Ultimate fish cakes

Ultimate fish cakes

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(69 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins - 30 mins

More effort

Serves 4
Angela Nilsen went in search of perfection in her quest to pack flavour and texture into fish cakes

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freeze, pref unfried - thaw for 4 hours
  • Healthy

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal359
  • fat12g
  • saturates2g
  • carbs36g
  • sugars3g
  • fibre2g
  • protein29g
  • salt0.7g
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    For the tartare-style sauce

    • 125ml mayonnaise
    • 1 rounded tbsp capers, roughly chopped (rinsed and drained if salted)



      Capers are the small flower buds of the Capparis shrub, which grows in the Mediterranean. As…

    • 1 rounded tsp creamed horseradish
    • 1 rounded tsp Dijon mustard
    • 1 small shallot, very finely chopped



      Related to the onion (as opposed to being a younger version of it), shallots grow in clusters at…

    • 1 tsp flatleaf parsley, finely chopped

    For the fish cakes

    • 450g skinned Icelandic cod or haddock fillet, from a sustainable source



      A popular mild-flavoured saltwater fish mainly found in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Cod…

    • 2 bay leaves
    • 150ml milk



      One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

    • 350g Maris Piper potatoes



      The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…

    • ½ tsp finely grated lemon zest



      Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

    • 1 tbsp fresh white flatleaf parsley, chopped
    • 1 tbsp snipped chives
    • 1 egg



      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

    • flour, for shaping



      Flour is a powdery ingredient usually made from grinding wheat, maize, rye, barley or rice. As…

    • 85g fresh white breadcrumbs, preferably a day or two old
    • 3-4 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil, for shallow frying
      Sunflower oil

      Sunflower oil

      A variety of oils can be used for baking. Sunflower is the one we use most often at Good Food as…

    • lemon wedges and watercress, to serve



      With deep green leaves, and crisp, paler stems, watercress is related to mustard and is one of…


    1. Mix all the sauce ingredients together. Set aside. Lay the fish and bay leaves in a frying pan. Pour over the milk and 150ml/¼ pint water. Cover, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 4 mins. Take off the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 mins to gently finish cooking the fish.

    2. Meanwhile, peel and chop the potatoes into even-sized chunks. Put them in a saucepan and just cover with boiling water. Add a pince of salt, bring back to the boil and simmer for 10 mins or until tender, but not broken up.

    3. Lift the fish out of the milk with a slotted spoon and put on a plate to cool. Drain the potatoes in a colander and leave for a min or two. Tip them back into the hot pan on the lowest heat you can and let them dry out for 1 min, mashing them with a fork and stirring so they don't stick. You should have a light, dry fluffy mash. Take off the heat and beat in 1 rounded tbsp of the sauce, then the lemon zest, parsley and chives. Season well with salt and pepper. The potato should have a good flavour, so taste and adjust to suit.

    4. Drain off liquid from the fish, grind some pepper over it, then flake it into big chunks into the pan of potatoes. Using your hands, gently lift the fish and potatoes together so they just mix (see pic 1). You'll only need a couple of turns, or the fish will break up too much. Put to one side and cool.

    5. Beat the egg on a large plate and lightly flour a board. Spread the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet. Divide the fish cake mixture into four. On the floured board, and with floured hands, carefully shape into four cakes, about 2.5cm thick (pic 2). One by one, sit each cake in the egg, and brush over the top and sides so it is completely coated (pic 3). Sit the cakes on the crumbs, patting the crumbs on the sides and tops so they are lightly covered. Transfer to a plate, cover and chill for 30 mins (or up to a day ahead).

    6. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. To test when ready, drop a piece of the dry breadcrumbs in - if it sizzles and quickly turns golden brown, it is ready to use. Fry the fish cakes over a medium heat for about 5 mins on each side or until crisp and golden. Serve with the rest of the sauce (squeeze in a little lemon zest to taste), lemon wedges for squeezing over and watercress.

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    Comments (105)

    michelle_30's picture

    Just made these for tea tonight with haddock! They were delicious! Cheated though and used mirrisons 'the best tartar' sauce though but it all tasted lush and was very easy to make, try it!

    chessy2's picture

    Best fishcakes I have ever made OR tasted. Gorgeous!

    branam's picture

    I've used smoked haddock, cod and salmon. Day was too hot for fish pie so opted for a fish cakes. Brilliant result. :)

    cablecar123's picture

    very tasty, but very messy to make. I substituted half the white fish with smoked fish which worked well.

    gwsmith1's picture

    I used cod smoked haddock and salmon because I'm a winner

    bikegirl's picture

    I made the mistake of using panga, which gave me very bland fishcakes, so I'll try again with different fish, maybe some spices too.
    The polenta idea s great, I'll try that too.
    The sauce is really good, well worth the small effort.

    joanne272's picture

    This recipe is easy to follow and my kids aged 5 and 2 loved them..

    engnor's picture

    I love catching, cooking and eating fish. We eat fish 6 or 7 days a week so always on the lookout for new recipies. I tried this one and the results were OK, but nothing special. But what a mess, what a faff, what a lot of time. I have never understood the need to pre-cook fish for any recipie, it cooks so quickly so why the need? Previously done fish cakes in Norwegian and Thai styles. Ingrediants and results very different but method similar i.e. just blitz all ingrediants in a food processor, form into cakes and fry. Much easier, quicker and frankly a better result to my mind and taste buds.

    libbet's picture

    Seemed like a lot of trouble at first, but the end result was well worth it. Don't use expensive white fish. No need. We substituted coriander for parsley and included smoked haddock. Time to eat was far less than time to prepare. However would do again for special occasion.

    chloe_baxter's picture

    Took longer than 30 mins prep for me, I found the breadcrumbing stage a bit fiddly but they tasted delish! Will definitely make these again, even my fussy housemate who doesn't normally like fish enjoyed them!

    bridalzone's picture

    packed with flavour these fish cakes are simply the best. A firm favourite

    ste_87's picture

    Love this recipe!
    Followed it word for word, apart from i used Tartar sauce from a jar instead and they were beautiful.

    kalkie's picture

    Made this into 8 small fishcakes and served with cheesy leeks. It was delicious!

    jodilea82's picture

    I have made these fishcakes several times for different guests and EVERYONE loves them. I use half smoked haddock and half cod which works really well.

    donnadrew's picture

    Couldn't believe how tasty these were! I used fresh haddock & toasted a couple of slices of wholemeal bread before blitzing them. Beautiful flavours & textures; super crunchy breadcrumbs & the sauce is great - be sure to make enough!! Yummmm

    lovesfrance's picture

    These were absolutely delicious - loved them

    b8c808's picture

    Delicious. I just upped the lemon and caper content to my taste.

    vecten's picture

    Lovely recipe and probably the best fish cakes I have eaten. I didn't use Icelandic cod because I never seem to go fishing in Iceland so I used 'half a mile off Dover' cod instead, probably much the same.

    bgkillien's picture

    This is a lovely meal, my husband really liked the homemade tartar sauce with it. I am not sure if you can freeze them though as I found when you defrost potatoes the consistency changes and they are not as light and fluffy anymore. I liked the comment about just frying them off in the pan and then finishing them in the oven. It makes them all the more healthier as the frying in the pan uses a lot of olive oil. Great recipe and definitely recommended!

    witchwayup's picture

    Apart from using smoked Haddock and Panko breadcrumbs I followed the recipe and was very pleased with the results.
    I didn't think it was particularly quick to put together though, so I wouldn't want to make it during the week.
    However, I am sure it will become a firm favourite in our house.


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