Salmon Burgers

published Jul 13, 2023
Salmon Burgers Recipe

You'll fall in love with these crispy-on-the outside, tender-on-the-inside burgers made with fresh salmon and dill.


Prep20 minutes to 25 minutes

Cook15 minutes

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salmon burger on wooden board
Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Food Styling: Debbie Wee

If you’ve never had salmon burgers, you’re in for a serious treat. Made with fresh salmon and flavored with lemon and dill, these burgers are incredibly tender and juicy throughout with a golden, crisp crust on the outside. They’re easy to prep in the food processor, and the burgers cook in just five minutes. This is the meal I’m cooking on repeat all summer long. 

 Ingredients Needed to Make Salmon Burgers

  • Salmon. These burgers use fresh, not canned, salmon. Depending on what’s available to you, whether it’s a few smaller fillets or one large fillet — both work well.
  • Lemon. You’ll use the zest and juice for the patties. The brightness and acidity provides a nice balance against the richness of the fish.
  • Mayonnaise. A spoonful of creamy mayo helps to keep these burger patties moist.
  • Dijon mustard. A little bit of Dijon adds a hint of tang.
  • Shallot. This aromatic allium adds flavor and balances the richness of the fish. An equal amount of red onion would also work in a pinch.
  • Fresh dill. Salmon and dill are natural partners. It lends a nice fresh flavor, along with a pop of green.
  • Panko breadcrumbs. This holds the burger patties together.

The Best Toppings to Put on Salmon Burgers

A creamy sauce and a pile of fresh greens are the best way to round out these salmon burgers. While the burgers chill, you’ll stir together a simple sauce made mostly with ingredients you used for the patties. The recipe calls for baby arugula, though any greens, such as spinach, chard, or even sprouts, would be great.

Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Food Styling: Debbie Wee

If You’re Making Salmon Burgers, a Few Tips

  • Ask the fishmonger for assistance. If you don’t see skinless salmon in the fish case, do not worry — the fishmonger will happily remove the skin for you. Just be sure to mention that you want a pound and a half of salmon after the skin is removed.
  • Process the salmon in two steps. This is key to making a tender salmon burger with a great texture, while avoiding gummy burger patties. Start by processing about one-quarter of the salmon (you can eyeball it, it doesn’t have to be totally precise) in the food processor until pasty; this will help bind the burgers. Then, add the remainder and pulse just until the salmon is roughly chopped.
  • Chill the patties before cooking. Don’t skip this part. A 20-minute stint in the fridge will allow the patties to firm up and hold together well during cooking.
  • Don’t overcook the burgers. These burgers cook fast and only need two to three minutes per side. When cooked too long, the burgers quickly become dry and crumbly — rather than tender and juicy — on the inside.
  • Enjoy leftovers chilled or at room temperature. There’s no need to reheat leftovers, which can push them into overcooked territory. Tuck them into a pita sandwich or use as a salad topping.

Salmon Burgers Recipe

You'll fall in love with these crispy-on-the outside, tender-on-the-inside burgers made with fresh salmon and dill.

Prep time 20 minutes to 25 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 1

    small bunch fresh dill, divided

  • 1

    medium shallot

  • 1 (1 1/2-pound)

    side of salmon or 1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets, skin removed

  • 1/4 cup

    plus 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, divided

  • 1 tablespoon

    plus 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, divided

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup

    panko breadcrumbs

  • 1

    small clove garlic

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 4

    brioche buns

  • 1 ounce

    baby arugula (about 1 packed cup)


  1. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon (about 1 tablespoon). Juice the lemon until you have 2 tablespoons. Finely chop 1/2 small bunch fresh dill until you have 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons. Coarsely chop 1 medium shallot (about 1/4 cup). Cut 1 1/2 pounds skinless salmon into 1-inch pieces.

  2. Place 1/4 of the salmon (about 6 ounces), lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of the Dijon mustard, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until finely chopped and pasty, 10 to 15 seconds. Add the remaining salmon, 1/4 cup of the dill, and shallot. Pulse until the salmon is coarsely chopped, 6 to 8 (1-second) pulses. Do not overprocess.

  3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Divide the mixture into 4 (about 3/4-cup / about 7-ounce) portions. Shape each portion into a 4-inch wide patty about 1/2-inch thick, and place on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.

  4. Prepare the following, adding each to the same small bowl as you complete it: Finely grate 1 small garlic clove. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons dill, remaining 1/4 cup mayonnaise, remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice, remaining 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, a pinch of kosher salt, and a few grinds black pepper. Stir to combine.

  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Swirl the pan so that the oil coats the bottom of the pan. Using a wide, flat spatula, gently transfer 2 of the patties into the pan. Cook until the bottoms are browned, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side is browned and the internal temperature is at least 120ºF, 2 to 3 minutes more, being careful not to overcook.

  6. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan and repeat cooking the remaining patties.

  7. Split 4 brioche buns. Top each bottom bun with 1 salmon burger patty. Divide the sauce over the burgers and top with a small handful of baby arugula. Close with the top buns.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The patties can be assembled and refrigerated up to 6 hours in advance.

Storage: Refrigerate leftover cooked patties in an airtight container for up to 2 days.