Tuna Patties

$3.08 recipe / $0.77 each
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.78 from 18 votes
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We’ve already reached oppressive heat levels here in Tennessee, so I’m looking for all the quick low-heat meals I can get! These super simple Tuna Patties (a.k.a. Tuna Cakes) hit the spot this week. They’re quick to pull together, delicious over a bed of greens, and the perfect excuse to make my favorite Comeback Sauce. ;)

Side view of two tuna cakes on a plate of greens.

What is a Tuna Patty?

Tuna patties are just like a burger, but made with canned tuna. In addition to the tuna, they usually also contain egg and breadcrumbs to hold them together, and some seasoning for extra flavor. The mixture is then flattened into a patty and fried until deliciously golden brown. The best part about tuna patties is that you can season them in so many different ways, so it’s one of those quick and easy meals that you can make over and over without getting tired of them!

How to Season Tuna Cakes

I used one of my favorite go-to seasonings for my tuna cakes, Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning, which is basically Creole-flavored seasoning salt. So if you can’t find Tony’s or you just want to go a different route, you could use a different seasoning salt, like Lawry’s, or choose a different seasoning blend like Old Bay Seasoning, lemon pepper, or even curry powder. Just keep in mind that if your seasoning blend does not contain salt you’ll want to add a little extra to your patty mixture.

How to Serve Tuna Patties

My favorite way to serve tuna patties is on a bed of greens, like a salad, with a little of my Comeback Sauce. But you could also stuff the tuna cakes into a pita with some tomatoes and greens, and a little tartar sauce. Or, you could make mini cakes and serve them with toothpicks and a sauce for dipping as a party appetizer!

Sauce Options

I’ve already mentioned that I served my tuna patties with Comeback Sauce, but if you don’t like that sauce or just want to try a different option, there are several other sauces that would be great with these tuna patties. If you’re looking for something light and simple, even just a squeeze of fresh lemon juice would be awesome. Other sauces to try include sriracha mayo, ranch dressing, tartar sauce, yogurt dill sauce, or creamy Caesar dressing.

Two tuna cakes drizzled with comeback sauce.
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Tuna Patties

4.78 from 18 votes
Tuna Patties are a quick, easy, and inexpensive meal option for hot summer days. Delicious, filling, and endlessly versatile!
Two tuna cakes drizzled with comeback sauce.
Servings 4 patties
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 25 minutes


  • 2 green onions, chopped ($0.22)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional) ($0.10)
  • 1 12oz. can chunk light tuna in water, drained ($1.79)
  • 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs ($0.32)
  • 1 large egg ($0.24)
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise ($0.15)
  • 1.5 tsp lemon juice ($0.02)
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt* ($0.10)
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.08)


  • Roughly chop the parsley and green onions. Drain the canned tuna well.
  • Place the tuna, green onion, parsley, breadcrumbs, eggs, mayonnaise, seasoning salt, and lemon juice in a bowl. Mix the ingredients together just until evenly combined. Avoid over mixing.
  • Divide the mixture into four equal portions, then shape each portion into a patty.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add the cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface of the skillet. Add the tuna patties and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and slightly crisp.
  • Serve warm over a bed of greens or stuffed into a pita!

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*I used Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, but you can use any seasoning salt or seasoning blend. See the remarks about seasoning options above the recipe.


Serving: 1pattyCalories: 260kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 20gFat: 15gSodium: 931mgFiber: 1g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Overhead view of two tuna patties on a plate with greens.

How to Make Tuna Patties – Step by Step Photos

Chopped parsley and sliced green onion on a cutting board.

Roughly chop about 2 tablespoons of parsley and two green onions. I like to chop the green onions for this rather than just slice them, so they mix in a little better. Drain one 12oz. can of chunk light tuna in water, well.

Tuna patty ingredients in a bowl.

Add the drained tuna, parsley, and green onion to a bowl along with ½ cup plain breadcrumbs, one large egg, 2 Tbsp mayonnaise, 1.5 tsp lemon juice, and 1 tsp seasoning salt.

tuna patty mixture combined in the bowl.

Mix the ingredients together just until evenly combined (don’t overmix). I use my hands for this job!

A container of tony's seasoning held close to the camera.

This is the seasoning I use, but you can use any seasoning salt, or any other seasoning blend you like. Just make sure to add extra salt if your seasoning blend does not contain any.

Raw tuna cakes shaped and in the skillet.

Divide the patty mixture into four equal portions then shape each one into a patty. Heat a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the tuna patties to the hot skillet.

Browned tuna patties in the skillet.

Cook the tuna patties for about five minutes on each side, or until deliciously golden brown.

Two tuna patties on a plate with greens, a hand holding the side of the plate.

Serve warm in a pita or over a green salad. And don’t forget to make a little Comeback Sauce to drizzle over top!

Try These Other Tuna Recipes

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  1. Ratio of tuna to bread crumbs is way too low. Like eating fried bread. I may try it again but with more tuna/less bread crumbs.

  2. These were insane. I had no idea canned tuna could taste so good. Mind is blown. And so easy and quick to make, too!

  3. These were the best tuna patties I’ve ever made. My 2 cans of tuna were more than
    12 oz. so I added an extra egg and an additional tablespoon of mayonnaise to hold it all together nicely. The result was perfect and I will definitely make these again. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. These are the best! I’ve made them twice now. I used seasoned panko bread crumbs and taco seasoning as my seasoning blend. I would have never thought tuna patties could be so delicious.

  5. I’m making these tonight for the freezer (I live alone and sometimes I’m too lazy to cook. Ha!)

    I saw in another comment that these can be frozen – would that be before or after cooking? And should they be thawed first?

    Can’t wait to try these!

  6. Loved these, so simple to make and very tasty! We had these with rice and sweet chilli sauce tonight, but will definitely be making them again to try different accompaniments!

  7. This was wonderful! I wanted to find recipes for boring tuna and came across this recipe. Super awesome and easy to make. Delicious 😊

  8. Adapted this to use canned chicken and powdered ranch seasoning that I had in my cabinet. Delicious!

    (What misguided keto attempt led me to have canned chicken?!?!).

    Anyway, another great BB pantry meal to keep in my back pocket.

  9. I want to meal prep these for lunch for the week and don’t have an option to reheat with anything besides a microwave. Will these be good that way?

    1. We haven’t tried it, but as your options are limited, it’s worth a shot.

  10. For some reason, I am nervous about the result of cooking with tuna. But, these are amazing! What a great, simple, adaptable budget friendly recipe!

    1. I enjoyed the leftovers, but they’re definitely best right out of the skillet. :) You might try just shaping them and then cooking as needed over the next couple of days.

  11. Hi! I love all your recipes! Thanks so much for them. I’m wanting to make a larger batch of these, could I bake them in the oven to cook them all at once? What temp and time would you recommend?


    1. I don’t suggest baking them because you won’t get any of that nice browning on the outside and they might turn out kind of dry.