Go Back
+ servings
Close up of crispy yellow smoked mackerel fishcakes on a marble board
Print Recipe
4.96 from 21 votes

Smoked mackerel and horseradish fishcakes with chickpeas

Horseradish and capers are delicious accompaniments to smoked fish. Using chickpeas instead of potato in these fishcakes results in an economical and high-protein dish.  Gluten Free
Servings: 12 fishcakes (serves 4)
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Chilling2 hrs
Total Time20 mins


  • 500 g chickpeas - 2 x cans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lemon – juice and zest
  • 250 g smoked mackerel
  • 2 spring onions
  • 3 tsp capers - optional to taste
  • 3 tsp horseradish sauce - or mustard
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp coarse polenta
  • 2 tbsp oil - for frying


  • Gather and measure out the ingredients.
  • Blitz the chickpeas in a food processor with the lemon juice and zest. The mix should start to clump but should not be sticky. Add a little water if necessary.
  • Discard the mackerel skin and mash the flesh with a fork, removing any bones. Add to the chickpeas.
  • Finely slice the spring onions and chop the capers (if using).
  • Add to the fish and chickpea mixture along with the horseradish, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  • Divide the mixture into 12 and roll into balls. Flatten each ball into a thick patty, and dip in the polenta to cover evenly. 
  • Place the fishcakes on a plate or baking tray. Cover with a piece of clingfilm to stop them drying out, and chill in the fridge for about two hours. 
  • Shallow fry straight from the fridge in a little oil. This should take 3-5 minutes on each side, turning gently.
    Alternatively, bake in the oven at 200 °C / 400 °F / Gas mark 6 for 10-15 minutes.
    Serve immediately.


Hints, tips and variations for easy smoked mackerel fishcakes with chickpeas
  • To stop the fishcakes falling apart when cooking it is essential that the fishcakes are well chilled before you cook them.  If you are in a hurry add two tablespoons of flour to the fish mix to help bind it.
  • Capers and spring onions are optional - leave out if you don't like them. Capers can be very salty, so we rinse them before using.
  • For a zesty twist, try adding finely diced preserved lemon rather than fresh.
  • You can coat the fishcakes in polenta, panko or regular breadcrumbs.
  • Not all brands of canned chickpeas have the same texture. Some are far harder than others - for this recipe you want the softer ones (I like East End brand).  
  • It's worth making a double batch, so you can cook once and eat twice. Freeze on a silicon baking sheet and then pack into an airtight box. Defrost in the fridge before cooking.
Easy smoked mackerel fishcakes with chickpeas - Troubleshooting
The fishcakes fell apart when cooking
These fishcakes are quite delicate. It is essential that you chill them for two hours before cooking or add some flour to the mix to help hold them together. If you want them in a hurry, add the flour or bake in the oven. You could also keep the cans of chickpeas into the fridge before you make them to help speed up the chilling.
Nutritional Information 
  • This recipe is 3 Weight Watchers Smart Points
• Please note that the nutrition information provided below is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
• Unless stated otherwise cup conversions have been made with an online tool. For accuracy please check with your favoured conversion tool. We recommend buying inexpensive digital kitchen scales.
Calories: 109kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 32mg | Potassium: 168mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Vitamin C: 2.4mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1.3mg
Course: Main meal
Cuisine: Fish, Fusion
Keyword: smoked mackerel fishcakes