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Two golden pan-fried fish cakes on a plate.

Easy Fish Cakes

Crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside easy fish cakes that the whole family will love! A simple step-by-step recipe that's delicious served with tartare sauce and salad for a vegetarian midweek dinner.
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Dinner
Cuisine: western
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Chilling time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8 serves
Calories: 170kcal
Cost: $10


  • Stove-top


  • 400 g potatoes approximately 2 large
  • 450 g white fish see notes
  • 150 ml milk
  • 150 ml water
  • 1 egg approximately 55g
  • 30 g (2tbs) butter softened
  • 1 tbs chives fresh or dried, chopped
  • grated lemon zest of 1 lemon
  • 45 g (3 tbs) sour cream
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 2 cups panko crumbs for crumbing
  • vegetable oil for frying


  • Peel and chop the potatoes into even-sized chunks. Place into a saucepan, cover with water and boil for 15 minutes or until a fork can easily press through the potato.
  • Drain the water off the potatoes, mash with a fork and set aside.
  • Lay the pieces of fish in a large frying pan. Pour over the milk and water. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil.
    Lower the heat to a simmer and continue simmering for 5 minutes.
    Remove the pan from the heat and set aside (covered) for 10 minutes (the fish will continue to cook during this time).
    Gently remove the cooked fish and break into large pieces.
  • In a large bowl, place the mashed potato, fish pieces, egg, butter, chives, lemon zest, sour cream, salt and pepper. Mix together with a spoon until completely combined and the fish has flaked into smaller pieces.
  • Place the mixture into the fridge for 15 minutes.
  • Form the mixture into 8 equal sized patties. Flatten them slightly with your hands.
  • Coat the fish patties in the panko crumbs and place onto a plate. Chill in the fridge for a further 15 minutes (minimum). You can chill them for up to 1 day ahead if you like.
  • Heat 3-4 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. In batches, cook the fish cakes for 5 minutes on either side or until golden and crisp.
  • Serve with tartare sauce and salad.


Ingredients Info:
  • mashed potato – the mashed potato is the key ingredient for holding the fish cakes together. Therefore, I recommend boiling the potatoes and then draining well and mashing with a fork. There’s no need to add milk to the potatoes as we want the mash to be quite thick.
  • white fish – you can use any type of white fish you like. Here’s a few of my favourite options: flounder, ling, flake, haddock, snapper and cod.
  • chives – use finely chopped fresh or dried chives
  • lemon zest – this gives the fish cakes a lovely light citrus flavour
  • sour cream – the ultimate creamy and moist filling of the fish cakes is thanks to the sour cream!
  • panko crumbs – the fish cakes are coated in panko crumbs before pan-frying for a deliciously crunchy outside coating. You can substitute panko crumbs for regular breadcrumbs if you prefer.
More Recipe Tips:
Chilling the mixture - helps the patties to hold their shape when pan-fried.
Cooking the fish cakes - The cooking time will depend on the size of your fish cakes and on how long the mixture has been chilled for. I recommend cooking for 5 minutes on either side, until golden brown. You will know that they're cooked when you insert a knife into the middle of the filling and it comes out hot.
Storing – cooked fish cakes can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
Reheating – fish cakes can be reheated in the oven or microwave. Reheating in the oven will retain that beautiful crunchy outside, whereas using the microwave will make the fish cakes soft/soggy on the outside (the oven is the way to go!)
Freezing – the fish cakes mixture can be prepared up to the chilling step (before frying) and frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Place sheets of baking paper between each layer of fish cakes to stop them sticking together.
Defrosting – remove the fish cakes from the freezer and allow to defrost in the fridge (preferably overnight) before cooking.


Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 187mg | Potassium: 240mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 205IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 1mg