Shrimp Cakes

DinnerLentenShrimp

These easy Shrimp Cakes are such a good weeknight meal. They're made with shrimp and sweet potatoes mixed with garlic and other spices. Serve with tartar sauce and coleslaw!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

A Favorite Family 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

A Spice Mix for Seafood

This recipe calls for making your own spice mix by toasting and grinding a few different kinds of whole black peppercorns, cumin seeds, and coriander seeds.

This makes about a half a cup of spice mix, but you’ll only need 1 1/2 teaspoons for the recipe. The rest of this spice blend can be used to season other seafood, like grilled salmon, sautéed shrimp, or seared scallops.

If you only want enough spices for one recipe and you want to use already ground spices, try the following ratio: 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt.

How to Serve these Shrimp Cakes

These shrimp cakes are great served with homemade tartar sauce and some coleslaw on the side. You could also serve them on top of a leafy green salad.

A Freezer-Friendly Dish

If you love these shrimp cakes, stock your freezer! Cook the cakes, allow them to cool completely, then pack them in a freezer container or bag and freeze for up to a month. Let them thaw overnight, and then reheat in a 350°F oven for about 5 minutes until warmed through.

Try These Other Seafood and Fish Cake Recipes!

Updated May 15, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle. No changes to the original recipe.

Shrimp Cakes Recipe

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  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 6 to 8 large cakes

If you only want enough spices for one recipe and you want to use already ground spices, try the following ratio: 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt.

You can also roast the sweet potatoes in the oven, if you prefer.

Ingredients

For the spice mix:

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

For the shrimp cakes:

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes
  • 4 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 4 tablespoons (or more) extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces peeled, cooked shrimp, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2/3 cup finely ground breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled or fresh jalapeños, seeds discarded
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • Flour for dusting (1/2 to 1 cup)

Method

1 Make the spice mix: 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.

This 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.

2 Preheat the oven to 375°F.

3 Microwave the sweet potatoes and the garlic: Pierce sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Bake in microwave for about 15 minutes until done.

Rub one tablespoon of oil over the unpeeled garlic cloves. 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.

4 Make the shrimp mixture: Add the shrimp, cilantro, breadcrumbs, jalapeño, onion, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the spice mix to the bowl with the sweet potatoes. Mix until well blended. Season with salt.

5 Shape the patties: Use your hands to form the mixture into six patties, 3-inches in diameter.

6 Brown the patties: 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.

7 Finish the shrimp cakes in the oven: Place the shrimp cakes on a baking sheet. Bake at 375°F until heated through, about 5 minutes.

8 Serve! These taste 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 Epicurious.com.

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.

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23 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.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  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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