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Crispy Sardine Cakes (AIP)

Not a sardine lover? Join the club! I created this recipe for crispy sardine cakes just for you (and me) so we’d have a more delicious and texturally pleasing way to eat these economical nutritional powerhouses! Kalamata olives and lemon zest add flavor that tones down the fishiness inherent in the sardines and a small amount of puréed yellow plantain serves as an AIP-friendly binding agent.

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Why eat sardines?

Each of my nutrition clients has unique needs, but one thing that I’ve discovered to be nearly universal is that most people don’t get enough anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids in their diet to balance out the pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids they likely get more than enough of. Eating sardines is one easy way to remedy that because they are one of the very best natural sources of both DHA and EPA, the two most easily absorbed and beneficial of the omega-3s.

Sardines are also high in a wide range of important micronutrients, with a single can providing more than 100% of your day’s requirements or vitamin B12 and more than half the selenium and vitamin D you need. Canned sardines which include the bones are a good source of calcium and other important bone-building nutrients as well.

And finally, canned sardines are a cost effective way to add high-quality protein to your diet and have the added benefit of being shelf stable and convenient.

Why don’t people eat sardines?

I wondered that myself! It seems that everyone has an opinion on canned sardines – they either love them or they hate them. To help me better understand this, I turned to my Instagram and Facebook followers and was amazed at how many people wanted to chime in.

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Many people reported that they knew they were good for them, but couldn’t abide by the texture or the overly fishy taste. They’d be happy to eat them, as long as they had a recipe that blunted those two elements. And I’ll be honest… I feel the same way. I want to love sardines and eat them straight out of the can, but I find it hard to do that. So I made this recipe for people like me!

Which sardines should I buy?

My favorite company for canned fish of all kinds is Wild Planet because of their commitment both to sustainability and wellness and I know that none of their cans have any added ingredients that are not AIP-compliant. You may be able to find them at your local grocery store, or you can order them through ShopAIP.


AIP Sardine Cakes Recipe

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Crispy Sardine Cakes (AIP)

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4.5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Jaime Hartman
  • Total Time: 12 mins
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x


If the taste or texture or sardines turns you off, give this recipe for grain free sardine cakes a try. The olives and lemon zest tones down the fishiness and the mashed plantain allows it to be fried like a crab cake.


  • 2 cans sardines (45 ounces each) packed in water or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped finely
  • zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 ripe yellow plantain, peeled and mashed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. Drain sardines and place in a bowl. Mash with a fork.
  2. Add parsley, olives, lemon zest and juice, and mashed plantain. Use fork to combine well.
  3. Use your hands to shape into 4 equal size patties and set on a plate.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  5. When oil is hot, very carefully place the patties in the pan and allow to cook without disturbing until browned and crispy on the bottom, then very carefully flip each patty so they can get equally brown and crispy on the other side. This should take about 5-7 minutes, but this depends very much on exactly how hot your oil is and the pan you are using. Don’t allow them to burn, but do allow them to cook on each side long enough to get very crispy and heated through.
  6. Remove from pan and serve on top of a bed of lettuce, garnished with additional fresh parsley, and with a wedge of lemon to squeeze over top.
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 7 mins
  • Category: Entree



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Crispy Sardine Cakes



7 replies on “Crispy Sardine Cakes (AIP)”

Your recipe looks amazing….I grew up on canned sardines as a treat and thought everyone loved them as much as my family did! What a surprise haha. I still enjoy them weekly right out of the can (packed in spring water) just salted with VegeSal—your recipe will be an economical gourmet dish!
Thank you! [PS: any substitutes for plantain?]

Thank you Jaime; I picked up a small purple skinned one (first time as we love the orange pulp so much!) and will try these on holiday Monday…looking forward to it! 😉 Will give feedback for sure!

Thank you, that’s great as we don’t get plantain in Oz so it’s good to have a sub, there are so many awesome things that are AIP compliant that can be sub’ed for mainstream things that we just don’t get here, like the plantain, cassava, yukka, tigernut…so many things I can’t get a hold of, so really appreciate an alternative option.

Shame, but this didn’t really work for me. Even though my plantain was still unripe it resulted in an underlying sweet flavour. Also the lemon was really quite strong. And (sorry) the texture of the chopped olive didn’t really convince me either 🙁 so sorry…I guess tastes differ….which is a great thing. I was doubting whether I should leave this comment but seeing you love these patties I am sure I cannot spoil you enjoyment of them 🙂

These are great! The lemon and olives were the perfect counterpoint to the fishiness. The fishy odor was regrettably notable, but they didn’t taste that way. And they were so easy to make. I’ve frozen the leftovers and I hope they come out as well reheated.

Update: They do freeze and reheat well. I just heated them in a frying pan until they were heated through. I also topped them with creamy chimichurri and that was delicious too.

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