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Cod Fish Cakes - A Family Feast

Living along the coast of Massachusetts, we are fortunate that we have access to affordable fresh fish, so we eat seafood often.  In particular, we eat a lot of cod – it’s a versatile fish with a mild flavor and firm but flaky white flesh – and it’s perfect for recipes like our Cod Fish Cakes!

These cod fish cakes are lightly golden on the outside, and tender and flaky on the inside.  They make a delicious meal as is but are traditionally served with Boston baked beans and coleslaw.

Cod Fish Cakes - A Family Feast

If fresh cod isn’t available in your area, this recipe can also be made using salted cod.  In fact, the traditional New England recipe that has been around for generations calls for salted cod, so in the recipe below, we’ve provided instructions for making these delicious cod fish cakes with either fresh or salted cod.

If you make these cod fish cakes with salted cod, just be sure to take the proper steps to rehydrate the fish and even more importantly, removing the salt!  Otherwise, your cod fish cakes will taste much too salty.

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Cod Fish Cakes - A Family Feast

Cod Fish Cakes

  • Prep Time: 60 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 60 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 14 fish cakes


If you use fresh cod for this recipe, you will need to add salt to the recipe since using salted cod does not require any additional salt. Once you have the finished cod batter, fry a tiny bit up in a pan and adjust the salt as needed before you form into patties and freeze.


For the fish cakes:

  • 1 ½ pounds rehydrated salted cod (or fresh cod)
  • 1 gallon of milk (if using salted cod)
  • 1 pound russet potato peeled
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced sweet onion such as vidalia
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup potato flakes (dry mashed potato mix)
  • Few shakes Tabasco
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste (if using fresh cod)

For the breading and frying:

  • 2 cups corn flour (if you can’t find corn flour, substitute fish fry mix, which is seasoned corn flour or use regular flour if neither are available)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Lemon for garnish


  1. If you are using salted cod instead of fresh, rinse all visible salt off the fish and rinse again for several minutes. Soak the cod in 2 quarts of milk under refrigeration for 24 hours. Rinse off milk and cod thoroughly and soak in another two quarts of milk under refrigeration for another 24 hours. Rinse off milk and cod thoroughly again and flake. Discard the milk. Soak flaked cod in water for an hour and rinse again. (If you are using fresh cod, cut into small pieces.) Place cod in a large bowl.
  2. Bring water to a boil in a medium pot and place whole peeled russet potatoes into water. Boil for 10 minutes then shut off heat and let them sit in the hot water for 30 minutes. They will be partially cooked at this point. Cool completely.
  3. Using a cheese grater, grate potatoes and add to bowl with flaked cod.
  4. In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter in oil. Add onions and celery and sauté 3-5 minutes until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook for one more minute. Cool before adding to fish and potato mixture.
  5. Add cooled onion and celery mixture to cod and potatoes. Add in all other fish cake ingredients. Mix to combine.
  6. Place mixture in the refrigerator to firm up.
  7. Remove chilled mixture and form into 14 even sized patties. Place them on a parchment lined sheet tray (one that will fit in your freezer) and freeze overnight. These can stay frozen for up to a month if sealed properly.
  8. Thirty minutes prior to service, heat oil in a cast iron skillet to 350 degrees. Oil should be deep enough to cover the fish cakes.
  9. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  10. Place corn flour in a bowl.
  11. Mix eggs and milk in a second bowl.
  12. Place breadcrumbs in a third.
  13. Dip the frozen fish cakes in the corn flour and shake off excess. Then dip it in the egg wash then into the bread crumbs. Shake off excess.
  14. Place in the hot oil and cook in batches for 1-2 minutes until brown and crispy. Hold on sheet pan as you fry.
  15. Place sheet pan in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until an internal thermometer reaches 140 degrees.
  16. Serve with Boston baked beans, fresh made coleslaw and tartar sauce. Garnish with lemon.


You may also like:

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Boston Baked Beans

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Coleslaw - A Family Feast

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English-Style Fish and Chips - A Family Feast


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  • Mary wrote:

    This is the type of food I grew up with in MA, NH and Maine. Love it but haven’t had any in years.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hope you’ll give the recipe a try Mary! (It’s a New England classic for sure!)

  • Julia Ecimovich wrote:

    I hope you can help because I am at my wits end! I will be travelling from Chicago to boston/worcester/sturbridge this October for a wedding. One of the things I most want to do while in the area is have codfish cakes, Boston baked beans and brown bread, but I cannot find any place that serves it! Does anyone know a good place that serves it, and why is this traditional meal become so hard to find? Many thanks for any help

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Julia – We were just watching Diners, Drive Ins and Dives over the weekend and saw cod fish cakes being served at Maine Diner up in Wells, ME (a little far from Worcester/Sturbridge however…) Otherwise, we can’t think of any restaurants serving it either…maybe the Fall River or New Bedford MA area since there is a larger Portuguese population who often cook with salted cod…? I’m sorry we can’t be more help…good luck! (let us know if you find a place!)

  • Jacqui wrote:

    This recipe looks AMAZING. I remember my Mom doing this process growing up. The fish is DELISH. I am anxious to try this myself. Thanks for sharing.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Jacqui – I hope our recipe is as good as your Mom’s!

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