Tips to make the best crispy air fryer salmon patties! Crispy on the outside, soft and tender inside, these air fried salmon cakes make a healthy gluten-free meal. This post includes tips for how long to cook salmon patties in an air fryer and how to prevent them from falling apart!
This recipe for air fryer salmon cakes is a riff on my Baked Salmon Patties with Creamy Lime Sauce. While the ingredients are the same, I've included tips for how to successfully cook them in an air fryer.
Serve these as full-size salmon burgers, or make them small and serve as mini salmon patty appetizers with lemon aioli dip. Make ahead and freeze!
Salmon patties, salmon cakes, fish cakes, whatever you want to call them, these make an easy weeknight meal! I love this recipe because I can make a a batch, have some fresh for dinner and freeze the rest for another day.
Salmon is loaded with nutrients and has amazing health benefits, whether you choose to use fresh wild salmon or canned salmon in this recipe.
Why you'll love this recipe for air fried salmon cakes:
- you can use fresh or canned salmon
- you can make them ahead of time and either refrigerate or freeze
- they have the flavour and crispiness of a fried salmon cake with a minimum of oil
- you can serve them as burgers or as mini appetizer bites with lemon aioli dip
- they're gluten-free! No bread crumbs or crackers needed.
Here are a few notes about the ingredients to make salmon patties. You'll find a complete list of ingredients and instructions in the recipe card below.
for the Salmon Patties
- salmon: You'll need about 14-16 ounces. That's four cans of wild sockeye salmon or a little less than 1 pound of freshly cooked salmon. Both will make tasty salmon patties. While there is little difference between canned sockeye salmon and other less expensive varieties like pink salmon, sockeye has superior flavour.
- panko crumbs: Regular or gluten-free panko crumbs help to hold the salmon patties together more effectively than bread crumbs or crackers.
- delicious additions: Add sliced green onions, finely chopped red pepper, minced garlic and grated Parmesan cheese.
- seasonings: Use freshly squeezed lemon juice, fresh parsley, dill, Dijon mustard and mayonnaise
- don't forget to top with the best Lemon Aioli! It's easy to whisk together and takes these air fryer salmon patties to the next level!
🥄 How to make salmon patties in an air fryer
- If you're using canned sockeye salmon, drain it thoroughly. If using freshly cooked or leftover cooked salmon, remove the skin and bones and flake with two forks. If using raw salmon, remove the skin and bones, add to a food processor and process until finely ground.
- Add all salmon patty ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine.
- To make patties burger size: Using a half-cup measure, press mixture firmly into the cup, then tap out onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Press down gently to form patties about ¾ inch thick and 2 ½ inches in diameter.
- To make appetizer-sized salmon patties: Use a large cookie scoop, press the mixture firmly into the scoop, then release it on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Put the baking sheet with patties in the fridge to chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. This step is important to prevent the patties from falling apart in the air fryer. If you're in a hurry, put them in the freezer for a few minutes.
- Brush the air fryer basket with oil or spray it lightly with an oil mister (not non-stick cooking spray which may damage the finish on your air fryer.) Preheat your air fryer to 390°F. for 3 minutes.
- Brush one side of each patty lightly with olive oil or avocado oil. Place the patties oil-side down in the air fryer, then brush the other side with oil. Using a small amount of oil not only helps to prevent the patties from sticking, but also helps to form an appetizing golden crisp surface.
- Air fry at 390°F. for 8 - 10 minutes. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature has reached 145°F.
Be sure not to overcrowd the basket. The hot air needs to circulate around the patties to make a crisp exterior.
To avoid scratching your air fryer basket, use a silicone lifter or spatula to remove the patties to a serving dish. You don't need to flip the burgers halfway through. The hot circulating air crisps the surface of the patties on both sides.
❓Frequently asked Questions
You can use either fresh salmon or canned salmon to make these air fryer salmon cakes. If you choose canned salmon, look for sockeye. It is a little more expensive than pink salmon, but it has a lot more flavour.
You don't have to remove the skin or bones from canned salmon, although you can if you'd like. The bones are very soft, they break up once you mix them with the other salmon patty ingredients, and they're an excellent source of calcium!
Yes! Form into patties of your desired size, lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and transfer to the freezer. Once they're completely frozen, wrap them individually and store them in a covered container or a labelled zipper-closure bag in the freezer. Use within 3 months.
The trick is to follow the recipe exactly, press the mixture firmly together when forming the patties and chill the patties before air frying. Make sure to preheat the air fryer first. Brush both the basket and the salmon cakes with a small amount of oil to prevent sticking. To avoid damaging the finish on your air fryer basket, use a silicone flipper to remove the fried salmon cakes.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
Serve these as salmon burgers in a bun, or as open-faced burgers. They're delicious with a small dollop of lemon aioli. Add a slice of tomato and crisp lettuce leaves or sprouted greens for the full burger experience.
Salmon cakes (aka fish cakes or salmon patties) also pair well with avocado. Top your burger with a few thin slices of avocado or a scoop of Quick Chunky Guacamole. So good!
If you prefer to serve these as appetizers, form small patties about 1-inch in diameter. Preheat your air fryer to 390°F., brush the basket with oil, add the chilled patties (also brushed with a little oil on both sides) and air fry. The time needed to cook will depend on the size of the patties but check after 3 - 4 minutes, adding a minute or two more as needed.
Side dishes for salmon patties
What goes well with salmon patties?
Burgers go with fries! These Smoky Sweet Potato Wedges can be roasting in the oven while you air fry the salmon cakes.
Or keep it easy with a simple green side salad! You'll find lots of salad recipe ideas in my Salads and Dressings category.
Refrigerate leftover salmon patties in a covered container. To reheat, follow the air-frying instructions above. You'll reheat them at a lower temperature and for a shorter time. Preheat the air fryer to 360°F., brush with oil and air fry for 3 minutes, checking and adding time if needed.
Love using your air fryer? You'll find more air fryer recipes here in my Air Fryer Recipes section.
📖 Recipe Card
Crispy Air Fryer Salmon Patties
- 14 oz salmon, canned sockeye salmon (4 cans) or freshly cooked wild salmon
- 1 cup Panko crumbs, regular or gluten-free
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ cup green onions , sliced
- ½ cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon parsley, dried
- 1 tablespoon dill, dried
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoon mayonnaise
- ½ cup mayonnaise low fat, vegenaise, or regular
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
- If using canned sockeye salmon, drain thoroughly. If using fresh cooked or leftover salmon, flake with two forks. If using raw salmon, remove the skin and bones, add to a food processor and process until finely ground.
- Add all salmon patty ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine.
- Using a half cup measure, press mixture firmly into cup, then tap out onto parchment paper lined baking sheet. Press down gently to form patties about ¾ inch thick and 2 ½ inches in diameter.
- Chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. This step is important to prevent the patties from falling apart in the air fryer. If you're in a hurry, put them in the freezer for a few minutes.
- Brush air fryer basket lightly with oil. Preheat air fryer to 390°F. for 3 minutes.
- Brush one side of each patty with olive oil or avocado oil. Place oil-side down in the air fryer, then brush the other side with oil. Be sure not to overcrowd the basket. The hot air needs to circulate around the patties to make a crisp exterior
- Air fry at 390°F. for 8 - 10 minutes. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature has reached 145°F. To avoid scratching your air fryer basket, use a silicone lifter or spatula to remove the patties to a serving dish. You don't need to flip the burgers halfway through. The hot circulating air crisps the surface of the patties on both sides.
- Stir together all sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Serve with salmon patties as a sauce to spoon on top of patties.