Crispy Fish Burgers

Turn any leftover cooked fish into these light and tasty fish burgers.

Crispy Fish Burgers

Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Julia Bayless

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs

These fish burgers are an ideal way to use up leftover cooked fish. Any kind of fish will work nicely here, but grilled or roasted snapper or sea bass is especially delicious. Break the fish into small pieces so it mixes well with the creamy mayonnaise dressing, which contributes bright flavors with the Dijon mustard, cilantro, scallions, and jalapeño. The panko breadcrumbs mixed into the patties help give them body. Feel free to swap in other herbs — chopped basil, tarragon, oregano, or arugula would work well here, as would a dried herb blend like herbes de Provence. You can also season the mixture with a teaspoon of spices like cumin or chili powder, or a spice blend like curry powder or jerk seasoning.

Be sure to allow time for the fish patties to rest for at least 30 minutes before cooking them; that time in the refrigerator will help ensure the patties don't fall apart while cooking. You can prepare the recipe up to this step several hours in advance if you like.

When you are ready to cook the burgers, coat them with additional panko, so you get a crispy exterior on each burger. They are meant to be eaten immediately; you don't want to keep reheating the fish. Be sure to source brioche or another light, tender bun for these burgers; a heftier bread like a pretzel bun will be firm for the delicate fish patties, and crush them when you try to take a bite.


  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

  • 1 jalapeño, minced

  • 1 pound cooked fish, such as snapper, salmon, trout or cod, broken into small chunks

  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, plus more for coating

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup canola oil

  • 6 hamburger buns, preferably brioche

  • Mayonnaise, lettuce, sliced tomatoes and pickle slices, for serving


  1. Whisk mayonnaise with mustard, egg, cilantro, scallions, and jalapeño in a large bowl. Fold in fish and panko and season with salt and pepper. Shape mixture into six 3 1/2-inch patties and place on a small platter. Refrigerate fish patties for at least 30 minutes so they hold their shape better while cooking.

  2. When ready to cook, coat each fish patty generously with more panko. Melt butter and oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add fish patties and cook, turning once or twice, until crisp and heated through, about 8 minutes. Smear inside of buns with mayonnaise and place patties on buns. Top with lettuce, tomato and pickles and serve right away.

Make Ahead

The fish patties can be prepared through Step 1 and refrigerated overnight.

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