Ultimate fish cakes

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, questions and tips

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    Comments (105)

    barbaracadd's picture

    I tried this recipe last night as part of a seasonal menu with a twist so I served it with fresh asparagus and new potatoes. The recipe was easy to follow and the fishcakes kept their shape with good texture. As fish can taste rather bland, I added a fresh chilli, finely chopped and a dash of worcestershire sauce. This gave the fishcakes a nice kick without being overpowering.

    ruthy10's picture

    my partner and i made these for good Friday and absolutely loved them. I reduced the amount of potato slightly which was better, will definitely have these again

    pennyclark's picture

    Had friends round for dinner and these went down a storm will certainly make these again.

    grubbd's picture

    These are excellent. I also made them for a starter (made smaller cakes) and they went down a storm.

    sidneycuth's picture

    Made these fishcakes to the recipe,and found they were very bland.Very disapointed.

    katocraig's picture

    I made these for my wife who really is a foodie and she was left speechless which is unusual. The recipe was easy to follow and they tasted divine. The tartar sauce was better then anything you'll find in a jar. LOVED IT !!

    strawbo's picture

    Awesome! Used salmon and red cod, really tasty. Girlfriend loved it!

    diggle's picture

    Lovely with salmon

    blazer-glory's picture

    Only let down by my poor culinary skills! :(
    Will try them again though.

    leoniecauser's picture

    amazing!and the first recipe where i have ever been able to get the cakes to stay together!

    015218's picture

    Hi I'm only 12 years of age and I'm going to cook this for my family, I'd love to know if you can cook this with chicken instead of fish as my dad is allergic and will it take longer or less time to cook??

    livthechef's picture

    looks as if every one who tryed it liked it i will try and tell you how it went

    georgiehoff's picture

    Really good something the whole family loved (unusual). The following night I gave them the choice of Thai Chicken Curry (a favourite dish) or fish cakes and 2 out of 3 chose the fish cakes was delighted, somethimes these things are just a one hit wonder but not in this case.

    sammy25's picture

    Loved the fishcakes!

    williamsfishing's picture

    Wow, didn't know we could make a cake with fish. that is really delicious.

    Thank you very much for this discover!!!!


    lmeyer's picture

    Really yummy! Made tartare sauce from scratch though with eggs & oil etc.

    maysden's picture

    A great recipe and very easy to follow.
    The first time I made it with tarter sauce but the second time I did it with parsley sauce with tarter sauce on the side of the plate so guests could take their pick. Both worked well so take your pick.

    natster's picture

    Easy to make, Loved them.. they went down a right treat :-)

    jb5370's picture

    My kids helped to make this and it is the only time I have seen them eat fish cakes! Usually they like their fish on its own but they loved making and eating this. We didn't make the sauce but just used mayo to bind everything together.

    cathyhil's picture

    Absolutely lovely recipe... top marks :-)


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