Grilled Salmon Burgers with Green Goddess Dressing

Who says you can’t eat something elegant with your hands?

Vertical image of a hand holding a sandwich with a seafood patty, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

I’m an advocate for the idea that my hands are the best tools I have. Unfortunately, this rule doesn’t always apply to eating (or at least eating in public).

But when it does, I’m a happy girl.

These salmon burgers will be the posh handhelds at your next cookout that everyone is eager to meet. Beef patties, hot dogs, and chicken always seem to take center stage on the grill, but this fantastic fish sandwich is about to change the game.

Thanks to an infusion of peppery ginger, sweet red onion, and fresh herbs, not only does the protein between the buns perform like a rock star, the homemade green goddess dressing takes this sandwich to legendary status.

The combo of seafood and citrus is a definite “no duh” pairing, so dolloping the salmon with a condiment fully loaded with lemon not to mention garlic, oniony chives, and a hefty handful of parsley and cilantro will please even the most particular eaters.

Growing up, when it came to trying different types of food, I was certainly not the pickiest in my family. I would gladly sample whatever was put in front of me, while my older sister steadfastly stuck to two items.

Vertical image of a spoon drizzling an herb sauce over an open sandwich.

You can imagine how this pleased my dad, who would spend hours in the kitchen lovingly preparing homemade dishes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking – only to find that my sister would refuse his buttery rice soubise and adamantly demand banana yogurt and canned ravioli instead.

As is often the case, her palate expanded as she got older, and she actually learned to love salmon long before me. Not that I ever had an aversion to the full-flavored fish, but it took a while before I found it in the form I loved most.

I would gobble the stuff down smoked, sliced paper-thin, and draped over a crackly, cream cheese-smothered bagel.

But fresh salmon filets were a mystery to me. Before I learned to make it myself in fresh and bold preparations like grilled and covered in dill sauce, I would rely on restaurants to order them. But they never seemed to present them with the level of flakiness I liked, and there was always a lack of flavor.

My first bite of a homemade salmon burger, however, was anything but bland.

Maybe it was the familiarity of holding a soft bun between my fingers. Maybe it was the fresh herbs woven throughout the patty. Maybe it was the classic combo of lettuce, tomato, and onion that gave it that refreshing zip.

No matter the reason, I knew I was going back for another bite. And then another…

As for making them yourself at home, these fish burgers have two secrets I’m glad to spill!

Vertical image of two round pieces of breaded seafood drizzled with a sauce on lettuce, onions, and tomatoes next to silverware.

The first is the crispy, airy panko that not only helps to bind everything together, but also creates a crusty outside coating that holds up over high heat.

Second is the chill time the patties have in the fridge before being moved along to the grill.

If you’ve ever made salmon burgers before, you know there’s only one way to fail: the whole thing crumbles apart. Though, I guess if you forgot to buy the fish in the first place, that would also be a pretty epic flop…

So maybe there are two ways to fail!

The beaten egg, of course, acts as a binding agent. And while the burgers hang out in the fridge, the breadcrumbs are also helping to soak up some of the moisture.

The result? Everyone comes together as one big, sturdy, happy family.

I mean patty.

Vertical close-up image of a semi-open seafood burger with herb sauce, lettuce, slices of onions, and slices of tomatoes.

Flavor-wise, the salmon speaks for itself, saying “Hi, I’m mild and rich with some oily undertones.” The fresh, spicy ginger adds an enormous layer of aromatic flavor while the chives, parsley, and dill bring a grassy bite.

The herbs in the burger echo those in the green goddess dressing, which makes for a mouthful of magic that you can eat with your hands.

See? Not only are these grilled salmon burgers graceful and sophisticated, but they’re a no-forks-required kind of meal. You could even skip the plate.

But you might want to grab a napkin to catch those stray dressing drips!

Print
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Horizontal image of two sandwiches with seafood patties with an herb sauce, tomatoes, lettuce, and red onions.

Grilled Salmon Burgers with Green Goddess Dressing


  • Author: Fanny Slater
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 burgers 1x

Description

Dripping with herby green goddess dressing, these ginger-infused grilled salmon burgers are a healthier spin on a cookout classic.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pound skinless salmon filets
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 8 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs, divided, plus more as needed
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup green goddess dressing
  • 4 hamburger buns (such as brioche or whole wheat), sliced
  • Your choice of burger toppings (butter lettuce, sliced tomato, shaved red onion)

Instructions

  1. Chop the salmon into 1/4-inch chunks and place half in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the other half to the bowl of a food processor with the red onion, chives, parsley, dill, ginger, 4 tablespoons of the panko, egg, salt, and pepper. Pulse several times until the salmon is finely chopped and the other ingredients are evenly mixed into the fish.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the mixing bowl with the reserved chunks of salmon. Gently fold everything together. Divide and form into 4 patties that are about 1 inch thick, placing some panko in your hands if the mixture is too sticky to form.
  4. Transfer the patties to a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or preferably for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high, about 350-400°F. 
  6. Place the remaining 4 tablespoons of panko on a plate. Uncover the salmon patties and lightly coat them with the panko, pressing firmly to make sure the breadcrumbs adhere. If they feel too sticky or delicate, add more breadcrumbs 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to the outside to keep them intact. Brush or drizzle lightly with the canola oil on both sides.
  7. Place the patties on the grill and cook undisturbed until a crust forms on the bottom, about 2-3 minutes, and then carefully flip them over. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. The internal temperature of the salmon burgers should read 135°F.
  8. Remove the patties from the grill and then assemble on the buns. Top with even amounts of the green goddess dressing and dress with your desired toppings.
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Burgers
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Keywords: salmon, grilled, burger, green goddess dressing, panko

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Gather, Measure, and Prep Ingredients

If making the green goddess dressing from scratch, make the dressing in advance before prepping the remaining burger ingredients. Measure and refrigerate the dressing until ready to use.

If you weren’t able to find skinless salmon filets, you can remove the skin by placing your hand flat on a the filet, skin-side down, and sliding a very sharp knife between the flesh and the skin to separate the two.

Horizontal image of removing skin from a salmon fillet.

Chop the salmon into 1/4-inch chunks.

Chop and measure the red onion, chives, parsley, and dill. Peel the ginger, mince, and measure.

Measure the panko, salt, pepper, and canola oil.

Prep the burger toppings, cover, and place them in the fridge.

Horizontal image of prepped seasonings in bowls, whole buns, chopped fish, and ginger on a blue striped towel.

Lightly beat the egg with a whisk in a small bowl.

Slice the buns with a bread knife.

Step 2 – Make and Chill the Patties

In order to give the burgers some texture, only half of the salmon will be processed, while the other half remains cubed.

Horizontal image of a thick pureed mixture in a food processor.

Setting aside half of the cubed salmon in a large bowl, add the rest to the bowl of a food processor along with the red onion, chives, parsley, dill, ginger, 4 tablespoons of the panko, and the egg, salt, and pepper.

In short, quick bursts, pulse until the fish is finely chopped and the other ingredients are mixed well throughout.

Transfer the mixture in the food processor to the bowl with the reserved cubed salmon and set out a large clean plate nearby. Using your hands or a soft rubber spatula, delicately fold everything together until its just combined.

Horizontal image of mixing cubes of fish in a mixture in a bowl.

Measure out 4 evenly-sized portions. An easy way to portion any kind of ground meat or seafood is to gently score the mixture in the bowl with the side of your hand or a spatula first, creating approximate portions so you can visualize the final yield.

Form each portion into a patty that is about 1 inch thick and transfer to the clean plate. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

Is the mixture a bit too sticky when you’re handling it? Place some extra panko in your hands prior to forming each patty.

Horizontal image of two uncooked bread patties on a white plate.

Cover the plate with plastic wrap and refrigerate the patties for an hour for the best results, or for at least 30 minutes if you need to get these on the grill quickly.

The patties are delicate, so chilling them in the fridge helps to keep them together on the grill without crumbling through the grates.

Step 3 – Grill the Burgers

Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium-high, about 350-400°F, and place the remaining 4 tablespoons of panko on a clean plate.

Uncover the salmon patties and gently press each one into the panko one at a time, to make sure the breadcrumbs adhere. If they still feel too sticky and seem like they may fall apart, you can add more breadcrumbs 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to the outside to help keep them intact.

Horizontal image of covering the outside of a patty with panko breadcrumbs in a red plate.

Either drizzle the olive oil on both sides of each patty, or place the oil in a small bowl and use a basting brush to gently brush both sides, being gentle so you don’t remove the breadcrumb coating. The oil will help to prevent the patties from sticking to the grates.

Place the patties on the grill and cook undisturbed for about 2-3 minutes. You want a nice golden-brown crust to form on the bottom.

Horizontal image of grilling breaded patties.

Carefully flip them over, keeping in mind that if the patties seem to be sticking to the grill, they’re not ready to flip.

Cook for an additional 2 minutes. The internal temperature of each salmon burger should read 135°F on a meat thermometer.

An easy way to test the patties for doneness without a meat thermometer is to push down lightly on the center of a burger and make sure it feels firm to the touch.

Step 4 – Assemble the Burgers

Assemble the finished patties on the buns and top them with even dollops of green goddess dressing.

Horizontal image of two sandwiches with seafood patties with an herb sauce, tomatoes, lettuce, and red onions.

You could also spread both sides of the buns with dressing before placing the burgers inside, if you like!

Dress with your desired toppings and serve. Arugula would also make a nice alternative to the lettuce, or maybe a few thinly sliced cucumber rounds, just picked from the garden.

Go Fish

Cooking these on a charcoal grill adds undeniable smokiness, but working inside in a heavy-bottomed skillet like a cast iron is equally acceptable for this recipe.

Horizontal image of two sandwiches with seafood patties with an herb sauce, tomatoes, lettuce, and red onions.

Since the outsides of the patties are coated in panko, pan-searing them in oil will give you a thick, even, golden-brown layer of deliciousness.

Just remember the basic rules of not crowding the pan and making sure your oil is fully heated before dropping in the goods.

For the finale, feel free to ditch the buns if that’s not your thing, or if you are following a gluten-free diet. These gorgeous burgers do just fine stretched out over some greens and drizzled with the tangy dressing.

Will you add any extra toppings like arugula and cucumber, or maybe avocado or sprouts, to your salmon? Share your serving suggestions in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.

Known for being high in yumminess and omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a great choice to cook with. Try the fabulous fish in these recipes next:

Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Lori Jo Hendrix on July 13, 2016. Last updated on July 14, 2022.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Fanny Slater

Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”

18 thoughts on “Grilled Salmon Burgers with Green Goddess Dressing”

  1. Salmon Burgers are eaten for lunch and dinner in my household a lot. Honestly, if there are leftovers, we’ll eat them for breakfast from time to time.

    Reply
    • Same here! Salmon is good for any meal.

      Sometimes I like to have smoked salmon sprinkled with capers, a squeeze of lemon or lime with some peeled thinly slices cucumber, salt and pepper to taste and it makes a delicious, healthy and gluten free breakfast! No carbs either. 🙂 Hooray for salmon!

      When I order sushi delivery I always give my cats little bites of it and they nearly attack me trying to steal the whole thing from me. They go wild!

      Reply
  2. My mom is a really healthy person and she always says how good fish is for us, it has a lot of properties that we need in order to stay healthy, such as proteins, without mentioning that it’s delicious! And making a burger out of it seems to be a great idea since sometimes it might be kind of boring eating the salmon always the same way, sometimes variation is the key and this recipe is not an exception.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Hi anorexorcist,

      Your Mom is correct! There are actually many ways to cook salmon but this is a sure way to get those that are not huge fish fans to love and enjoy eating it. Everybody loves a good burger and they come in so many forms. I also enjoy homemade veggie burgers.

      Welcome!

      Reply
  3. I like salmon and eat a healthy amount of it in various types of recipes. That said, I have never tried a Salmon burger before. This seems like a good way to get your fish and veggies together and I will have to try it to see if I like it. Just from reading the article it looks tasty.

    Reply
    • Hi nytegeek,

      Good for you! Never? Oh you are really missing out. You are going to love this and the sauce is really special.

      Thank you!

      Reply
  4. I’m not the biggest fish fan but salmon burgers taste absolutely delicious, I love that you can make the burger taste however you want if you add the right ingredients. I usually add pepper, mayonnaise, onion rings and pickles. Really delicious!

    Reply
    • Hi fuzyon,

      Your version sounds delicious! You could probably do that with this recipe but without the mayonnaise as the sauce would replace that nicely.

      Enjoy!

      Reply
  5. Salmon is by far my least favorite fish, but I have always adored Salmon patties. It’s pretty much the only way I’ll eat the fish. This recipe seems like a good one. More importantly, it is topped with Green Goddess dressing! I have been looking for a different alternative to my own Green Goddess recipe, which I love, that does not contain avocado because so many of my friends dislike that ingredient. I really like the addition of horseradish to this recipe, it really gives the dressing a kick that my former recipe lacked. It’s a must-try.

    Reply
  6. Very healthy recipe, but I like the more traditional sauce with avocado. .. nice way to get your Omega3 and Omega 6 fatty acids in one dish. I really like the lemon and horseradish together which works really good with many types of fish.

    I am really enjoying this site, learning so many different way to cook healthy foods.

    Reply
    • Hi Azrile,

      So happy to hear you are enjoying our site. I will have to try the sauce with avocado now that I am in Mexico.

      Have fun!

      Reply
  7. I love salmon ‘patties’, as my family has always called them. That’s a treat we would have every so often as I was growing up, not as a normal menu item but just something to look forward to from time to time. It brings back great memories to see this recipe and makes me drool over the idea of making them again for my own family. It has been a while, so I can’t wait to try it out again.

    Reply
    • Hi Novelangel,

      Me too! I always look at them as a special treat as they are not something I make weekly. A pasta recipe I recently tried when it was raining and I did not want to walk to store recently so I just used what I had was actually so good I ate it four times in one week, lol! For some reason pasta dishes seem more like something you make once a week or twice a week vs. salmon patties, as you said. Not sure why.

      You and your family are going to have so much fun preparing them and eating them! Be sure to get the whole family involved. It is nice when everybody can contribute to a special treat and then enjoy it together after.

      I am glad we helped you to re-discover and old favorite.

      Reply
  8. Well I happen to love salmon burgers, and salmon in general, and it is a perfect alternative to beef in this terribly hot weather – sometimes beef can be a little heavy. That said, though, I am not sure that I have been as excited to try something in a long time as I am for this Green Goddess dressing. The dressings and sauces often make the meal, and so I am very curious as to what this one will bring. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Reply
    • Hi rz3300,

      Oh this dressing absolutely has a big impact on the overall flavor of the dish. I agree, sauces can make or break a dish. I love homemade sauces and dips. I can’t get enough of them! This sauce is an old classic that was sort of forgotten for a while and making a comeback.

      Reply
  9. Thank you Lori for posting this amazing dish and recipe. This is really a unique dish and I haven’t tried anything like this before. Me and my family love salmon and I think they will like the variation in this dish. I see you mention that you can add other spices as well, like chilly etc? Will it still work with the dressing if you change it up a bit? The green goddess dressing sounds mouth watering by the way. Once again thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Finman0507,

      You are welcome!

      Yes, the dressing would be fine if you added chilies. Do you mean the fresh kind or the red chili flakes?

      Enjoy and let us know what additions to the recipe you make and how it turned out. 🙂

      Reply
  10. I gave up ground beef burgers for turkey burgers, and it looks like I’ll be substituting salmon burgers in regularly now. I put a little quinoa in mine because I love pairing it with salmon. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply

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