Fish Cakes with Wild Rice

4.91 from 20 votes
Jump to Recipe

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Americans tend to reject fish with more bones than they think are appropriate. This is a shame because many of these fish are fantastic to eat, once you deal with the bones. And this fish cakes recipe is a prime way to fix that problem.

Pike, especially, is a wonderful fish. Very firm, very white, as mild to eat as the fish is fun to catch. I had the opportunity to chase gigantic northerns in Manitoba a few years ago and brought a few fish home to cook with.

Finished fish cakes recipe on a plate with a green salad.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Since then I’ve made classic pickled pike, fried pike nuggets and a pike soup I dedicated to Manitoba. That left me with just enough pike to make this Midwestern-style fish cake recipe.

Oh, and you should know that you can use virtually any species for these fish cakes. Pike is just what I happened to use.

I must admit the idea to mix wild rice with a fish cake isn’t original; I developed my recipe from one I read in Midwestern Living magazine. It’s a great idea, though, as the wild rice is both native to the region and adds a bit of color and texture to the fish cakes. Just make sure you cook the wild rice completely before adding to the fish cakes, because the cakes cook up quickly.

Pike cakes are a natural because of the fish’s many bones. True, it’s not that hard to fillet a pike, and I have detailed instructions here, but it’s easier to fillet as normal, gently poach the fish in chicken broth, and then flake out the meat. This is an especially good method for other bony fish like shad, carp or little panfish.

You only need a half-pound for this recipe, so vacuum seal any extra and freeze for later. You’ll want to make these fish cakes again.

How do these fish cakes taste? Just really good. There’s no one overwhelming flavor, although you do pick up the mustard and the chives in every bite. The fish is mild, the mayo keeps everything moist and the Worcestershire and lemon just brighten things. This is good Midwestern food without the blandness that mars that region’s culinary reputation.

What’s more, they are easy to make, and can be done start to finish in 30 minutes, if you’ve precooked the wild rice — which I do. I cook a batch of wild rice, then freeze it for when I need it. Do this, and you have a light, easy, 30-minute meal. A rarity on this site.

I do fish cakes a lot, and I have some other fish cake recipes on the site, such as trout cakes, and a salmon cake based of a Chesapeake crab cake. Lots of different fish will work in these recipes.

Midwestern fish cakes on a plate with a green salad.
4.91 from 20 votes

Fish Cakes with Wild Rice

Needless to say this recipe can be done with any white fish, but if you are in the Midwest, please try to get perch, pike or walleye for this. It just seems right. Trout would also work well, here, especially Great Lakes lake trout or steelhead.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes


  • 1/2 pound cooked, flaked pike or other white fish
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup cooked wild rice
  • 1/4 cup minced onion, red if you have one
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon mustard, Dijon if you have it
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup butter, lard or vegetable oil for cooking
  • Greens for a salad


  • Make sure any little bones are out of the fish. Mix everything (except the oil and salad greens) together in a large bowl. Divide the mix into 8 roughly equal parts and form into patties. If you have time, set the patties on a cookie sheet in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up. You can skip this step if you are rushed.
  • Fry the patties in the butter until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Serve with a green salad with a nice vinaigrette, or try my saffron aioli.


If you want, you can fully cook these fish cakes, then set them on a baking sheet or plate in the freezer. Once frozen solid, put them in a freezer bag and they will be good for months. Reheat them in a toaster oven or fry them again. 


Calories: 374kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 736mg | Potassium: 154mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 615IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

You May Also Like

Oyster Stew

A recipe for Southern oyster stew, a simple, brothy, creamy soup that highlights fresh oysters. It’s a tradition in the South and, surprisingly, the Midwest.

Panzanella di Mare

Panzanella di mare is an Italian bread salad with tinned fish. This is a winter panzanella with black kale, squash and sage. It’s versatile, too.

Mahi Mahi Ceviche

A mahi mahi ceviche recipe inspired by ceviches I’ve eaten in Baja California. Dorado ceviche is common there, and often uses fruit like mango or pineapple.

Eat more Burbot

How to cook burbot, also called eelpout, ling, lawyer fish and mariah. Burbot are a freshwater cod, and are wonderful table fare.

About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. Hank,

    I tried with Perch and it was phenomenal! I used Panko bread crumbs. Do you normally use those or regular? Going to try with Salmon next.

  2. Hey Hank,

    I’ve heard a lot of people claim that pike doesn’t freeze (or thaw?) well. Is there any truth to this? Or is this just another excuse to justify not having to deal with the bones?

  3. Hank: it calls for cooked and flaked Pike. How would you cook the Pike beforehand to prep it for the cakes?

  4. I guess we had better go fishing… I want to try this. Considering I am not fond of freshwater fish, this recipe has surprised me that it is so appealing!

  5. Just made these over our campfire, with a Northern Pike my buddy caught up in far Northern Minnesota, and they were a big hit with everyone. Used parsley & chives from my garden- thanks for the recipe Hank!

  6. We love a similar reciepe but use panko instead of rice, then freeze them (uncooked fish), love the ease of freezer to pan…and so do the kiddos!

  7. I’m wondering whether this recipe will give me the same taste if use another fishes. Pike is not popular here. Jeff Jone said that he used catfish, should I try with this fish?

  8. I made this with Pacific Rockfish. Cooked 8 oz of fillets for 2.5-3 min in covered microwave dish with butter, salt and pepper. Flaked up the fish and followed the recipe to a T. For the salad I made a quick vinaigrette with lemon juice, a dash of cumin, EVOO + a dash of sea salt and ground pepper. So good! Thanks, Hank!

  9. I made these tonight substituting a quinoa, buckwheat and millet mix for the rice. They turned out great. A bit more dense than the with the rice, but very tasty. Still the best fish cake recipe out there. Thanks Hank!

  10. Hank, we made these last night with catfish, and they tasted great! I had a problem with my cakes staying formed (I did not have time to let them set in the fridge), any additional advice for those making these in a rush to keep them bound?

  11. Love the recipe, looking forward to making this again and again. I know there are plenty of ways to fillet fish, but I thought I would offer up a little quicker way to deal with the y bones.
    Take the back strap off the way you demonstrate in the link above, then just fillet out the meat left on the sides, leaving the last bit attached to the tail, flipping them and skinning. Take out the ribcage on each. Lastly feel where the y bones end on the tail side of the fillet and pinch, pulling away from the meat. All the y bones will pull right off in one zipper strip. You’re left with three filets instead of five.
    You don’t get to spoon the meat out from between the y’s, but there is very little meat in the zipper and like you mentioned, it can be thrown in for broth. The skinning part is quicker when dealing with two larger slabs anchored to the fish vs. free styling with a couple fillets cut loose.
    Love the site, keep up the great work.

  12. Great recipe there. When as a child we would bring home a bucket of bluegills to my grandmother, she would make fish cakes till we were stuffed!

  13. This looks awesome Hank. I always have wild rice compliments of my in-laws in Minnesota. I’ll give this a shot with some steelhead once the creeks here in Erie, Pa aren’t frozen anymore.