nans fish cakes

Newfoundland cod cakes were and still are a staple growing up on the east coast of Canada. Traditionally made with salt cod and crumbled saltine crackers, now they have advanced to fresh cooked fish and potatoes. I’m picky about my cod cakes though, for two very specific reasons.

They often have:

  1. WAY too much potato and not enough fish.
  2. Not enough seasoning, making for bland fish cakes. These down- home favorites, on the other hand, are packed with fish seasoned to perfection—match made in heaven for leftover fish and potato.

Nan’s Fish Cakes Use Up: cooked fish, cooked seafood, leftover seafood, cooked potatoes, celery tops.

Food 911: Fish cakes are not only for leftover fish. Leftover seafood such as crab, lobster, or even shrimp (or any combination of) can all be chopped up and folded into a seafood cake. Also you can swap in cooked sweet potato or even rutabaga for some of those cooked potatoes.

Nan’s Fish Cakes

Christine Tizzard
Leftover cooked fish transformed into the ultimate fish cakes.
Total Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine fish, Seafood


  • 2 cups (about 3⁄4 lb) cooked mashed potatoes Can Substitute: cooked mashed potatoes with cooked mashed sweet potatoes, turnip, rutabaga, or a combination of.
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery tops or finely chopped celery
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley or parsley stems
  • 2 Tsbp finely chopped dill
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg beaten
  • good pinch sea salt
  • to taste pepper
  • 1 lb. cooked boneless skinless salmon, trout, cod, halibut, haddock, or other lean fish Can Substitute: cooked fish with cooked crab, lobster and chopped shrimp or/ cooked fish with well-soaked salt cod,cooked 5 minutes in boiling water and drained well.

Optional Seasonings:

  • 2 tsp ground sumac
  • 1 Tbsp citrus zest
  • to taste chili falkes of powder


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed potatoes with the onions, celery tops, parsley, dill, paprika, nutmeg, and any optional seasonings.
  • Mix in the egg, salt, and pepper. Fold in the flaked fish.
  • Using your hands, portion out about 1⁄4 cup of the mixture. Form it into a fish cake about 2 to 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. If you have the time, place in the fridge for 20 minutes to allow them to firm up and hold their shape better during frying.
  • Preheat a large cast-iron pan or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oil and frythe cakes until well browned on both sides, 7 to 9 minutes total. Fry in batches if necessary.
Keyword cod cakes, fish, fish cakes, leftover cod, leftover cooked fish, leftover cooked seafood, leftover fish, leftover salmon, leftover trout, seafood

My Nan’s Fish Cakes recipe can also be found in Cook More, Waste Less. Check out my other seafood recipes here.

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