How To Cook Salmon Burgers In The Air Fryer

Salmon burgers can be prepared in a surprising number of ways. These flavor-packed fish patties can be grilled, seared on the stovetop, or roasted in the oven. However, none of these methods are as convenient as utilizing the air fryer — a popular kitchen gadget that's widely known for its ability to elevate frozen dumplings and make better baked sweet potatoes. You can also use it to crisp up multiple salmon burgers in a matter of minutes without having to break a sweat.

To make salmon burgers in an air fryer, start by preheating the machine to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Once preheated, take out the basket and brush it with the high-smoke oil of your choice. This small but crucial step ensures that your fish patties do not stick to the surface. When placing the salmon burgers on the actual air fryer, try not to stuff the basket, either, as overcrowding prevents the hot currents from cooking food evenly. Most air fryers can fit four patties inside, but you should be fine with a larger number as long as you don't stack them and instead arrange them in one uniform layer.

Once the patties are resting in the basket, you can also spray the tops with a bit of cooking spray too, and begin cooking for about 8-10 minutes. While you don't need to turn over the burgers halfway through, it does help the meat warm more uniformly. Once the salmon patties reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit, they are ready to eat.

How to prepare salmon burgers for the air fryer

When making salmon burgers, you have the option to either prepare the patties from scratch or purchase them at your local grocery store (fresh or frozen). While the latter saves you precious time in the kitchen, the former actually doesn't take much effort. Instead of endlessly chopping up the fish, just take off its skin and pulse it in a food processor until it reaches a paste-like consistency. Using fresh salmon will give you the best flavor in your burgers, but canned should be perfectly acceptable as well. Once you've finished grinding the meat, combine it with the mix-ins of your choice, such as Dijon mustard, breadcrumbs, and even scallions, and the shape the paste into pucks. 

Since salmon patties are quite brittle, make sure that you're handling them with care as you flip, place, or remove them from the air fryer. If you have a bit of time to spare, freezing the pucks for approximately 10 minutes can help combat this problem. Salmon burgers, whether fresh or store-bought, don't necessarily need to be defrosted before they are air fried, but keep in mind that keeping them frozen may lengthen the cooking time. Therefore, watch their exterior as they crisp up and use a meat thermometer to know exactly when they reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit and can be taken out of the air fryer.

Ways to serve and store air fried salmon burgers

Once they are done cooking, salmon burgers can be arranged with a large number of ingredients. While the classic toppings for this dish are lettuce, red onion, tomato, and remoulade sauce, savory items like cheese and sauteed mushrooms are perfectly acceptable options. And maybe add pickles, which are Alton Brown's favorite burger topping. The key is to not garnish your patties before they are done air frying. Certain toppings, such as cheese or lettuce, can quickly burn under searing heat.

While salmon burgers are typically served on soft brioche buns, you may also opt for crunchier variants such as Italian ciabatta rolls. Alternatively, you can ditch the bread entirely and break apart the patties to use as a taco filling, salad topping, or soup mix-in. This is not just a creative method to implement the salmon meat into more dishes, but a way to save any pucks that broke apart in the air fryer, too. As for accompaniments for your burger, you can never go wrong with a side of sweet potato fries or coleslaw.

If you have any extra air fried patties, throw them in the refrigerator or freezer to make them last longer. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, all leftovers may be refrigerated for up to four days before they go bad. Cooked salmon burgers can also be safely frozen, although they should be consumed within three months to ensure that their flavor remains intact.