Salmon burgers are juicy and flavor-packed thanks to a few simple tips and this easy recipe. Add a dollop of Tzatziki sauce and these salmon patties are delicious burger-style, on a bed of arugula and veggies, or on their own.
This salmon burger recipe is sure to become part of your rotation. The dry, crumbly, and flavorless disks I often experienced at restaurants have left me wanting more. No more settling for lackluster, dry salmon patties! After some research and lots of testing, I learned a few techniques to create juicy salmon burgers every time!
As usual, we dialed things up in the flavor department. Just like with my Greek Lamb Burgers, a few Mediterranean-style embellishments take this salmon burger recipe to the next level. Green onion and herbs add bursts of freshness. A Mediterranean-style spice blend of coriander, tangy sumac, and sweet or smoked paprika adds to the intrigue. A final squeeze of lemon juice adds a tang to balance the rich, buttery salmon.
Texture is the other bone I have to pick with your average salmon patty recipe. I’ve found that mixing the breadcrumbs into the patty draws out all the moisture and dries out the salmon. I instead make these crabcake-style, using the breadcrumbs (feel free to use gluten-free) as a coating.
This makes the patties super tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. Rather than greedily stealing all the juices from your burger, the breadcrumbs get toasty, golden brown, and delicious in your pan!
Crunchy yet tender, flavorful yet versatile, these salmon burgers are a winner! Serve them perhaps with not-so-basic Greek-Style Oven Fries on the side. Or, use them as a healthy protein to top simple salads, like Lemony Arugula Salad with Avocado.
Table of Contents
Salmon Burger Ingredients
This salmon burger recipe is made with easy-to-find ingredients. Pan-seared until crispy, they can be made year-round.
- Salmon: Use skinless, boneless salmon fillet. If your salmon came with the skin on, simply slice it off with a sharp knife.
- Dijon mustard: Helps hold the salmon patties together. Dijon also adds a sharpness that lifts the richness of the salmon.
- Green onion: Sweet with a mild allium flavor, green onion adds depth. You can substitute with finely diced red onion or shallot if you’d like.
- Parsley: Herbs are essential to make salmon burgers light and fresh tasting. I love parsley here, but you can substitute with ¼ cup of dill or a combination of the two.
- Flavor makers: Coriander, sumac, sweet or smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper bring these salmon patties on a trip to the Mediterranean. Sumac is a household spice where I come from, with a bright flavor reminiscent of lemon zest. You can substitute with lemon zest if you’d like, or familiarize yourself with this incredible flavor booster via our spice shop.
- Breadcrumbs: Coat the salmon, giving it a beautiful golden-brown crust. If you’re avoiding gluten, feel free to substitute with gluten-free breadcrumbs.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Used to pan-sear the salmon patties. Because they’re coated in breadcrumbs, these patties absorb the flavor of the oil you use. Use a high quality variety (I love our buttery-smooth Italian Nocellara for this dish).
- Lemon: A fresh squeeze of lemon juice while the patties are still hot is a simple but essential step in this recipe. The lemon lifts the salmon patties, taking them from super rich and savory to light and delicious. Substitute lime if necessary, but don’t skip it!
- Tzatziki Sauce: All you need is cucumber, garlic, salt, Greek yogurt, and pepper to make your own. Or, grab tzatziki from the store to save time.
- Baby arugula: A handful of fresh arugula gives these salmon burgers a fresh, peppery crunch. If you’re serving as salmon patties atop salad, grab a full tub of greens. Dress simply with a squeeze of lemon and olive oil, or make yourself a batch of Ladolemono Greek Salad Dressing.
- Red onion: Thinly sliced red onion adds a kick. If you prefer a milder flavor, soak the slices in ice water for 15 minutes before draining and patting dry. Or, use pickled red onions.
- Tomato: A classic burger topping, tomatoes add another layer of freshness and acidity. I like Roma tomatoes, as they stay firm when they ripen.
- Serving options: Serve burger-style with bread, like whole wheat buns or Italian ciabatta rolls. Or, make a salad with more lettuce, fresh vegetables, or a side of crispy potatoes.
How to Make Salmon Burgers
Making salmon burgers is easy. Just make sure you leave yourself 30 minutes to allow the mixture to get to know itself. This makes it more flavorful and ensures it holds together.
- Process the salmon. Cut 1 ½ pounds of salmon into bite-sized chunks. Place about ¼ of the salmon in the bowl of a large food processor. Add 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard. Run the processor until the mixture is pasty. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Coarsely process the remaining salmon. Place the remaining salmon in the food processor. Pulse just a couple of times until it’s coarsely chopped into ¼-inch pieces. (Do not over-process this second batch of salmon. It should keep some texture without getting pasty.) Add to the bowl with the finely processed salmon.
- Flavor the salmon. To the bowl, add 2-3 tablespoons of minced green onions and 1 cup of chopped parsley. Season with 1 teaspoon each of coriander and sumac, and ½ teaspoon each of paprika and black pepper. Add a generous pinch of kosher salt and mix until combined. Cover and chill in your fridge for about 30 minutes.
- Get ready. While the salmon chills, make the Easy Tzatziki Sauce. Grab a few handfuls of arugula. Slice a tomato and red onion. Toast the burger buns (if using). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and line a plate with paper towels.
- Make the salmon patties. Spread the bread crumbs on a plate. Divide the chilled salmon mixture into 4 equal portions and form into patties, about 1-inch thick. Place each patty in the breadcrumbs and press to coat on one side. Flip and press on the other side to coat. Place the breaded salmon patties on the lined sheet pan.
- Cook salmon patties: Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high. Once the oil shimmers (but before it starts to smoke), carefully lower each of the patties into the hot oil. Cook until lightly browned on the bottom, then flip. Cook until the patty is medium-rare and lightly browned on both sides, about 4 minutes. Adjust heat as necessary during cooking to keep things sizzling and cooking well but without scorching the bread crumbs. The minimum internal temperature should be 115 to 120°F for medium-rare.
- Finish the salmon: Set cooked salmon burgers onto the paper towel-lined plate to drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt and finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
- Assemble: If you’re serving burger-style, spread the buns with a bit of tzatziki sauce. Add the salmon, then layer on the arugula, tomato and onion slices. Enjoy!
Top Five Tips for Making Salmon Burgers
You really can’t go wrong with this simple salmon burger recipe! They are a quick and easy weeknight dinner or a casual and festive main at a dinner party. Here’s some extra advice for making these salmon patties extra juicy and delicious:
- Allow the burgers to chill in your fridge. The salmon mixture takes about 30 minutes to relax and begin to stick together. If you try to form the patties right away, there’s a good chance they’ll fall apart in your pan. Let the patty mix chill while you get your toppings ready and maybe even wash any dishes you used. It’s worth the extra time!
- Avoid grinding the salmon too finely. To create the best texture, grind the salmon to two different consistencies. Finely ground salmon will act as the glue, holding the mixture together. Coarsely ground salmon will give it that fresh salmon texture and prevent overcooking.
- Form the ground salmon mixture into thicker burger patties. For a nice juicy salmon burger, it's important to avoid patting them down too much. A thin salmon patty is more prone to drying out. Think pub burger, not fast food burger!
- Avoid overcooking. Whether baked, grilled, or pan-seared, it is important to make sure you don't overcook salmon. It will take about 4 minutes to cook your salmon burgers on the stovetop, give or take a couple of minutes depending on their size. The salmon patties should be golden brown on the outside and pink on the inside.
- Add the breadcrumbs at the last minute. Use the bread crumbs at the very end to coat the raw salmon patties before cooking. This way, you can get the benefit of a beautiful crust on the outside, while keeping the salmon nice and moist on the inside. Honestly, this breading approach is one of my favorite things about this salmon burger recipe.
What to Serve with Salmon Patties
If you’re making these salmon patties burger-style, keep it classic with Greek-Style Oven Fries. Use any creamy-meets-tangy leftover tzatziki as a dipping sauce for the crispy oven-baked potatoes.
If you’re using these crispy salmon patties to top salads, you have so many tasty options on your hands. I often keep things simple with arugula and sliced seasonal veggies. Most of the time, this means squeezing a lemon over everything, drizzling on some olive oil, and maybe even giving it a good toss if I’m feeling fancy. Or, I’ll make myself a big batch of Greek Salad Dressing to use all week long.
Creamy avocado and buttery salmon are also a beautiful pairing. Fresh and herbaceous, simple Lemony Arugula Salad with Avocado would make the perfect bed for your savory salmon patties. A pitcher or two of refreshing Agua De València to sip on would make for a good afternoon backyard party situation!
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Create Your Own Bundle of Spices!
You can find all the flavor-makers you need for these Mediterranean-style salmon burgers in our online shop. Create your own bundle of coriander, sumac, sweet and smoked paprika and save.
- 1 ½ lb skinless salmon fillet, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2-3 tablespoon minced green onions (both white and green parts)
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground sumac
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Kosher Salt
- ⅓ cup unseasoned bread crumbs, or gluten-free breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon
- Tzatziki Sauce
- Baby arugula
- 1 red onion, sliced
- Toasted buns (like ciabatta or whole wheat), salad greens or potatoes
- Process the salmon: Place about ¼ of the salmon in the bowl of a large food processor. Add the mustard. Run the processor until the mixture is pasty. Transfer to a bowl. Place the remaining salmon in the food processor. Pulse just a couple of times until it’s coarsely chopped into ¼-inch pieces. (Do not over-process this second batch of salmon. It should not get too fine or pasty, it should still have some texture.) Transfer to the same bowl.
- Flavor the salmon: Add the green onions, parsley, coriander, sumac, paprika, and black pepper. Season with kosher salt. Mix well until the mixture is combined. Cover and chill in your fridge for about 30 minutes.
- Get ready: While the salmon chills, make the Greek Tzatziki Sauce according to this recipe. Prepare the arugula, sliced tomatoes, and the remaining toppings and buns to serve. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Make the salmon patties: Spread the bread crumbs on a plate. Divide the chilled salmon mixture into 4 equal portions and form into 1-inch thick patties. Place each patty in the breadcrumbs and press to coat on one side. Flip and press on the other side to coat. Place the breaded salmon patties on the lined sheet pan.
- Cook salmon patties: Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers (but before it starts to smoke), carefully lower each of the patties into the hot oil. Cook, flipping once, until medium-rare and lightly browned on both sides, about 2-4 minutes. Adjust heat as necessary during cooking to keep things sizzling and cooking well but without scorching the bread crumbs. The minimum internal temperature of the patty should be 115 to 120°F on an instant-read thermometer for medium-rare.
- Finish the salmon: Set cooked salmon burgers onto paper towels to drain any excess oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on top.
- Assemble the salmon burgers: If you’re serving burger-style, spread the buns with a bit of tzatziki sauce. Add the salmon, then layer on the arugula, tomato and onion slices. Enjoy!
- Nutrition facts are for the salmon patties only.
- Allow 30 minutes of inactive time for the salmon burger mixture to chill in the fridge. This is important, as it keeps them from falling apart as you cook them.
- Use the breadcrumbs only to coat the salmon patties before cooking. Breadcrumbs will absorb moisture and turn your salmon dry if you mix them into the patties.
- Don’t overcook the salmon patties! You're looking for the salmon burgers to form a nice golden crust on the outside, while the inside is tender and not dry.
- For a low carb option: ditch the bun, and turn the arugula and veggies into a quick salad. Toss it with lemon juice and some Greek extra virgin olive oil or Ladolemono Greek Salad Dressing. Or try another salad like avocado salad, or easy 3-ingredient Mediterranean salad or Shirazi salad.
- Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils, honey, jams and spices.
*This post originally appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2017 and has been recently updated with new information and media for readers' benefit. Enjoy!
Can i air fry the patties? if so what temp and how long? Thank you
I'm sure you can, Diane. It's not something we've tested before, though, so we can't really recommend a time/temp. I would take a look at your air fryers instruction/recipe book for some guidance here. If you give it a try, we'd love to hear your thoughts!
Looks delicious. Can't wait to try these with my alder wood smoked salmon!
Can you use garbonzo beans instead of salmon
That's an interesting question, CJ. We've never tried that before, so it's hard to say. You likely can with some adjustments.
Forgot the stars!
I made the patties using two cans of salmon. Fresh salmon would have been undeniably better, but mine were pretty darn good! I make salmon cakes often, but this recipe will now replace my mayonnaise-heavy old one. Just what I was looking for! Thanks.
Forgot to add-drain salmon well and remove skin and bones for this recipe.
I'll be honest ,I haven't tried this recipe - yet. But it does look good. I was wondering if canned salmon could work in place of the filets? My husband and I are looking to eat a Mediteranean diet and would love to try this recipe however fresh salmon is very expensive where we live.
Hi, Janette. That may work, but it's not something we've tried before with this recipe, so it's hard to say with 100% certainty. If you give it a go, please stop back and share your thoughts!