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Irish Fish Cakes

Irish Fish Cakes and Tartar Sauce

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Total Time: 40 Minutes
  • Yield: 8 Cakes 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Irish


Irish Fish Cakes are savory cakes made with milk simmered cod, and mashed potatoes. One might think these are entirely made of fish because of their flakey soft interiors. Top with homemade tartar sauce!


  • 1 lb Cod, skinned
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 c milk
  • About 1 1/2 c white or red potatoes (good for mashing)
  • 3/4 t grated lemon zest
  • 1 T chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 T snipped chives
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c panko bread crumbs and maybe a tad bit more
  • 4 T Vegetable or Sunflower Oil for shallow frying

Tartar Sauce

  • 1/2 c mayonnaise
  • 1 heaping t capers, rough chopped
  • 1 heaping t Dijon mustard
  • 1 medium sized shallot, finely minced
  • 1 heaping t Italian parsley, chopped


Tartar Sauce

  1. Mix sauce ingredients together. If you want it a bit saucier, add a little more mayonnaise. Set aside.

Fish Cakes

  1. Lay the fish and bay leaves in a skillet. Pour the milk over the fish. It doesn’t need to completely cover. Cover the skillet and bring to a gentle boil. Lower heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn fish over and simmer about 2 minutes more. Take fish off the heat and let stand while covered for 10 minutes to gently finish cooking the fish. (My fish was thick so I cooked it for a touch longer.)
  2. Meanwhile peel and chop the potatoes into even chunks. Put in a saucepan with salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until tender but not falling apart.
  3. Lift fish out of milk with a slotted spatula and put on a plate to cool. Drain potatoes in a colander and let drain for a few minutes. Tip back into hot pot and on the lowest heat, let them dry out for about 1 minute, mashing them with a fork so they don’t stick. This should end up being a light and fluffy mash,
  4. Take off heat and beat in 1-2 T of the tartar sauce, then add lemon zest, parsley and chives. Season well with salt and pepper. Make sure these taste good!
  5. Drain fish, grind pepper over it and then flake big chunks of it into the potato. Using your hands, gently lift the potatoes and fish together so they just combine together. Don’t mix too much because you want large chunks of fish!
  6. Beat the egg in a shallow bowl. Form 8 fish cakes and dip in egg mixture and then in the panko crumbs, patting the crumbs well onto all sides. Transfer to a clean plate and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.
  7. Heat oil in a large frying pan. When a breadcrumb dropped into the oil sizzles, it is ready to use. Fry the fish cakes over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side until crisp and golden. Serve with the tartar sauce and lemon wedges!


Thanks to the BBC for a great recipe!