Shrimp Cakes with Lemon Tartar Sauce

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Published: 08/12/2020 | Updated: 01/19/2024

These Shrimp Cakes with Lemon Tartar Sauce are made with panko for a crispy, delicious meal! You can also make them appetizer portions with the dipping sauce on the side!

white rectangle platter with 4 shrimp cakes and small red bowl of lemon tartar sauce

I first stumbled on this recipe sauce for shrimp cakes about 10 years ago in a local magazine. I ripped it out, tucked it away and then it took me a few more years to actually make them. I instantly regretted waiting too long because they were amazing!!

I’m not sure why crab cakes are so well-known and popular and hardly anyone has heard of shrimp cakes. They are just as easy to make and I might actually like them even more than crab cakes!

What are Shrimp Cakes?

Umm, heaven on a plate! Is that an acceptable answer?!

They’re very similar to crab cakes, but instead you get hearty chunks of shrimp in every bite. They’re filled with the perfect blend of flavors to complement the shrimp without overpowering it and it has just the right amount of creaminess thanks to the mayo.

Then you take the whole patty and coat it with panko crumbs to give it that perfect golden crunch when you cook it. A golden crunch layer is pretty much the perfect topping to any recipe just like in my Crumbled Onions and Mushrooms and Buffalo Cauliflower Bites. And there really is just no replacement for panko if you’re going to fry something like one of our most popular recipes, Fried Mushroom or Zucchini Fritters.

Shrimp cakes pair really well with this easy recipe for lemon tartar sauce. You can serve them as an entree or even as an appetizer. For an entree, I have the serving size set so there are two patties per serving.

cutting board with 4 uncooked shrimp cakes

How Do You Make Shrimp Cakes?

On a flat dish, spread 1.5 cups of panko breadcrumbs and then set aside.

Chop your shrimp into small, bite-size pieces. This will vary depending on what size shrimp you get but I usually chop large shrimp into about 3-4 pieces.

In a bowl, mix shrimp, mayonnaise, eggs, chopped onions, garlic, dijon mustard, salt and the remaining 1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs. Mix really well until everything is completely combined.

Then it’s time to turn them into patties. I scoop about 1/3 cup for each patty and use my palms to form it into a cake. It will be wet but after you coat it with breadcrumbs it gets easier to handle. After you have a solid patty, place it in the breadcrumbs and completely coat it on both sides.

You should be able to get 8 shrimp cakes total out of this recipe. After they’re all coated in breadcrumbs, place them in the fridge for about an hour so they firm up and are easier to cook.

When you’re ready to cook them, heat about 2 tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place your patties in the hot pan and fry for about 4 minutes per side or until they’re crispy and brown.

a fork holding a bite of a shrimp cake with whole shrimp cakes in the background

Lemon Tartar Sauce

These shrimp cakes pair perfectly with a lemon tartar sauce and it’s so easy to make!

I start with store bought tartar sauce and add chopped parsley and fresh lemon juice. Stir it all together and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it. Also you can use homemade tartar sauce.

Tips to Making Shrimp Cakes

  • These freeze really well! I often make them and freeze them before cooking, but you can also freeze them after cooking. I like to fry them fresh, though, which is why I usually freeze uncooked.
  • If you like a little extra kick to your recipes, you can add in some chopped red pepper and or cayenne pepper. You can even add a little Old Bay seasoning if you’re from the East Coast and can’t resist it!
  • I normally use a yellow onion, diced really fine, but you can also use green onions if you have them on-hand.
  • If you don’t feel like making the lemon tartar sauce, just use a jarred tartar sauce instead.
  • You can make these small, bite-size cakes if you want to serve them as an appetizer.

white rectangular platter with 4 shrimp cakes and a red bowl with tartar sauce in the background

Shrimp Cakes with Lemon Tartar Sauce

These Shrimp Cakes with Lemon Tartar Sauce are made with panko for a crispy, delicious meal! You can also make them appetizer portions with the dipping sauce on the side!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Chilling Time1 hour
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon tartar sauce, Shrimp cakes
Servings: 4
Calories: 474kcal
Author: The Endless Appetite


Shrimp Cakes

  • 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs divided
  • 1 lb. Raw shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 Eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup Onion chopped
  • 2 tsp. Garlic minced
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil

Lemon Tartar Sauce

  • 3/4 cup Prepared Tartar Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon juice


Shrimp Cakes

  • Put 1.5 cups of the Panko breadcrumbs into a shallow bowl or plate. Set aside.
  • Chop shrimp into smaller pieces, about 3-4 pieces per large shrimp.
  • In a bowl, mix shrimp, mayonnaise, eggs, onions, garlic, mustard, salt and remaining 1/2 cup of Panko breadcrumbs. Stir until well combined. 
  • Take about 1/3 cup of mixture and pat into a round patty. Cover the patty in the breadcrumbs on the plate until it is completely covered. Repeat with remaining shrimp mixture until you have 8 cakes. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour so they firm up.
  • When you're ready to cook, heat a couple Tbsp. of oil in a large non-stick skillet. Cook the shrimp cakes over medium for about 4 minutes on each side until the shrimp is cooked through and the outside is golden brown. Repeat with remaining oil and shrimp cakes. 

Lemon Tartar Sauce

  • In a small bowl, combined prepared tartar sauce, parsley and lemon juice. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. 


You can also make these smaller, bite-size shrimp cakes for appetizers. Just adjust your cooking time so they don't overcook. 

In conclusion,these shrimp cakes are easy to make and full of flavor. The lemon tartar sauce is the perfect accompaniment to the shrimp cakes and takes them to the next level. If you’re looking for a delicious and impressive seafood dish, look no further than these sauce for shrimp cakes.

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pinterest image for shrimp cakes

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