Golden Fish Patties with Chipotle-Orange Dipping Sauce

The next time you prepare mild white fish like tilapia or catfish, consider buying extra, cooking it all at once and reserving some to make these crisp, golden fish patties. We’ve given them a little south-of-the-border flair by adding fresh cilantro and a dipping sauce flavored with orange and chipotle peppers, but the basic recipe is versatile enough that you can add your own favorite flavor combinations.

Golden Fish Patties with Chipotle-Orange Dipping Sauce

Golden Fish Patties with Chipotle-Orange Dipping Sauce

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Mild, flaky tilapia fillets are combined with mashed potatoes and panko crumbs to make golden, crispy fish patties served with a chipotle-orange dipping sauce.


  • 1 lb tilapia fillets, cooked (poached, steamed, broiled or baked ~ see notes)
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes, see notes
  • 2/3 cup panko crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the dipping sauce:

  • 1/3 cup bottled chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce, more or less to taste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sweet onion, finely chopped


  • Place the cooked tilapia, mashed potatoes, panko crumbs, onion, cilantro in a large bowl. Using a potato masher or large fork, mash to a smooth consistency and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the eggs and combine thoroughly.
  • Using your hands, form the mixture into patties 2-1/2 to 3 inches in diameter and refrigerate until chilled, 15 minutes.
  • While the patties chill, combine the chili sauce, mayonnaise, orange juice, chipotle, adobo sauce, lime juice and onion in a small bowl. Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside until ready to serve.
  • Add 1/8 inch depth of vegetable oil to a large pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add the fish patties in a single layer (work in batches if necessary) and fry until golden and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
  • Drain on paper towels and serve with dipping sauce.

Cooking the fish and potatoes:

    You can just as easily start with uncooked fish and potatoes. Here’s a one-pan solution to getting it all done quickly:

    • Peel and cut your potatoes (2 medium) into small cubes and place them in a large chef’s pan. Cover with cold water, sprinkle with salt and bring the mix to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a mixing bowl, draining well.
    • With the water still simmering, add the fish in a single layer (you want to be sure the water level comes to the top of the fish fillet). Cover and cook until the fish is opaque and flakes easily, about 5 minutes. Drain and add the fish to the bowl with the potatoes. Mash with a fork and allow to cool to room temperature before adding the remaining ingredients. Chill the patties for 30 minutes before frying.

    Tips for Making This Recipe

    Recipe variations:

    For a classic crab cake-style flavor: Add 1 tablespoon each of finely chopped red and green bell pepper, Old Bay seasoning to taste and parsley instead of cilantro. Serve with a quick remoulade sauce made from mayonnaise, ketchup, dill pickle relish, lemon juice and cayenne.
    Serve fish patties on a toasted hamburger bun with a slice of cheese and tartar sauce.
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