They Won’t Take Cod Liver Oil? Try These Salmon Patties!

January 9, 2014 · 27 comments


Is it “salmon patties” or “salmon cakes” – anyone know the difference?

Kent and I have never liked salmon.  In the past year or so we’ve had it at a two different friends’ houses and loved it, but couldn’t pull it off ourselves.  It always had such a strong fishy taste.  So we weren’t real hopeful about this recipe, but knowing that salmon is so nutrient-dense (high in omega-3’s and anti-oxidants!), we wanted to give it a shot and find a way we could get the kids eating it, too.

Can’t get the kids (or yourself) to take your cod liver oil like you should?  (Read about the benefits of fermented cod liver oil.)Infused coconut oil

Kent is Mr. ex-Marine with so much self-discipline that he annoys me at times, and he takes his cod liver oil/coconut oil blend every. single. morning.  He says if he doesn’t, his skin dries out very noticeably.  (Get it here.)  The kids and I aren’t always as consistent as we should be with our fermented cod liver oil, so if we can get more fish into our diets, even better.  (Have you read about how FCLO is my all-natural chill-pill?  And how it keeps us from getting sick?!)  Plus salmon is pretty economical, too.

Check out Chris Kresser’s post for more on the comparison of eating fish vs. cod liver oilThe Fish vs. Fish Oil Smackdown

Turns out that natural wins again.  Real fish is better, BUT cod liver oil (especially the real food kind we get) is a close second!  However, it’s good to know that Weston A. Price was right again about the power of healthy pastured fats in your meal, because Chris also says this, “On the other hand, taking fish oil capsules with a high-fat meal can greatly improve their absorption, to the point where they may be on par with whole fish. (I say “may be” because the scientific literature is mixed on this.) This is likely due to the effect described above, where the presence of other fats activates the body’s fat absorption mechanisms.”  (So that’s another reason that the combo/CLO blend pictured above is so good for you, there’s pastured butter right in with the CLO.)

Wonder which kind to buy?

This brand is less money, but this brand I trust more.  Even better is this one that I believe comes in BPA-free cans (but couldn’t verify that before posting – search “salmon” there and scroll down to find the canned).  All three have the only ingredient listed as wild-caught salmon, NO preservatives like the kinds at the store!

Warning:  It’s not like tuna when you open the can…with just tuna in there

Kent picked through it to get the bones and skin and icky stuff out.  (Yes, I’d have been a big girl and done it if he wasn’t here, but he was here and he’s just that awesome.  He cleans up, too!)  Once that’s done, it’s time to mix it up…

Update:  See the comments from Dani below, where I’m given a challenge to eat ALL of it, yikes!


  • 3 cans wild caught salmon (I get this kind or this kind or this kind – read more about those above – either the 6 oz. or the 7.5 oz. is fine)
  • About 2  cups bread crumbs or your favorite cracker crumbs (Try these sourdough crackers!  Or this soaked bread recipe.  I used 4 oz. crackers plus 2 slices of fermented bread from our local baker.)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Herbs and seasonings to your taste – we used the following:
  • Optional – I’ve seen recipes calling for a spoonful of mayo (here’s my homemade mayo recipe), minced onion, chopped bell peppers, celery, parsley – you could try lots of things!  My goal main was getting it by the kids this time.  :)
  • Optional – you might want to dip it in a sour cream sauce for more flavor (sour cream mixed with sea salt, pepper, and fresh lemon juice)
  • Optional – we served it with buttered pasta — you could use whatever is your favorite.  A rice pasta or quinoa pasta if you’re eating gluten-free, or if you eat regular pasta, then try the Einkorn pasta or spelt pasta that we love.


Use a food processor to make your crackers or bread into crumbs.  Once you get the salmon cleaned up as described above, mix it with the rest of the ingredients.  Form into patties and fry in plenty of ghee ’til golden brown, but not too done or it will dry out.  I used our favorite pan because I can cook so many at once.salmon-patties-3We were so happy when everyone ate this up.  It was a bit more bland than the super flavorful meals we normally like to make around here, but Kent and I agreed that A.  Adding extra herbs and seasonings could fix that; and B.  Anyone who likes a classic tuna fish casserole (with cracker crumbs on top) would also like this recipe, it tasted almost exactly the same.  Especially since we had it with buttered pasta.  And there was no over-powering salmon-fishy taste!


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    { 27 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Jeanne January 9, 2014 at 7:21 am

    I have been making salmon patties for years and my kids always ate them up. I make them early in the day and stick them in the freezer. The patties seem to hold up better when I fry them. We like them with spicy mustard.


    2 Steve January 9, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Any ideas if the brands linked to above are BPA-free?


    3 KitchenKop January 9, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Hi Steve,

    Look up in the post under “Wonder which kind to buy” and there’s a blurb on that.



    4 cindi January 9, 2014 at 9:50 am

    We eat salmon patties about once / week! I use dried rosemary and lemon juice – it’s a very economical dinner option! I’ve also heard canned salmon is good because they actually process the bones when they can it, so there’s more available calcium. Off to try it with fresh cilantro – yum!


    5 elaine January 9, 2014 at 9:54 am

    We love Salmon Patties – had them for dinner last night. They are one of my “pull a rabbit out of the hat dinners” when it’s 5:30 and I still don’t know what’s for dinner :) Being a southern gal I do things just a tad differently … just 3 ingredients: salmon, egg and enough cornmeal to make it hold its shape, coat the patties in more cornmeal and fry it in bacon grease … mmmmm. I always serve with mashed potatoes and a green veggie. We like to dip ours in ketchup and hopefully this won’t make you gag but cold, leftover patties are delicious, too!


    6 Caitlin January 9, 2014 at 11:16 am

    We’ll do this, or we will make salmon salad instead of tuna salad. :)


    7 Colleen January 9, 2014 at 11:17 am

    We LOVE salmon patties at my house…even my VERY picky 13-year old will eat them!!! Dill is another great spice with salmon. Mix up a little homemade mayonnaise or Greek yogurt, onion powder and dill to make a dipping sauce. Tzatziki sauce is also great with salmon patties.


    8 Dani January 9, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Oh, Lady, I gotta tell you a story. I will never forget the first time I opened a can of salmon. I, much like you, was seriously grossed out by all the random skins and bones in the can along with the tasty fish, and spent entirely too much time picking it out and wasting half of what was in the can. As I discussed it with a friend, she told me to ignore all that stuff, just close your eyes, turn your head, try not to think about it, but mix it all into whatever you’re making (I was making salmon melts with all sorts of goodies mixed in, including crunchy pumpkin seeds), and enjoy the extra calcium. You know what? I did it, and I never looked back. When she told me that she looks for those little vertebraes and takes them out and eats them for the pop, I nearly gagged, but then I got over it, and I use the entire contents of the can. No missing goodness that way!
    Try it, especially in this form–you might be surprised at how when you notice it, you’ll notice a satisfying, “Ah, a little extra calcium and magnesium, YUM!” and before you know it, you’ll be a full-fledged fan!


    9 Dani January 9, 2014 at 11:23 am

    “in this form” – as in, your cakes/patties form. Add some walnuts or pecans, something with some substance, and you might not be able to tell the difference between the nuts and the bones! I had a friend that broke her hand and I suggested she eat the whole salmon from cans (she’s not a real foodie, so I couldn’t convince her bone broths would help, but she does high protein stuff, paleo style), and her doctor was amazed at how quickly the bone healed up.


    10 KitchenKop January 9, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Hi Dani,

    Wow… You’ve got my brain cooking. Just not sure I can do this, but I never thought I’d be able to put chicken feet in my homemade broth either and I did that! :) (Check out the pictures here!

    I’m wondering, maybe if I threw it all into my food processor and grind the heck out of it and THEN add in nuts or something crunchy like you suggested, maybe…

    Thanks for challenging me!


    11 Dani January 9, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    That’s funny, I hadn’t seen that post before now! It’s from about 3 1/2 years ago, and look how far we’ve (BOTH!) come since leaving the SAD life. I’ll never forget the first time I made chicken feet broth, I’d read somewhere to remove the toenails (I still can’t decide if it’s less icky to call them claws, talons… ew), so I actually cut them all off… OH the things we learn are totally unnecessary! Whole feet now go in with whatever leftover bones remain to make broth.
    Glad you’re up to The Fishbone Challenge; you’ll have to report back on the results! I haven’t had salmon in a while (moving; ugh, can’t cook ANYTHING when there might be showings, and let’s not open a smelly can of fish, either LOL), but I’m going to have to pick some up, and I swear, I’m gonna grab out one little vertebra and smack down on it, thinking about you the whole while!


    12 KitchenKop January 10, 2014 at 3:52 pm



    13 Barb January 9, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    I always dump out the can and use the back of a large spoon to mash it all up. The bones are so soft that they mash up easily! Much easier than trying to pick out bones and skin – and good for you too!!


    14 elaine January 9, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    I mash mine up with a fork before stirring in other ingredients and get fussed at by my kids if I mash too thoroughly – they love to find one of the little round bones and crunch it! haha – knew you’d love that, Kelly!!


    15 KitchenKop January 10, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Wow, you’ve got adventurous kids. If that happened with my kids, they might never go near it again! LOL.



    16 Lisa January 9, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Gosh, doesn’t anybody make Salmon LOAF?? I am way too lazy to make all those patties. I buy the large cans of wild caught, use two, throw in a couple eggs, a generous handful of oats, seasonings, chopped celery and onion and a tiny can of tomato paste…and I get an awesome loaf that lasts hubby and I two meals and a small lunch. Yep…way too lazy to make patties, so much easier to do a loaf!


    17 KitchenKop January 10, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Hey Lisa, that’s a great idea!



    18 J in VA January 9, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Sadly, these days we don’t eat Alaskan salmon–too much concern about radiation leaking from the Japanese Nuclear Reactor and its waste water.

    It’s heartbreaking—I love salmon!!

    Starting to wonder about cod liver oil too……………………….


    19 elaine January 9, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Yeah – me, too. Anyone else care to weigh in?? In one of the articles I read about it, they mentioned salmon from the cold waters of the northeast coast (Maine, Nova Scotia, etc.) and even Scotland. I have seen smoked salmon from Scotland and have used it in a recipe that we love – it was delicious.


    20 KitchenKop January 10, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    I found another article by Chris Kresser that addresses this!



    21 elaine January 9, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Here’s another way to get some salmon in (without any bones!). Butter a couple of ramekins and shred up a couple of tablespoons (I use my fingers) of smoked salmon. Break an egg over that and cover the egg with a tablespoon or two of cream (or milk). You can add any number of other things or keep it really simple (diced tomatoes, avocado, herbs, spices, etc.). Broil till set and bubbly or bake if you like your egg a little more well set. Delish!! This is from the person who gagged over eggs until about 3 years ago and slowly trained myself to like them.


    22 elaine January 9, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    I should probably add that the smoked salmon is pretty pricey (at least in my book) but we get at least 3 breakfasts of about 4 ramekins out of one package of the salmon. I divide the remainder up after the first cooking and freeze in small containers for the other 2 meals.


    23 Barbara Ienuso January 10, 2014 at 8:46 am

    I used to hate salmon too. I then learned I was eating the wrong kind! I was buying farmed salmon and it always tasted very fishy. I have learned since that wild sockeye is really healthy and started cooking that. Now there isn’t an overly strong fishy taste. I love it! I accidentally bought farm raised two weeks ago, and still hate the taste.


    24 jeanne January 10, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Just read Dani’s comment about ignoring the “stuff” in the can. One of my friends uses a hand held mixer and just mixes all the stuff together with the salmon. I am going to try Elaine’s egg dish. Another great way to use salmon is in a cream cheese dip- combine a 16 oz. can salmon drained and flaked with 8 oz. cream cheese, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp minced onion, 1 tsp horseradish (or more) 1/4 tsp salt. Chill mixture for several hours. Combine 1/2 cup toasted walnuts (almonds or pecans) and 3 tbsp parsley. When mixture is chilled shape into a log or ball. Roll in nuts/ parsley. Serve with crackers/ toasted pita chips or bagel chips. We spread leftovers on toasted bagels.


    25 Paula January 10, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Salmon to fishy? Do not like canned salmon? There is a reason. Farmed fish is the vast majority of what is sold in supermarkets. And all too often, pink salmon is colored with food coloring, to pass it off as the much more desired sockeye/red salmon.
    And canned? Here in Alaska, we tend to not eat it so much. Its generally reserved for feeding sled dogs.
    It is bland and not all that fatty. When we do land a fresh one, we will beer batter it, which really ramps up the flavor considerably.
    This is not to say it is not nutritious, but it can help you in realizing why salmon is just not working for you.


    26 Craig Giddens January 22, 2014 at 9:07 am

    I buy sweet potatoes, peel them and cut them up in chunks and cook them on the stove (you could also microwave them). I then mash the sweet potatoes and mix it with the salmon and then make the patties.


    27 Cameo March 31, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    I’m making this tonight. I subbed 1/2 cup of potato flour for 1 cup of the bread crumbs (the other cup was made from the dried up butt of a gluten-free loaf I forgot was wrapped in a towel in a basket on the baker’s rack – can’t believe I forgot it, hm), summer savory for the cilantro, 2 T minced fresh garlic, and 1/2 cup minced fresh onion. I’m not sure there will be any left for frying, it’s so tasty already!


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