A burger of chopped fresh salmon, zesty lemon, capers, and plenty of parsley is a delicious way to get dinner on the table in short order.
For these burgers, buy skinned fresh salmon fillets and pulse them in a food processor until they are in small pieces, then blend them with mustard and seasonings. Cook these salmon burgers on the stovetop or sizzle them over the grill.
If you’ve never made salmon burgers on the grill before, here are 8 tips for you to master cooking on the grill.
Tips and Tricks for Buying and Working with Salmon
What type of salmon is best for salmon burgers?
- Fresh salmon makes great burgers: You have many good choices such as king, coho, sockeye, and Atlantic. The best salmon is what is available to you.
- Buy skinned fillets and cut them into chunks before buzzing in the food processor.
- You can also use frozen salmon to make these burgers. Defrost frozen salmon and use as you would fresh.
- Canned salmon is also an option! You’ll need about 12 ounces of canned salmon for the recipe, and instead of chopping it in the food processor, just flake it with a fork. Hello pantry meal!
- Go easy when chopping the salmon in the food processor. Chop the onion and parsley in the processor first, transfer to the mixing bowl, and then add the salmon chunks. It only takes 3 or 4 short pulses to chop the chunks of fish, so they are in small pieces, not a pasty mess!
Tips and Tricks for Making Homemade Salmon Burgers
Here are a few tips for making and cooking the best salmon burgers:
- An egg and panko breadcrumbs hold everything together, so the burgers stay firm in the pan or on the grill.
- Refrigerate the burgers for 30 minutes after shaping them. This gives the panko a chance to absorb the egg and any excess liquid in the patties.
- Use a thermometer to test for doneness. When you cook the salmon to 130°F or a little shy of that temperature, remember that the temperature will tick up a few degrees with residual heat once they are out of the pan or off the grill. That way, the patties are well cooked and won’t dry out.
- Go the extra mille and make homemade burger buns too!
Burger Swaps and Substitutions
Serve the burgers with your favorite sauce or condiment. The chive and lemon mayonnaise in this recipe goes nicely with the burgers, but there are other options.
Flavor your mayonnaise with ancho chili powder, barbecue sauce, herbs of your choice, or a squeeze of lemon or lime (not all at the same time!) Tartar sauce is one of my personal favorites, or anything along those lines like Russian dressing or a remoulade sauce. Oh, and don’t forget about avocado slices, pickles or pickled onions!
Make sliders! You can make these burgers any size you want, just reduce the cooking time if they are small, and use a thermometer to test for doneness. Sliders make a great afternoon snack or a party appetizer.
To Make Ahead and Store
To make the salmon burgers one day in advance, place them on a large plate and wrap them in plastic and store in the fridge. They can go straight from the fridge to the grill.
To freeze salmon burgers wrap each uncooked burger in plastic and freeze on a tray. Place the frozen burgers in a zip top bag and freeze for up to 3 months. They’re still safe to eat for about 6 months but lose some quality of freshness. If you have leftover fully cooked burgers you can freeze them using the same method outlined above.
To defrost salmon burgers transfer them from the freezer to the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours or overnight. Unwrap and cook according to the recipe.
Salmon Burgers with Chive and Lemon Mayonnaise
- For the burgers
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 lemon, zested plus 1 tablespoon of juice
- 2 tablespoons capers, chopped if large
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup parsley leaves, packed
- 1/4 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 1/4 pound skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup panko
- 4 burger buns
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- For the lemon chive mayonnaise
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon drained horseradish
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Pinch of black pepper
- To serve
- 4 burger buns
- 4 slices tomato
- 4 slices red onion
- 4 leaves lettuce
Whisk the egg and seasonings together:
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, mustard, lemon zest and juice, capers, salt, and pepper until blended.
Pulse the parsley and onion in a food processor:
In a food processor, pulse the parsley and onion 4 to 5 times, or until finely chopped. Transfer to the bowl with the egg mixture.
Pulse the salmon in a food processor:
Without washing out the food processor bowl, pulse the salmon chunks in 3 or 4 short bursts, or until they are in 1/4-inch size pieces.
You want the mixture to be slightly chunky, not a puree. Make sure not to over process the mixture. Transfer the salmon to the bowl with the egg mixture, parsley, and onion.
Add the panko, shape the burgers, and refrigerate:
Add the panko to the bowl with the salmon mixture and mix until the ingredients are well combined.
Divide and form the mixture into four 4-inch patties that are about 1-inch thick. Place them in a single layer on a large plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Make the chive mayonnaise:
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, chives, horseradish, mustard, and pepper.
Cook the burgers:
On the stovetop: In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the burgers to the pan once the oil is hot and cook, without disturbing for 4 minutes, or until the burgers are golden brown.
Flip the burgers and cook them on the other side for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden and an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of a burger registers 130°F. Transfer burgers to a plate.
On the grill: Heat the grill to high heat. Use tongs to dip a folded square of paper towel in 2 tablespoons of oil and generously brush the oil over the grates. Place the burgers on the grill and cook without disturbing for 4 minutes, or until golden brown.
Turn and cook the burgers on the other side for 3 to 4 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of a burger registers 130°F. Transfer to a plate.
Assemble the burgers and serve:
If you like, toast the buns in the non-stick skillet or grill for 30 seconds to a minute, or serve on soft buns.
On the bottom of the 4 hamburger buns, spread some chive mayonnaise. Top with the burgers, tomato, onion, and lettuce and the top bun. Serve while the burgers are still warm.