Turn leftover cooked salmon into elegant and crispy lemon caper salmon cakes! With lemon zest, capers, and light tartar sauce made with Greek yogurt, these salmon cakes are a delicious weeknight meal. Plus, they’re ready in less than a half hour!

A sheet pan with salmon cakes, lemon wedges and tartar sauce

I’ve gotten in the habit of buying a little more than I need for dinner, so I can end up with extra for my family’s lunches. Let me tell you, these lemon caper salmon cakes are the perfect meal to make with leftovers! Leftover salmon that is!

These salmon cakes are the perfect dinner for a special occasion, like Valentine’s Day or to serve during the holiday season. They are 5-star restaurant quality salmon cakes made at home!

A black plate with a salmon cake on a fork and a dollop of tartar sauce

Key Ingredients for Homemade Salmon Cakes

Salmon

Salmon is the star of the show, of course! For this recipe, we used leftover salmon from a meal the day before so it was already prepared, but you can make it fresh for your salmon cakes if you want.

I always recommend looking at the Seafood Watch app or website to see which kind of salmon to buy based on sustainable practices or which populations are being overfished. 

Greek Yogurt

Usually, salmon cakes are made with mayonnaise mixed with salmon and dried bread crumbs. I used Greek Yogurt instead of mayonnaise for a fraction of the calories. This swap alone saved 258 calories (64 cal per serving.) Plus using Greek yogurt in the cakes (and tartar sauce) gives me an extra 4 grams of protein per serving.

Another big calorie saving comes in the tartar sauce. I swapped 1/3 cup mayo for the Greek yogurt and I added extra flavor from whole-grain mustard and fresh dill in addition to the requisite relish. It’s tangy and the perfect foil for the richness of the cakes.

Sourdough Bread

Traditional salmon cakes call for dry breadcrumbs, but this only causes the cakes to dry out, thus requiring more mayonnaise. Instead, I used 2 slices of fresh sourdough bread that I processed in my food processor to make fresh bread crumbs. They add body to the cakes – so they hold together well – and the taste of the sourdough is very nice with the salmon.

Additional Ingredients

  • Lemon zest and juice
  • Chopped capers
  • Egg white
  • Salt
  • Celery seed
  • Shallot
  • Organic canola oil or avocado oil
  • Mayonnaise
  • Chopped dill
  • Relish
  • Whole grain or Dijon mustard
  • Ground pepper
A stack of Lemon Caper Salmon Cakes on a black plate with a sprig of dill and dollop of tartar sauce on top

How To Make Salmon Cakes with Leftover Salmon

Step 1: Preheat and Prep

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Step 2: Whisk, Process, and Flake

Whisk the egg white, Greek yogurt, zest, salt, and celery seed in a large bowl. Then, process the sourdough bread in a food processor until it forms coarse crumbs. Finally, flake the salmon into small pieces.

Step 3: Combine Mixtures to Form Cakes

Add the breadcrumbs, the salmon, shallot, and capers to the Greek yogurt mixture and stir thoroughly to work the salmon into the binders. It will become a consistent texture that can be formed into 8 even cakes.

Step 4: Cook Salmon Cakes

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook four salmon cakes until they’ve browned on the bottom, which should take about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip them over and brown the second side, for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the salmon patties to the prepared baking sheet.

Add the remaining teaspoon of oil and reduce heat to medium, and then cook the remaining 4 patties until they’re browned on both sides, 1 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the patties to the baking sheet.

Step 5: Bake Cakes and Make Tartar Sauce

Bake the salmon cakes until they’re cooked through, for about 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile whisk the remaining Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and the remaining salt, mayo, dill, relish, mustard, and pepper in a small bowl to make the tartar sauce.

Serve your salmon cakes with the light tartar sauce and enjoy!

A close up of salmon cakes on a sheet pan from a three quarter overhead view beside lemon slices

FAQs and Expert Tips

How are these salmon cakes healthier?

Several components of this recipe make them a healthier choice – the Greek yogurt and fresh sourdough bread for one – but also the way it’s flavored. I added lemon zest, capers, shallot, and celery seed to the salmon mixture to boost the flavor – all for very few additional calories. I also used a minimal amount of frying oil, and then allow them to finish cooking through on a sheet pan in a hot oven.

How can I make this ahead?

The Tartar Sauce Can be made up to 3 days ahead. Simply cover and refrigerate. Stir it well before serving. The cakes themselves are best when made fresh, but they can be reheated. To do so, simply bake them at 350 on a greased cookie sheet for 15 minutes or so until they’re sizzling hot.

Can these salmon cakes be frozen?

They won’t be quite as moist, but yes – they can be frozen! To freeze them, lay them on a cooling rack set on a baking sheet in the freezer. Once they are solid, transfer them to a large resealable bag and press the air out of the bag before sealing it shut. They can be frozen for 8 weeks. Bake them at 325 degrees F on a cookie sheet straight from frozen for about 25 minutes.

What To Serve With Salmon Cakes

  1. A Light Salad: I love to make salmon cakes and serve them with a light green salad for a lighter dinner. This Chopped Winter Salad will always be my favorite salad in the colder season. I love all the crunchy goodies in it! 
  2. Hearty Salad: For a more substantial salad to serve with your Salmon Cakes try this Spinach Salad with Bacon and Eggs. It’s a suggestion a reader made and we love the way they taste together! 
  3. Springtime Menu: In the spring this Asparagus with Tarragon Vinaigrette is a great accompaniment to these Salmon Cakes. 
  4. Salmon Cakes for Entertaining: An idea for a fancier menu would be to serve these salmon cakes with Potato,Parsnip and Leek Gratin and Spinach Salad with radishes, drizzled with Greek Yogurt Horseradish Ranch Dressing. 

Additional Salmon Recipes to Try

A blue and white dish with a few salmon cakes on it. They have a dollop of greek yogurt hollandaise on them and a sprinkle of dill

Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!

Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Lemon Caper Salmon Cakes with Light Tartar Sauce

Lemon Caper Salmon Cakes


Description

Turn leftover cooked salmon into elegant and crispy lemon caper salmon cakes! With lemon zest, capers, and light tartar sauce made with Greek yogurt, these salmon cakes are a delicious weeknight meal. Plus, they’re ready in less than a half hour!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 egg white
  • 2/3 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt, divided
  • Zest from 1 lemon plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • Generous pinch celery seed
  • 2 slices sourdough bread, crusts removed (3.5 ounces)
  • 1 pound cooked* boneless, skinless salmon, preferably sustainably sourced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped capers
  • 3 teaspoons organic canola oil or avocado oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons chopped dill
  • 2 teaspoons relish
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain or Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk egg white, 1/3 cup Greek yogurt, zest, ¼ teaspoon salt and celery seed in a large bowl.
  3. Process bread in food processor until it forms coarse crumbs.
  4. Flake the salmon into small pieces.
  5. Add the breadcrumbs, the salmon, shallot and capers to the Greek yogurt mixture and stir thoroughly to work the salmon into the binders and it becomes a consistent texture that can be formed into cakes.
  6. Form the salmon mixture into 8 even cakes. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook four salmon cakes until browned on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip over and brown on the second side, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the salmon patties to the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Add the remaining teaspoon oil. Reduce heat to medium. Cook the remaining 4 patties until browned on both sides, 1 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the patties to the baking sheet.
  8. Bake the salmon cakes until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1/3 cup Greek yogurt, lemon juice, the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, mayonnaise, dill, relish, mustard and pepper in a small bowl.
  10. Serve the salmon cakes with the light tartar.

Notes

Tip* To Cook the salmon, bake on an aluminum foil-lined sheet pan at 450 degrees F convection until cooked through, 12 to 14 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon filet. Let cool before proceeding.

To zest a lemon, wash the lemon, then remove only the outer yellow part of the skin with a rasp-style grater or Microplane grater. If you do not have one, you can peel a few wide strips of lemon peel (do not take any of the bitter white pith) and then finely mince the skin with a chef’s knife. A handheld zester works too of course!

The Tartar sauce can be made up to three days ahead. Store covered in the refrigerator. Stir well before serving.

To reheat the salmon cakes. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Lay salmon cakes out on the baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until sizzling hot.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Category: main course
  • Method: Stove-Top and Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 cakes 2 tablespoons sauce
  • Calories: 399
  • Fat: 23 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 17 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 31 g

Keywords: Salmon, Salmon Cakes, Healthy Salmon Cakes, Greek Yogurt Tartar Sauce, Lemon Caper Salmon Cakes, Salmon Cakes Recipe, Salmon Patties