Fish Cakes on a white plate with a lemon slice and tartar sauce

I’m a huge fan of all things seafood, and these fish cakes are no exception. I first made them two years ago for New Year’s Eve, and they were a hit, and this year I plan to make them for Christmas (along with my Canadian meat pie) I’ve tweaked the recipe a little since, though.

I’ve simplified it, and limited the ingredients to make these cod cakes a more realistic option for weeknight dinners and last minute get-togethers. Fish cakes a great alternative to crab cakes – especially if you’re on a budget.

They’d also be a great way to use up leftover fish, if you have it. I’ve laced them with my favorite seafood seasoning, and I paired them with my favorite homemade tartar sauce. You could also serve your fish cakes with your favorite remoulade (think like a crab cake here!) or cocktail sauce for something a little lighter.

aerial view of Fish Cakes on a white plate with a lemon slice and tartar sauce

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Here’s what you’ll need to make these cod fish cakes

  • Baked cod (or other flaky white fish, such as pollack or haddock)
  • Panko breadcrumbs (make sure you check the ingredients for dairy free)
  • Green onions
  • Eggs
  • Lemon juice
  • Old Bay (or your favorite seafood seasoning)
fish cake ingredients in a large bowl

How to prepare your cod

Start by cooking your cod. You can prepare it anyway you want, as long as it’s cooked through. If you have enough leftovers from another meal, that’s even better.

I usually chose to bake mine because I think it’s the easiest option. To bake your cod, put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Season it liberally with salt & pepper, and bake for 20 – 25 minutes at 350˚F.

quarter sheet with uncooked fish cakes

How to make 6 ingredient fish cakes

Place all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir together with a fork, flaking the fish as you go. The texture may seem a bit dry, but I promise they won’t be once they’re cooked. When the ingredients are evenly mixed, it’s time to portion them out.

You can make your cakes any size you want, but I prefer mine a bit smaller. I used a two tablespoon scoop to measure them evenly, and then pressed them flat into the shape I wanted. The larger your cakes are, the longer they will take to cook.

More 5 ingredient mains: slow cooker beef tacos /walnut crusted salmon / beer brined chicken drumsticks / baked stuffed pork chops

close up of Fish Cakes on a white plate with a lemon slice and tartar sauce

Fry your fish cakes

Once your cakes are all measured out, heat a large skillet to medium-high and add your cooking oil of choice. You can really use any type of oil here since your pan won’t be getting super hot. I’ve used both olive oil and canola oil. Just use whatever you have on hand.

Fry your fish cakes in two batches so you have enough room for flipping. I used my regular plastic spatula, but if you have a fish spatula, this would be a really great time to use it (the extra length helps you be maneuver a little better).

Let your fish cakes fry on the first side for about 3 minutes before flipping them. They should release on their own without much effort.

If they seem stuck, don’t force it. Wait a little longer and they will release on their own.

This will help prevent your fish cakes from breaking and ensure you get that nice golden-brown color. If you’re worried about them getting cold, keep your first batch warm in the warm oven while you fry the next batch.

aerial view of Fish Cakes on a white plate with a lemon slice and tartar sauce

This fish cakes recipe would pair really well with:

More great appetizer recipes:


6 Ingredient Fish Cakes

These quick and easy fish cakes are fun appetizer or main course made with cod, or you favorite white fish. Pair them with homemade tartar sauce to really take this recipe to a new level.

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 16 fishcakes 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Frying
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1 pound cooked cod
  • 3/4 cup panko
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon Old Bay
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking oil


  1. Place ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir the ingredients together with a fork, breaking apart the fish, until evenly combined.
  2. Portion mixture into patties (about 2 tablespoons each).
  3. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with cooking oil and heat to medium-high. Fry fish cakes in batches until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 217
  • Sugar: 1.4 g
  • Sodium: 784.2 mg
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 12.7 g
  • Fiber: 0.9 g
  • Protein: 25.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 145.1 mg

Keywords: dairy free, seafood, fish, cod, easy, 5 ingredient

Last Updated on November 5, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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Recipe rating


  1. Hands down the best brownie recipe ever. My 18 month old is allergic to dairy and my husband couldn’t tell the difference and thought I got the brownie batches mixed up… Little did he know I only made one kind dairy free.

  2. 6 ingredient fish cakes were soooo delish and super easy!! A huge hit in our house! made the tarter sauce as well, so good and enough to keep in the fridge for later!!

  3. I am a huge fan of fish and these cakes are definitely at the top of my list. So much flavor and the tartar sauce I could eat with everything. A little squeeze of fresh lemon and the dish was complete for me! 🙂

  4. Tried the fish cake tonight. my 3.5 year old did the mixing. Husband and I loved it, simple yet so flavorful. Thank you.

    1. Love these fish cakes! I’ve also used salmon as an alternate fish, and added chopped bell peppers, onions and mushrooms.

    1. The quantities are listed in the recipe card! If you click the jump to recipe button at the top of the post it will take you there, otherwise just scroll until you find it!

  5. I really liked this one because the ingredients are simple. But, understand I did not use all of the listed ingredients. I substituted everything except the lemon juice. I had two large pieces of Perch, a similar texture; white onion; Pepperidge Farms herb seasoned classic stuffing (from Xmas); a serrano pepper. Quarantine has definitely made me have to be resourceful and stretching meals, while doing something different. Being raised on the east coast we ate fresh fish all the time. My husband loves them. So, this is a good way to push more fish. Thanks from Tijauna!

  6. This was my first time making fish cakes and we loved them! The recipe was so easy to follow and it was delicious!

  7. College student here! Made this recipe using left over tilapia and some Steak N Shake seasoning and it turned out amazing. Will do it again, hopefully with tartar sauce next time!

  8. These were amazing!! My first time trying and they came out fantastic.

    Can we use crab or shrimp instead of fish?

  9. Great recipe.
    Also, please amend your recipe key by removing “egg free”. the recipe calls for 2 eggs!

    1. I don’t have this labeled as egg free, so I’m not sure what you are referring to, but I’m glad you liked the recipe!

    1. I’m not sure where you’re located, but any seafood seasoning should work. I think a Cajun seasoning would be great too!

  10. Great recipe….much easier than some of the other recipes I looked at…First time fish cake maker and I am pleased with turn out….thanks for sharing….Old Bay makes everything BETTER!!!!

    1. I’m sure you could, but you’ll need to adjust the cooking time to make sure the fish is cooked through.