Salmon Burgers with Creamy Lemon Herb Sauce

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Want to mix up your burger routine? Try these tender Salmon Burgers with Creamy Lemon Herb Sauce. Lighter than your standard beef burger and packed with flavor, use a food processor to make quick work of the creamy sauce and chopping the salmon. No knife-work required!

salmon burger on a bun on a white plate

Burger season is here (does it ever leave?), and these salmon burgers are the perfect way to mix things up beyond the standard beef variety. These burgers can be prepped ahead and cook fast, making them fit in right at home on a weeknight. A creamy sauce does double duty, spooned over top of the finished burgers but also mixed right in to add moisture and flavor to the patties as they cook. 

The method to chop the salmon in the food processor is very loosely inspired by Mark Bittman’s Salmon Burgers. He has you blend ¼ of the fish into a paste to help bind the burgers while you chop the rest by hand, but I’ve found that if you gently pulse the salmon in two batches, you naturally get a mix of well blended “paste” and larger pieces that give the burgers texture. 

Here’s how to do it.

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overhead image of uncooked salmon patties on a sheet pan

Ingredients

  • Salmon – Save yourself a ton of work and get salmon with the skin removed. Often the fishmonger behind the counter at your grocery store seafood section will do this for you.
  • Panko breadcrumbs – I keep Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs (like these) and Italian seasoned breadcrumbs in my pantry. Japanese breadcrumbs work best in recipes like this one because they have a large porous shape that soaks up moisture and then releases it as the burgers cook. Panko is unseasoned, so you have to make sure you add other flavors when using them. If Italian-style breadcrumbs are all you have on hand, they’ll work just fine, but be sure to adjust the recipe as you go – you may need more to help the burgers hold together.
  • Creamy Lemon Herb Sauce – Though you can use substitutes (see below for ideas), it’s hard to beat the creamy lemon herb sauce for flavor. Since you have to get the food processor out anyway, use it first to make this simple sauce which will top the burgers and go into the patties themselves to add moisture and flavor. 
  • Dijon mustard – This adds a subtle tart flavor that goes so well with salmon.
  • Chili powder – Just use a small amount of chili powder in the burgers to add a small amount of flavor. I also loved the red specks that gave the burgers some added color. This amount of chili powder should not make the burgers spicy, but if you’re really concerned about spice, use paprika instead. 
overhead image of herb sauce in the bowl of a food processor

How to Freeze Salmon Burgers

Almost every burger makes a great freezer meal, and salmon burgers are no exception. 

To freeze: Form the salmon patties and spread out in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with parchment or wax paper. Freeze until solid, 3 to 5 hours. Transfer to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months. 

To cook from frozen: Lay the salmon burgers flat on a sheet pan and defrost in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours (the timing will vary slightly depending on the temperature of your fridge and thickness of the burgers). Cook according to the recipe instructions.

cooking salmon burgers in a cast iron skillet

Possible Variations

  • Change sauce – Skip the Lemon Herb Sauce and use Sriracha mayo or your favorite creamy salad dressing (Ranch Dressing is good here!). Just be sure you have enough to add some to the burger patties as well as use as a topping.
  • Add spices – Add your favorite spices to the burgers to change up the flavors. Dried herbs like oregano or thyme work well or a spice blend like blackening / Cajun seasoning.  

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4.75 from 8 votes

Salmon Burgers with Creamy Lemon Herb Sauce

These light, flavorful salmon burgers hold their shape and can be cooked on a skillet or on the grill. One batch of a simple creamy lemon herb sauce works in two ways – folded into the burger patties to add flavor and moisture and as a sauce on the finished burgers. Be sure to build in 30 minutes to refrigerate the patties before cooking – this will help them to firm up and hold their shape while cooking.
To adjust the servings in this recipe, click on the number next to servings.
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Food Processor
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Skillet

Ingredients 

Creamy Lemon Herb Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed Fresh Herbs (dill, chives, cilantro, parsley, or any combination)
  • 1 Tablespoon Capers, drained well
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • Pinch each of Sugar, Salt, and Black Pepper

For Salmon Patties:

  • 1 pound Salmon, skin removed, chopped into large pieces (see note)
  • 2 Tablespoons Creamy Lemon Herb Sauce (ingredients listed above)
  • 2 Tablespoons Panko Breadcrumbs (see note)
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder

For Serving:

  • 4 Hamburger Buns (I like potato rolls or brioche)
  • Sliced Avocado
  • Arugula or other Greens
  • Onion or Tomato Slices

Instructions 

  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine all sauce ingredients. Blend or pulse until the herbs and garlic are very finely chopped and sauce is smooth.
  • Divide sauce into two parts. Put 2 Tablespoons of sauce in a large mixing bowl (to add to the salmon patties). Refrigerate all remaining sauce to use on top of the burgers).
  • Wipe out the bowl of the food processor. Add salmon to the food processor in two batches and pulse until it forms pieces about the size of peas. Transfer each batch of chopped salmon to the bowl with the 2 Tablespoons of sauce. Add panko, mustard, salt, and chili powder. Gently stir until evenly combined.
  • Line a small sheet pan or plate with parchment or wax paper.
  • Form salmon mixture into 4 even patties. (To prevent sticking, wet your hands with some water or a bit of cooking oil before shaping the patties.)
  • Spread patties out in a single layer on prepared sheet pan or plate. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to a day (cover if refrigerating for more than 30 minutes).
  • Cook salmon patties in a well-oiled skillet over medium heat until patties are cooked all the way through, about 5 minutes per side.
  • Toast hamburger buns.
  • Spread toasted buns with reserved sauce and top with salmon patties, greens, sliced avocado, and other toppings. Enjoy!

Notes

Salmon – Measure the salmon by weight after the skin has been removed to be sure you have the right amount. To simplify your prep, ask the fishmonger to remove the skin from the salmon at the seafood counter before you get it home. 
Breadcrumbs – These Japanese-style breadcrumbs are available at most grocery stores and have a larger shape that helps to absorb liquids and keep the burgers tender. They come in gluten-free versions too. You can use regular breadcrumbs, but you may need to add more to help the patties hold their shape.
To Freeze: Form the salmon patties and spread out in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with parchment or wax paper. Freeze until solid, 3 to 5 hours. Transfer to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months. To cook them, lay the salmon burgers flat on a sheet pan and defrost in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. Cook as described above.

Nutrition

Calories: 592kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 23g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 963mg | Potassium: 664mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 469IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $10.00
Calories: 592
Keyword: burgers, easy dinner, easy freezer meal, easy salmon recipe, easy, weeknight-friendly, family friendly, seafood
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at InquiringChef.com. She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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2 Comments

    1. Absolutely, but reduce the amount since dried herbs are more concentrated and won’t blend as easily into the sauce itself. I’d just use about 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of dried herbs – an Italian blend would work great or dried dill and parsley if you have them.