Seriously the BEST grilled salmon burgers! Juicy and flavorful, these patties are topped with an easy avocado sauce and served on a toasted bun.
These grilled salmon burgers with avocado sauce are everything a burger should be. Juicy and tender, well-spiced and a mouthful of flavor with every bite.
One trick to making these burgers so special is the salmon salmon patties with fresh salmon. Yes, canned salmon can work in a pinch, but the texture is infinitely better when you use fresh fish.
INGREDIENTS FOR GRILLED SALMON BURGERS:
These are the main ingredients needed for this recipe…
- SALMON: Use either fresh or frozen (defrosted) salmon fillets. We prefer sockeye because it’s what’s freshest in our area. Remove the skin.
- ONION & GARLIC: Use yellow onion. The garlic is used in both the salmon patties and the sauce.
- BREADCRUMBS: Panko breadcrumbs can be found in most grocery stores. They are also available online. Regular, whole wheat or gluten free panko work in this recipe.
- CILANTRO: Mince both the leaves and stems, as shown in How to Chop Parsley & Cilantro. If preferred, use parsley in both the patties and sauce.
- EGG: Use just the egg white of one large egg. Discard the yolk or save it for another use (carbonara, anyone?)
- SPICES: Paprika and dried oregano can be found in most grocery stores. Chipotle chili powder is also widely available. However, if your grocery store doesn’t carry it, order it online. And don’t forget the salt and black pepper.
- AVOCADO: Hass avocados are often what’s available at our store. Adjust the amount of avocado depending on the size of the fruit being used.
- YOGURT: I used plain nonfat Greek yogurt. Feel free to substitute with the whole milk version or your favorite dairy-free unflavored yogurt.
- LIME: Use the juice from half of a small lime.
- BUNS: Whole wheat hamburger buns seem to come in two main sizes, depending on the brand. I opt for the smaller size, which fits these patties nicely. The buns are typically 120 to 150 calories each.
💙 What’s to love about this salmon burger recipe:
▪️JUICY & DELICIOUS: Both the patties and avocado sauce are popping with flavor and work well together. And the texture is firm, but juicy. Just right!
▪️EASY TO MAKE: It may look like there are several steps, but this recipe is a breeze to make. And the cook time is just 5 minutes.
▪️HEALTHY: You have to love those healthy fats in both salmon and avocado!
How to make grilled salmon burgers:
There are three main steps in this recipe. 1) Make the patties, 2) Make the sauce and 3) Assemble the burgers. Let’s talk details…
PREP THE SALMON: The first step is to remove the skin from fillets. It’s not hard – it just requires a sharp knife and a little know-how. This video shows you how to do it. Once skinned, cut the salmon into large chunks.
CHOP THE SALMON: Place the salmon in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the salmon is finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. If you don’t have a food processor, use a chef’s knife to finely chop the salmon.
ADD & STIR: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the chopped salmon, grated onion, bread crumbs, egg white, cilantro, garlic and seasonings. Stir until well combined.
FORM THE SALMON PATTIES: Divide the salmon mixture into four equal portions. Starting with one portion, roll it between your palms to form a ball. Then gently press it down between your palms to form a patty about ½- to ¾-inch thick.
MAKE THE SAUCE: Clean out the food processor and puree all of the sauce ingredients together. Avocado, yogurt, lime juice, seasonings and a little water. If you don’t have a food processor, mash the avocado well with the back of a fork, then stir in the remaining ingredients.
PREP THE GRILL: Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Brush the grates with oil. Use an oil with a high smoke point, such as avocado oil.
COOK THE PATTIES: Cook the patties for 4 minutes. They be golden brown on the bottom and release easily from the grill grate. Flip and grill for an additional minute, or until the patties are done.
ASSEMBLE THE BURGERS: Lightly toast the buns and assemble the burgers with the patties, avocado sauce and tomato slices. Add lettuce if you like. I like to smear the sauce on both the lower and upper halves of the bun. Dig in!
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How to tell when salmon patties are done:
The key to juicy, tender salmon burgers is NOT to overcook them. A minute or two too long on the grill and the patties become dense and dry. Finicky little suckers.
There are a few ways to tell when salmon burgers are done...
- TOUCH: Press down carefully (hot!) on the center of the patty. They should be fairly firm with a bit of “give”.
- TEMPERATURE: The FDA recommends cooking salmon burgers to 145 degrees F. However, it’s generally recognized that this produces dry burgers. For our family, I cook our burgers to about 130 degrees F, knowing that they continue to cook for a few minutes after coming off the grill. However, you should cook to your comfort level.
- KNIFE TRICK: I use the same trick for salmon burgers as I do for any other fish. Stick a small, sharp knife into the middle of the burger. Hold it there for 10 seconds. Take the knife out and CAREFULLY lay the flat side of the blade against the inside of your wrist or your upper lip. If it’s hot, it’s done.
How do I stop salmon burgers from sticking to the grill?
The key is cook the burgers on a hot grill (brushed with oil) and to allow a crust to form on the bottom of the patty before flipping. Once a crust forms and the patty turns golden brown, it will release easily from the grill grates.
For the breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs are available in regular, whole wheat and gluten-free. They all work in this recipe.
For the buns: Use any type of hamburger buns you like. Smaller buns work best for these patties.
For the cilantro: If cilantro isn’t your thing, substitute with flat-leaf parsley.
Can the patties be made ahead of time?
Yes, salmon patties can be made ahead of time. Form the patties and layer with pieces of wax paper in between. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.
Bring the patties to room temperature before grilling.
Grilled Salmon Burgers with Avocado Sauce
- 1 pound skinless, raw salmon cut into chunks
- ½ medium yellow onion grated
- ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs or more as needed (See Note 1)
- 3 tablespoons minced cilantro (See Note 2)
- 1 egg white
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 whole wheat hamburger buns (See Note 3)
- Place the salmon chunks in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, scraping down the sides as necessary. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. If you don’t have a food processor, finely chop the salmon by hand.
- To the salmon, add the grated onion, breadcrumbs, cilantro, egg white, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and oregano. Stir well to combine.
- Divide the salmon mixture into 4 equal portions. Roll one portion into a ball with the palms of your hands, then flatten into a ½-inch to ¾-inch patty. Repeat with the remaining portions.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Brush the grates with oil (I use avocado oil).
- Cook the burgers for 4 minutes (the cooked side should be golden brown and release easily from the grates), then flip and cook for additional 1 to 2 minutes. Take care not to overcook. (See Note below regarding internal temperature.)
- Toast the buns on the upper rack of the grill for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Spread 1 tablespoon of avocado sauce on the bottom half of one bun and another 1 tablespoon on the top half of the bun. Top with a salmon patty and tomato slices. Repeat with the remaining buns, avocado sauce, salmon patties and tomato. Serve.
The avocado sauce:
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the avocado, yogurt, garlic, lime juice, water, cilantro, chipotle chili powder, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
- If you don’t have a food processor, mash the avocado very well with the back of a fork until smooth. Whisk in the remaining ingredients.
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