Fish cakes with pilchards

Fish on a Friday is a familiar favourite. A tin of pilchards can go a long way to feed a family quickly.

Ready in

1 hour

Serving size

Makes about 20 fish cakes


  • 1 x 425 g tin pilchards in tomato sauce
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 carrot or baby marrow, grated
  • ½ cup (125 ml) self-raising flour
  • 5 tbsp (75 ml) oats
  • ½ tsp (2,5 ml) salt
  • lemon juice and black pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) chopped fresh coriander or more parsley
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) tomato sauce or chutney
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) sunflower oil


  1. Flake fish and small bones in the tomato sauce, with a fork.
  2. Mix fish with the remaining ingredients, except the oil.
  3. Heat a thin layer of oil in a frying pan and place spoonfuls of the batter in the pan.
  4. Fry on both sides until golden brown and cooked. Drain on paper towel and keep warm. Repeat with the rest of the oil and batter.
  5. Serve with lemon wedges, a green salad and a baked potato per person.


  1. Replace pilchards with any fish of your choice, like tuna or leftover hake or snoek and add another 2 tbsp tomato sauce.
  2. These can be served with a green salad and the Creamy mashed potatoes.  Or with the Chakalaka sauce.
  3. Any leftovers are great to add to lunch boxes.
  4. Fish cake bake: If your family likes fish cakes, but you don’t have time to pan-fry them, bake the fish cake mixture as a delicious casserole. Spoon the mixture into an oven dish and bake at 180 °C for  30-45 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. (See image below).

Fish cakes with pilchards

Fish cake bake

Fish cakes with pilchards

All you need to prepare this recipe

With just a few basic ingredients, you can prepare these delicious fish cakes for dinner or to add to lunch boxes. They are a firm favourite with kids and adults alike.

Infographic Fish cakes with pilchards

Our motto at Cooking from the heart is, ‘Lemon is the NEW salt!’

Instead of seasoning a dish with too much salt, which can be unhealthy, rather add lemon juice or rind to bring out the natural flavour of an ingredient. Lemon is especially delicious with these homemade fish cakes.

Fish cakes with pilchards

This recipe is from Cooking from the heart, 1st edition

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