Salmon Loaf

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Salmon loaf is a budget-friendly dinner to serve on any busy weeknight. It’s an old fashioned salmon loaf recipe that’s inexpensive, healthy, and an easy family favorite!

Canned salmon is mixed with parmesan cheese, panko crumbs and spices to create an easy and flavorful salmon loaf that’s baked in the oven. This recipe can be served with a simple side greek salad, a bowl of creamy rutabaga carrot soup, or keep it simple with homemade quinoa and a side of green beans.

salmon loaf sliced on one side on a white plate, sprinkled with parmesan. Lemons and kitchen towel in background.

We love a good cheap easy meal recipe, and this easy salmon loaf doesn’t disappoint! If you are looking for an easy weeknight meal idea with budget-friendly ingredients, this is it! Plus leftovers make the perfect lunch paired with a salad.

Canned Salmon Loaf Recipe

As the cost of groceries continues to rise, it’s recipes like this one that I like to keep on regular rotation in our house.

  • Canned salmon is inexpensive compared to many other meat options. This is why I love this recipe so much: It helps save on the grocery bill! These days as grocery prices increase, it’s important to have these budget-friendly recipes in your back pocket. (You only need 2 cans of salmon for this recipe).
  • This recipe can also be used to make salmon cakes (or fish cakes). Form into patties and add to a frying pan to cook on the stove.
  • There are lots of delicious ingredients that create a really yummy dinner. I recommend using freshly grated parmesan if you can. But jarred grated parmesan cheese is more budget-friendly and will also work.
Ingredients for salmon loaf on a table including canned salmon, grated parmesan, milk, spices, panko crumbs, green onion and yellow onion.

Recipe Ingredients

This recipe combines canned salmon with milk, egg and panko crumbs, which will hold it together and create moisture. Here’s what you’ll need (scroll down to get full ingredients in the recipe card):

  • CANNED SALMON: You’ll need 2 cans of salmon (6 oz each). Any kind of canned salmon will work for this recipe including Atlantic salmon and sockeye salmon. I used canned wild Alaskan pink salmon.
  • PARMESAN: I prefer to use freshly grated parmesan because of its flavor. But you can also use the shaker version. If you want this recipe to be dairy-free, use vegan parmesan cheese.
  • PANKO CRUMBS: You can use panko bread crumbs or regular bread crumbs.

If you like this easy loaf recipe, you might also like our no-breadcrumb meatloaf recipe that’s loaded with carrots, celery, and parmesan cheese.

Pro Tip: You don’t have to use panko crumbs or bread crumbs for this recipe. Instead, try crushed-up saltine crackers for an easy, inexpensive alternative.

canned salmon loaf sliced on a white plate with lemon wedges and sprinkled with fresh parsley.

How To Make This Easy (and Cheap) Salmon Loaf

We just love how easy this salmon loaf is to make. It can be prepped in less than 10 minutes:

  1. Flake The Salmon: This is an important step. Salmon should be flakey and crumbled into small pieces. You can do this with a fork. This will make the loaf stick together once cooked.
  2. Mix Together: Mix the flaked salmon, panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, green onion and yellow onion into a bowl.
  3. In a Small Bowl: Add milk, dried dill, dried parsley, salt and black pepper to a bowl and mix. Pour over top of the salmon.
  4. Beat Eggs: Whisk two eggs in a small bowl with a fork. Pour over top of the salmon mixture.
  5. Mix Together. Mix thoroughly to ensure a moist salmon loaf.
  6. Bake: Place the salmon mixture into a greased loaf pan. Use a spatula to smooth it out and pack it down tightly. Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes. The salmon loaf is done when the edges are golden and begin to be slightly crispened.

Pro Tip: Be sure to flake the salmon really well. Use a fork and flake the salmon until it’s very small and crumbly with no large chunks left. This will give you the best loaf texture.

Common Questions

Can I use fresh salmon instead of canned salmon?

Yes, you can. You will need to bake the salmon first, then flake it with a fork. You will need about 1 ½ cups of flaked cooked salmon for this loaf recipe.

Do I need to add parmesan cheese?

The cheese helps to make the salmon loaf stick together. I find that parmesan cheese adds the best flavor, white cheddar cheese or mozzarella cheese will also work.

Can I double the recipe?

Yes! The salmon loaf can be double batched and cooked in two separate loaf pans. Cooking time may vary, so be sure to check on the loaf to see how it’s doing. This loaf freezes well and can be reheated in the oven for a future meal.

Ways To Serve Salmon Loaf

We’ll often serve this loaf on busy weeknights with a quick side salad. Here are some of the ways to enjoy it:

  • Lemon – Drizzle a bit of lemon juice on top of the freshly baked salmon loaf for extra flavor.
  • Topping – This salmon loaf tastes best topped with a sauce. You can use tartar sauce, plain greek yogurt, or try something else like mayonnaise, ketchup, barbecue sauce, or salsa.
  • Salad – Pair it with flavorful salads like our strawberry spinach salad, black-eyed pea salad, or a simple garden salad.
  • Grains – If you want a more filling meal, try serving with a side of rice, whole grain pasta, mashed potatoes or quinoa.
Sliced salmon loaf on a white plate with lemon wedges and parsely.

Storing Leftovers

My husband loves to pan fry the leftovers with a bit of cooking oil for crispier outsides. Here’s how to store this salmon loaf recipe:

  • Fridge – Leftover loaf can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
  • Freezer – Wrap the whole salmon loaf or slices individually with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Then place it in a large freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible and seal tightly. This salmon loaf will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.
  • To Reheat – Defrost the salmon loaf in the fridge, then reheat in the oven at 350°F until warmed through. Leftovers can also be pan-fried with a bit of cooking oil for extra crispiness or reheated in the microwave.

Pro Tip: Use freshly grated parmesan cheese. It adds a beautiful subtle flavor and also helps to make the loaf stick together. If you’re on a tight budget, you can use the shaker parmesan (jar version).

We can’t wait for you to try this simple and unbelievably easy loaf idea using canned salmon. You’ll be surprised at how flavorful it is!

More Salmon Recipes

If you love salmon as much as we do, then you’re going to love these ideas:

Easy Salmon Loaf Recipe

Canned salmon is inexpensive and healthy. It’s mixed with parmesan cheese, panko crumbs and spices to create an easy and flavorful salmon loaf.
4.45 from 9 votes
Print Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of salmon - approximately 6 oz each
  • 1 cup panko crumbs - or breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup grated parmesan - freshly grated or the jar version will work
  • 2 green onions - chopped
  • ½ cup diced yellow onion - (about ½ of small onion)
  • ½ cup milk - dairy or non-dairy
  • 1 tsp dried dill weed - or fresh dill
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • ¼ tsp salt and pepper - (¼ tsp for each)
  • 2 large eggs

Instructions

  • Spray the inside of a loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
    White loaf pan and avocado oil spray.
  • Drain salmon from can juices. In a large bowl, add the 2 cans of salmon, panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, green onion and yellow onion. (You can keep the salmon bones and skin if you like them or take them out before adding)
    panko, onion, salmon and parsley in a white bowl with a spatula beside it.
  • Use a fork to flake the salmon into small crumbles. This part is key! You want the salmon to be flaked small to ensure a moist salmon loaf overall.
    flaked salmon in a large white bowl with onion, parsley, and panko crumbs.
  • Once salmon is fully flaked, mix the ingredients together.
    flaked salmon mixture in white bowl with gray spatula.
  • In a separate small bowl mix the milk, dill, parsley, salt and pepper. Pour over the salmon mixture bowl.
    cream, dill salt and pepper in a bowl with small spatula.
  • Beat the two eggs with a fork. Pour over the salmon.
    beaten eggs in white bowl with a fork.
  • Mix all ingredients together throrougly.
    flaked salmon in a white bowl with egg and dill mixture.
  • The salmon should be evenly coated with egg and milk to ensure the loaf is moist and sticks together.
    flaked salmon mixture in bowl with grey spatula.
  • Add the salmon loaf to the pan and pack it down with a spatula.
    Raw salmon loaf pressed into loaf pan with gray spatula beside it.
  • Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and slightly crispy. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes.
    Baked salmon loaf inside white loaf pan.
  • Carefully flip over on to a plate and slice into serving portions. You can squeeze fresh lemon juice or sprinkle lemon zest over top (this is optional). Serve and enjoy!
    Sliced loaf pan on white plate with sliced lemon and parsley around it.

Recipe Notes:

  • Sauce: The salmon loaf can be served with tartar sauce, plain greek yogurt, mayonnaise, or homemade buttermilk ranch dressing.  
  • Gluten-Free: The loaf can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free panko crumbs or by replacing crumbs with 3 Tbsp of tapioca starch. 
  • Dairy-Free: Use dairy-free milk (almond, oat milk, coconut, etc) and vegan parmesan cheese.
  • Leftovers: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave or pan-fried in a skillet with a bit of oil.
  • Replacing With Fresh Salmon: You will need to bake the salmon first, then flake it with a fork. You will need about 1 ½ cups of flaked cooked salmon for this loaf recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 152kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 457mg | Potassium: 125mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 307IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 244mg | Iron: 1mg
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