Tuna Patties

$3.08 recipe / $0.77 each
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.86 from 7 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 them into a pita with some tomatoes and greens, and a little 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

4.86 from 7 votes
Tuna Patties are a quick, easy, and inexpensive meal option for hot summer days. Delicious, filling, and endlessly versatile!
Author: Beth – Budget Bytes
Two tuna cakes drizzled with comeback sauce.
Servings 4 patties
Prep 10 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 25 mins

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions 

  • 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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Notes

*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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pattyCalories: 260kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 20gFat: 15gSodium: 931mgFiber: 1g
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @budgetbytes or tag #budgetbytes on Instagram!
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. Used Old Bay seasoning and served over arugula with comeback sauce with crusty bread on the side. Delicious!

  2. Do you really use a whole 12oz can of tuna for this? I didn’t catch that the first five or so times I made this, and just used a regular ol’ 5oz can. Then I just saw that it says 12oz and I’m afraid that if I double the tuna it will be too dry without adding more of the other ingredients. Just wanted to see if that was a small typo, or if I should be using bigger eggs. Haha.

    1. Feel free to use the amount of tuna that works best for you. But we did use a 12-ounce can of tuna. Thank you! XOXO -Monti

  3. Followed the recipe exactly. I served over spring greens and just added more comeback sauce as dressing. 

  4. Our stove is currently unusable for the time being.  Is there some way to adapt this for our toaster oven that also has air frying capacity?  Thanks in advance for your advice!  We always love your recipes!

  5. thank you for share this amazing cooking recipe share with us. keep it up. this look like delicious.

  6. Way to make a humble can of tuna into something elegant! This is so easy and tasty.

  7. These are so good and very budget friendly! I served it with a side salad and sriracha Mayo. Will definitely make again!

  8. Super tasty! I didn’t have green onion, so I skipped them. I used Lawry’s seasoning salt. I served it with lettuce and some thousand island dressing. It turned out great!

  9. Do you have any thoughts about a gluten-free substitute for the bread crumbs? For burgers and meat balls I usually use oatmeal – would that work here? Or possibly crushed cornflakes or gluten-free panko?

    1. I think something light like the crushed cornflakes or GF panko would probably work best. :)

    2. One of my favorite substitutes for bread crumbs is crushed/blended cheerios. I find it’s a bit more absorbent than cornflakes

    3. My husband is gluten-sensitive, so we make our own GF bread crumbs. To keep it from being overwhelming and much more budget-friendly, we keep a freezer bag in our freezer, and every time he finishes a loaf of GF bread, we throw the two heel pieces (end of the loaf) into that freezer bag. Then, when we need bread crumbs, we just grab as many end-pieces as we think we will need, throw them directly into the toaster, and then rip them up and blend them into breadcrumbs. Sometimes we will just do what’s needed, and sometimes we will make a big batch of GF breadcrumbs and keep them stored in the fridge. Just an idea for anyone else eating gluten free, who may not always want to spend double or triple the price on gluten free marketed products. 

  10. This is a delicious, simple, and quick dinner. I squeezed half a lemon for the juice to add to the recipe and used the other half to squeeze on top when served. I didn’t have plain breadcrumbs on hand so substituted panko crumbs quite successfully.

    I made my patties too thin, initially, and the first one didn’t hold together when I flipped it. Fortunately, I had only put the one in the pan, so I smooshed up the remaining three to make them smaller and fatter and they cooked beautifully.

    My husband and I both enjoyed these, so onto the regular dinner rotation it goes!

  11. I have all the ingredients except for green onion. Can I use red onion instead of green?

  12. I made this exactly and the patties turned out wonderful! Great summertime lunch idea. No need to heat up the kitchen too much. 

  13. Made this for lunch today and it was quick, easy, and delicious. Thanks, budgetbytes, what would I do without you?