Fresh Salmon Cakes with Spicy Mayo

Fish cakes made with fresh-cooked salmon! So incredibly tender and flavorful, especially with spicy mayo sauce. Great way to use up leftover salmon, too.

Fresh Salmon Cakes with Spicy Mayo
Sheryl Julian

My mother loved to mix canned salmon with a few seasonings and shape it into cakes headed for a hot skillet. This meal thrilled us as kids and it was an easy cooking night for her.

Now I make salmon cakes with fresh cooked salmon, which only adds a few minutes to the prep time and makes incredibly moist cakes. This is also a great way to use up leftover salmon from another meal!

Fresh Salmon Cakes with Spicy Mayo
Sheryl Julian

In a hot oven, most cuts of salmon take about 10 minutes per inch to cook. I start it under the broiler to char the skin, which flavors the flesh. If the grill is on, I grill the fish instead of broiling – which is ideal because it adds smoke to the cakes.

If I’m planning a few days’ worth of menus or cooking for guests, I cook the salmon a day in advance. You can also prep the mayo the day before (both salmon and mayo double easily for a crowd).

Fresh Salmon Cakes with Spicy Mayo
Sheryl Julian

Some day-old bread – one of last night's dinner rolls or a slice or two from a loaf -- torn into small pieces and an egg helps to hold the cakes together. Some cocktail sauce, fresh dill, and Worcestershire get added for flavor.

Pat the cakes lightly with flour and fry them in oil until the outsides are crisp.

These fresh salmon cakes need a sauce with a little spice to balance their mildness, so I whisk mayo with a little extra cocktail sauce, some Sriracha, lemon juice, and mustard. The mayo isn’t very spicy, but go ahead and shake in more Sriracha for more heat, if you like.

The golden cakes and their rosy sauce are perfect on the back porch or patio, by the lake or sea, or at the kitchen table.

Fresh Salmon Cakes with Spicy Mayo
Sheryl Julian

Fresh Salmon Cakes with Spicy Mayo

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 4 servings

Looking for a recipe with canned salmon? Try this recipe!


For the spicy mayo

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoon bottled cocktail sauce, or more to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha or other chili-garlic sauce, plus more to taste

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the salmon (or substitute about 3 cups leftover cooked salmon)

  • Canola oil (to oil the baking dish)

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless salmon, skin intact

  • 5 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the cakes

  • 1 day-old dinner roll (about 3-inches across) or 2 slices sandwich bread

  • 1/4 cup fresh dill leaves, stripped from the stem

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 3 tablespoons bottled cocktail sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, for shaping

Special Equipment

  • Food processor


  1. Make the spicy mayo:

    In a bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, mustard, cocktail sauce, Sriracha, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

    Taste for seasoning and add more Sriracha or lemon juice, if you like. Cover and refrigerate until needed, or up to a 5 days.

  2. Cook the salmon:

    Turn on the broiler with an oven rack positioned about 8 inches below. Rub a baking dish with oil (any baking dish large enough to hold the salmon is fine). Rub the salmon on both sides with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.

    Set it in a baking dish, skin side up, and slide it under the broiler. Broil for 4 minutes, or until the skin is charred.

    Turn the oven temperature down to 400°F. Continue cooking the salmon for 8 minutes, or until the flesh is opaque in the center and the flesh flakes apart easily.

    Fresh Salmon Cakes with Spicy Mayo
    Sheryl Julian
  3. Break the salmon into flakes:

    Let cool until cool enough to handle. Peel away and discard the skin. Transfer the fish to a bowl and gently flake it into small pieces with your hands or a fork.

    You should have about 4 cups of flaked salmon.

    Fresh Salmon Cakes with Spicy Mayo
    Sheryl Julian
  4. Make the salmon mixture:

    Tear the dinner roll into 1-inch pieces and add to the bowl of a food processor. Add the dill, egg, cocktail sauce, Worcestershire sauce, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

    Pulse until the mixture is blended and still a little chunky. (Do not process so long that the mixture becomes a paste.)

    Add the egg mixture to the salmon mixture and stir thoroughly with your hands or a spatula.

    Fresh Salmon Cakes with Spicy Mayo
    Sheryl Julian
  5. Shape the patties:

    Dust a cutting board with the flour. With your hands, shape the salmon mixture into 8 patties. Sprinkle them lightly with flour and set on a large plate or baking sheet.

    Fresh Salmon Cakes with Spicy Mayo
    Sheryl Julian
  6. Pan-fry the cakes:

    Set the oven at 250°F. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil.

    Add 4 of the cakes and cook without disturbing for 4 minutes, or until golden on the undersides. Turn and cook 4 minutes more, or until golden. Transfer to the baking dish and keep warm in the oven.

    Discard the oil in the pan (the flour tends to brown too much) and carefully wipe the pan with a paper towel. Fry the remaining 4 cakes in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the same way.

    Serve warm with the spicy mayo.

    Fresh Salmon Cakes with Spicy Mayo
    Sheryl Julian
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
939 Calories
75g Fat
24g Carbs
40g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 939
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 75g 96%
Saturated Fat 13g 64%
Cholesterol 163mg 54%
Sodium 1136mg 49%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 40g
Vitamin C 10mg 48%
Calcium 63mg 5%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 747mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.