Easy Codfish Cakes

From what I can gather, I am not the only one who misses Gorton’s canned codfish cakes. The mixture came solid in a can and one only had to slice and fry them in butter or margarine for a real treat. When they started getting scarce where I lived, (and now are non-existent), I developed the recipe based on the label ingredients, which I share with you today. I think it is close to what you may remember.

Codfish Cakes (Gorton-style)

1 lb of cod filets { frozen
1 ½ cups mashed potatoes
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. milk {can be rice, almond or soy milk
2+ Tbsp flour {all-purpose, potato or rice flour
(opt. 1+Tbsp. parsley)
Butter or margarine

Poach the cod by placing the filets in a deep flat pan and covering them with water.(Can be still frozen). Add 2 tsp. of salt and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Simmer until the filets are no longer translucent,(nearly clear), but opaque in color, (solid white). [ I used to wrap them in cheesecloth to prevent them from breaking apart while boiling but found that they are fine cooking a little longer at a gentle simmer, just under boiling.] Drain the filets and flake them in a mixing bowl.

Add premade mashed potatoes, [See Dec. 2012 Archive, You Can Do It…Breakfast Potatoes and Leftovers if you need instructions.] and milk and salt. Stir in the eggs, mix well and add the salt then sprinkle in the flour. Depending on the wetness of your potatoes and the absorbency of your flour, more may be required, but please do not expect the consistency of our belated, beloved canned codfish cakes: This mixture will be somewhat loose.

Melt butter or margarine in a large , flat pan or griddle,(preferably non-stick).Keep the pan on a medium-high setting and  pick up the cod mixture, roll into a loose balls and flatten before dropping onto the pan or drop the mixture by a large spoonful and immediately flatten with a spatula.( You need to make these rather thin). Leave the cakes cooking for some time until the bottoms are deep golden-brown and flip them gently with a ‘pancake turner’ once, and allow them to brown equally on the other side.(In the ones pictured,I went heavy on the option of parsley!)


I hope that if you grew up loving codfish cakes as I did, these will satisfy you.

One of my son’s friends was a local fellow and one day we were discussing food,(which should be of no surprise). He complained that he had gone to a restaurant with his father somewhere in New England and he had tried to order biscuits and gravy, but the waitress had no idea what he was talking about. I told him that biscuits and gravy was a local favorite and that I had not learned to make sausage gravy until I had moved to Kentucky.
He still did not understand; after all, the restaurant had been one in a national chain and he had ordered the same breakfast at nearby locations many times.
I said, “But the menus vary; they feature local favorites. For instance, I was born in Maryland and if I walked into a restaurant here and ordered codfish cakes, they’d look at me like I am crazy”, to which my Tennessee-born then-daughter-in-law replied, “Kinda like I’m lookin’ at you right now?”

Maryland or any where else, I hope you are crazy about the recipe for codfish cakes that you found here.

36 thoughts on “Easy Codfish Cakes

    1. Tonette Joyce

      Thanks, Tamara for all of your support.This is a taste that if you grew up with it, you never forget, apparently.I have had many people tell me they miss Gorton’s.

      1. 674woodwoman674

        I was just delighted to find this recipe! Haven’t read all comments yet, but I used to mash up the contents of the can and add in a chopped onion and an egg. The canned product also had some lime in it — the kind that makes corn tortillas have that tangy flavor. I will try your recipe soon and think of you!

      2. Tonette Joyce Post author

        Thank you for looking in and being kind enough to comment 674Woodwoman674. Please feel free to re-work any of my recipes to make them to your own taste. That is success for my vidion of what this blog was meant to accomplish!

    1. Tonette Joyce

      From what I gather Chicken of the Sea bought Gorton’s out and things changed; these came canned. I think it may have been more of an East Coast favorite, but …I hope people who miss them thy these.
      Thanks for coming by!

    2. cthilton

      So good to find this Tonette. I grew up with these – I also mixed an egg and chopped onion – made the patties and fried – they are great for breakfast with grits. I guess that is the Southern/Virginian influence. The last time I found these was in Palquemines Parish in South Louisiana mid 1990’s – there is a big Yougoslavian population there and apparently it is big in their diet. I bought a case and it lasted me a few years – I hated to see the last can go.

      1. Tonette Joyce Post author

        Thank you for coming in and commenting! (And thanks for the follow; I am going to have to get back to posting here.)
        See, I was born on the Maryland side of the Potomac, but raised on the Virginia side…and my husband’s father is Croatian/Slovenian, so I guess it was just essential to eat and make these!
        These are as close as I can come to Gortons.I hope that you enjoy them.

    1. Tonette Joyce

      I hope you give these a try them, Lisa…and thanks, not only for coming by, but for telling me what I should do with the can of mackerel in my cabinet! I will have a recipe up for Salmon Patties soon;I hope you check back in for those!

  1. Charlie

    You are not the only one who misses Gorton’s canned cod fish. My mother and I have tried to find a replacement but so far no luck.

    Gortons Fan in Finksburg

    1. Tonette Joyce

      Charlie,I should have put up a picture without the parsley, but I think, since we can’t get Gorton’s , that these are a fair substitute. I hope you and your mother try them.
      thanks you so much for coming by.

  2. Mary Anne Surcouf

    Thank you for the recipe. Yes, I’m from south Louisiana, and my grandmother and mom fixed them when I was growing up, especially during Lent. I remember buying Gortons for a while, then the cans disappeared. That was the only time I remember eating codfish. I will definitely give this a try!

    1. Tonette Joyce Post author

      Oh I am so glad, Mary Anne! I added a bit more parsley in the ones pictured that I usually would, and it can be omitted altogether if you’d like.I think you’ll find them close to what you remember. Thank you so much for stopping to comment.., and hope you visit again!

  3. Mary Alice

    Born and raised in Chicago and my mom fixed these all the time. I’ve longed for the taste for 50 years. Hope this recipe does it.

    1. Tonette Joyce Post author

      Thank you for dropping in, Mary Alice! I think you will find that these are close. The ones that I have in the picture are a little too heavy on the parsley, (which is an option to use at all). Please let me know if you try them. I hope you find then satisfying.

  4. Laura

    I am 74 years old when I was a young child between the ages of seven and 12 my mother would always by Gordon’s cod fish flakes I tried so many times to find this I am thanking the person who put the recipe on Facebook I really do love to try it again it is on my bucket list thank you again for sharing

    1. Tonette Joyce Post author

      Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me all of this, Laura! You can omit or cut back on the parsley, but I think you will find that this comes very close to what your mother, and my mother, bought and made for us.
      Please let me know how you like them!

  5. Catharine Stryker


    1. Tonette Joyce Post author

      Sorry I missed your comment. It may be that Gorton’s stopped canning them when there was a moratorium on fishing in certain areas to allow the number of cod to flourish; the price has gone up quite a bit over the years. I hope you try the recipe.
      Thanks for coming by, Catherine.

  6. S. Richardson

    I have been searching and searching for Gorton’s canned cod fish. I started eating the cod fish as a very young child and it has also been ny favorite food. I grew up in Norfolk, Virginia. When I became an adult and married my husband who was in the Air Force. My Mother would send me the cod fish by mail to the different places we moved to. She even sent it overseas until she could no longer find the canned cod. I am going to try this recipe, but I still wish they would start making this again

    1. Joel

      Oh, my. Just dreaming of fried Gordon’s codfish cakes and recalling Dr Thomas E Bamford cooking them and sercing with maple syrup on cold winter says in Bronxville, NY
      I’ll try receipe while awaiting return of perfect, canned product.

    2. Tonette Joyce Post author

      As I answered above, it was hard to get cod for a while and the price has gone up since Gorton’s canned it, so that may have been a factor. I hope you find this recipe helpful.
      Thank you for taking time to comment.

    3. cthilton

      Hey S. Richardson – My mother was born and raised in Norfolk – That is where I learned about codfish cakes – from my mother and grandmother –

    1. Tonette Joyce Post author

      I am so glad to help! Me, I liked them fried thin in LOTS of butter or margarine; my husband like tartar sauce on them.
      Thanks so much for your visit and comment. I hope you enjoy the recipe, Barney!

  7. Ed Campbell

    I too miss the canned cod.When I was working in Boston, I used to get them all cooked, and in a package of 8 or 9. All you had to do was re-heat them in an oven. I can’t recall the name of the store. Any way, I sure do miss them and I’ll have to try your recipe.

    1. Tonette Joyce Post author

      I only remember the canned mix, Ed, but then I imagine that Boston, (unlike the Washington, DC suburbs), would have more seafood choices!
      I hope you give these a try and that you enjoy them.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!

  8. here2loveblog

    Sounds pretty close to what I grew up with. in Providence RI. Grandmother made the Gortons canned variety & served(sold)with Baked Beans on Saturdays. Fod memories and longed for experiences.!
    Why did Gortons stop making them???


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