Quick, easy to make, delicious Tuna Cakes (aka tuna patties). They’re a great lunch or light dinner that’s made with pantry staple canned tuna, and they’re super kid-friendly.
These patties are great dipped in tartar sauce, thousand island, comeback sauce, aioli, or ketchup. They’re also great in a sandwich.
I have been sent product from Island Trollers to facilitate this post, however, all opinions are my own.
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Please let me know if you have any questions about this recipe. I read all the comments myself and I try to help as soon as I can. I have readers from all levels of comfort and experience in the kitchen on my site, and I’ve tried to answer some of your questions already in the post. But if I’ve missed anything, please feel free to leave a comment and ask.
Island Trollers Albacore Tuna
I first made and published this recipe in 2012. It’s always been a really popular recipe on my blog. It’s easy to make, delicious, and it’s made with amazingly fresh tasting Island Trollers canned Albacore Tuna.
But I decided it needed a facelift with new pictures, information, and a better user experience. I hope you love these tuna cakes as much as I do!
Also, The recipe for the Comeback Sauce used to be on this same post. I decided that the recipe for the sauce needed a home of its own, so I’ve moved it. Sorry for any inconvenience.
I might be the luckiest girl out there because I have a whole case (well, I had a whole case at one time) of delicious tuna to play around with and try new recipes with.
Check out my Tuna Chowder post for information about how I met up with Island Trollers.
Island Trollers is sustainable and healthy, both for the environment, and for you. “Each fish is caught one at a time in the beautiful waters of the North Pacific. We are proud to be involved in this sustainable fishery off the West Coast of the United States. Each BPA Free can is raw packed with troll caught Albacore and cooked only once. This is sashimi grade albacore in a can, the finest you will find anywhere in the world!”
I really do love them, and I’ve turned so many people onto their delicious tuna. Ask so many of my friends, and they’ll tell you that they will never go back to regular grocery store tuna again.
Check out all my Island Trollers recipes.
Can you cook canned tuna?
Yes, you can absolutely cook canned tuna. You just don’t want to overcook it.
And this tuna cake recipe is perfect for canned tuna because you’re lightly cooking the patties so they get a nice browning and crispness on the outside.
Don’t drain this can of tuna
As a reminder, if you’re making this recipe with Island Trollers Albacore Tuna, you don’t want to drain off those tasty juices from the can; they’re the juices from the fish itself, not just plain ol’ water or oil.
Those juices are loaded with Omega 3s. So, it might feel a little weird not to drain the tuna, but don’t do it.
Can I use a different brand of tuna?
Honestly, once you try Island Trollers tuna, you’ll never want another brand of canned tuna. So, I’ve never tried this recipe with any other brand.
If you must, please make sure that you’re buying a really good quality sustainably caught tuna.
And then, read the label. Is it packed in water or oil? If so, you’ll want to drain off the water or oil. Those things are not needed in a tuna cake.
My take on a crab cake
This recipe is my take on the crab cake. But, made even tastier with tuna.
Similar to how you’d make crab cakes, these tuna cakes are made with breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, and seasonings, then they are formed into patties and fried in a skillet until they get crispy and golden brown.
How to serve Tuna Cakes
My favorite way to serve these is straight up on their own.
Serve them in a sandwich, like my Tuna Cake Sandwiches https://lifecurrentsblog.com/tuna-cake-sandwiches/ on Toasted Parmesan Sourdough Bread.
Can I make these ahead of time?
Yes, tuna cakes can be made ahead.
Both the raw patties, before cooking and the cooked patties can be made ahead.
If you want to prepare the uncooked patties early in the day so that they’re ready to go for dinner, they can be prepared up to 12 hours in advance. Just keep them in a tightly covered container in the fridge until you’re ready to fry them up.
How long do tuna patties last in fridge?
Want to cook up the patties beforehand, or have leftovers? They can be prepared and stored in the fridge, again in a tightly covered container, for up to 3 days.
Serve cold or reheat when ready to eat. I like to reheat them in the skillet on medium-low heat. They can also be reheated in an oven. I love a small counter-top oven for this type of reheating. Try reheating them at 400 ° F for about 5 minutes.
How to make Tuna Cake
How to make tuna cakes? It couldn’t be easier! The detailed instructions are listed in the printable recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
In a medium bowl, combine the egg, sour cream, Worcestershire, Old Bay, salt, onion, and parsley, and mix well.
Add the tuna, breaking apart any large chunks, and panko; gently fold mixture together until just combined.
Shape into patties and place on a parchment paper or foil lined baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Fry the patties in a little oil until golden brown, and serve hot.
How do you keep tuna patties from falling apart?
Why are my tuna patties falling apart?
Make sure to break apart large chunks of tuna. Big chunks of tuna increase the risk of patties falling apart.
Let them sit the full hour in the fridge. This will help them maintain their shape and hold together.
To keep patties from falling apart while cooking, press the edges or the patties together tightly. It’ll help hold the patties together without compressing the center too much.
When cooking them, let them fully brown on one side before flipping them. The less handling the better to keep fish patties together.
Also, if the pan isn’t hot enough the patty will stick to the pan and will tear apart. Be sure to wait for the oil and the pan to be really hot so the egg contracts and pulls the ingredients in the tuna patty together tightly.
What can I use instead of mayo in my tuna?
I’m a big fan of using sour cream instead of mayo for most recipes. Greek yogurt also works as a mayo substitute. You can also do half mayo and half sour cream (or Greek yogurt) if you want a little of both.
Easy clean up
Parchment paper or Aluminum foil are big helpers when it comes to cleaning up. I line my tray with parchment paper or foil when placing the patties to rest in the fridge. I also line containers with parchment paper for storing leftovers. Using parchment or foil helps to keep food moist, keeps leftovers fresh, and makes clean-up easy.
Want to vary the recipe?
One of my favorite ways to vary this recipe is to use different flavors of Island Trollers tuna. They have garlic, jalapeno, habanero, capers, and smoked alder. All are amazing, and all will help spice up these little cakes of goodness!
Add chopped celery, jicama, or red bell pepper to the tuna mixture for more crunch; just be sure to chop it nice and small.
If you like spicy food, try adding a teaspoon of hot pepper sauce like Sriracha or Tabasco to the mixture. Or for a smoky kick, mix in a little chipotle paste (I’d suggest mixing it into the sour cream/mayo first so it easily mixes in).
Chopped green onions or cilantro can be a nice switch from the parsley in the recipe.
Garnish the cakes with lemon or lime wedges for a squeeze of citrus flavor when serving.
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Tuna Cakes Recipe
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons sour cream or mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons finely diced yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- 7.5 ounce can Island Trollers Albacore Tuna , undrained
- 6 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil for frying
- Combine the egg, sour cream, Worcestershire, Old Bay, salt, onion, and parsley in a medium bowl and mix well. Add the tuna, breaking apart any large chunks, and panko; gently fold mixture together until just combined.
- Using your hands, shape into patties and place on a parchment paper or foil lined baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
- Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet or a large griddle set over medium heat. Once oil is hot and shimmers (just below the smoking point), carefully place the patties one at a time in the pan, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook patties until they are golden brown on the first side, about 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip cakes and fry on other side until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove the patties from the oil once they are golden brown on each side. Fry up any additional patties, adding oil between each cake as necessary.
- Serve immediately with comeback sauce, tartar sauce, or simply by themselves.