Sardine Patties

Sardine Patties

So the inspiration for my Sardine Patties comes from this new cookbook, The Magic of Tinned Fish by Chris McDade. It’s full of wonderfully inventive recipes using all kinds of canned seafood. And it’s really got me wondering why we don’t we eat more canned fish in America? Many countries in Europe and Asia have rich cultural traditions around preserved seafood. And it makes sense. Tinned fish is processed at its absolute best. It has a long shelf life, requiring no refrigeration. It’s full of high quality protein and healthy fats, it’s more economical than fresh seafood, AND it tends to be way more sustainable. It doesn’t have to be flown around the world overnight, and outside of tuna, it’s usually smaller fish that are low on the food chain.

Now that I think about it, maybe it’s tuna’s fault. Too much collective trauma around soggy tuna fish sandwiches in our youth? Well, it’s time to embrace the more sophisticated tinned fish enjoyed all around the world, and that’s where these Sardine Patties come in. Think of them as sophisticated fish sliders. They’re highly seasoned, moist, and delicious served as a part of a meal or just between some soft squishy potato buns. And they’re so easy to make, so let’s get to it.


While you could choose tinned mackerel or salmon here, I use sardines because they are meaty and mild. I dress them up with some fun Japanese ingredients like panko for crunch, and a shichimi pepper blend to liven up the dip. Add a jolt of fresh ginger, some cilantro for refreshing flavor, and these Sardine Patties are a great introduction to the wide world of canned fish.

Making Sardine Patties

Start by prepping the aromatics-your ginger, garlic, onion, and mince the cilantro. This method is typical when making meatloaf, and it works great here too. You essentially make a flavorful mash that gets mixed into the protein.

mincing sardine patties

grating sardine patties

drain sardine patties

mixing sardine patties

Now it’s time to shape the Sardine Patties. I use a 1/4 cup scoop to portion out 9 balls, and then press them into about an inch thick. This makes for nice, consistently sized patties that cook evenly.

scoop sardine patties

press sardine patties

Now it’s time to bake these babies! Make sure to evenly spray the patties with oil before cooking so you get a nice golden crust.

crisp sardine patties

Make The Sauce

While the Sardine Patties bake, whip up the creamy sauce. The tangy lemon flavor gets just a little zing from the pepper blend. Not spicy, just a bit of heat and flavor. This sauce is even better the next day as the lemon zest has time to bloom in the sauce. So go ahead and make it the day before. You can also prep the sardine mixture the day before and cook them off the following day if that’s helpful to you.

lemon sardine patties

sauce sardine patties

These Sardine Patties are such a great way to break out of a cooking rut, and explore all the bounty of tinned fish offerings. Let me know what you think by rating and commenting on the recipe below, we love hearing from you! And tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen.

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recipe card sardine patties

Sardine Patties

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 Minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Japanese


  • 1 ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons peeled and minced ginger
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced
  • ⅓ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ large onion
  • ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 3 cans sardines (you can also use mackerel or salmon) approximately 13 oz total weight 
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Oil spray


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon shichimi pepper blend 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste 



  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Place the bread crumbs, garlic, ginger, green onions, cilantro, eggs, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Grate the onion over the bowl using the large holes. Mix everything together to create a wet paste.
  3. Drain the sardines well and flake it with your fingers. Set aside.
  4. Add the sardines. Stir gently until everything is nicely mixed together. 
  5. Using a ¼ cup ice cream scoop or a measuring cup, portion out 9 balls. Scoop the balls into your hands and press the ball into a compact patty about inch thick.
  6. Place a piece of parchment paper onto the baking sheet and spray generously with oil. Put your patties onto the parchment lined pan.
  7. Spray the tops of the patties with oil.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip the patties over gently and bake for an additional 5 minutes until they are a nice golden color. 
  9. While the patties are baking, make the sauce. Over a small bowl zest the lemon and then juice it. Add the mayonnaise, shichimi pepper, salt, and ground black pepper to taste.
  10. Mix the sauce with a whisk or fork until smooth and creamy.
  11. Serve the patties immediately with the sauce.


*Both the sauce and patties can be made ahead of serving time. The sauce actually tastes better if it sits in the fridge overnight and holds it stays fresh for several days.

*The sardine patties can be mixed, shaped, and then refrigerated overnight. But they taste best freshly baked so I would not bake them until you are ready to serve.

*If your patties finish cooking but they are a little pale for your liking, broil them for a couple of minutes on the top shelf to get a golden crust. (Make sure you keep a close eye so you don’t over broil them.)

Keywords: tinned fish, sardine patties, sardine cakes, sustainable seafood

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