Thai Salmon Cakes with Basil Lime Mayonnaise

4.78 from 9 votes
1 hour 45 minutes
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Thai Salmon Cakes with Basil Lime Mayonnaise is a combination of two of summer’s best–healthful salmon and fresh basil!  They’re easy to make and freeze great!

Photo of Thai Salmon Cakes with Basil - Lime Mayonnaise with some of the salmon cake on a fork garnished with lime wedges.

If you are apprehensive about preparing wild salmon correctly, you can’t go wrong with these crispy Thai salmon cakes.  The assertive flavors in Thai cuisine pair well with the richness of salmon to create this lovely dish that doubles as an entrée or appetizer.

The inspiration behind this recipe:

There are some things you can’t wait for anymore when spring rolls around–like fresh basil!

Because spring is working hard at making an appearance here in the South, I’ve been purchasing little pots of basil from the produce department rather than the little plastic packs of sprigs that were picked days prior to their arrival in the store.  You know, the ones you only buy out of desperation!

So far, I’ve been able to keep my little produce department plants going on a windowsill, but I can tell they are yearning to be outside.  Soon they will become part of our backyard for some major kick-ass basil loveliness we can enjoy all summer long!

These Thai salmon cakes pair beautifully with the basil and fresh lime-infused aioli.  Use Thai basil if you can find it.  If not, any fresh basil will do.

Tips for making Thai Salmon Cakes with Basil Lime Mayonnaise:

  • Fourteen ounces of fresh salmon (or two 7-ounce portions) is the perfect amount for two people.  However, because salmon is combined with other ingredients when making cakes or patties such as these, you get a little more bang for your buck as this recipe makes eight cakes.
  • Any leftover salmon cakes will reheat beautifully in the oven.
  • These Thai Salmon Cakes also freeze well and don’t need to be thawed before being placed in the oven to reheat which is ideal when you need a quick meal.
  • To cook salmon prior to forming into patties, simply bake to a point where it can be flaked.  Don’t be concerned if it’s still a bit raw, it will finish cooking when browned.
  • I like to use a 1/3-cup measuring cup to create uniform-sized cakes. Fill it to just below the rim, then invert onto a baking sheet.
  • It’s important for the cakes to “set up” before browning so they don’t fall apart. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about an hour or in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Photo of Thai Salmon Cakes with Basil - Lime Mayonnaise on black plate garnished with lime wedges and arugula.

Serve with:

More great fish cake recipes:

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Thai Salmon Cakes with Basil Lime Mayonnaise

4.78 from 9 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef's Kitchen
Thai Salmon Cakes with Basil Lime Mayonnaise is a combination of two of summer's best--healthful salmon and fresh basil!  They're easy to make and freeze great!
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Fish and Seafood
Cuisine Thai
Servings 4
Calories 1160 kcal



  • 14 ounces wild salmon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • 2 scallions - white and light green part only, finely chopped
  • ¼ small red bell pepper - finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice - about 1 large lime
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red curry paste - or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
  • ½ cup panko - plus more for coating cakes
  • 1 large egg - beaten
  • ½ cup canola oil - or vegetable oil for frying

Basil Lime Mayonnaise

  • 1 cup mayonnaise - regular or reduced-fat
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice - about 1 large lime
  • 1 jalapeno pepper - seeded if desired, chopped
  • 8-10 large leaves fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic - coarsely chopped


Salmon Cakes

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season salmon with salt and black pepper. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until salmon is almost cooked through and can be flaked. Cool 15 minutes.
  • Combine scallions, red bell pepper, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, ginger, fish sauce, red curry paste, chili garlic sauce and panko in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and black pepper, adjusting any other seasoning as desired.
  • Flake salmon into the bowl, add the egg and gently stir to combine. Form into 8 uniform cakes. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour or in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Coat salmon cakes with panko.
  • Heat oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet or sauté pan.
  • Place salmon cakes in hot oil, working in batches if necessary. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 2-3 minutes per side or until nicely browned.
  • Place on a cooling rack to drain set on a baking sheet or on aluminum foil.

Basil Lime Mayonnaise

  • Combine aioli ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. Serve with salmon cakes.


Prep time includes the time for them to set up in the refrigerator.
MAKE-AHEAD: Form into cakes and refrigerate covered up to 8 hours. Cook per directions.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY: Cook per directions, cool, then freeze. Reheat in the oven or toaster oven 20-25 minutes.


Serving: 4 | Calories: 1160kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 94g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 76g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 191mg | Sodium: 1019mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    First time ever commenting! These are so delicious. I live in Alaska and don’t love salmon but have lots of fishermen in my house. I’ve made them several times for different friends and they are always raves about. I had to use red onion instead of scallions once and preferred it. Definitely try these!

    1. Hi, KP, Thanks so very much and so happy everyone enjoys! You could also use regular yellow onion, too if that’s what you can find but cook it a bit first. Thanks again!

  2. 5 stars
    These were amazing! I didn’t have fresh salmon so used canned, and they were still so good. My husband, who normally is lukewarm about salmon cakes, can’t stop raving about them.
    This recipe is definitely a keeper.

    1. Hi, Patty, Thanks so much for your question. I’m not so sure about sesame oil as I think it may compete with the other Thai flavors. If you end up trying it, let me know how it worked. Thanks again!

  3. These were fantastic! I’ve been making the same “classic salmon cake” with Old Bay forever. These flavors were so great and different. I always make my salmon cakes with canned salmon; saves time and money!

    1. Hi, Kristen, Thanks so very much and so glad you enjoyed! Canned salmon is definitely an option. I’ve made these three months in a row for a personal chef client; they can’t get enough! Thanks again!

  4. I don’t understand the reason for pre cooking the salmon. Chop up fresh raw salmon and mix with other ingredients Cooks just fine. I would appreciate a response if there is something I am missing

    1. Hi, Bob, Thanks so much for your input! If that method works well for you then that’s great. I’m not a big fan of mincing and chopping raw proteins and the clean-up that goes along with it. Thanks again!

  5. I was busy pinning away on the thread when I came on this recipe — WOW! I love the sound of the flavors. I just posted about wild salmon — can’t beat the taste. I am definitely making these cakes ASAP. Thank you, Carol. Hope your house is back to normal soon. 🙂

  6. Love the flavors you have in these salmon cakes. I’m always looking for new ways to use salmon and will definitely be trying this recipe.