Things You May Never Need To Buy Again – Fish Cakes

Nov 9, 2017 | 7 comments


Fish cakes

Fish cakes are basically a bit of fish and some mashed potato, so are easily reproduced at home. They can be plain and simple, or have many different flavour additions. Make them yourself, and you can control exactly what goes into them, and the size. Little ones for children, bigger ones for adults perhaps.

We’ve made several different fish cakes on Thrifty Lesley. Some used a tin of sardines in tomato sauce, some a tin of tuna and some a bit of salmon. Any tinned fish can be used, whatever you think would taste nice. Crab cakes from tinned crab too, lovely!

Fish cakes are pretty easy to make, much cheaper than bought and freeze very well too. The value ones are cheaper, but I’m not sure what proportion of fish they have in them. Tesco fresh fishcakes for instance are £1.75 for 2 for cod, salmon or haddock. Considerably more than that for any with additional flavours . Home made ones are considerably less. Sardine ones are 52p for two, tuna 72p for two and salmon 78p for two.

You can use whatever is the current cheap, frozen white fish to make them.  Use smoked fish for a change, smoked salmon, smoked haddock or kippers.


You can introduce flavour variations with lemon zest, preserved lemon, sun dried tomatoes, pickles and curry spices. Thai spices would work well, or a bit of creamed coconut mixed into the mash. Use breadcrumbs, or not, on the outside, as you like.

Flavour options currently showing on mySupermarket include some lovely sounding ones that could all be easily reproduced at home for much less. Salmon, spinach and lemon; cod with a melting double cream and parsley centre; Thai prawn chilli and lemongrass; cod, potato, tomato & chilli; cod, mozzarella & pepperoni; haddock & mushy pea; cod and Spanish chorizo; cod and prawn; smoked haddock, cheddar and leek; melting layer smoked haddock with cheddar & mustard sauce; with spring onions or chives; with sweet chilli sauce.  Many of these are charged at an extra quid too.

Change the usual white potato to sweet potato, or any root veg that you want. How about Barbie pink Beetroot and Cod fish cakes? Or mashed carrot, swede, potato and smoked haddock. Or parsnip, potato and Pollock.


Then you could have many different variations if you serve a sauce with your fish cakes. The classic sauces are parsley, hollandaise or ketchup. I’ve not attempted a hollandaise, partly because it is basically melted butter. You could make white sauce and flavour it with any of the options above, or use a sweet chill sauce from a bottle, or mix up an Asian one using soy sauce, chilli and ginger.


Accompany your fish cakes with peas and chips; mushy peas; a crisp green salad, spicy oven wedges; sweet potato chips, mixed roasted root veg; a tomato and red onion salad; carrot and cucumber ribbons.

Do try making fish cakes at home. If you are an inexperienced cook, or haven’t made them before, follow the recipes linked above, and take it from there

fish cakes





  1. Thrifty Lesley

    Lesley – so glad you like them 🙂

  2. lesley marrion-cole

    Thank you! I didn’t think of adding coconut cream. I made them just now: tinned salmon, potato, lemon zest and coconut. Delicious!

  3. Slicktips73

    This looks lovely. I will have a go and hope for tasty fishcakes

  4. Lesley

    sounds delicious! We used to have toast on a toasting fork, done by the heat of the fire, with butter or dripping. A hot face often reminds me of that

  5. Jane

    This series is great Lesley, I remember tinned red salmon with just a dash of malt vinegar in Sunday afternoon tea sandwiches a real treat and any left would go into fishcakes next day with just potato and a little dust of flour to the cakes and pan fried on a greased pan. A tiny tang from the vinegar and brown crispy bottoms a bit like bubble and squeak, now theres a thought…

  6. Lesley

    Thanks Pam, I love to hear from readers, to know what you’re doing, whatvworks works for you, what doesn’t

  7. Pam

    Thank you Lesley for all the budget recipes. I really do appreciate them. Things are getting so expensive, sizes smaller, quality not always good.
    I used to make fish cakes years ago. The fishmonger would have cheap ends and bits which made very tasty fish cakes. I don’t eat meat or fish any more so I’m going to try a fishless fish cake using your ideas.
    Thank you again. I hope you have time to keep posting regularly again, Pam

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