Crispy Potato Fish Cakes with Cod

This is my favourite fish cake recipe – something very Atlantic-Canadian (my roots!). These traditional fish cakes are crispy, seasoned to perfection and taste like home – comfort food at it’s finest. Learn how to make the most delicious cod fish cakes with cod and potato, why your fish cakes fall apart and how to prevent it with this wonderful homemade recipe.

A quick and delicious potato fish cake recipe. Great with fresh or canned fish, and a tasty way to use up leftover mashed potato. 

This recipe works with salt cod, fresh fish, fresh salmon, any white fish, even cans of tuna or salmon – the possibilities are endless.

Look no further on how to make easy potato fish cakes with tartar sauce from scratch.

spices on cod

In the maritime provinces, fish cakes are traditionally made with salt cod, which was a dietary staple of our grandparents’ generation and earlier.

Salting fish at sea was common practice before refrigeration and flash freezing were options.

cooked shredded cod with spices

I do like salt cod but it’s not easy to find everywhere, and I prefer fresh fish.

You can sub in fresh salmon if you like or any white fish you commonly find in your location.

You can even swap in two cans of tuna or salmon – in fact most of the fish cakes I ate as a child were from tinned fish. Made that way, they are an inexpensive last-minute meal made from pantry staples.

adding mashed potato to the cod flakes

A crisp, golden exterior belies a soft, mashed-potato centre with buttery chunks of cod and bright shards of green onion.

I typically serve fish cakes on a bed of lemon- and olive oil-dressed greens, with lots of this quick, tangy tartar sauce.

Or, you know, with nothing but ketchup.

Potato Fish Cakes with Cod getting fried

Fish cakes are my favourite way to make use of leftover mashed potatoes post holiday meal. If your potatoes have cream or milk added, you might just need to add a handful of breadcrumbs to the mixture until it is easy to handle and shape.

golden brown crispy Potato Fish Cakes with Cod

If any fish cakes are left, tuck them into pita bread for lunchboxes the next day with lettuce and mayo.

Crispy Potato Fish Cakes with mayo

Crispy Potato Fish Cakes with Cod

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Keyword Cod Fish Cakes, Crispy Potato Fish Cakes with Cod, Fish Cakes


  • 2 tbsp + 5 tbsp vegetable oil divided
  • 1 lb boneless cod filet
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups mashed potato leftover, or just microwave 2 potatoes skin-on
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 green onion white and green parts, minced
  • up to 1 cup fresh bread crumbs I grate a frozen bun on a box grater
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour

For tartar sauce:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tbsp brined capers
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 green onion white and green parts, minced
  • Salt to taste


  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cod, season with salt and pepper; cook until just barely opaque and flakey – better to ever-so-slightly undercook the fish than overcook it at this stage, as you’ll be cooking it again in the cakes.
  • Transfer to a bowl and break into large flakes with your hands. Add mashed potato, egg, green onion and enough bread crumbs so that the mixture holds a patty shape (if using leftover mash with milk or other liquid added, you’ll definitely need the whole cup of crumbs). Use your hands or a big spoon to work everything together until well-combined.
  • Place flour on a shallow plate. Form potato mixture into 16 equal patties between the palms of your hands, dredging both sides in the flour and transferring to a baking sheet as you go. Refrigerate fish cakes 20 minutes to firm up.
  • Wipe out the fish skillet and return to medium heat; add remaining oil. When shimmering hot, add several fish cakes – you’ll need to cook them in a few batches to avoid over-crowding the pan. Serve with tartar sauce.

To make tartar sauce:

  • Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, whisking together with a fork. Season with salt to taste.



Calories: 500kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 25gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 17gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 374mgPotassium: 860mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 359IUVitamin C: 33mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Cod Fish Cakes, Crispy Potato Fish Cakes with Cod, Fish Cakes

Last Updated on May 23, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

4.6 9 votes
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4 months ago

I love these and make them with a large tin of tuna in the cupboard sometimes and also instead of bread crumbs crush a large bag of flavored chips (eg chicken) and use that as the crumb for extra flavor.
A great easy dinner guaranteed to please the family.

5 months ago

5 stars
These are crispy fluffy fish cake perfection.

Rich Furber
Rich Furber
1 year ago

Loved this when growing up. Mom used to use cod fish that came in a wooden box. Great with baked beans. Thanks for posting.

Harris Feinstein
Harris Feinstein
1 year ago

I’ve been searching the web for a recipe that was like the one my late mother made, and then I found yours, can’t wait to make it!

1 year ago

5 stars
Made these tonight on a whim & they turned out perfectly. Used frozen & thawed cod filets, blitzed saltines instead of bread crumbs & fried in coconut oil. I omitted the salt because I used saltines. The flour dredge made them perfectly crisp & not greasy at all – even after holding in the toaster oven until they were all done frying. Very happy to have found this keeper of a recipe & thank you very much for posting. 5 stars!

1 year ago

5 stars
This was delicious! I used fresh dill in the cakes and served them on top of a green salad. Perfect dinner.

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