Even better than beef.
There’s a lot of talk these days about meat-free or meet-adjacent burgers (Beyond, Impossible). But my all-time favorite non-meat burgers are well-made salmon burgers. Salmon burgers do not try to imitate red meat, but stand on their own as a healthful, fresh, satisfying meal. This recipe for salmon burgers with tzatziki accomplishes all that, with uncomplicated ingredients and a simple method.
You’ll also like: Shrimp Scampi Risotto and New England Fish Chowder
Good Salmon Burgers vs. Bad Salmon Burgers
Whether red meat, vegetable, plant-based, or seafood, one truth endures: There are good burgers, and there are bad burgers. A bad burger equals a bad day. Dry and tough, overcooked, or bland, these sad hockey pucks taste like pure disappointment and wasted money — if they have any taste at all.
But a good burger? Specifically, a good salmon burger? These are moist, flavorful, and easy to sink your teeth into, with just the right balance of salt and other seasoning. This recipe for salmon burgers with tzatziki checks all those boxes.
Key Ingredient: The Special Sauce
All truly good burgers require special sauce, of course. I find that a cool, crunchy tzatziki recipe, with plenty of fresh herbs like mint and dill, makes the perfect match for fresh salmon burgers. Be generous with the tzatziki. The herbs add flavor to the salmon, and the cool crunch from the cucumber complements the salmon’s soft texture.
Recipe Notes and Variations: Salmon Burgers With Tzatziki
Normally, I prefer eating wild salmon. But to me, putting pricey wild salmon meat in a food processor is like putting an aged filet mignon in a blender to make a quarter pounder. You just don’t do it. For salmon burger purposes, use the fattier, less expensive farmed salmon, which get ground in the food processor. The patties will be more tender and hold together better.
These salmon burgers have a very nice flavor: perfect amount of seasoning, plus fresh scallions and a hint of acid from lemon and Dijon mustard. Keep this herby, slightly tangy theme going with tzatziki instead of ketchup or mayo to top the burgers. Tzatziki takes a minute to make, with a nice cucumber crunch.
These salmon burger patties are just as easily repurposed as salmon meatballs or salmon cakes, sans bun, perhaps served with a simple salad and rice or other grain.
Did you make this recipe for salmon burgers with tzatziki? How did it go?
Salmon Burgers With Tzatziki Special Sauce
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh salmon, bones and skin removed
- 1 tablespoon Dijon grain mustard
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/8 cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 4 hamburger buns or rolls of choice
- 1 recipe tzatziki (recipe follows)
- neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, for frying
- Make your tzatziki and set aside. This can be done up to three days in advance.
- Blitz three quarters (maybe a little more) of the salmon in a food processor until chopped very fine or ground into a paste. (I know. "Salmon paste" doesn't sound very delicious. It will be.) Chop the remaining salmon into a small dice.
- In a mixing bowl, mix the salmon, Dijon mustard, scallions, parsley, salt, black pepper, cayenne, and the juice of half a lemon until fully combined.
- Form the salmon mix into 4 patties, pressing them together firmly. Lightly dredge each patty top and bottom with the breadcrumbs.
- Heat a thin layer of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers and a few breadcrumbs dropped into the pan sizzle. Lower the heat to medium, then fry the salmon burgers until nicely browned on each side and cooked just through, about 3 or 4 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Serve hot with a generous spoonful of tzatziki on top, over warm buns or rolls. Cut the remaining half lemon into a few wedges and serve with the salmon burgers.