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low-carb smoked mackerel fishcakes

Low-Carb Smoked Mackerel Fishcakes use celeriac instead of the usual potatoes. And these delicious and easily-made mini fishcakes can be baked or fried. Try them with the easy dill and cucumber sauce, or your favorite cocktail sauce. Enjoy them for dinner, lunch or snack. Freezable, too.

low-carb smoked mackerel fishcakesSmoked mackerel is a staple food for us. Inexpensive, freezer-friendly and sustainable, this Omega 3-packed fish is a must-buy if you are, like me, an omnivore. I love it so much that it even featured in my first ever Food To Glow post – for Quinoa and Smoked Mackerel Fishcakes. I hope my photos have improved!

But you really can’t improve on a simple smoked mackerel fishcake recipe. Except perhaps to make it even lower in carbohydrates. In this reimagined recipe I replace standard potato (or quinoa) with low-carb wonder food, celeriac. Have you tried celeriac?

fishcakes on plate

these low-carb smoked mackerel fishcakes are super-light in texture compared to potato

Low-Carb Leanings

It might be obvious to you if you follow me on Instagram, but in case not, I have lately been posting lower carbohydrate recipes. I still love my homemade sourdough bread. And the occasional pasta dish and seasonal new potatoes. However, starting last October, I began to follow a very low carbohydrate diet. Although it is touted for weight loss (yes, this is quite true), lowering my carbohydrate intake has had a hugely positive effect on my chronically painful joints and gut. Chronic pain is something I’ve lived with all of my life. And now it is at such a low peep that I consider myself largely pain-free. No meds, no side effects.

smoked mackerel fishcakesDropping most carbohydrates and going full keto isn’t something that I recommend, though. Certainly not without professional guidance and follow-up.

Always consult your doctor or a dietitian before making such a major change in diet. It is very easy to do it wrong. But done thoughtfully, especially to manage some chronic illnesses and conditions, it may be something to explore. The NHS, for long promoting a high carb diet for Type 2 diabetes, has endorsed low carb. And even has a low carb app for patients.

smoked mackerel fishcakes -low carbI’ve found a healthy balance that works for me, and have devised my own Mediterranean-style low carb way of eating. And I really love it! My altered diet emphasises plenty of above-ground vegetables (below-ground ones are always higher in carbs), some fruits (mainly berries), nuts and seeds, eggs, fish, tofu, occasional organic meat. Lentils and beans are, unfortunately, no-gos for me. They really mess up my gut. Although I can’t help but eat a few spoons of hummus. 🙂

I also make sweet things using safe alternative sweeteners, such as xylitol and stevia. I will share some of my favorite recipes with you, including options for regular sugar. But these I have infrequently so as not to stimulate a craving for sweet things. It’s taken awhile to find what works best for me and that I feel I can stick with. But the way it makes me feel makes that easy. Mostly.

If you are interested – let me know in the comments below! – I will do a post on the ins and outs of a low carbohydrate diet, as well as explaining the pros and cons of the ketogenic diet. Is this something that interests you? I of course will still keep creating and posting a wide range of plant-centric recipes – including modest amounts of pasta, rice, quinoa and other great foods. But Andrew will be my primary taste tester.

baked chipotle cauliflower frittata in skillet for a healthy dinner

baked chipotle cauliflower frittata in skillet for a healthy low-carb dinner

Other Low Carb Recipes

I have quite a few lower carb recipes on Food To Glow. A lot from before I really was thinking in a low-carb way. Tap “low carb” into the search bar to the right of this text and have a (vegetable) noodle through the selection. But if you want a few highlights, these are a few to try.

Cauliflower Rösti with a Scandi Vibe

Baked Chipotle Cauliflower Frittata

Summer Ramen Zoodle Salad (zucchini “noodles)

Thai Rainbow Noodle Salad with Tangy Peanut Dressing

Smashed Cucumber Salad with Broccoli and Tofu – Spicy and Garlicky!

Asian Crab Salad for One

Fresh & Light Open Vegetable Lasagne (uses chickpea flour pancakes instead of durum wheat lasagne sheets)

Panini-style Eggplant Parmigiana

And I have LOADS more. Check my Index 🙂

smoked mackerel fishcake ingredientsWhat You Need For Low-Carb Smoked Mackerel Fishcakes

Celeriac – about half a large one. Celeriac – also called celery root – is available year-round in the UK. I’m not sure about elsewhere. It is a hugely useful vegetable and stores well.

Smoked mackerel or smoked herring These are both widely available in the UK. I’ve made it with both, although smoked herring might have too many little bones for your liking. They mostly dissolve with cooking though. You could use hot-smoked salmon too, but I like to have that on its own. Pricey stuff!

Spring onions/green onions

Dijon mustard or horseradish

Fresh dill or parsley

An egg

Capers, if you wish

Ground flax/flaxmeal – for coating, instead of breadcrumbs. Get at most large supermarkets or through online health food stores. Use dry breadcrumbs if that’s your preference and you aren’t low carb.making fishcakes

The optional sauce has Greek yogurt or crème fraîche, more Dijon mustard, lemon, cucumber and dill or parsley.

And all you really do is steam the celeriac (or boil if you wish) and mix with the other ingredients, dredging shaped patties in the golden flax. Then you have a choice of baking or frying. Both methods work well. The images show you both results. My preference is for baking, but you do you! The texture is a bit crispy on the outside, and soft and yielding in the caper and dill-studded interior. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

baked and fried fishcakes

Baked low-carb smoked mackerel fishcakes on the tray and fried ones on paper.

So, have you been trying low carb recipes too? Would you like me to do a post devoted to explaining healthy low carb and keto ways of eating? Let me know below!

low-carb smoked mackerel fishcakes

smoked mackerel fishcakes
5 from 5 votes

Low-Carb Smoked Mackerel Fishcakes

Using low-carb wonder food celeriac instead of the usual potatoes, these delicious and easy smoky fishcakes can be baked or fried.

Course DInner
Cuisine Healthy, Low Carb
Keyword celeriac, fishcakes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 12 patties
Calories 97 kcal
Author kellie anderson


  • 500 g celeriac peeled and cubed
  • 250 g smoked mackerel or smoked herring, skin removed
  • 5 spring onions green onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard or wholegrain mustard or grated horseradish
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill or parsley if you don't like dill
  • 1 tbsp capers chopped; rinsed if in salt
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 75 g flaxmeal more or less, as required for coating
  • oil for shallow frying if not baking these fishcakes

Creamy Dill and Cucumber Sauce

  • 100 g Greek yogurt or creme fraiche
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 50 g chopped cucumber
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill or parsley


  1. Steam the cubed celeriac for 15 minutes, until soft. Set aside to cool.

  2. Tear up the fish, then mash all fishcake ingredients in a bowl.

  3. Pop the bowl of fishcake mash into the fridge f0r 30 minutes if possible. This will make it easier to shape into patties.

  4. Divide the fishcake mixture into 12 equal mounds - weigh them if you wish. Use both hands to shape into balls. Flatten slightly to make fishcake shape.

  5. Pour the flaxmeal onto a plate. Coat each fishcake individually, ensuring sides as well as top and bottom are covered.

  6. Either heat oil in a large skillet OR turn oven on to 190C fan/400F.

  7. Either bake on a parchment-lined tray for 20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time (slick the paper with oil) Or, shallow fry over medium heat for five minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.

Make the sauce

  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Season with salt and pepper if you wish. Serve with the smoked mackerel fishcakes.

Recipe Notes

  • The nutritional information is based on one baked fishcake and a tablespoon of sauce. Three to four fishcakes would be a serving for most adults.
  • These fishcakes can be frozen after shaping and dipping in flax. Interleave each fishcake with baking parchment before freezing and using within three months. Reheat from frozen, adding an extra five minutes.
  • Another sauce idea is to mix tomato ketchup with a little horseradish for a homemade cocktail sauce. If following a low carb diet, make sure to account for the sugars.
Nutrition Facts
Low-Carb Smoked Mackerel Fishcakes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 97 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 24mg8%
Sodium 90mg4%
Potassium 297mg8%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 7g14%
Calcium 53mg5%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Vitamin A 88IU2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.





21 thoughts on “Low-Carb Smoked Mackerel Fishcakes

  1. Mr A says:

    Your posts have always been awesome but photos are even better than before. It’s so great that you have found a way managing your inflammation and therefore your pain by making such simple changes. Delicious and joint healthy fishcakes xxx

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Thanks, Andrew. Yes, my change in diet has worked really well for me. I’m happy to share more recipes if they help others, too.

  2. Marion Young says:

    Yes please Kellie, I would love to hear how a low carb diet can help with joint pain

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Fantastic! Thanks for your feedback. Oily fish like smoked mackerel are also part of my joint-supporting diet. I have oily fish twice a week. Do you include oily fish, Marion? Also, do you have a diagnosed joint condition?

  3. Jacqueline says:

    I’m glad to hear you found a diet that works well for you. It is so important for people to listen to what their bodies are telling them.I love to see some low carb vegan recipes if you happen to develop some. i find it challenging it be lower in the carbs and a vegan who can’t eat soy. thanks..

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Hi Jacqueline. Thanks for taking the time to comment and express your wishes. I do have some vegan low carb recipes that I will be sharing. Off the top of my head, my Sri Lankan Cabbage, Coconut and Cashew Curry might appeal (in my Index). I have other low carb vegan recipes here already, and some that are easily tweaked to be suitable for you. I will put together a list in the Index that highlights my low carb recipes, and subcat them re vegan etc. In the meantime if there is anything in particular you are looking for or want me to tweak, let me know. 🙂

  4. Ann says:

    I’m a mackerel fan too. I usually just have it with a salad but like the sound and look of these fish cakes.

  5. annehalson says:

    Thank you for this inspiring article my daughters partner has rheumatoid arthritis would this diet apply to him? I know my daughter is always looking for ways to support him. As always my many thanks for your continued inspiration and education.

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Hi Anne. I would have them look into it, yes. Lower carbohydrate lowers certain inflammatory marker. Most evidence is anecdotal however. Here is an article that may be relevant. I have lupus, with joints and gut affected among other things. I’ve found that I have no need for pain meds (they were harming my stomach). This was after only one week of being quite strict. But I have found, through experimenting with the amount of total carbs, that I don’t need to be fully ketogenic, although that has other benefits for me. But I like occasional homemade bread and other delicious but provoking (for me) sources of starchy carbs. I do find that avoiding sugar is a biggie for me and my joints. Not so much my gut though.,in%20osteoarthritis%20and%20rheumatoid%20arthritis. Do ask your daughter if their partner has tried experimenting with diet (such as staying away from citrus and nightshade family). Oh, and thanks for commenting.

      1. Jane Darvall says:

        Hi Kellie, always enjoy your recipe ideas, thank you. I have osteoarthritis in various joints, do you think an anti-inflammatory diet might help? Is this the same as a keto diet and is it ok for someone with a reduced renal function? Sadly, most GPs are not holistic in approach for these things.

      2. kellie anderson says:

        Hi Jane. A lower-inflammatory diet can help most people, full stop. As for arthritis, low inflamm most especially useful for rheumatoid rather than wear and tear. I can’t recommend keto for you as it is such a specialised diet and needs individual assessment. You are best contacting a dietitian or your renal support team for advice. I have heard anecdotally that keto is okay for some with renal issues, but everyone with reduced renal function needs to speak to their renal team before making such changes. Keto doesn’t mean high protein, and certainly not high meat or I wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole. But, it needs to be done under supervision if there are any chronic or suspected health issues. In the meantime, keep including plenty of vegetables, pulses, nuts, seeds, avocados, turmeric (with something fatty and with black pepper), oily fish in the diet.

  6. Abby says:

    Seeing this recipe made my heart smile. I love the taste of mackerel!

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Thank you so much, Abby. I have learned to like fresh mackerel over the years. But I took to smoked mackerel straight away! PS Your comment made ME smile x

      1. Abby says:

        Smoked canned fish is a easy go-to for me. I even add it to scrambled eggs.

  7. Liz says:

    Yes a low carb way of eating certainly has benefits, especially when hypothyroidism and insulin issues are involved. Carbs and sugar set off a chain reaction, including weight gain and joint pain, have also been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my knees. Eliminating the desire for sugar through low carb cooking and keto is of much interest.
    Coincidentally I have smoked mackerel in the fridge that my husband bought. Was not going to even think of eating it but your recipe has changed my mind. Why don’t more doctor’s promote low carb way of eating?

  8. Lovely, we are all big mackerel fans in our house so this is ideal, thank you, great recipe for so many reasons.

  9. kumarvrishen says:

    very helpful article but i have a question how much fat in this food?

    1. kellie anderson says:

      HI Kumar. The info is in the nutrition facts box at the bottom. It is 8% of the daily recommended intake.

  10. Rachel says:

    Healthy and yum – thank you!

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