Fish Cakes

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The most delicious crispy Fish Cakes made in less than 10 minutes with cod, breadcrumbs, lemon, herbs, and seafood seasoning. Easy to make and make a perfect main course or appetizer.

206 CAL 10g CARBS 7g FAT 28g PROTEIN
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Crispy and golden on the outside, flaky and tender on the inside; this Fish Cakes recipe makes the perfect snack or main course. Made with nutrient-packed cod and flavorful ingredients like fresh parsley, lemon zest, and Old Bay seasoning, this recipe guarantees to please. These fish cakes rank up their with our favorite Fish Burgers.

From cod to salmon to crab, I have always been a big fan of fish cakes. Whether you’re looking for a ‘clean out the fridge’ style meal or a mouthwatering way to get your kids to eat their fish, these Fish Cakes will do the trick. Beyond easy to make and bursting with delicious flavor, this dish is a surefire hit every time.

Variations of fish cakes are served all over the world, from street food carts to upscale restaurants. Every time I look for fresh fish at the butcher counter in the grocery store, I see at least two or three types of fish cakes. Many of the times I make this recipe I cook fish specifically for it, but it has also quickly become my favorite way to enjoy leftover white fish from the night before.

This recipe comes together in just 10 minutes, so it’s perfect for a quick snack or lunch for the family. It also works great as an appetizer or main course at family gatherings and dinner parties, especially when paired alongside a creamy sauce and fresh lemon wedges. It’s healthy, easy to make, and packed with incredible flavors, so even people who aren’t the biggest fans of fish will love this dish.

Cod cakes with fresh parsley and lemon cooked until crispy being held up by a hand with dipping sauce on the side.

Key Ingredients for Cod Cakes

This dish requires less than 10 ingredients, most of which you probably already have at home. The key ingredients used to make this dish shine include:

  • Cooked cod: You can use any firm white fish of your choosing, but I’ve yielded the best results when using cod in this recipe. Here is an easy recipe for making baked cod. Canned tuna or salmon will also work.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: This ingredient acts as a filler that absorbs the juices that release during the cooking process, trapping them inside and keeping the fish cakes from getting dry. Regular panko or whole wheat panko will work here.
  • Lemons: We use the acidity from both the juice and the zest of lemons to brighten up the dish and make everything taste even better. Limes work as well. If you go for limes, consider swapping in cilantro for the parsley.
  • Fresh parsley: This ingredient balances out the savory ingredients and brightens up the flavors, much like the lemons. Other fresh herbs like cilantro, dill, or basil work as well.
  • Eggs: These act as binders to hold everything together. We wouldn’t want our delicious fish cakes to fall apart on us!

Best Sauce Pairings

When making these Fish Cakes, it’s best to complement them with a simple sauce. Tartar sauce is a common pairing with fish and works great with this recipe, but I also like to make my own creamy sauce to pair alongside the dish. By mixing equal parts low fat mayonnaise and Greek yogurt with a few tablespoons of fresh herbs, you can make your own delicious sauce that perfectly complements the dish. You can use any fresh herbs you like, but some of my top choices for this recipe are parsley, dill, basil, and cilantro.

Serving and Substitution Tips

These are some of my favorite serving styles and substitutions for this dish:

  • Not a big fan of cod? No worries. You can sub this out for another firm white fish like haddock, halibut, pollock, or grouper.
  • If you don’t have Old Bay seasoning on hand or prefer a different one, any seafood seasoning you like will work.
  • If you want to try this dish with a different herb, fresh chives and dill also work well.
  • To kick this dish up a notch, add a dash of cayenne powder to the fish mixture before forming into cakes.
  • Serve this dish alongside lemon wedges and a cream-based sauce for the perfect snack and sprinkle some fresh parsley or green onions over the tops for an extra pop of color.
  • I use plain whole wheat panko breadcrumbs for this recipe, but you can use any kind you like. Keep in mind that if you use breadcrumbs with seasonings already added in, it will slightly alter the flavor profile of the dish.

How to Store Leftovers

If you wind up with leftovers of this tasty dish, they can be stored one of two ways:

  • In the fridge in an airtight bag or container for up to 2 days
  • In the freezer in an airtight bag or container for up to 2-3 months

What to Serve With This Dish

If you’re making this dish as the main course of a meal, you can pair it with side dishes like fresh salads, rice, cooked vegetables, and potatoes. Here are some of my favorite side dishes to pair with fish cakes:

Baked fish cakes on a wire rack with avocado and parsley on the side.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this dish:

How should I cook cod?

You can cook the cod any way you like, as long as it’s fully cooked before you use it in this recipe. I would recommend either cooking it in the oven or pan-searing it. If you have leftover cod from another meal, that works perfectly as well.

How big should fish cakes be?

This is totally up to you, but I prefer to make each of my fish cakes approximately 2 inches in size.

How do you keep fish cakes from falling apart?

The eggs used in this recipe act as a binder to hold the rest of the ingredients together, which helps to prevent breakage. Another way to prevent fish cakes from falling apart is to ensure that you allow them to cook on the pan until the bottoms are golden brown before flipping them over.

Can you freeze fish cakes?

Of course! To freeze fish cakes, simply arrange them on a plate or baking sheet and place them in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Then, transfer them to an airtight bag or container and freeze for up to 2-3 months.

Homemade baked fish cakes made with baked cod on parchment paper with parsley, lemon, and tartar sauce.

More Healthy Fish Recipes:

The Recipe
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Fish Cakes

206 CAL 10g CARBS 7g FAT 28g PROTEIN
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  • 1 lb cooked cod (or other firm white fish)
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (ideally whole wheat)
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1/2 tbsp Old Bay seasoning (or seafood seasoning)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

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Use a fork to break apart the cod.

Cooked cod being broken into smaller pieces with a fork in a bowl.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the green onions, parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest, Old Bay seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Eggs, spices, lemon juice, green onions, and parsley being whisked in a bowl.

Add the fish and breadcrumbs. Stir to combine.

Cooked fish, breadcrumbs, and egg mixture for cakes in a bowl.

Divide the mixture into patties that are about 2 inches in size, about ⅛ cup per patty.

Fish patties on a wire rack with fresh herbs.

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Cook for about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown.

Fish cakes cooking in a skillet with olive oil.

Optional for serving: Combine 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise, 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2-4 tbsp fresh herbs, lemon juice, salt, and pepper OR serve with tartar sauce and fresh lemon.

Cooked fish cakes with herb dipping sauce, lemons, and parsley.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 2-3 cakes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 206
Calories from Fat 56
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 162mg
Sodium 598mg
Total Carbohydrate 10g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 1g
Protein 28g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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