Canned Mackerel Fish Cakes Recipe

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

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.

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, this Nicoise pasta salad shows yet more diversity and is the perfect pasta accompaniment!

Recipe for Tinned Mackerel Fish Cakes

Recipe for Tinned Mackerel Fish Cakes

Yield: 2 Servings
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 Potato
  • 50 g Butter
  • Salt
  • 150 g Tinned Mackerel
  • 50 g Capers
  • 15 g Fresh Parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tsp Ground Fennel Seed
  • 4 Tbsp Plain Flour
  • 1 Egg
  • 50 g 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:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
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.

29 thoughts on this Recipe:

  1. 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”?

    • 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.

  2. 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!

  3. I love fishcake! I have to say I have never tried them with mackerel but I will now for sure. These look absolutely amazing and so appetising that I could not possibly give them a miss. Thank you for sharing Brian!

  4. I’m moving in. That’s all. What’s your address? 😉
    Fish cakes are a childhood fav of mine. My mom always made them from scratch – none of this frozen food section stuff from the grocery store.
    Love that you served these up with pickles and the addition of the capers – yum!

    • Hahaha, just rock up south of to Lake Tisza and start asking around I am sure someone will eventually point you in my direction 😉

      My mum always got them straight from the freezer as I am sure did the school dinner ‘cooks’, but they were still an enduring memory that has stuck with me.

  5. Imagine how indulgent these would be topped with an egg for brunch!? Over here they love to do that with crab cakes, and I’d imagine mackerel would work just as well.

    • Now that sounds like a real plan, maybe for a light lunch… I don’t get the brunch thing and am never sure what it is, if you have breakfast and lunch there is no need for brunch. If you skip one then so be it but aint no point in combining the name of the two and making it up 😉

  6. Love this idea! I can’t remember seeing canned mackerel in my local market — if it’s unavailable, do you have a good substitute? Tuna maybe?

    • You could use tuna although I think canned salmon maybe a better match for the capers and pickles… I have another recipe coming up using canned tuna though but rocking some south east asian flavours like chili and lemon grass 🙂

  7. How clever! I would never have thought to have used tinned mackerel. This is a great way to jazz up that tin lurking in the back of my cupboard 🙂

  8. These look wonderful! Even though I live near the ocean I have occasionally cooked with canned tuna and salmon, so I think mackerel would be great too. Nothing like easy and tasty. 🙂 And good luck to you and your liver with the visit!

    • Cheers Anne Marie, it has been a week since our friends left and I think I am only just returning to ‘normal’!

    • I guess they are similar Priya, a real memory of school dinners for me although these are a little more refined than the schlop we got served when I was a nipper!

  9. Mmmm these sound lovely! I’ve always got tinned fish on hand, just in case. A great midweek lunch idea, this!

    • Thanks Elizabeth, I used to scoff at the idea of tinned fish until I moved to a place where the sea is a long old way away… Now I embrace it for what it is 🙂


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