Pilchard fishcakes recipe

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Pilchard fish cakes are a flavour-packed lunch or party food that makes the most of a British ingredient. Pilchards are cheap to buy and full of healthy fats.

pilchard fish cakes
  • healthy
  • healthy
Preparation Time15 mins
Cooking Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories425 Kcal21%
Fat21.5 g31%
Saturated Fat5.5 g28%
Carbohydrates13.5 g5%

These pilchard fishcakes (opens in new tab) are a lovely light lunch, or serve mini versions as party food. Pilchards are delicious oily fish that are similar to sardines, but larger, and are such an underrated ingredient. Pilchards can be bought in a can, and can be used in so many recipes, such as in pastas, salads, or simply eaten on toast, and they also work so well in our tasty pilchard fishcakes. Pilchards are a really nutritious food that are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids. For a delicious twist on a conventional fishcake, try making these easy pilchard fishcakes.


  • 450g potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 400g can pilchards in tomato sauce
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • Half a bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1 bunch chives, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 60g panko breadcrumbs
  • oil, for frying

For the dipping sauce

  • 45g crème fraiche
  • 45g mayo
  • 3tbsp tomato sauce from the pilchard can
  • Juice of half a lemon, plus extra lemon wedges, to serve




  1. Steam the potatoes for 20 mins or until cooked through, then when still warm, roughly mash the cooked potatoes with a fork in a large bowl.
  2. Drain the tinned pilchards, reserving 3tbsp of the tomato sauce for the dipping sauce, then mix the fish into the potato with lemon zest and juice, herbs, and onion and stir until well combined. Form the mixture into either large fishcakes or small croquettes. Dip in beaten egg then in breadcrumbs to coat.
  3. Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the fishcakes for 3-4 mins on either side, until golden.
  4. To make the dipping sauce, combine crème fraiche, mayo and sauce from the pilchard can. Serve with the fishcakes while they’re hot, with lemon wedges on the side.