Smoked Salmon and Dungeness Crab Cakes are what happens when the dynamic duo of Dungeness crab and smoked salmon join forces with a killer wine pairing. This Salmon Cakes recipe is perfect for when you want to stretch your dollar with traditional crab cakes. The combo is absolutely delicious!
Smoked Salmon and Dungeness Crab Cakes Highlights
- Mixing salmon with crab meat makes these cakes more affordable than Dungeness crab alone (which can be very expensive).
- Great use for leftover salmon.
- Smoked Salmon brings more flavor to the salmon cakes but you can use any type of cooked salmon.
- Lessen the use of mayo by adding Dijon mustard as the binding agent.
- This recipe is dairy free and can be made gluten free by using gluten free Panko crumbs.
- See us feature this recipe on our ABC morning show AM Northwest.
We start with great cooked (smoked) salmon and Dungeness Crab (we recommend Dungeness, but you can use any crab meat). Then it’s about the binding agents and the filler flavors.
Because we want the flavor of the salmon and crab to shine, we keep the flavors simple with some green onions, red bell pepper, and panko bread crumbs for texture and crunch. To brighten the flavor we use lemon juice for freshness, and a pinch of smoked paprika for color and flavor. Though I wouldn’t object to you adding some dry red pepper flakes or a few dashes of hot sauce for a little kick.
This recipe was inspired by an old Food.com article in which their version of a salmon and crab cake was crab cakes served over a salmon filet. We thought, why not actually shred some salmon into the crab which makes the meat last and adds a little more flavor. And to add even more flavor we decided to smoke the salmon.
We flavor the salmon simply, with some Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, and smoked it for 60 minutes. We then shredded the meat, combined the salmon with the crab and remaining ingredients, and then form into salmon cakes.
For the full details on how to smoke salmon you can review our smoked salmon recipe.
Salmon is rich and moist with a natural oily texture. Because of this you don’t need to go overboard with extra binding. And when using the crab, be sure the liquid is drained. If you add too much moisture the crab cakes fall apart.
We use extra virgin olive oil for frying the cakes. An ice cream scooper is a great tool for making even sized cakes. Just scoop the filling into a ball and flatten on the pan.
- Smoke Salmon as mentioned above. Then shred the salmon meat to the same texture as the Dungeness crab meat.
- Combine the smoked salmon and crab meat together. Add the red bell pepper, green onion, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Taste and adjust any seasonings to your preference. Since there’s no raw egg in the mix you can taste and adjust the flavors until you’re happy with the mix.
- Heat oil: in a large nonstick skillet or plancha (flat top) on your grill.
- Form the salmon/crab mixture into cakes and fry: form the mixture into a 2” diameter cake and flatten slightly. In batches of 3-4 patties, cook on each side for approximately 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and place on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.
The result. Pure awesomeness.
The freshness of the Dungeness crab and the smokiness of the salmon take center stage, and aren’t overshadowed by too many fillers that can come from a mayo overdose. There’s great moisture in the cakes, but it’s all coming naturally from the meat (not mayo). You still can feel the texture of the meat along with the crunchiness of the bell peppers and onions.
The size of the cakes is perfect as an appetizer, or served over some greens for a light dinner.
My two favorite pairings for any kind of crab cake is sparkling wine or Chardonnay. There’s nothing better for those delicate flavors and balance of the Dungeness crab and that smoked salmon than bubbles that cut through the richness and textures of the outside of the cakes. Chardonnay provides an equal richness that can provide an excellent balance to both the flavors of the salmon, with the acidity to cut through the elegant cakes.
More Seafood Recipes
- Smoked Salmon Dip
- Grilled Oysters
- Easy and Tender Smoked Salmon
- Grilled Scallops with White Wine Butter Sauce
- Grilled Crab Cakes as featured in Fire + Wine cookbook
*This recipe was originally published in May of 2016. It was updated in July 2022 with updated details and photos.
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Suggested dipping sauce?
Holy cow, can’t wait to make these for VDay!!
Erica @ Coming Up Roses says
I’m unfortunately not a seafood gal myself, but my fiance IS…and this looks amazing. I’ll have to make it for him next week!!
Coming Up Roses
Linda @ 2 Cookin' Mamas says
What a brilliant idea – salmon and crab cakes! Two of my favorite seafoods in one – love it! Our friends introduced us to Oregon wines during a visit to the west coast and I have to say I was very impressed. This one sounds like my kind of Chardonnay, a little oaky yet fresh & clean. Great post!
Hooray for your friends introducing you to one of the greatest wine regions on the planet 🙂
Oregon wines are incredible!
These sound absolutely amazing! I am usually not a fan of crab meat, but I adore salmon, and I truly think that these flavorful smoked salmon crab cakes could do just the trick to make me fall in love with crab. =) And this Chardonnay sound divine! I love your blog.
Have you tried fresh Dungeness crab? The flavor is so fresh and slightly sweet. So so so different from other crab meats you usually see. But YES, mixed with the salmon is outstanding!
Monica Louie says
I loooooove crab cakes so I’m sure these are mouth-watering! Great idea to mix the crab with the smoked salmon and combine flavors.
Valentina | The Baking Fairy says
I’m fairly certain I just drooled all over my keyboard. These look phenomenal!! And I completely agree on the crab cakes comment, I haven’t found one I’ve liked yet but I’m definitely saving your recipe to try. Pinning!
Ha! I love it. And thanks so much 🙂
Marlynn @ UrbanBlissLife says
Ooh dungeness crab AND smoked salmon in one seafood cake? Delicious! And I love the pairing with this Knudsen Chardonnay.
That sounds really great. I love crab cakes, but agree they are spendy so this is a fun way to mix them up with salmon. Do you think you could just use pre-smoked salmon instead if you don’t have a smoker?
Absolutely!! In fact I meant to mention that in the post! I’ll go update it. I would recommend to either cook on the stovetop or roast a salmon fillet, then let it cool enough to work with, then follow the instructions in the recipe. You won’t get that smoke flavor, but the texture and salmon flavor will still come through. And the salmon will still have that oiliness that will sub for some of the binding.
IF you by a “pre-smoked” salmon just be weary of what you are buying. You don’t want “lox” or cured, or cold smoked. You want one that has been cooked (hot smoked). The pre-smoked (not-smoked) ones also come out pretty dry in my opinion. So just be aware of that when you are mixing everything together. You may need more binding. The best way to go would be to cook the salmon fillet yourself (either in the oven or stovetop, or on the grill if you have one).
Oh my this looks amazing. You’re so good at pairing wines with food. I must try this one for sure
Thank yoU!! 🙂
I’m ok with crab cakes, though I would never order them off a menu I will eat them when presented – but the idea of mixing crab with smoked salmon, now that I would definitely get! I don’t have an aversion to mayo, but you’re right that often with crab cakes they depend on the may too much to not be dry so I appreciate that you found another solution for that!
alexandra @ my urban family says
These look so delicious! And I always think of them as something too hard for me to make, but your directions make them seem easy 🙂
They are super easy to make. It’s really as easy as mixing a few things together, rolling out a pattie, and lightly frying it! Boom 🙂