Southwestern Crappie Cakes

There are two things to remember when making fish cakes. First, they have to be just moist enough to hold together, but not so moist that they fall apart when cooked. Second, you can’t mess with them when they’re in the pan or they’ll break apart. Now that we’ve got that straight, let’s get started. I use any light white fish that will flake easily, like crappie, halibut, rockfish, etc.

Southwestern Crappie Cakes


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup onion finely diced
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper finely diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 4 cups fish fillets flaked and pressed dry with paper towels
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons Japanese breadcrumbs or any breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lawry’s Lemon Pepper
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 egg whites beaten
  • oil for frying

Chipotle Mayonnaise

  • 2/3 cup prepared mayonnise
  • 1 lime juice only
  • 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
  • 1 teaspoon or more Tabasco Chipotle seasoning

Combine ingredients.


    • Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper and sauté for 4 – 5 minutes. Make sure that fish has been patted dry thoroughly with paper towels. In a large bowl, add cilantro, fish, pepper flakes, garlic and cooled onion/pepper from pan. Sprinkle flour, breadcrumbs and lemon pepper over while tossing, making sure to coat fish evenly. Fold in mayonnaise and egg whites. Take some of the mixture and form into a ball, about 3 inches in diameter. If it holds together, you’re in business. If it’s too dry and flaky, add some more breadcrumbs. It should be moist, but not soggy. Form mixture into 8 equal sized patties.
    • Add enough oil to just cover the bottom of a large skillet and heat over medium heat. When oil is hot, add cakes and cook until medium brown on one side, about 5 - 6 minutes. Carefully flip over and brown other sides, about 5 minutes more. When cakes are just cooked, remove from pan and top with Chipotle Mayonnaise.


    1. Juanelo on October 24, 2022 at 12:25 am

      You didn’t specify whether fish is to be cooked first. I’m guessing it should be, because how else can it be “flaked?” Unless you mean raw and finely chopped.

      • Scott Leysath on October 24, 2022 at 10:51 am

        It can be made with cooked fish as well, but I use a fork to “flake” or shred it rather than chop it. It holds together better than when chopped.

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