Air Fryer Fish Cakes

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These easy Fish Cakes are savory and lightly sweet on the inside and deliciously crispy on the outside! They’re made with tender white fish, fresh cilantro, and sweet chili sauce and cook up sizzlingly perfectly in the air fryer.

five air fryer fish cakes set on a platter with a garnish of lime slices and a dipping sauce set on the side.


 

Quick & Easy Air Fryer Fish Cakes

As you all know, I am a huge fan of all things seafood. From calamari to tilapia, salmon to shellfish, the amazing flavors in seafood just make me happy! Sometimes, I channel that love into making the perfect lobster or some awesome fish and chips dinner. Other times, it’s a simple recipe like these beautiful fish cakes made quick and easy in the air fryer!

My secret ingredient for making the best fish cakes is sweet chili sauce. As much as I love Old Bay seasoning and other classic seasonings, I find that the gentle tangy kick of sweet chili sauce goes amazingly in a fish cake, adding tons of flavor and a little bit of moisture to the golden brown, crispy patties. 

This super easy fish cake recipe makes a fantastic appetizer with any dipping sauce that you like. You could also use them to make salmon burgers or sliders, on sweet rolls or buns, with a little bit of lettuce and tomato.

hand holding up a bitten into fish cake

Ingredients You’ll Need

Making these air fryer fish cakes is a great way to enjoy a delicious meal with simple ingredients you likely already have on hand.

  • White Fish Fillets – Cod fillets work nicely in fish cake recipes, but any white fish fillets are fine.
  • Panko – Pork rind panko is my go-to, but regular panko breadcrumbs can be used as well. 
  • Cilantro – Finely chopped fresh cilantro adds a much-needed fresh, zingy flavor. Fresh herbs like chives, parsley, or dill are good substitutes!
  • Sweet Chili Sauce – This ingredient makes a fish cake so amazingly delicious! Just a little spicy with a lovely tangy sweetness, it’s the perfect partner for savory white fish.
  • Mayonnaise – To help bind the mixture, add a dollop of your favorite mayonnaise.
  • Egg – One whole egg also helps the patties hold their shape, and adds texture and richness.
  • Salt and Black Pepper – To enhance all the flavors of the dish.
  • Lime Wedges – For serving. Lemons or fresh lemon juice are also okay to use.

How to Make Fish Cakes in the Air Fryer

It is super simple to pull this easy recipe together! Keep in mind that it makes four patties, so if you’d like leftovers or want to feed a bigger group, double the recipe and budget enough time to cook two batches.

  1. Prep the Air Fryer and Basket. Before you start making the fish cakes, preheat the Air Fryer to 400˚F, and grease the basket with non-aerosol cooking oil spray.
  2. Make the Fish Cake Patties. In a large bowl, combine the chopped white fish, Panko crumbs, cilantro, chili sauce, mayonnaise, egg, salt, and pepper. Stir everything together until well incorporated. Divide and shape the fish mixture into four patties or cakes. 
  3. Air-Fry the Patties. Place the patties in the air fryer basket and spritz them with the cooking spray. Place the basket in the air fryer and cook them for 5 minutes. Then flip over the fish cakes, grease with cooking spray again, and cook for 4 to 5 more minutes.
  4. Enjoy! When the fish cakes are golden-brown on both sides, remove them from the air fryer basket and serve them warm with lime wedges. You could also add a sprinkle of chopped green onion.

How To Make Pan-Fried Fish Cakes

Pour 1/4 inch of cooking oil into a large skillet or frying pan and arrange the fish cakes in a single layer. Fry them over medium high heat, adjusting the heat as necessary, until the underside is golden brown, approximately 4 minutes. Flip them over and brown the other side. Check the inside of one cake to ensure it’s fully cooked before removing them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

five fish cakes set on a platter with a garnish of lime slices and a dipping sauce set on the side.

Recipe Tips

Substituting fish? Concerned about sogginess? Never fear—here are my top three tips for making the best fish cakes ever! These helpful hints will ensure a crispy, satisfying result. Bon appetit!

  • Use firm fish. While any white fish roll will work, it’s best to avoid very delicate or flaky fish like whiting and flounder. A sturdy fish cooks up better in a fish cake without smushing or falling apart.
  • Substitute salmon. If you don’t have fish fillets, you can also make this recipe with canned salmon. Just make sure you pick out the larger bones and the skin.
  • Chopping fresh fish. If you don’t have a food processor, chop the fish with a knife until finely minced.
  • Avoid soggy fish cakes. If the mixture seems wet once you have mixed it, try adding extra panko to soak up some of the liquid. A soggy mixture will make the cooked fish cakes soggy, as well.
  • Parchment paper. Line the basket of the air fryer with parchment paper for easier cleanup.

Serving Suggestions

I like to serve these easy fish cakes as an appetizer with a homemade tartar sauce, which I always serve with a Fritto Misto. You could also just dip them in mayonnaise, aioli, cocktail sauce, or more sweet chili sauce.

To turn these cakes into a meal, try serving them with some of our favorite side dishes like these addictively delicious Sweet Potato Wedges or my Cajun fries. My little Aleksandra loves to eat them with mashed potatoes.

To serve them with a main course, pork chop is a delicious way to go with these Thai fish cakes paired alongside an Asian-inspired Sesame Cucumber Salad. The perfect skillet side dish, bright green Easy Garlic Broccolini, turns out crisp-tender with a light lemon twist.

Close up shot of air fryer fish cakes set on a platter with a garnish of lime slices.

How to Store and Reheat Fish Leftovers

  • To refrigerate, store leftover fish cakes in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • To reheat, place fish cakes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment, and bake at 400˚F until heated through. You could also briefly air-fry at 400˚F until heated through.
  • To freeze fish cakes, I recommend freezing them uncooked and then frying them on the day you plan to eat them. Place the shaped patties on a parchment-lined tray or cookie sheet and place them in the freezer until they are frozen solid. Then, stack in airtight containers, with parchment or wax paper between the patties to prevent sticking. Freeze for up to 4 months. You won’t have to thaw them before frying but increase the frying time to 6 or 7 minutes per side.

ENJOY!

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4.77 from 13 votes

Air Fryer Fish Cakes

Crispy and golden, these easy Fish Cakes are savory and lightly sweet on the inside, made with tender white fish, fresh cilantro, and sweet chili sauce.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 12 ounces cod fillets, or any other firm white fish, coarsely chopped
  • cup pork rind panko crumbs, you can also use regular breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • lime wedges, for serving
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Instructions 

  • Preheat air fryer to 400˚F.
  • Grease the basket of the air fryer with non-aerosol cooking spray, or line it with parchment paper.
  • Transfer the chopped fish to a food processor and process until crumbly. (see notes below)
  • In a bowl, combine the fish mixture with the breadcrumbs, cilantro, chili sauce, mayonnaise, egg, salt, and pepper; stir until well incorporated.
  • Shape the mixture into four patties. Place the patties in the air fryer basket and coat them with cooking spray.
  • Cook for 5 minutes; flip over the fish cakes, spray with cooking spray, and continue to cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
  • Remove the fish cakes from the air fryer basket and serve them with lime wedges.

Notes

  • Preheat the Air Fryer: Always preheat your air fryer for at least a few minutes before adding the fish cakes. This ensures even cooking.
  • Manual chopping: If you don’t have a food processor, finely mince the fish using a knife.
  • Avoid overcrowding: Place fish cakes in a single layer without them touching to allow proper air circulation and ensure they cook evenly.
  • Oil spray: Lightly spray both sides of the fish cakes with cooking spray or brush them with a thin layer of oil. This promotes a golden and crispy exterior.
  • Flipping: Halfway through cooking, gently flip the fish cakes to ensure they brown evenly on both sides.
  • Temperature check: Fish cakes should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). Use a meat thermometer to check.
  • Cooking time: Depending on the thickness and size of your fish cakes, cooking times can vary. Start with the recommended time and add additional minutes if necessary.
  • Let them rest: Let the fish cakes sit for a minute or two after cooking. This allows them to firm up slightly, making them easier to handle.

Nutrition

Serving: 4ounces | Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 422mg | Potassium: 371mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 114IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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31 Comments

  1. Terry Fest says:

    This looks terrific and I have not cooked it. BUT I have made many many many fish cakes so i can taste it already. I will adapt salmon (canned) as well as trying the white fish. I like to try recipes as listed first round then adapt new ingredients if it feels right. I would also add finely chopped onion to the base mix. After cooked, I will suggest topping cooked patty with either or both chopped cilantro chopped green onion. I will make these in a mini version as a side appetizer. I might serve this with some candied carrots and tomato and cucumber salad. YUM love your web site. Very inspired

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I hope you’ll enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  2. Wendy says:

    Didn’t read the comments till after I cooked the fish so lets hope it works with cooked fish.

    1. Amber says:

      How did it work? I cooked mine too 🤣

  3. Erin says:

    These fish cakes sound incredible! So much flavor!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! I hope you’ll enjoy it! 🙂

  4. Allyson Zea says:

    I love making these in the air fryer! So tasty!!!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I hope you’ll enjoy it! 🙂 Thank YOU!

  5. Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert says:

    I know for sure these would be a huge hit in my house!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I hope everyone enjoys them! Thank YOU! 🙂

    2. Janice Cornejo says:

      Should the cod be cooked first, or just chopped raw? I love fish cakes!

      1. Katerina Petrovska says:

        Hi!
        Yes, use raw fish.

  6. Amanda says:

    Oh my goodness these were a huge hit at the last party we had. They were so crispy and delicious!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      That’s great to hear! I’m very glad everyone enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  7. Beth says:

    If I could give this more than five stars, I would! I’m going to make a batch of these for dinner and pair them with some tartar sauce.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      That’s wonderful to hear! I hope you’ll enjoy it! Thank you so much! 🙂

  8. Betsy says:

    Wonderfully delicious! Even my kids loved them! They had to have cocktail sauce, though! Lol. Super easy. Great dinner!!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      That’s great! I’m glad everyone loved it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  9. Heidi Schaffer says:

    SO crispy and delicious! These are amazing.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  10. Kristyn says:

    Everything about these makes me so hungry!! They make a delicious meal or appetizer. Love the crisp crust & how tasty they are!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! I’m very glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

      1. Drew says:

        OMG! I added my own twist on this and cannot stop eating these! I actually smoked whole freshly caught catfish that comes off bone when done! Used that for fish, chopped poblano peppers, garlic hummus instead of mayo, and green salsa from Mexican restaurant and regular bread crumbs. This is my new go to recipe when have lots of fish!! Thanks for recipe!!