by Olena

Salmon Burgers

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Olena Osipov
5 from 9 votes

These Salmon Burgers are packed with wild salmon, red lentils, and several aromatics for a juicy, pescatarian treat. Pan-fry the salmon burger patties until golden and serve up in a bun or lettuce with mango slaw or freeze for later; this salmon burger recipe is just waiting to impress!

Need to feed a big crowd? Why not check out my healthy burger recipes for black bean burgers, chicken burgers, or turkey burgers!

Salmon Burgers

Grilling season is slowly but surely creeping up on us (and I can’t wait to get the cedar plank salmon and salmon on the grill), but in the meantime, it’s great to have a simple salmon burger recipe I can pan-fry any day of the week for a nutrient-dense, flavor-packed treat. These salmon burgers are one of my family favorites; because eating burgers feels decadent and like a treat to my children! – but these are healthy.

I used to buy salmon burgers from Costco, as I loved that they were made with wild salmon. I wasn’t, however, a fan of the canola oil on the ingredients lists and that it was evident that A LOT of oil had been used to prepare them. That’s when I came up with the idea to make homemade salmon burgers! While I do have a recipe using canned salmon already, this uses fresh wild salmon.

Healthy, Fresh Whole Foods Salmon Burgers

One of the best things about making any food at home from scratch is being 100% in control of every single ingredient that you’re going to eat. Burgers don’t have to be full of unhealthy fats and laden down with grease.

These salmon burgers are filled with healthy fats, omega fatty acids, protein, B vitamins, potassium, B vitamins, antioxidants – and that’s all just from the salmon. Add in the red lentils, which contain several vitamins and minerals as well as additional protein and fiber – and you have yourself a genuinely nutrient-dense whole foods salmon burger combination.

Pack in flavor (without overwhelming the salmon) with additional aromatics like onion and garlic, use an egg as a binder (more protein!), and that’s all you need for the best salmon burger recipe!

salmon burger on a plate served over mango coleslaw

Use the minimum amount of oil needed to pan-fry the burgers for crispy results without weighing them down with oils, and you have a light yet filling lunch or dinner.

Within this post, I’ll take you through how to cook salmon burgers, what to serve with salmon burgers, how to store them – and a few top tips, too! Best of all, you probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen right now.

Ingredients and Substitutions

For the salmon burger patties:

  • Red lentils: Not only do they add extra protein and fiber, but they’ll be a ‘binder’ and they’re the same color as the fish, so blend in perfectly, and you can’t even tell they’re there (promise!). You can try to replace them with breadcrumbs or quinoa if needed, but I haven’t tried this.
  • Salmon: I recommend buying wild salmon, not farmed. I use Sockeye salmon. Any wild species will work, pink, Coho, spring, etc. Tip: If you see ‘Atlantic’ on the package, then 9/10 its farmed! According to many readers, this recipe works perfectly with canned salmon, too.
  • Egg: You’ll need to use one egg to act as a binder for the salmon patties.
  • Aromatics: I used a simple blend of add-ins to enhance the flavor of the salmon burgers without overwhelming the salmon. I used onion, garlic, Dijon mustard, parsley, and salt and pepper. If dill is in-season, though, then I recommend using dill instead of parsley. Cilantro would also work.
  • Oil: I recommend either coconut or avocado oil for a neutral, high-heat option.

To assemble the burgers:

  • Burger buns: I like to use either whole wheat burger buns or ditch the bread entirely and use lettuce leaves for a low carb option. If you’re using bread, feel free to also include some lettuce leaves as a topping.
  • Mango slaw: I love how the sweetness of the mango slaw pairs with the salmon burgers. If you’re not a fan of sweet and savory, you could use this healthy coleslaw or Ukrainian vinegar coleslaw.

What Are Best Salmon Burger Toppings?

If the mango slaw doesn’t sound like ‘your thing,’ here are a few other salmon burger toppings:

  • Vegetables: Sliced tomato, red onion, and avocado (or guacamole) are all great options to put on a salmon burger. You could also substitute the lettuce for other leafy greens like arugula.
  • Sauce: Experimenting with different salmon burger sauce options can yield tons of fun variations and completely change the dish’s ‘vibe.’ While tartar sauce is a classic condiment with fish burgers, you could also use a creamy avocado sauce or guacamole, a herby dill and lemon yogurt sauce, tzatziki, a spicy mayo (or yogurt), etc. Other options include salsa guacamole, healthy ranch dressing, or healthy bbq sauce.

Read the how-to serve section for ideas on what to serve with salmon burgers!

How to Make Salmon Burgers 

  • Cook the lentils: Add your lentils to a small pot with water, cover, and bring to a boil. When boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, then set aside.
  • Make ground salmon: While the lentils cook, add the salmon to a food processor and pulse a few times until it’s finely chopped. Then transfer it to a large bowl. Don’t overprocess it into a mush, or the texture will be off! We don’t want a ‘paste,’ just finely chopped salmon bits, to retain texture. This method will save lots of time over hand mincing the salmon!
  • Prepare the salmon patty mixture: Add the onion and garlic to the food processor and process into a puree. Stop to scrape down the sides of the jug when needed. Then add it to the bowl with the salmon and add the lentils, egg, mustard, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix well using your hands until it’s thoroughly combined.
  • Shape the patties: Preheat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat with 1 tbsp oil. To form the salmon burgers, pack a ½ cup measuring cup with the mixture, then use your hands to shape it into a patty that’s around 1-inch in thickness (be careful, they’re delicate). Repeat this process with more of the mixture – enough to fill the pan. You’ll have to cook the burgers in batches.
  • Cook the salmon burgers: Add as many patties as possible to your heated skillet that can fit and cook for four minutes – or until the edges begin to turn white. Then carefully flip the burgers and cook for a further 4 minutes. Repeat this with the remaining mixture, adding more oil between each new batch.

To read about how to cook salmon burgers on the grill, go to the FAQs section. To check the burgers are ready, make sure that they feel firm when pressed in the middle. It should have lightened in color, be opaque, and flaky). Alternatively, you can use a thermometer to make sure the center of the burger is 145F.

What to Serve with Salmon Burgers?

When I think of what goes with salmon, there are a few ingredients that I naturally want to pair it with, including avocado, sweet potato, etc. Here are a few dishes that you could serve alongside the homemade salmon burgers.

How to Make Ahead and Store

Make ahead: You can assemble the salmon patties up to a day in advance and store them, covered, in the refrigerator. You can also freeze the raw burgers if preferred.

Store: Once baked, the salmon burgers will last in an airtight container within the fridge for up to 5 days.

Freeze: Allow the patties to cool entirely before laying them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freezing. Once frozen, transfer the now-solid burgers to a large Ziplock bag. You can reheat burger from frozen or allow them to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Reheat: The way you reheat the patties will change based on whether they’re frozen, uncooked, chilled. To reheat frozen uncooked salmon burgers – follow the same instructions above but add a splash of water to the pan and cover it (to allow the burgers to steam). For uncooked patties, add a few extra minutes added per side. For cooked patties, you won’t need quite as much time. Remove the lid to allow the burgers to brown at the end.

To reheat from chilled, just cook over low heat in the skillet until warmed through.

Pan Fried Stack of Salmon Burgers on a platter

FAQs

Can I omit the egg or substitute it?


I use the egg as a binder in this salmon burger recipe, which is critical while cooking the patties. You could experiment with using thick Greek yogurt in place of the egg. I recommend using between 2-3 tablespoons of Greek yogurt instead of one egg.

Feel free to use full fat, low-fat, or non-fat yogurt, based on what you have available.

Can I make salmon burgers without a food processor?


My processor saves a lot of time and effort (a blender should also work fine). However, it’s not technically impossible to make these burgers without one – though the textures will change.

You will need to hand-mince the salmon. The easiest way to do this is to chop the salmon almost like a fine grid, creating slices ½-inch (or less) apart. You can then go back over the salmon with your knife a few times to further slice some of the pieces.

For the onion and garlic – mince the garlic using a garlic grater/press/ or by hand, chopping and scraping it against your chopping board. Slice the onion in a similar way to the salmon but continue to chop until they are very fine pieces or use a grater. When using a food processor, I make it into practically a paste, so get it as fine as you can (before giving up)

Can you cook salmon burgers on the grill?

Yes, you should be able to. You just need to be careful, to avoid the salmon patties falling apart. Chill them for 40-60 minutes to help them hold together even better).

Make sure to clean and oil the grill well. Use a grilling silicone mat if you have one, or grill them over a piece of aluminum foil (sprayed with cooking spray).

Can you bake salmon burgers?


I can’t see why not, though I haven’t tried with this salmon burger recipe. I would recommend lightly searing the burgers first for the extra ‘crisp’ factor. Bake at 450F/230C for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway (carefully) – or until the burgers have an internal temperature of at least 145F/63C.

More Tips

  • Chill the patties: If you want to further ‘bind’ the patties, ready for cooking (especially if you plan to attempt cooking these salmon burgers on a grill), chilling them in the refrigerator for 20 minutes will help (an hour is even better when grilling).
  • Add a splash of lemon: As soon as the salmon burgers are cooked and ready to assemble, splash them with a little bit of lemon juice to brighten up and increase the ‘fresh’ flavors.  
  • Don’t puree the salmon: This is important. If you take your eye off the food processor, you might find you suddenly have a salmon puree which will yield gooey, mushy salmon burgers. All you want is a finely chopped consistency. That’s why it’s important to remove the salmon when you use the processor for the onion/garlic, too.
  • Don’t overcook the burgers: This might seem obvious, but it’s easy to think an extra few minutes won’t hurt when pan-frying items. Unfortunately, in the case of salmon burgers – you’ll end up with dry, tough burgers!
  • The salmon skin: I kept the salmon skin on for extra nutrients (you won’t feel or taste it in the burgers) in this salmon burger recipe. However, feel free to remove it with a sharp knife before processing the salmon.
  • Experiment with seasonings: With the actual patties themselves, feel free to experiment with the seasonings you use. I like to keep things very simple and allow the salmon to shine. However, feel free to add a little chili/cayenne powder, Cajun seasoning, Italian/Mediterranean herbs, etc.

More Healthy Salmon Recipes

You might also enjoy this collection of 15 healthy best salmon recipes!

Salmon Burgers

Juicy Salmon Burgers with Mango Slaw {Gluten Free Recipe}

These Salmon Burgers are packed with wild salmon, red lentils, and several aromatics for a juicy, pescatarian treat. Pan-fry the salmon burger patties until golden and serve up in a bun or lettuce with mango slaw or freeze for later; this salmon burger recipe is just waiting to impress!
5 from 9 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American Ukrainian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 10 patties
Calories: 198kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup red lentils uncooked
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 lbs salmon fillet cubed
  • 1 medium onion cubed
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp parsley finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp oil for frying
  • 10 whole wheat burger buns and/or lettuce leaves
  • Mango slaw

Instructions

  • In a small pot, add lentils and water, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Set aside.
    Salmon Burgers
  • In the meanwhile, add salmon to a food processor and pulse a few times until it has finely chopped texture. Do not over process into fine mush. Transfer to a large bowl.
    Salmon Burgers
  • Add onion and garlic to a food processor; process until pureed, stopping and scraping the sides of the bowl. Transfer to a bowl with salmon along with cooked lentils, egg, Dijon mustard, parsley, salt and pepper. Then mix well using your hands.
    Salmon Burgers
  • Preheat large non-stick skillet on medium heat and swirl about 1 tbsp of oil to coat. Pack 1/2 cup measuring cup with salmon mixture, using your hands form into a patty and place carefully on a skillet. Add as many patties as skillet can fit and cook for 4 minutes or until white edges appear. Carefully flip and cook for another 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining mixture, cooking in batches and adding more oil.
    Salmon Burgers
  • In the meanwhile, prepare Mango Slaw.
    Salmon Burgers
  • To serve, place warm salmon patty on a bun or lettuce leaves (my choice) and top with a slaw.
    Salmon Burgers

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.

    Freeze: Lay patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, freeze completely and transfer to a large Ziploc bag. Cook from frozen following recipe’s instructions + 5 minutes.

      Video

      Notes

      • Red lentils: Not only do they add extra protein and fiber, but they’ll be a ‘binder’ and they’re the same color as the fish, so blend in perfectly, and you can’t even tell they’re there (promise!). You can try to replace them with breadcrumbs or quinoa if needed, but I haven’t tried this.
      • Salmon: I recommend buying wild salmon, not farmed. I use Sockeye salmon. Any wild species will work, pink, Coho, spring, etc. Tip: If you see ‘Atlantic’ on the package, then 9/10 its farmed! According to many readers, this recipe works perfectly with canned salmon, too.
      • Egg: You’ll need to use one egg to act as a binder for the salmon patties.
      • Aromatics: I used a simple blend of add-ins to enhance the flavor of the salmon burgers without overwhelming the salmon. I used onion, garlic, Dijon mustard, parsley, and salt and pepper. If dill is in-season, though, then I recommend using dill instead of parsley. Cilantro would also work.
      • Oil: I recommend either coconut or avocado oil for a neutral, high-heat option.
      Please see Recipe Post for more Tips and FAQs.

      Nutrition

      Serving: 1patty (no bun) | Calories: 198kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 315mg | Potassium: 563mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 156IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 2mg
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      olena osipov in the studio

      Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

      My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

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