Sardine Delights: A Flavorful Twist on Fish Cakes

The Benefits

Why settle for ordinary when you can enjoy extraordinary sardine creations? Discover the advantages of making these delectable sardine fritters, whether you choose to air fry or pan fry them:

  • Cost-Effective: Sardines are an affordable seafood option, offering unique health benefits that surpass those of tuna.
  • Sustainability: Pacific sardines are an eco-friendly seafood choice, ensuring the conservation of our oceans.
  • Non-Dairy Calcium: Sardines packed with bones provide a bioavailable source of calcium without any dairy.
  • Omega-3 Powerhouse: Unlike tuna, sardines are oily fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, promoting heart and brain health.
  • Vitamin D Boost: Sardines are an exceptional source of vitamin D, a nutrient often lacking in natural food sources.
  • Low Mercury Content: Sardines are a low-mercury fish option, ensuring safe consumption.
  • Gluten-Free and Keto-Friendly: These sardine cakes are gluten-free, low in carbs, and perfect for those following a keto or Paleo diet.
  • Versatile Dish: Whether served as an appetizer or main course, these protein-packed cakes please all palates.
  • Deliciously Savory: You’ll savor every bite of these mouthwatering sardine fritters.

Sardine Cakes Ingredients

To create these tantalizing sardine cakes, make sure you have the following ingredients on hand:

  • Canned sardines with bones
  • Pork panko (or regular bread crumbs for a non-keto version)
  • Garlic powder
  • Black pepper
  • Dried dill
  • Lemon zest
  • Sliced scallions
  • Red bell pepper
  • Egg
  • Capers (drained)
  • Olive oil
  • Non-aerosol cooking oil spray
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Note: Opting for sardines with bones is highly recommended, as they provide a calcium-rich experience. Spanish-style or chili oil-infused varieties add an extra layer of flavor and zest.


Here’s what you’ll need to cook up these delectable sardine fritters:

  • Fork
  • Good knife
  • Air fryer
  • Silicone pastry brush (for oiling the patties)

While the recipe specifies cooking in a 10-Quart Kalorik Digital Air Fryer Oven, any air fryer should work. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly.

How to Make Sardine Cakes

Let’s dive into the process of creating these divine sardine cakes:

  1. Start by draining the canned sardines and mashing them thoroughly in a medium-sized bowl using a fork.
  2. Thinly slice the scallions and dice the red bell pepper into ¼-inch pieces.
  3. Mix the sardines, pork panko, garlic powder, black pepper, dried dill, lemon zest, scallions, red bell pepper, egg, and capers together in a bowl until well combined.
  4. Shape the mixture into 10 patties, each about 2½ inches (6 cm) in diameter.
  5. Spray the air fryer tray or basket with non-aerosol cooking oil spray and place the sardine patties in a single layer.
  6. Lightly brush the tops of the patties with olive oil using a silicone pastry brush.
  7. If using an air fryer oven, position the tray on the top rack.
  8. Air fry the sardine cakes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200C) for a total of 18-20 minutes. Flip the patties after 12 minutes and continue air frying for an additional 6-8 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
  9. Allow the sardine cakes to rest for 5 minutes before adding toppings such as chipotle mayo, green onions, and sesame seeds. Don’t forget to serve with lemon wedges for that extra zing!
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If you prefer pan-frying, heat olive oil in a cast iron pan, and cook five sardine patties at a time over medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side.


You’ll be delighted to know that these sardine fritters make excellent leftovers. Simply store them in a covered container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, adding the chipotle mayo and garnishes just before serving. To reheat, lightly oil and warm the patties in a skillet or microwave on high for 1-2 minutes.

For long-term storage, individually wrap the sardine cakes with plastic wrap and freeze them in freezer bags. Keep in mind that freezing may alter the texture slightly, but air frying can help restore their firmness.

Sardine Cake Side Dishes

Wondering what to serve alongside these scrumptious sardine cakes? Consider these fantastic options:

  • Cauliflower rice
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Air fryer frozen vegetables
  • Air fryer yellow squash
  • Instant Pot fries
  • Air fryer frozen onion rings

Add a variety of non-starchy vegetables or a starch of your choice to create a well-rounded meal. If you’re following a keto diet, opt for 2-3 non-starchy vegetable options instead.

Calories, Net Carbs, Protein

Each sardine cake without toppings provides approximately 108 calories, 0.7 grams of net carbs, and 9.6 grams of protein. Pan frying the sardine cakes with additional oil will increase the calorie count by 36 calories per patty.

Expert Tips from a Dietitian

As a level 2 recipe, these sardine cakes are suitable for transitioning or weight maintenance. To customize the calorie content to your liking:

  • For a lighter meal, pair the sardine fritters with low-oil non-starchy vegetables.
  • Air frying reduces the calorie count, as you can use less oil compared to pan frying.
  • Pan frying creates a more crispy texture but requires more oil.
  • To enjoy a higher calorie meal, pan fry the sardine fritters and serve them with starchy vegetables, grains, high-fat dressings, or generously roasted non-starchy vegetables.
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The Disclaimer…

Please note that all recipes on this platform may not suit your specific medical or dietary needs. We recommend consulting with a registered dietitian or physician to determine the most suitable dietary plan for you. The provided nutrition information is an estimate and can vary based on ingredient brands and quantities.

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air fryer sardine cakes


For more delectable canned sardine recipes, try these mouthwatering options:

  • Sardine Salad Sandwich (Keto)
  • Pepper Poppers Stuffed with Sardine Salad
  • One-Pan Sardine Bake

Now that you have all the information needed, get ready to create your own batch of irresistible sardine cakes. Let’s get cooking!