipe

  • Yield: Makes six large cakes.


  • 1 lb tan-skinned sweet potatoes
  • 4 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 4 Tbsp (or more) vegetable oil
  • 8 oz peeled, cooked shrimp, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2/3 cup finely ground breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped pickled or fresh jalapeños
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped red onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons spice mix (recipe included below)
  • Flour for dusting (1/2 to 1 cup)

Spice Mix Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup cumin seeds
  • 3 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt


Spice Mix Method

Add cumin seeds, peppercorns, and coriander to a heavy medium skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 8 minutes. Let cool a few minutes. Grind spices in a blender or spice grinder (can use a coffee grinder that has been cleaned by grinding raw rice) until finely ground. Transfer to a small bowl, stir in sugar and salt. Makes about half a cup. You'll only need 1 1/2 teaspoons of the spice mix for one shrimp cakes recipe, so store the remainder for future use.

Shrimp Cakes Method

1 Pierce sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Bake in microwave for about 15 minutes until done. Rub one tablespoon of oil over unpeeled garlic. Cook in microwave a few minutes, until soft. Let the garlic and sweet potatoes cool enough to handle. Peel the garlic. Cut the sweet potato in half and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Combine the cooked sweet potato and garlic in a bowl and mash until smooth.

2 Add the shrimp, cilantro, breadcrumbs, jalapeño, onion, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the Spice Mix. Mix until well blended. Season with salt. Use your hands to form the mixture into six patties, 3-inches in diameter.


3 Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly dust the shrimp cakes in flour. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the shrimp cakes until nicely browned, adding more oil as needed, about 2 minutes per side.

shrimp-cakes-method-2 shrimp-cakes-method-3

Place the shrimp cakes on a baking sheet. Bake until heated through, about 5 minutes.


Tastes great served with lemon, tartar sauce, and coleslaw.

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Adapted ever so slightly from Shrimp and Sweet Potato Cakes with Chaote Slaw and Chipotle Sauce, a Bon Appetit recipe on

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Showing 4 of 20 Comments

  • Amy

    We tried these last night, with some minor substitutions, but the same quantities. The only problem we had was with the cakes not being very solid. They tended to fall apart, especially when moving them from the pre-cooked stage to the frying pan, but also later. Any ideas what I did wrong, or is this expected with this recipe?

  • Elise

    Hi Amy,
    They shouldn’t fall apart. What you may do is after you form the patties, refrigerate them for an hour first, before cooking. That should help them hold together.

  • beyonduplication

    I just made this, with some cole slaw…. it was wonderful! My husband and both my children LOVED them. My six year old asked for seconds and my 19 month old had 3 of them, believe it or not.
    I followed the recipe to the letter, I wouldn’t change a thing. Perfect!

  • friedapplepie

    I had half a pound of salmon and two ears of corn to get rid of tonight, so I threw that in there instead of the shrimp. The flavors were awesome and everyone loved the salmon and corn cakes. thanks!

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