Treat yourself to this classic Irish fare!

Codfish cakes may be simple, but are ever so tasty and a great way to use up leftover potatoes. A delicious traditional Irish recipe for fish cakes - Irish fare at its best.

These little wonders are created by combining mashed potatoes, flaked cooked fish, and herbs, then formed into individual cakes and coated in breadcrumbs before frying.

This is a perfect recipe for using leftover mashed potatoes if such a thing even exists. But don’t worry you can always boil a few spuds for mashing to make these delicious and economical fish cakes.

Codfish cakes may be simple but are ever so tasty. Traditional Irish fish cakes often use salmon or a mixture of salmon and whitefish but, for now, here’s a recipe from my kitchen for Irish cod fish cakes.

Irish fish cakes recipe:

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Total time: 40 minutes


To poach the fish:

  • butter or oil (for frying the fish cakes)
  • 1lb cod fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 small onion (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 cup milk

To make the fish cakes:

  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1lb flaked cooked cod
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1 or 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 small egg (for binding the fish cakes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup flour (for dusting the fish cakes)
  • 2 large beaten eggs (for coating the fish cakes)
  • 1 cup fine breadcrumbs (for coating the fish cakes)

To make the fish cakes (optional): 

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


To Poach The Fish

Pour the milk into a large saucepan and add the sliced onion and peppercorns.

Bring the liquid to simmering point. Do not boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cod fillets and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow the fish to cool in the liquid. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon. Reserve the liquid, which may be needed to bind the fish cakes.

To Make The Fish Cakes

Flake the fish into a large mixing bowl, taking care to remove all the bones.

Add the mashed potatoes, minced garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper and combine well together. Add the Parmesan cheese if desired.

Add the beaten egg and bind the mixture. If the mixture is too dry add some of the reserved poaching milk. If the mixture is too wet and sticky add a little flour.

Using floured hands form the mixture into flat cakes.

Set up 3 bowls, one with flour, one with beaten egg, and the other with breadcrumbs.

Coat each fish cake in flour. Dip it in egg and then coat in breadcrumbs. Repeat with the rest of the fish cakes.

Heat the butter or oil in a large skillet. Fry the fish cakes for about 5 minutes on the first side or until nicely golden brown. Flip the fish cake and brown for 4 to 5 minutes on the other side. Cook in 2 separate batches.

Serve hot with a side of vegetables or a crisp green salad.

*Mairead Geary came to America for one year 20 years ago. She now lives with her husband and children in Kentucky and is proud to be an American citizen. Read more on her blog here.

*Originally published in 2017. Updated in March 2023.