Tuna Patties

Quick, easy, delicious tuna patties! Best thing you can make with canned tuna. Kid-friendly, Budget-friendly.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 4 patties

Ingredients

  • 2 6-ounce cans tuna
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup white bread torn into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp water (or liquid from the cans of tuna)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives, green onions, or shallots
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A couple squirts of Crystal hot sauce or tabasco
  • 1 raw egg
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter

Method

1 Drain tuna: Drain the liquid from the tuna cans. If you are using tuna packed in water, reserve a tablespoon of the tuna water, and add a teaspoon of olive oil to the tuna mixture in the next step.

2 Mix tuna with mustard, bread, zest, lemon juice, water, parsley, chives, hot sauce, salt, pepper, egg: In a medium bowl, mix together the tuna, mustard, torn white bread, lemon zest, lemon juice, water, parsley, chives, and hot sauce. Sprinkle on salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste the mixture before adding the egg to see if it needs more seasoning to your taste. Mix in the egg.

3 Form into patties, chill: Divide the mixture into 4 parts. With each part, form into a ball and then flatten into a patty. Place onto a wax paper lined tray and chill for an hour. (You can skip the chilling if you want, chilling just helps the patties stay together when you cook them.)

tuna-patties-method-1

4 Sauté in skillet: Heat the olive oil and a little butter (for taste) in a cast iron or stick-free skillet on medium high. Gently place the patties in the pan, and cook until nicely browned, 3-4 minutes on each side.

tuna-patties-method-2 tuna-patties-method-3

Serve with wedges of lemon. You can also serve with tartar sauce on slider buns for a tuna burger.

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Comments

  • Gayle Kline

    I have so much zucchini ! I’m going to try adding shredded zucchini to these tuna patties today.

  • Nikki

    I was just wondering if I could replace the egg with something else, or simply go without..

  • Nickey

    Any thoughts on throwing these puppies on the grill (charcoal)?

    • Elise Bauer

      Well I love grilled anything, so I would be game. If you try grilling them please let us know how it works out!

  • Kristin P

    Fantastic recipe! EVEN my family members who aren’t fond of tuna like it. In a pinch, I save a step by using the Starkist lemon pepper tuna packs. Works like a charm!

  • Landie Bradford

    Anybody have any idea of how these would turn out WITH OUT the bits of bread, and no alternatives/replacements? Or if anything, could I not just use cornstarch?

    • Donna Alexander

      I am on a grain free eating path and i used 1/2 C chickpea flour to use as a binder, it worked perfectly without the bread crumbs…i also made a sourcream sauce using 1/2 C sourcream, 1 t. mustard/4 t. ketchup/1/2t. old bay/1/2 t. garlic & onion powder with 1/8 t. hot pepper, they were very good! Hope this helps!

    • Frank Klett

      I make the patties with left over mashed potatoes instead of bread…works great…maybe even easier.

  • jill

    Some Old Bay seasoning would be good and could be a replacement for the hot sauce. As far as no mustard goes, I think you will find that this doesnt have a “mustardy” taste – it just gives it a little zip without making it spicy. You need something to work as binder and add moisture to the cakes; if you have mustard allergy or a huge aversion to mustard, maybe try mayo instead.

  • Heather

    Has anyone ever tried baking this in a loaf pan? Like a meatloaf? I love the recipe but just curious.

    • jill

      My mom always made a salmon loaf – one of my favorites. She’d lay a piece of bacon at the bottom of the loaf pan from one end of the pan to the other and put the “batter” on top. Looking at the recipe, I think you’d need to make it 2 eggs. I’d love to hear how this turns out. Salmon cakes are my favorite and I can’t wait to try this recipe with tuna!

  • Abby

    These were great! A new favorite. It was a lot of ingredients but it was so flavorful we didn’t need any sauce to dip them in. Putting them in the fridge definitely helped them hold together better(I did one batch and didn’t have time to put them in) and the second batch was much better. Took the leftovers for lunch the next day. Deelicious

  • Bob T

    I have had these all my life, but with potato that is cooked and mashed instead of bread crumbs. This may be an English style.

  • Sarah

    Hi. Im bit unsure if I’ll like these.
    Are they filling?

    What can i replace instead of using the mustard and hot sauce?

  • Angela

    This is now my comfort food!! So delicious. i prep my food for the week and this is by far the best recipe. It is so simple and quick.

  • Wendy

    I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but my mom, grandmother, and I have been making tuna patties for years. They are especially handy for Fridays during Lent. But, we just mix tuna, Italian breadcrumbs, and egg together to make them and don’t bother chilling them. They are fast, easy, and the kids love them…especially with Tater Tots.

  • Jack

    Tuna patties did not sound appealing to me at all…boy was I wrong. The wife convinced me to make this, and I have found a new favorite (and easy) recipe! Thank you for this one.

  • Dave

    These tuna patties are fabulous. I just finished eating them and they taste like crab melts without the cheese. Thank you sooo much for this recipe. The best use for canned tuna ever.

  • Norma Livesay

    Try using meal with a little flour instead of crackers and also salmon instead of tuna. I crush all the bones, etc in with the salmon and do not pick them out. Also use part of the juice which keeps them from being too dry. My mother made the salmon patties along with a skillet of corn bread then she made meal gravy (brown it real good) in the grease that the patties were fried in. Put the gravy over the cornbread and patties. Delicious!!!!

  • Dolly D

    I loved this recipe, I just used fresh lump crab meat instead of Tuna. The last time I would eat canned tuna was back in late 70’s when they had a product called “Tuna Twist”. Here’s the link to TV ad from 1976. { https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ma16CwjIEm0 } It was a package of dried herbs, dried vegetables and healthy dose of MSG in a package that you “just added boiling water and mayonnaise”. It would make 6 sandwiches from one can rather than four. It was really good but was discontinued for it was giving dumb folks stomach problems around the country. Many Americans who are idiots do not or can’t read directions. The dried veggies swelled in their intestines cause they didn’t follow the directions. I never ate Tuna again. I can’t even fathom eating it hot. Probably a traumatic experience I had with Tuna Noodle Casserole in late 60’s.

  • Elaine

    My whole family loves these tuna patties! I like to use rye bread in place of white for additional flavor. Thanks Elise for another winning recipe!

  • Mary

    When we were growing our mom used saltine crackers in place of bread.

  • Kathy Kreiter

    I made these last night and they were fabulous. Love the lemon flavor. I used Panko and they turned out great. Thanks for all the amazing recipes Elise.

  • Madison

    Love the recipe, Elise!
    However, I don’t eat bread. What could I use instead?

  • Rose

    Thank you for another yummy and simple recipe! We tried these the other night on Hawaiian rolls with Vegenaise (egg-free mayo) and they were delicious! Flavorful, easy to make and very budget friendly!

  • Jul

    Instead of the mustard sauce, I use horseradish sauce. Very nice!

  • Laura

    I just made these a few minutes ago and am eating them right now. They are delicious! I was out of white bread so used the bottom part of an onion roll, the type that is used for hamburgers. This recipe is so good! Will definitely make again!

  • Elly

    I suppose you can also put them in the fridge and the chilling will go much faster?

  • Jess

    Made these tonight…so simple and delicious!!! Thanks so much! The possibilities are endless for varying them from time to time. This is now added to our meal rotation!

  • weylin dickey

    Well folks substitute stuffing mix (stouffers) instead of torn bread or bread crumbs no need for spices mentioned in the recipe and flavored aioli for taste and moisture.

    • Lori

      What a great idea, thank you, I had some extra stuffing mix and used that. We ate them on garlic baguettes with balsamic vinegar reduction I had leftover.. Baked them like Margaret. Very tasty. Great ideas on this blog.

  • schrodie

    OMG, as a child growing up Catholic… these were a Friday night thing in our house! We kids never minded; tuna patties were one of our favorite treats. Sometimes, Mom would even serve them up on toasted buns, with lettuce and tomato, a slice of cheese once in a while, and sometimes even a little homemade tartar sauce. We used to call them Tuna Burgers, ha ha… with coleslaw and chips on the side, and of course a dill pickle spear. Occasionally we even saw them in the school cafeteria. Not bad, we ate them without complaining… but definitely not as good as Mom’s

  • Dale

    I use assorted fresh fish mix of tuna with yellowtail and or any rockfish in a food processor and it tastes like crab cakes with cocktail sauce.

  • ekaterin

    Thank you, I made them today at the office (with more bread and 2 eggs, because I needed to feed 4 people) and it was a big success.

  • Mary

    I am allergic to lemons and lime, can I use something else. In its place.

    • Elise

      Skip the lemon zest and use a tablespoon of white or cider vinegar in place of the lemon juice.

  • Pattie Pitts

    Would this be a good recipe for salmon patties as well?? My mother use to cook them and she doesn’t remember anymore how she did it.

  • Margaret

    For those that were wondering if these can be made in the oven, I tried it last night and they turned out just as good as the pan fried. I smeared some olive oil on a baking sheet and baked them for 18 minutes at 400 degrees, flipping them over at about the ten minute point.

    • Erin

      Thanks for this info. With a two year old running around, baking them is much easier!

  • karen sheridan

    when I was a child it was salmon patties and the binder was crushed saltines instead of the herbs it was diced green pepper and green onion. always served with creamed peas . Yum! my grown son still remembers his grandmother making them.

  • l lang

    Is that 2 to 6 cans of tuna could i get a possible weight thanks

    • Elise

      It is 2 cans of tuna that are 6 ounces each. Can also use cans that are 5 ounces each.

  • Louise

    Such a great recipe using pantry and fridge staples! I did not have fresh parsley so I used about a teaspoon of dried tarragon and it really brightened up the flavor; also coated the patties with some panko to make sure that they don’t fall apart. These delicious patties will certainly be making regular appearances on my weeknight dinner table. Thank you Elise (and to your mom)!!

  • Tracey

    I made these today for family and friends they were great! I have a ton of flash frozen tuna I wanted to start to use so I used that instead of a can. I marinated the tuna in soy sauce and orange juice for 24 hours and seasoned it. I broiled the tuna 4-5 minutes each side and then put it in the fridge to cool down. I then made the cakes likes the recipe said and they were great. Just wanted to leave a comment for anyone who wanted to try that!

  • Cecile @ My Yellow Farmhouse

    A while ago I posted a recipe for Tuna Patties BUT I think I like your recipe even better!! I love that you add lemon juice and chives etc. What a great recipe!! (I found it on Pinterest and I ‘pinned’ it!!)

  • Melissa

    Tuna patties are an old school favorite of mine! Mom made them and I made them for my kids too. My variation is a bit different, using saltine crackers, beaten egg, finely minced onion and fried in a small amount of oil until crispy. Simple and delicious!

  • rose

    I cooked this recipe last nite and it was so good! I used panko instead of bread and the result was just as good as the original recipe. This will be my fav recipe for my canned tuna. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  • Linda

    My mother made salmon cakes with saltines but I cannot stand picking over canned salmon. And my significant other is not really fond of salmon. I think these sound really good. What type of tuna works best for this recipe? I usually buy albacore tuna but I am wonder if chunk light tuna might be better.

    • Cynthia

      For Linda
      Skipjack water packed tuna available at Trader Joe’s has the least amount of mercury because it’s a smaller fish. Much healthier choice than chunk light or albacore.
      i

  • Robin

    Thank you!

    I’m also going to try flaxmeal instead of the bread to keep it low carb…way low carb.

  • Robin

    Any plans to include nutritional breakdown for those of us watching calories and carbs?

    It would be a great addition!

    Thanks!
    Robin

    • Elise

      Hi Robin, not at the moment! I know it would be useful for many people. I just don’t have time or the expertise to put it together. There are many online programs that can help you figure out that info. Also if you save the recipe in Yummly (button on the recipe), the Yummly program offers some nutritional info for the recipes.

  • Frances Comer

    I’ve made salmon patties all my life it seems. I live in a retirement community. I used to cook salmon cakes for the man down the hall from me. Passed now. He used to buy the salmon and offer me money to make them. Said they were the best he ever had. When he died his daughter asked if I was the one who made the salmon cakes. Good feeling when someone offered money to cook salmon cakes… That was couple years ago.

    • jill

      Frances, that’s a lovely story! I miss my mom’s salmon cakes and have never found any that compare. Would you share your recipe? I’d love to try them! If they are as good as you say, I’ll serve them from now on, calling them Francis’ Salmon Cakes. I understand if you prefer to keep the recipe a secret; in any case, I enjoyed your remembrance!

  • Karen

    I also use this recipe and have interchanged the meat with salmon, chicken, and oatmeal… yea, that’s right, oatmeal… no one ever knows they are oatmeal patties. I add walnuts and a little bit of zucchini (cut into tiny squares or grated)to the recipe and they taste great. It fools the kids into thinking they are getting meat patties.

    This is a great recipe to add whatever you want to it and have the best patties. They even grill good on the BBQ.

  • GAIL

    I don’t usually leave comments, but this time really wanted to. my mom made patties like this with many kinds of fish,tuna ,salmon,salted cod…… and we got to have fresh creamed peas over them. I still do the same today.

  • ROXANNE

    I make salmon patties & tuna patties. I use oatmeal instead of bread or crackers. My neighbor gives me fresh salmon every year. It’s been real fishy tasting, so I just boil it, flake it & make into salmon patties. I fry them in a bit of olive oil, eat what I want then freeze the rest after frying. I can take one out of the freezer any time I want, & thaw & heat in microwave. YUM! Very good & so convenient.

  • Marina

    Instead of bread I use mashed potatoes, carrots and zuccini. I also add chopped garlic and parsley and enough egg to bind everything. I never chill before frying but I coat the mixture with semolina. They taste wonderful with a mixed tomato, lettuce, carrot, sweet peppers, cabbage, kohlrabi, onion salad.

  • Shrimp

    Mark Bittman has a recipe for crab cakes that used, instead of white bread, shrimp pulsed in a processor as a binder. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GRyUdnEY7U Maybe work considering here, too.

  • Mia

    I just made these and they were wonderful!
    I didn’t have any bread in the house, so I used 1/2 tbsp flour to 1 can of tuna + 1 egg. They were lovely and intensely satisfactory for how easy they were. I can’t wait to make these for my boyfriend!

  • Fatima Abu Bakr

    Thank you for making tuna enjoyable…I tried yogurt n a little oil as a substitute for egg.. Grounded linseed oil with a little water till it gel is another…

  • Jackie

    50 or 60 years ago, my Southern MIL made “Fish Cakes” with canned mackerel…..2 cans mackerel w/juice, 3# chopped yellow onions, 2 loves bread dried out in the oven and a big bowl, adding a little more water until it stayed together to form patties. At the time, canned mackerel was $.27 and could feed a large farm family, breakfast, lunch or dinner :-) Sometimes she would a little bacon grease to the oil she fried them in and everyone added ketchup when eating.

    Thank you for the tuna recipe, it sounds must faster and easier but still a “fish cake” :-)

    • Genny

      I too grew up on mackerel patties. We were very poor so meat was scarce. We did not use salmon because it was too expensive. Canned mackerel was less expensive. I now make tuna and mackerel patties. Old habits are hard to break.

  • Kim M

    I apologize if this has been asked or discussed but I was searching for Paleo recipes on Pinterest and this recipe came up but I dont know how it can be with bread used in the recipe, what could I use instead of bread, crackers or mashed potatoes (which arent paleo)?
    Thanks so much

    • Elise

      Hi Kim, this recipe is not categorized paleo, and if someone has labeled it so on Pinterest, it’s their mistake. If you want to make it paleo, I’m guessing you could use mashed potatoes instead of the bread.

    • Carly

      Kim, try almond meal or almond flour. I use that as a paleo sub in my crab cakes recipe and it works well.

  • Stephanie

    Made this for dinner tonight. So good and easy. Everyone ate it happily and I think it’s going to become what we call a “repeat”. Thank you, Elise from your neighbors down the road in Davis!

    • Elise

      Hi Stephanie, I’m so glad you liked it! It’s one of my favorite recipes. :-)

  • Savy

    I used chicken broth instead of water, SO GOOD\(^_^)/

  • Mar Flores

    I am newlywed and was looking easy and delicious recipes .
    I made this recipe today and my husband and I loved it! thank you very much
    best regards from mexico
    Marlene

    • Elise

      Hi Marlene, I’m so glad you and your husband liked it!

  • Sally B

    My grandmother used to make these for my family alot when I was a younger child. All she would use was a tower of saltines, two eggs, a can of tuna and 1 small onion chopped up. After the ingredients was mixed together well, she would fry them up with butter in a hot pan. The trick to them was to flip them once while each side is golden brown and thoroughly cooked. I loved eating them with ketchup!

  • Linda Williams

    I made these Friday for supper. They were so good, even my daughter liked them. I added old bay seasoning to the mix. Yummy! I will definitely make these again. Thank you for the recipe!

  • erin zinsli

    These were wonderful! The only difference I made was using breadcrumbs in place of the bread pieces. I did not cool them before hand and they stayed together with no problems at all!! I REALLY enjoyed them :) definitely a keeper

  • Glenn

    Excellent! Add some Old Bay seasoning to the mixture and also while browning in the pan. Simply tasty.

  • Bob

    Hi Elise, I’ve been following your blog for years now and this is the first time I have posted a comment. So let me start off by saying I love your blog. I was looking for something for lunch and decided on tuna salad; …no celery. What else could I make… So here I came. I used panko bread crumbs. I had no white bread. Most everything else I had. Added some dill and a little ground fennel. I let the mix sit a few min. to allow the crumbs to absorb some of the liquid and I have to say these were wonderful. I served them on a bed of shredded greens with light balsamic and wedges of lemon. Huge hit for lunch. Thanks you so much.

  • Christina

    I’m making these and adding mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach to modernize it a bit. I used to love salmon patties growing up and have started experimenting by adding all kinds of savory foods. Thanks so much for the recipe!!

  • Chris

    First recipe I’ve made from this site. Husband and I loved it. Kids did not rave but they ate it. Good enough for me. I’ll definitely make again.

  • Jill

    I made these for myself for lunch today, they were sooo delicious, but I did have to improvise because I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand. I used panko instead of torn white bread, added a bit of dill and old bay seasoning, and used white onion instead of chives. I also did not have any lemon. I think if I had everything to make these they would have been even better. It’s definitely a keeper recipe!

  • Danielle

    This is the second dinner I prepared for my boyfriend, who has lots of cooking experience. It was quick, easy and absolutely delicious. He can’t wait until I make these again! Thanks!

  • Tess

    Better late than never….I finally got around to making these patties and they were delicious! From the first bite, I was hooked and the family loved them as well. I paired this with sliced tomatoes in Balsamic dressing. Try it…you’ll like it. Thanks for the terrific recipe!

  • C

    My girlfriend and I had never heard of tuna patties, but we love crabcakes and canned tuna (plus the cost of living in DC is so high that cheap meals are always welcome), so I gave these a try.

    They were delicious! I used panko instead of breadcrumbs, and cilantro and red onion instead of the parsley and chives, because that’s what I had on hand. Also, I found that you could skip the oil and butter entirely by searing the patties in a seasoned cast iron skillet. I think I might like them even better than crab cakes.

  • Linda

    Do you have a favorite brand of canned tuna? I just made these for dinner from StarKist (only 5 oz cans, boo) packed in water and they were pretty tasty. Just wondering–thanks!

    I try to get Italian tuna packed in olive oil at our local specialty grocer. It just tastes better. I’ve also been happy with tuna from Trader Joe’s. ~Elise

  • Jen

    Do you know if these would keep well in the fridge for a few days after being cooked? These look like something I’d enjoy for lunch but my husband doesn’t like canned tuna so I’d be making them all for myself. They’d be great to make all in one day and have for lunch over the course of a week if they’d keep well.

    I would think they would be fine. Like a regular leftover, good for several days. Just reheat and eat. ~Elise

  • Jennifer

    I made these last night and they were delicious! thank you for the recipe.

  • Linda

    Thank you for this twist on tuna patties. I make them the way my mom always did, but I really prefer your way now. I love the hint of lemon and tabasco that is such a good balance to the tuna. As always, I appreciate your sharing of recipes and memories.

  • Mali From ATX

    I just made these for dinner tonite and they were a hit w/my husband. I wasn’t sure as I am the tuna lover in the fam. When I told him what we were having dinner, I started out by saying “You know crab cakes & salmon croquettes? Well it’s kinda like that.” I made an e-z homemade tartar sauce and he loved them. So it is definitely on the rotation from now on. Right up our budget conscious alley. Although, even when we are rolling in the chips, it will stay in the rota. Thank Elise!

  • Jim Price

    I used the canned skipjack and replaced bread crumbs with 1/2 cup mashed potatoes. Really Good!

  • Francheska

    mmm I like the korean version of these, Chamchijeon so delicious

  • Linda In Washington State

    Elise,

    Like the others, Thanks for the memories.

    My mother made fried fish cakes using left over homemade biscuits.
    Your Mom probably did use saltines like my husband’s mother did when he was growing up.
    I make tuna cakes for my family using 3 cans of tuna,12 crushed saltines,3 eggs, 1 tsp of salt free lemon pepper seasoning and 1/2 tsp of paprika and pan fry them in canola oil. I serve the tuna cakes with homemade mac and cheese and green peas or other veggie on the side.

  • David

    I made this for my family for dinner today.
    I mixed it together last night, pattied it on wax paper, covered it with more wax paper, and left it in the fridge until frying it up today.
    I had it with some asparagus that I cooked in a closed container w/ a little water in the microwave, some oven baked french fries, and a small locally grown pear for each person.
    It was very good, fast, and took very little effort.

    I did double the amounts and make a few changes to the recipe due to what I had available in my kitchen, and some personal preferences.

    -Used a lesser amount of yellow mustard because as I was out of Dijon, didn’t have any parsley, added some small diced celery because I like it with almost everything, left out the hot sauce, added some dill relish instead to give it some perk, left out the egg and added slightly more tuna water and more olive oil to hold the patties together.

    But other than that it was your recipe and it was very good.
    Thank you.

  • pat

    Anna posted a link for the best tuna. For us who don’t live in metropolitan areas, it makes it very hard to buy from recommendations. I don’t even know how far away a Whole Foods would be from where I live. There is nothing within 150 miles that would sell the choices that were offered.

    Give us a break and write articles, posts, etc. that helps mid-America follow recipes to a T.

    We aren’t hicks. We like to eat well (and healthy) also.

    Almost every ingredient posted on every recipe on this site is available online. Check out Amazon.com’s grocery area. ~Elise

  • lizette

    i made these last night and they were delicious! my husband said he used to have them a lot growing up but i had never even heard of them.

    i used cilantro instead of parsley, panko bread crumbs instead of bread, and more lemon juice & zest that suggested here. i served them with a lemon mayo (1 c. mayo + two chopped scallions + juice/zest of 1/2 lemon) – they were fantastic!

  • deb

    Made these tonight..with both tuna AND salmon!!(not together!) I didn’t have enough of either for the whole family, so I did two cans of tuna, and two of salmon. Both were outstanding! My husband, who insists he doesn’t like seafood, ate two tuna patties!
    Thanks, Elise!!

  • Christy

    These tasted good but didn’t stick together well when I went to flip them in the pan. Perhaps my bread crumbs were not fine enough or I needed more egg (I used liquid egg). Thanks for the recipe though. Served with salad and a home made roumalade sauce.

  • Adam Bomb

    Salmon patties were a regular meal when I was a child. Tuna only made an appearance in tuna noodle casserole. Strange fact: When I was young, salmon patties were always eaten with pancake syrup as a condiment. No joke, and it was delicious.

    • Cherice

      Absolutely delicious with syrup I’m making mackerel patties in the morning for breakfast with shrimp and grits, cheese eggs and biscuits

  • shorthand

    My grandma hated to cook, but she was good at it, and this brought to mind the salmon croquettes she made on meatless Fridays. She made them much like your patties, except she also put a bit of paprika because she put that in just about everything she made. Haha. She would serve them with green beans and homemade baked spaghetti and cheese. MMMMM. Thanks for the memories. Cheers!

  • Diana

    Oh my goodness! I have tuna patties on my meal plan for tomorrow night. My mom’s version is just tuna with egg, bisquick and tobasco. These look much tastier, will have to try some of your additions. Thanks Elise!

  • Tom Barr

    I dont use tuna I get fresh salmon pieces from the fish mongerrough chop them and mix with mashed potatoeand sometimes fresh mint or fresh basil. Just a few variations.Very nice keep up the good work

  • Paula

    Really?! Tuna shouldn’t be this complicated, should it? I think that I accidentally ended up on the Epicurious blog with all of the “fish snobbery”going on around here. All we need is a wine reccomendation!
    Anywhooo – great recipe and great memories from my childhood. I feed these to my four kids now and they love them.
    For Kristin who’s daughter is allergic to Dijon; try using grated parmasean instead of the mustard and use Italian seasoned breadcrumbs instead of the bread pieces,(I like progresso). BTW I have frozen these many times and it works great if you put them in flat layers with wax paper in between the layers and wrap it well.

  • Colleen

    I made this tonight for the kids (5 and 2 yo) since your post indicated that it was kid-friendly. I’ve really struggled lately cooking food that appeals to them. I had my doubts about this but they loved it – between the two of them they finished it! Thank you for the recipe!

  • S.

    My childhood memories don’t have these in them, but now I wish they did! I’ve been missing out! Never had tuna patties before even though I’ve heard of them. Had an extra can on the shelf I didn’t want to see go to waste so made these and they are awesome! I was expecting they might be dry, but they were actually a bit “delicate” and very moist! I love them! Thanks for the recipe. Another keeper and success :-)

  • Jodi

    Oh, these look wonderful. I love crab cakes. These will work fine for the folks in my house who are allergic or won’t eat shellfish. What a great idea. Thanks elise.

  • JIM AUSTIN

    In reading Anna’s post I was prompted to comment on Skipjack tuna. For the past several years I have been canning { in jars } our wild caught tuna. I have canned blue fin , skipjack, yellowfin, and blackfin tunas as well as mackerel {tuna is a mackerel after all }. It is generally agreed that the BEST tasting is blackfin with skipjack and yellowfin a close second and third. Blue fin is great, but tends to be a bit heavy and oily for some.
    I have discovered that processing in pint jars { which hold about 12 oz. of tuna } you should add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of coarse sea salt for a wonderful finished product. Anna is absolutely correct when she suggests to break up the tuna and let it reabsorb the natural juices. You will also discover that if you are making tuna salad, that this will allow you to use much less mayo. I do not recommend ” water pack” method as the product is not as nice and also for some reason the olive oil helps retain the natural {and desirable } fish oil.
    A final, and most important note, is that manymost fishermen on the East Coast, especially Florida where Skipjack are plentiful, consider them inedible trash fish. Convince these anglers otherwise, or suggest that you want them for your cats and dogs, and try canning them. It is EASY and economical and better than any canned tuna you can buy { even Anna’s I will bet }. You will discover new friends and neighbors and have wonderful eating and gifts for others as well.

  • Anna

    Tuna and salmon patties are a family favorite, usually served with a quick & easy sauce consisting of homemade mayo pimped up with a bit of fresh lemon juice, minced capers, and Herbes de Provence. I usually make a double batch of tuna patties so there are a few leftover for breakfast and lunches.

    I stopped consuming and serving tuna for a while, because over the years the common supermarket brands of chunk light tuna had devolved into nasty catfood-like tuna sawdust-in-a-can.

    Now my canned tuna of choice is Wild Planet’s kkipjack tuna, for many reasons. First, skipjack is a smaller tuna species, so it has much lower mercury and other toxin levels than larger albacore and yellowtail tuna species that are higher on the food chain. Secondly, many tuna species are overfished and/or not harvested responsibly – skipjack is overfished. Additionally, WP skipjack is pole-caught, which is a more environmentally responsible and sustainable method of harvesting tuna. I also choose Wild Planet because their can linings are BPA-free.

    As if that weren’t enough reasons, I love the way WP tuna is packed in only its own juices – no oil OR water is added, so no draining is needed. The tuna juices easily resorb into the tuna when flaked with a fork, so those healthy Omega-3 fatty acids can be consumed instead of discarded down the drain. The firm, chunky texture and taste is great (though my mom commented that she thinks the salted variety is a bit too salty, but there is a no-salt option, too).

    Wild Planet is somewhat pricy at my local stores, especially compared to bargain tuna, so I buy it at a lower per can price by the case (12 cans) either direct from the Wild Planet website, or more often, from Amazon.com (free shipping). I have no affiliation with Wild Planet, just a satisfied customer. :-)

    I also make my tuna patties gluten-free, either without breadcrumbs (which is also Low Carb) or with crumbs I make from stale GF bread. I’ve used oat bran in place of breadcrumbs, which works well, too. Flaked or granulated dried seaweed is another ingredient I sometimes add, as it’s a great source of iodine and other trace minerals. No one is the wiser, as it looks like parsley flakes or ground pepper.

    When cooking tuna patties, especially LCGF without breadcrumbs as a binder, it pays to not crowd the pan and be patient – the patties are delicate and break up if turned hastily before the bottom develops a crispy “skin” (more than one rushed panful has became tuna scramble in my kitchen). A flexible and very thin spatula is key to successfully turning a tuna patty after it has cooked enough to develop a golden crust that easily releases. Also, I prefer to cook tuna patties with ghee or clarified butter instead of regular butter, as the butter’s milk solids sometimes brown too much and taste burnt (especially if making a double batch). Butterfat is an excellent fat for pan-frying as its saturated bonds are stable and less prone to oxidative damage from heat compared to EVOO or vegetable oils, plus I prefer the buttery & nutty taste.

  • Susan Martin

    Our tuna patties were made by me, from the Betty Crocker Cookbook for Children.

    Talk about nostalgic! I had that cookbook too. ~Elise

    • Kathy S.

      Old, old post, but I’m reading for the first time. And…(smile, smile) I still have my Betty Crocker Cookbook for Children! Very very old. Falling apart. How I used that thing as an adolescent. The tuna patties were a big favorite.

  • Lani

    I JUST made these and they were wonderful! I cut down a little on the frying oil and they still browned up beautifully! So yummy, healthy, and very low Weight Watcher points!!

  • Natalie

    @JS We had something similar except that it was cooked in a covered dish (called tuna loaf, kind of like meatloaf). Same basic ingredients but microwaved. Quick and with out that oily (yummy) crust.

  • Jasmine

    You could use canned chili tuna and replace the bread with some boiled mashed potatoes. That’s what I do. You won’t need the tabasco or mustard then!

  • JS

    Could these be baked? If so, would you think 400 on an oiled sheet for 20 min would work?

    Your guess is as good as mine. ~Elise

  • Susan B.

    My mother made something similar, but she used canned salmon instead of tuna. She used mashed potatoes as the filler where you use bread. They were awesome. Time to go make me some.

  • Annie B

    Boy do these look familiar! Mom used to make something like these when we were kids. We didn’t have a lot to spend on meat, but Mom could whip up tuna patties or loaf and make it seem like a feast. Thanks for the recipe and for poking my memory!

  • Kathleen

    My mother also made wonderful tuna patties with left over mashed potatoes.

  • Nicole

    Excellent! My kids love salmon patties, as do I — will have to try the tuna variety. FWIW, I use leftover mashed potato as a binder in my salmon patties, and I bet that would work well here, too, in lieu of the bread/cracker crumbs.

    Brilliant. A good substitute for those on a gluten-free diet. ~Elise

  • Jinnie

    Will these freeze well?

    No idea. If you try the recipe and freeze them, please let us know how they turn out for you. ~Elise

    • Tricia

      I assembled my patties onto parchment paper and then popped them into the freezer. After a few hours, I moved them into a Ziploc bag for storage. I put them into the fridge the day before I am going to fry them and it turned out fine. I don’t think I would freeze the fried product, or else it would be really mushy. This kept it nice and crispy.

  • DebWS

    This made me remember my Mother Salmon Patties. She used saltines, not bread crumbs. I wish my kids liked Fish.

    • Bob Roush

      My kids thought they didn’t like fish also……I made these and told them it was chicken parties..(I know I know)….I was told these are the best chicken parties We have ever had dad

    • Glen Rice

      I made these for our children growing up and they were always enjoyed greatly… Perhaps what made them even more palatable was I shaped them like little “fish” with the two fins in back. Then I used a restaurant-type plastic bottle with the narrow tip, filled it with prepared salad mustard, and drew a smiling face with two eyes. I too used saltine crackers, smashed in a plastic ziploc bag. I added finely diced onions, celery and red bell peppers for more flavor and “color”.
      This same recipe can be used for crabcakes… just substitute the minced crab for the tune (just be sure to thoroughly pick out any bits of shell)..

      • Elise

        What fun! I bet your kids loved it. :-)

  • karen

    Tuna patties appeared weekly at our house when I was a kid. I think my mom used saltines as a binder and included dill pickle relish. Fresh herbs were not part of our diet growing up.

    Saltines! I bet that’s what my mom used. We would also have had dill pickle relish in the house, so I imagine some of that may have gone in the patties too. ~Elise

  • Jules

    How far in advance can I make these and let them sit in the fridge? This seems like a great thing to be able to throw together early in the day and just cook at dinner time. Thanks!

    You can easily make these in the morning and cook them at night, just wrap in plastic-wrap and refrigerate well. ~Elise

  • The Starving Student

    I love it, they are like the poor man’s version of crab cakes! Top them with some homemade aoili and you are set. What a great Starving Student recipe, thanks!

  • Peggasus

    I always add about a cup or so of mashed garbanzo beans to mine, too (to bulk them up and get extra fiber in, kids never even knew!), as well as shredded cheese. They’re in regular rotation at our house.

    Great idea! ~Elise

  • Kristin Crane

    Do you have any suggestions for a substitution for the dijon mustard? My daughter is allergic to mustard and we find when we just leave it out of the recipe, it drastically changes the taste.

    Try a little prepared horseradish. Maybe half as much as is called for with the mustard. ~Elise

  • Samuel Hay Dighan

    Yes, you can use Panko. Using canned salmon is awesome too! I love this recipe.

  • Su

    Oh, I loved this recipe, just perfect. And you’re right, it’s easy and the ingredients are allways there.

  • Kristine

    Is it possible to use panko breadcrumbs instead of the bread?

    Possibly, though regular breadcrumbs would come closer. ~Elise

    • mom24boys

      We use soda crackers so really, it’s one of those things that is interchangeable. It does however give a different product in the end.

    • Jean

      Panko bread cumbs work best, they get a little crunchy on the outside. Just happens I am making these tonight. Yummy!

      • beth

        I am going to try the Panko bread crumbs. Are they less fatting then saltiens or regular white bread crumbs? Also, do you know if these can be baked?

        • Elise

          Hi Beth, no idea on the panko question, but I’m guessing that the tuna patties can be baked.