Salmon Cakes with Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe

We just got back from Portland, Oregon and it is currently salmon season out there.  Since salmon is as abundant in Portland as Italian beef is here in Chicago, I made sure to overindulge in the local seasonal fare!  The fresh local caught salmon was literally 4 inches thick, no joke, and while I didn’t bring any home with me, it inspired me to make this Homemade Salmon Cakes Recipe with Tartar Sauce!  My wife who is not a salmon fan loved the salmon we had in Portland, so I figured I would try it again at home!


Fresh wild caught salmon is hands down the only way to go. In other words, leave the farm raised at the store.  Salmon is loaded with healthy fats and omega 3’s making it a staple in my diet, but because of the taste, it’s a challenge for the family to eat at home.  The only other time my family liked salmon was when I smoked it, so I figured I would mask the flavor a bit by folding it together with some veggies and spices and drizzling some homemade tartar sauce all over the top.  Well my friends, it worked!!  My wife and daughter absolutely went to town on my salmon cakes and I couldn’t be happier.

Making salmon cakes are extremely easy to prepare and cook, which is why it will soon become a go-to recipe in my house.  Once the skin is removed from the salmon, you simply slice it, place it in a food processor and spin on high speed until it becomes almost like a paste.  Yes, I know this part seems a little unappetizing. I can assure you, it gets better.  Just as important as selecting fish, purchasing fresh vegetables is equally as crucial.  Vegetables should never be bruised- always firm to the touch and cleaned at home.  One of the easiest ways I wash all of my vegetables is by using the Franke roller mat that easily goes right over my Franke farmhouse sink.  The mat is flexible and slotted so that water can easily run down, whether you are washing fresh produce or drying dishes.  In addition to the Franke roller mat being a huge help in our house, we just love the look and functionality of our elegant gooseneck faucet.  The side spray allows me to wash every angle of the vegetables while giving a beautiful classic look to our kitchen.  We use our sink and faucets every day, so why shouldn’t they look gorgeous while being incredibly functional?  It should!!


Once the vegetables are washed and diced, simply toss them together with the salmon paste along with the other goodies to help spice up the salmon cakes.  Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty when mixing everything together, because honestly, there is no better way to mix the ingredients and make the individual salmon cakes.  The cakes then need to be pan seared in some oil so that they can crisp up.  If you’d like to cut back on the oil, no problem.  Simply use a small amount to help brown the salmon cakes on each side and finish them in the oven at 375° for 8 to 10 minutes or until cooked through.  If you like the idea of cooking them in a pan on the burner, then you may want to consider using a healthier oil such as avocado or coconut oil.

While the salmon cakes are cooling down, I make an incredibly easy to make homemade tartar sauce.  Honestly, there is absolutely no reason to ever buy store bought tartar sauce with how simple it is to prepare at home. Not to mention how much better it tastes.  The ingredients consist of mayo, pickles, lemon juice, capers, salt and pepper.  You mix those few things together and you’ve got one tasty homemade tartar sauce on your hands.  To finish off the salmon cakes recipe you want to lay them down on a bed of greens.  You can use regular spring mix or arugula. It’s totally up to you.  I also garnished the salmon cakes with a thin slice of lemon and micro greens.  That’s it for now, happy cooking!

Homemade Salmon Cakes Recipe with Tartar Sauce
Recipe type: Main
Make these Homemade Salmon Cakes Recipe with Tartar Sauce that are perfect to serve up as an appetizer or main meal!
For the Salmon Cakes:
  • 2 pounds of fresh wild caught salmon, skin removed
  • 1 seeded and small diced red bell pepper
  • 1 peeled and small diced sweet onion
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup of mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
  • Old Bay seasoning to taste
  • 10 ounces of panko crushed butter crackers or 2 cups of bread crumbs
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • oil for cooking
  • watercress and micro greens for garnish
For the tartar sauce
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • ½ cup of small diced pickles
  • 1 tablespoon of capers
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  1. Salmon Cakes: Place the salmon in a food processor and process on high speed until it becomes a thick paste. Transfer to a large size bowl and mix with peppers, onions, eggs, mayonnaise, parsley, seasoning and crushed butter crackers or bread crumbs until completely combined.
  2. Form 15 salmon cakes using your hands and set aside.
  3. Heat up some oil over medium heat and add in the salmon cakes and cook until golden brown and cooked throughout, about 4 minutes per side. Set aside to dry before serving.
  4. Tartar Sauce: Mix together all ingredients in a medium size bowl until combined. Chill before serving.
  5. To Plate: Place the salmon cakes over a bed of watercress and top off with tartar sauce and micro greens. Serve!