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)

    shadfield's picture

    made this last night the whole family enjoyed them not a keen fish person myself but even i managed 2 as i had increased the quantities

    embellina616's picture

    Fantastic recipe, absolutely delicious but the preperation took quite a bit longer than stated so everyone had to wait for their dinner! We had it with the fennel and watercress salad suggested, which was perfect.

    moose720's picture

    B E A Utiful !!

    boogalou's picture

    Served mine with sweet chlli dip and salad garnish.

    weenywoo's picture

    I made these for my boyfriend last night and followed the recipe exactly, he loved them. The tastiest fish cakes I've ever had. I served them with basmati rice drizzled in olive oil and fine green beans.

    rhaddock's picture

    just brilliant ! and I should know

    parapapau's picture

    I hate mayonnaise and horseradish so I did the "sauce" with oil and the rest of the ingredients and put it all in the fishcake mix. They were delicious.

    kittydowner's picture

    This is a good recipe, easy to make but it took me more than 30 mins! I used fresh salmon with king prawns - the texture was better than just fish. I am not a tartar sauce fan so skipped the sauce. However, I did use mustard, capers, red onion and parsley for the mash. I also added a little bit of milk into it. I think next time I will add a bit more lemon zest. Served it with chopped tomato, red onion, mint, parsley and some snow peas with simple dressing of virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Great summer dinner (we live in Singapore so summer throughout the year...)!!!

    pitcaithley's picture

    I can improve on this recipe. Fresh cod and/or haddock have a very delicate taste. Try a mix of smoked haddock and fresh salmon, or smoked haddock and hot-smoked salmon to give a more pronounced flavour. Then, used a mix of potatoes and cooked rice (50% each by volume) which gives a lighter cake. And finally - use Japanese breadcrumbs (e.g. "Panko" Blue Dragon brand) which are infinitely superior to any other type and produce a wonderful crunchy texture. If you have a potato ricer then use this in preference to mashing the potatoes, extra work but produces a less dense potato mix. I can say modestly that this method produces the best fish cakes I have ever eaten. Th

    stuart01's picture

    Smoked cod or haddock is also good!

    fruitiecrumble's picture

    Loved them!

    suzukiw's picture

    Divine. yummy

    zakksmum's picture

    Sorry, meant tartare sauce.

    zakksmum's picture

    I was having a freezer and pantry clearout so used shop bought tartar, dried breadcrumbs, and some haddock I'd bought super cheap and my boys loved them.
    I liked them too and I have an inbuilt hatred towards fish

    meriade's picture

    I decided to cook the fish in a pan with a splash of olive oil, and i finish put the cakes in the oven instead of the frying pan.
    Love this recipe.

    annataylor's picture

    im a chef and i put in some pancetta cubes and fried shallots
    i also poached my fish with garlic cloves and a split chilli with bay leaves and peppercorns
    with king prawns in aswell

    redguide's picture

    I dont often follow a recipe to the letter, Mostly because I dont always have the exact ingredients available at the time. I did pretty well this time, but i dont know what ;Mais Piper' potatoes are and I used Yukon Gold. The fishcalkes were rated 10/10 with the whole family. There are 6 of us. that make this recipe a keeper as far as I'm concerned. I made the Tartar sauce almost to the letter too. Yummy!

    mazmikeimi's picture

    I made these fishcakes with my 4 year old daughter. We used haddock instead of the cod. The recipe was so straight forward and easy to do. My daughter loved making these and thought they tasted very yummy. This is definately a recipe that we will make again.

    giorgiasrecipes's picture

    Thanks nicky marr, I'm always looking for gluten free alternatives . Shall try this soon

    nickymarr's picture

    If you need to make these gluten free, use coarse grained polenta instead of the breadcrumbs - it goes really nice and crispy, and is less hassle than using gluten free breadcrumbs, which often need dried in the oven before they can be used. Polenta works really well as a coating for fried fish too.


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