Old-fashioned Fish Loaf

Sliced fish loaf on plate

When I saw a recipe in a hundred-year-old cookbook for Fish Loaf, I knew that I needed to give it a try. Now that the holidays are starting to wind down, I’m ready for comfort foods. Maybe most people won’t consider Fish Loaf a comfort food, but for me it fits into that category. I have vague memories of eating (and enjoying) Salmon Loaf many years ago, and I wanted to see if this recipe was similar.

The old recipe called for using any canned fish (or flaked, cooked fresh fish) so there’s lots of flexibility- though I chose to go with salmon.

This recipe was very easy to make – and it tasted just like the Salmon Loaves that I remember from my childhood.

Recipe for Fish Loaf
Source: A New Snowdrift Cook Book (1920)

One teaspoon of salt seemed like a lot to me since the canned salmon that I used already contained some salt, so I when I updated the recipe, I reduced the amount of salt to 1/2 teaspoon.

Snowdrift was an old-time shortening that I don’t think is sold any longer.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Fish Loaf

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

1 pound can fish or 2 1/2 cups flaked, cooked fresh fish (I used a 14.75 ounce can of Salmon.)

3 eggs

1/2 cup soft bread crumbs (I tore 1 slice of bread into small pieces.)

1 tablespoon melted butter or shortening

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 350° F. Separate the eggs. Put the egg whites in a mixing bowl, and beat until stiff. Set aside.

Put the egg yolks in another mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Flake the fish and add to the bowl with the beaten egg yolks.  Add bread crumbs, butter or shortening, salt, pepper, and parsley; stir to combine. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Put in a greased loaf pan, and place in oven and bake until firm (about 40 – 50 minutes). Remove from oven and cut into slices. If desired, serve with peas, cream or white sauce, egg sauce, or tomato sauce.


43 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Fish Loaf

  1. We never ate salmon loaf, but Mother made salmon croquettes which I always liked. And of course while reading the recipe I smiled and said Sheryl will use less salt. Your loaf turned out beautifully–which sauce did you choose?

    1. My mom made salmon croquettes and they were one of the very few recipes she made that was actually good. If I recall, she’d pulled it out of a cookbook and she must have followed it. I always liked them when she made them, which was nearly always during Lent.

    2. You know me well. 🙂 I served the Salmon Loaf with white sauce the first day. The next day, I ate the left-over Salmon Loaf with ketchup. That’s the way we always ate it when I was a child. It may be gauche, but it was tasty.

    1. You should find the old recipe and make it. I had worried that I might like Salmon Loaf less now than I had as a child, but it was as tasty as I remembered.

      1. in Los Angeles: Smart and Final, Dollar Tree,Target, Superior..
        I make mine with: chopped pickles, celery, onion, parsley. If I have extra time and want it fancier, I make a sauce out of roasted red bell peppers, garlic, lemon, olive oil paprika.

  2. I’ve never heard of a fish loaf.

    The consensus in the house is that we shall not be trying it. I showed everyone, and enthusiasm was lacking.

      1. I actually ate some of the Salmon Loaf slices with ketchup. That’s how we always ate it when I was a child – and it was a very tasty combination.

  3. Yes! I make this! Of course salmon is kind of expensive so I use mackerel and sometimes if I have left over white fish I’ll use that and add a can of tuna to make up the difference in volume! It is always a hit with my family and yes- a staple during Lent.

  4. Lovely idea for a light winter meal! I enjoyed salmon patties growing up, but the first time I made them I was pregnant and very queasy. When I opened the can of salmon I just freaked out – hubby had to flake it for me and then reassure me the “gross stuff” was gone. I enjoy a seafood patty that a regional cafeteria chain prepares. I’m not sure what kinds of fish they use, but it is good. I’m going to make this loaf very soon. Thank you – happy new year!

    1. Happy new year! I can relate to your experience with the can of salmon. It’s been many, many years since I’ve been pregnant, but I can remember as if it was yesterday how some food smells made me nauseous when I was expecting.

  5. I planned to serve this fish loaf for dinner and realized there wasn’t enough time. Using the same ingredients, I formed the mixture into cakes and sauteed them in a skillet. We all liked the taste, knowing your loaf would have looked much more festive. One of these days we’ll have the loaf. Thanks for a great recipe.

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