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Easy Canned Mackerel Fish Cakes

Don’t be afraid of canned fish! The good stuff really can make fast and really tasty dishes like these canned mackerel fish cakes.

These are super easy to make from ingredients that you may already have at home and they make for a delicious meal.

Portrait overhead image of Canned Mackerel fish cakes with pickles on a white plate against a dark backdrop

Making Fish Cakes with Tinned Fish.

I am often to be found here bemoaning the seriously limited access I have to great fresh fish and seafood.

This tinned mackerel recipe is just one way of me dealing with that.

To be perfectly honest I seldom cooked with canned fish until fairly recently.

However, I was leafing through a Gordon Ramsey cookbook and he was extolling the virtues of good quality tinned mackerel.

So I figured I would give his pasta dish a punt and loved it. Although that original inspiration morphed into a smoked mackerel pasta recipe.

If you want a sauce then a simple parsley sauce would be a great addition to this recipe.

Portrait image of Canned Mackerel fish cakes with pickles on a white plate against a dark backdrop

How to Freeze Fish Cakes.

Buoyed by this experience I was on a mission and I have spent a couple of months working on some fish cake recipes.

These are indulgent, super quick to make and if you are like me you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry.

They also freeze wonderfully, you can either freeze before the panne process or after. Chill first and then wrap in baking parchment before freezing.

As everything in these fish cakes is already cooked you don’t really need to cook so it is just a case of bringing to temperature.

They just need shallow frying for a couple of minutes to get a nice colour and then straight in the oven.

They typically take about 15-20 minutes to cook from frozen as opposed to the 10 minutes when fresh.

Close up portrait overhead image of Canned Mackerel fish cakes with pickles on a white plate against a dark backdrop

Cooking With Canned Fish.

Growing up in the UK, great quality fresh fish is not difficult to find.

So cooking with canned fish never really a thing for me. Since moving to Hungary I have discovered a whole new range of produce.

I’m definitely a convert to canned fish, naturally, the quality varies and the cheap stuff is beyond nasty.

But invest in good quality ingredients and you have an amazing product that I consider more than worthy to grace my table.

A canned mackerel recipe really does live and die on the quality of the mackerel!

It is particularly good in fish cakes. You can look beyond mackerel as well!

Tinned Sardines make an appearance in these salmon fish cakes and spiced up tuna in these Thai fish cakes.

But it is not just great in fish cakes, there is, of course, the classic tuna pasta salad!

Square image of Canned Mackerel fish cakes with pickles on a white plate against a dark backdrop
Yield: 2 Servings

Recipe for Tinned Mackerel Fish Cakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Canned or Tinned Mackerel is at the heart of these seriously indulgent and insanely recipe. Forget the nasty 'industrial' fish cakes of your youth these are sublime and so very simple!


  • 300 g (2 Cups) Potato
  • 50 g (1/2 Stick) Butter
  • Salt
  • 150 g (5 oz) Tinned Mackerel
  • 50 g (1/4 Cup) Capers
  • 15 g (1/2 Cup) Fresh Parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tsp Ground Fennel Seed
  • 4 Tbsp Plain Flour
  • 1 Egg
  • 50 g (1/2 Cup) Breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil


  1. Peel the potato and chop into 2cm cubes.
  2. Boil in salted water until soft which should take 15-20 minutes depending on the size.
  3. Rice the potato when warm and add the butter.
  4. Mix to form mashed potato and set aside.
  5. Flake the fish then roughly chop the capers and parsley.
  6. Mix together the flaked fish, mashed potato, parsley and the capers and have a taste, add seasoning as required.
  7. Split the mix in to 4 even portions and use your hands to form into a circular shape about 1cm thick.
  8. Place in the refrigerator to firm up, you can do this the night before if you wish, they also freeze really well at this point.
  9. Preheat your oven to 180°C or 350°F.
  10. Mix together the plain flour and ground fennel seed and add some salt an pepper to season, then begin to pane the fish cakes.
  11. So first into the flour fennel mix, then the egg, then the bread crumbs.
  12. Heat a little oil in the bottom of a frying pan that can be transferred to the oven over a medium high heat.
  13. Now add the fish cakes and cook until a nice golden brown then flip and place in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.


I like to serve this with some homemade mayonnaise that I let down with the juice from some gherkins and some sliced gehrkin and a simple leaf salad, lambs lettuce in this case and a wedge of lemon.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 843Total Fat: 52gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 203mgSodium: 1487mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 6gSugar: 4gProtein: 31g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Wednesday 9th of February 2022

Very nice easy recipe, I didn't have capers or parsley and used gluten free breadcrumbs but they still turned out lovely. Will do this one again.

Brian Jones

Thursday 17th of February 2022

So glad you enjoyed it Helen, these are my favourite fishcakes :)


Thursday 30th of December 2021

I failed with the presentation as always, but I tell you what, it tasted really nice, I should have left it in the fridge a bit longer but I blame my mum who rang me up from Iceland (where she lives and I´m in the UK).. it´s not all about looking fancy as long as it tastes nice and we live and learn :) I hope you and your family have had a good Christmas and a happy new year to you. Rakel and co x

Brian Jones

Friday 31st of December 2021

Food is all about flavour, I have to make my food look "attractive" or no one would click on it, but it all comes after flavour :) So glad you liked this, it's such an old recipe on my site and I love it, I cook these all of the time :)

Have a good New Year Brian

Donald Barker

Tuesday 30th of July 2019

Sorry. For those of us who are not conversant with cooking terminology, your point number 10 is "pointless" - Mix together the plain flour and ground fennel seed and add some salt and pepper to season, then begin to pane the fish cakes. What is meant by "pane the fish cakes"?

Brian Jones

Friday 2nd of August 2019

To pane something is to dip in eggs, flour and breadcrumbs and the description on how to do it follows in the next step of the recipe. I will add in some tet to explain what this means in coming days.


Friday 23rd of February 2018

You can't beat a fishcake and these look great. I've never used mackerel before but love the tinned stuff and perfect for a store cupboard dinner!

Brian Jones

Friday 23rd of February 2018

Cheers Amanda, I love fishcakes, I have another new recipe working on them lined up for next week :)

Juli Meyers

Friday 23rd of February 2018

I love quick recipes that don't feel like I'm just "settling" when I eat. They look delicious.

Brian Jones

Friday 23rd of February 2018

Thanks Juli

Brian Jones

Friday 23rd of February 2018

Thanks Julie

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