Unforgettable Fish Cakes

In a few weeks, I will press “Publish” on my one-thousandth post for this blog. ONE THOUSAND. That’s a lot of words, a lot of years, and wow it’s a lot of recipes. It probably explains why I might look a little blank when I run into friends who tell me “I loved that pork chop with kale recipe or “your pasta with ham and peas was such a hit with the kids!” Because sometimes I have to think real hard to pull them up from my cobwebby memory. These fish cakes, though, THESE FISH CAKES, I will never forget about. Probably because I’ve been making them regularly for over 15 years and they deliver on family-friendly deliciousness every time. I realized the other night that the recipe exists only in my first book — not out here in the wild world of the internet — and wanted to change that. You’re welcome!

Fish Cakes
From Dinner: A Love Story

For the Dipping Sauce
1⁄2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

For the Fish Cakes
3 firm flaky whitefish fillets, such as cod or orange roughy (about 1 1⁄4 pounds total)
1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 large baking potato, baked and flaked (bake it in the microwave for 10 min- utes so it’s quick)
Handful of cilantro, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (panko or regular), seasoned with salt and pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
lime wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 450°F. To make the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lime juice, sugar, and cilantro and set aside.
To make the fish cakes: Sprinkle fish fillets with the chili powder, oregano, and salt and pepper and roast 5 to 7 minutes, until cooked through. Let cool, then using a fork, flake into pieces.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, egg, and lime juice. Add the fish to the bowl along with the potato, cilantro, and more salt. Toss and, if you have time, refrigerate for 30 minutes. (This will make it easier to pack the mixture into patties, but it’s not a do-or-die move.)
Pack the fish mixture into patties and coat each in bread crumbs that have been spread on a dinner plate. (If you haven’t had time to chill the mixture, the patties will be delicate, so do this carefully. Also: I find wetting your hands helps to prevent sticking.)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the patties in batches of four and cook until the crusts are golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Serve with the lime wedges and dipping sauce.

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Filed under: Dinner, Seafood

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Barbara Bliley

OMG I’m so excited you posted this! My kids are 3 and 5 and store-bought frozen fish sticks are currently the only way I can get them to consume anything from the ocean. I’ve been searching for a decent homemade version with little luck but your recipes always seem to turn out beautifully so I can’t wait to try these! Thank you!


I buy cod fillets and cut them into pieces the length of my index finger (about 3″) and a little wider. Dredge in flour, dip in egg and then panko. I shallow fry them in oil. They’re better than any fish stick I ever bought. I also use these for fish tacos.

I’m going to have to try the fish cakes. They sound delicious! Also the pasta with ham and peas.


Love this post! You need to go out & celebrate your 1000th post. You deserve to be wined & dined yourself! Such a great accomplishment, and all of us who follow are grateful.

Jenna Bruning

Ahhh! 1000!!! That is so awesome! As a lover of lists and celebrations I think you should make a giant list. Getting to 1000 things on one topic might be difficult. Maybe go to 100 on each topic. Like top 100 greatest blog comments. Top 100 favorite dinners. Top 100 favorite blog moments. Etc. I guess you would need 10 categories. Or more if you make the list smaller than 100. That’s my first idea…that and a party. Of course. Always a party!!


I recently found your blog and it’s great! I was so happy to see this recipe today. I’ve been looking for a fish cake recipe to try because, while my husband is a huge cod fan, I am not, and I think this recipe will make even me think cod is delicious!


i’ve made these before! thanks for the reminder (i swear: i came here b/c i was looking for inspiration for some frozen cod i want to thaw and cook tomorrow!). these are a big family hit, but to require a bit more hands-on time (and time in general) for a weeknight meal. i’ll have to sneak out of work a bit early. totally worth it!


Cake. Always celebrate with cake. (And some champagne of course!)
For DALS: maybe a recipe of a dish that you love, but would never publish on DALS because the kids won’t eat it?

Alison Kilpatrick

I make these at least once a week and my kids love them. Actually, many of my weeknight meals are from your site – Black bean Burritos, Ditali pasta… Keep on being awesome!


I love that pork chop recipe! To celebrate, maybe you should take a break. How about asking readers to tell you their favorite DALS recipe and why.


My whole family loves these fish cakes – thanks for putting it out onto the web for others to love! I’ve tried many variations but my kids always want it the way that you wrote it. Just delicious – and really I never thought I’d be that enthusiastic about fish cakes but I am…. And thanks for all the blog posts over the years!


take a poll of DALS readers’ fav recipes from your blog. no matter what the results, have the fam cook the winning entree, side, and dessert for dinner that night, then blog about how it all tasted together! could be an adventure! i’m late to the party—was just introduced to your blog and cookbooks a few months ago (embarrassing!), and am only about 100 pages into cooking my way through DALS—so i won’t vote, but i’ll totally cook the winning recipes! congrats on the milestone!


These sounds delicious! Could you refrigerate overnight or freeze patties so these are even faster on a weeknight? I try to do a lot of prep on Sundays. Seems like we’re always racing to feed the toddler before meltdown city.


Yum, these sound great. Do you think it would work with greek yoghurt instead of mayo? Also is Orange Roughy not on an indangered list, what other white sustainable fish do you recommend?


We had these for supper tonight! My four year old had three helpings (half a fish cake)!!!
Thanks for such an awesome recipe!


Do you think I could use leftover mashed potatoes instead of the potato?



I’ve made these twice, and both times they were a major hit in our house, but mine completely fall apart. They are so delicate. How do you keep them in a patty shape? I’ve even added extra egg and crumbled saltines to bind them with no luck. Help!