Shrimp Cakes


Absolutely delicious shrimp cakes! Cooked shrimp, formed into patties with cooked sweet potatoes, garlic, red onion, breadcrumbs, jalapeno, cilantro, and spices, then fried.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

A Favorite Recipe

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!

3 shrimp cakes on black plate

Shrimp Cakes Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 6 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.

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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

24 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. JP Colter

    I love this recipe. The only changes I ever make is to add more onion because I love onion and sometime some finely diced celery and a tbsp of mayo for creaminess. Those changes are not really needed as the recipe is great as-is.


  2. Kristen

    Made these for my one year old tonight. I had a couple of weird things happen – my sweet potatoes dried out with that much cooking, so I would do less next time – and my garlic burned at only 2 mins of cooking. So I just did raw garlic, shallot instead of red onion, and added water to moisten the potato. Baked them for 14 mins and he ate 3 just tonight. Freezing them after baking and putting them in a Ziploc to reheat for meals later.

  3. Suzy

    I made these tonight, I doubled the recipe but they were too soft. I may have needed to add more than 2x the breadcrumbs .. Just not sure. Any suggestions?

  4. Maureen

    Hello Elise. Rather than toasting whole spices and grinding them (I don’t have a spice grinder and my blender is unlikely to satisfactorily grind such a small quantity) can pre-ground cumin and coriander be subbed? If yes, what quantities would you suggest?
    Thanks, Maureen

    Show Replies (1)
  5. JESS

    Can they be made and frozen before cooking?

    I don’t see why not. ~Elise

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