Tuna Patties (Tuna cakes!)- The Big Man’s World ®


This tuna patties recipe makes for a fabulous low carb dinner that takes minutes to make! These tuna cakes are crispy on the outside, and juicy in the middle. 

Dinner on the table in less than 10 minutes? These tuna patties are a winner.

As a family who adores salmon patties, I’m surprised it took us such a long time to try them using tuna. 

Tuna patties (tuna cakes), are a cross between a burger and fritter. The base is made from canned tuna and is flavored with seasonings, including a hint of curry powder. They are bound by eggs and panko bread crumbs, but there’s a keto option if you need these to be low carb.

Pan fried stovetop, these patties are kid friendly and need minimal prep. Simply throw the mixture into a bowl, form patties, and fry them. They taste SO good, you’d be shocked into thinking they were something fancy. 

tuna cakes.

Ingredients needed 

  • Canned tuna– Choose tuna that is packed in springwater or water, NOT oil or flavors. If you have tuna in brine, omit the salt. 
  • Salt and pepper– to taste. 
  • Curry powder– the secret ingredient that gives these patties an incredible flavor. 
  • Panko bread crumbs– bind the patties together, along with the eggs. 
  • Eggs– room temperature eggs. 
  • Mayonnaise– I’ve stopped buying store bought mayonnaise ever since making my own
  • Worcestershire sauce– Adds a pop of flavor that works so well with tuna. 
  • Parsley– Finely chopped. 
  • Butter– to fry everything in. 

How to make tuna patties

  • Mix: Drain the tuna, ensuring there is no excess moisture. Add the salt, pepper, and curry powder and mix. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well until a thick mixture remains. 
  • Shape: Lightly wet your hands and shape the mixture into 8-10 thick patties (I prefer 8, as they make juicier patties). 
  • Pan fry: Add butter into a non-stick pan and fry the patties for 3-4 minutes, flip, and cook for a further two minutes. Once tuna patties are golden brown, they are ready to serve. 
how to make tuna patties.

Dietary and substitutions

The beauty of these tuna patties is how easy they are to customize or adapt to fit other diets. My father actually follows a low carb diet, so I make him keto tuna patties whenever he requests them and they taste the same! 

  • Cut the carbs by using keto bread crumbs instead of traditional ones.
  • Replace the eggs with an egg substitute
  • Use different spices like red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, or lemon pepper seasoning. 
  • Make it gluten free by using gluten free panko bread crumbs. 

How do you keep tuna patties from falling apart?

A good tuna patty needs at least one binding agent, either as an egg or bread crumbs. For this recipe, we use both of them, which guarantees they never fall apart

What goes good with tuna patties? 

Growing up eating tuna patties, we used to pair childhood staples with them, like mac and cheese or garlic bread. Now that our palates are a little more advanced, there are tons of options to pair it with. Here are some of our favorite things to serve with tuna cakes: 

Which canned tuna is best? 

No canned tuna is created equal and choosing the right kind makes all the difference in terms of taste and environmental impact. Here are our tips on choosing the best kind-

  • Choose water packed tuna which should only have springwater and tuna as the ingredients and nothing else. If you are eating tuna on its own, you can choose options packed in olive oil. 
  • Tuna caught by pole and line fishing is sustainably caught and has the lowest levels of mercury. 
  • BPA free cans or pouches are always best as they limit the metal leaching into the fish. 

Storage tips

Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to five days.

If you’d like to freeze tuna patties, place them in an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to six months.

Reheat the patties in a non-stick pan or in the air fryer until hot and crispy. 

tuna patty.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do you bake tuna patties?

While frying is preferred, you can bake the patties too. Generously grease a lined baking sheet and place the patties on top. Bake at 200C/400F for 20 minutes, flipping carefully halfway through. Continue cooking until golden brown on the outside.

Can I make these in the air fryer?

To make air fryer tuna patties, place the prepared patties on a greased sheet of parchment paper and place it in the air fryer basket. Air fry at 200C/400F for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Can I use fresh tuna?

If you want to use fresh tuna, you will need to cook it first then flake it.

tuna patties recipe.
  • 1 15 oz can tuna in springwater
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder optional
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs * See notes
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup parsley finely chopped
  • In a mixing bowl, add the tuna, garlic salt, pepper, and curry powder and mix well. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until a thick batter remains.

  • Using slightly wet hands, form the mixture into 12 patties.

  • Add butter or oil in a non-stick pan. When hot, Cook for 3-4 minutes, flipping halfway through. Repeat the process until all the patties are cooked and are golden brown and crispy.

* For a keto option, use keto bread crumbs TO STORE: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to five days. TO FREEZE: Place them in an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to six months. TO REHEAT: Add patties in a non-stick pan or in the air fryer until hot and crispy.  

Serving: 1patty | Calories: 58kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Sodium: 175mg | Potassium: 42mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 158IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg | NET CARBS: 1g



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