Salmon burgers with lemon-caper yogurt spread and crunchy fennel slaw. Hearty, healthy, and freezer-friendly, this salmon burger recipe will become a household favorite.
Why You'll Love these Salmon Burgers:
Even though this recipe has three components (patties, spread, and slaw), it's super simple. You'll also notice some repetition of the ingredients because they all work so cohesively together.
The trick to achieving the BEST salmon patty texture is to first broil the salmon until it's medium-rare. Then, flake it off the skin, mash it up with your other ingredients, and pan-sear until crisp. The broiling technique results in the ultimate melt-in-your-mouth, buttery texture and helps the patties stick together and stay moist.
In place of standard tartar sauce, we whip up a super-simple lemon-caper spread using lemon, capers, yogurt, mayo, and lemon juice. And to complement that creamy bliss, a crunchy fennel slaw with a peppery bite that's both vibrant and refreshing.
I could eat the slaw on basically any burger, but there's something about fennel's licorice-like flavor that adds major dimension to a fatty-fish like salmon.
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions:
- Salmon: You can use either wild-caught or sustainably farmed Atlantic salmon. If purchasing wild, I suggest either King (or Chinook) salmon, which has a higher fat content and richer flavor.
- Panko: Panko breadcrumbs helps bind the salmon burgers. If you need a gluten free alternative, I like Ian’s brand.
- Egg: One egg helps bind the mixture together. Just make you thoroughly whisk it before mixing it with the other ingredients.
- Dijon: For a little dose of tangy, sharp flavor, Dijon mustard adds just enough kick to the salmon patties.
- Mayonnaise: Mayo helps bind the patties, while also ensuring they stay super tender. I prefer using this avocado oil-based mayonnaise, which offers more heart-healthy unsaturated fats.
- Herbs: I love using fresh dill and parsley in both the burgers and slaw. They add bright fresh flavor that helps cut through the richness of the salmon.
- Lemon: Using both the zest and juice of a lemon adds just enough brightness and acidity to this salmon burger recipe.
- Fennel: Just one cup of fennel offers almost 20% of your recommended daily value of vitamin C. You’ll also find plenty of iron, fiber, and potassium.
- Yogurt: Go for whole-milk Greek yogurt for top-notch creaminess and richness. Or, for a dairy-free alternative, use coconutmilk yogurt.
Step 1: Broil the Salmon
Pat salmon dry with a paper towel, and place on a foil-lined baking sheet, skin side-down. Lightly coat flesh with cooking spray and season with ¼ tsp. each of sea salt and black pepper. Broil on HIGH until medium-rare, about 8 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
Step 2: Flake Salmon with a Fork
Use a fork to flake salmon off skin into small shredded pieces (discard skin); transfer to a large bowl.
Step 3: Combine Salmon Burger Ingredients
To the bowl with salmon, add Panko, lemon juice, egg, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, parsley, dill, and remaining ¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. black pepper. Use your hands to stir and mash ingredients together until combined. Form into four uniform patties, and place on a parchment-lined plate or baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes.
Step 4: Prepare Fennel Slaw and Lemon-Caper Yogurt Spread
In a large bowl, combine fennel, red onion, parsley, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper; toss to combine. Set aside.
In a smaller bowl, combine all Lemon-Caper Yogurt Spread ingredients; whisk well to combine. Set aside.
Step 5: Cook Salmon Patties
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Once hot, add salmon patties and reduce heat to medium. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, until golden-brown. Gently flip, and cook another 3 minutes, until golden and crisp.
Step 6: Assemble Salmon Burgers
Spread Lemon-Caper Yogurt Spread on the bottom and top of each bun. Add one salmon patty and top with fennel slaw. Top with other half of bun, and enjoy!
Salmon Burger Toppings:
If you're not a fan of fennel (or have a hard time finding it), there are plenty of other delicious salmon burger toppings. Here are a few of my favorite:
- Arugula: Its peppery notes can stand up to a fatty fish like salmon.
- Avocado: Why not add a double dose of heart-healthy fats to these burgers?
- Grilled Pineapple: Elevate this salmon burger recipe to tropical paradise by adding a slab of sweet grilled pineapple!
- Pickled-anything: Kimchi, kraut, or pickled beets/cabbage helps cut through the richness of the salmon patty.
How to Cook Salmon Burgers on the Grill:
These burgers are hearty enough to stand up to the grill, and arguably taste even better!
- Heat the grill to medium high (about 400ºF).
- Oil the grill grates with non-stick spray, or brush with olive oil.
- Cook the salmon burgers for 3 to 5 minutes per side, flipping only once to avoid them breaking.
Make-Ahead and Storage Tips:
- To Make Ahead: Assemble the salmon patties up to 1 day in advance, and store in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator. You can also prepare the lemon-caper yogurt spread up to 1 day in advance and store it in a separate airtight container in the refrigerator.
- To Store: Refrigerate all components separately in airtight storage containers for up to 2 days.
- To Reheat: Gently reheat salmon patties in a nonstick skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat. It's also helpful to add a splash of water into the skillet, then cover it to help the patties steam. Alternatively, you can reheat the salmon patties in the toaster oven on a low heat setting.
- To Freeze: Individually wrap cooked (or uncooked) patties, and freeze them in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating or cooking.
These burgers are both weeknight-friendly and perfect for weekend entertaining. Invest in some quality bakery rolls (brioche is king), and they will feel like an indulgent, restaurant-quality hand-held.
And if you have leftover salmon patties, they're delicious served over a hearty kale salad or with your favorite whole-grain (farro, quinoa, etc.).
More Healthy Salmon Recipes to Try:
Blackened Salmon with Avocado Ranch
Grilled Salmon with Strawberry Scallion Tapenade
Bruschetta Salmon Skillet
If you give this salmon burger recipe a try, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. I also really appreciate readers taking the time to leave a rating and review! Lastly, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates.
Salmon Burgers with Lemon-Caper Spread and Fennel Slaw
- Large rimmed baking sheet
- Large skillet
- Mixing bowls
- 1 lb. skin-on, center-cut salmon
- Cooking spray
- ½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
- ½ tsp. black pepper, divided
- ⅓ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (I use avocado oil-based mayo)
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 large egg, whisked
- 1 ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil for cooking
- 4 buns, toasted
- 2 cups shaved/thinly sliced fennel (from 1 medium fennel bulb) plus 2 Tbsp. chopped fennel fronds (sub fresh dill)
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp. granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper
Lemon-Caper Yogurt Spread
- ⅓ cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (I use avocado oil-based mayo)
- 1 tsp. lemon zest, plus 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 ½ tsp. capers, drained and finely chopped
- ⅛ tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper
- Preheat broiler to HIGH. Pat salmon dry with a paper towel, and place on a foil-lined baking sheet, skin side-down. Lightly coat flesh with cooking spray and season with ¼ tsp. each of salt and black pepper. Broil on HIGH until medium-rare, about 8 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Use a fork to flake salmon off skin into small pieces (discard skin); transfer to a large bowl. Add Panko, mayonnaise, lemon juice, egg, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, parsley, dill, and remaining ¼ tsp. each of salt and black pepper. Use your hands to stir and mash ingredients together until combined. Form into four uniform patties, and place on a parchment-lined plate or baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes.
- While the salmon patties chill, prepare Fennel Slaw by combining all slaw ingredients in a large bowl; toss to combine. Set aside. In a separate smaller bowl, prepare Lemon-Caper Yogurt Spread by stirring all ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Once hot, add salmon patties and reduce heat to medium. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, until golden-brown. Gently flip, and cook another 3 to 4 minutes, until golden and crisp.
- Spread Lemon-Caper Yogurt Spread on the bottom and top of each bun. Add one salmon patty and top with fennel slaw. Top with other half of bun, and enjoy!
These are delicious! Only issue is that I haven’t been able to get them to hold together very well. Any suggestions? Thanks!
There's nothing I would change about this dish. I love a burger, regardless of what the patty is made of. Fennel has recently been an addition to some recipes we've been making lately. Everything about this was just incredible. I can't praise this dish enough.
So glad you enjoyed these, love! We definitely need to make them again soon.
Enjoyed this one!
I'm so glad to hear!!
I LOVE FENNEL! Fellow fennel fan here! These look wonderful, can’t wait to make!