19 Great Meals to Make With Canned Tuna

Opening up a can of tuna is the easy lunch or dinner solution! Make these 19 recipes with canned tuna, ranging from sandwiches to pastas to casseroles and more.

Tuna Roundup (L to R): Tuna Pasta With Tomato and Olives, Avocado Tuna Salad. and Nicoise Salad

Simply Recipes

Canned tuna is a pantry powerhouse. It’s mild, buttery flavor tempts even the “I don’t like seafood” crowd and it's so very versatile that you’ll never get bored. I always have a can or two sitting on the shelf. It makes for a quick and easy lunch, snack, or simple family dinner. 

If you’re new to canned tuna, here are a few details to note when buying. Albacore and skipjack tuna are the most common types of tuna used for canning. Light tuna is usually skipjack and has a fuller flavor than albacore, which is sometimes labeled white tuna. Either is delicious, so try both and see what you like best. Look for cans labeled pole-and-line caught. It’s the most sustainable way to catch tuna, as it preserves the surrounding marine life. 

Another variable in canned tuna is what is included in the can. Canned tuna packed in oil is richer in flavor compared to those packed in water. Some canned tuna includes only tuna and salt, which is also a great option. 

Read on to discover all the delicious ways to turn a simple can of tuna into a feast for the whole family.

  • Tuna Patties

    Tuna cakes on a white plate along with a lemon wedge and fork.

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

    Warm and crispy tuna patties are an easy crowd pleaser. Drained tuna is mixed with egg, bread, herbs, and seasoning and then browned in a skillet (or cooked in an air fryer!). These can be shaped and chilled overnight for an even easier dinner time. Serve with lemon wedges and coleslaw.

  • Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole

    Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole in cast iron skillet

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

    This comforting casserole uses cream of mushroom soup, egg noodles, cheese, and of course, tuna. My childhood self can attest to loving this dish even without the added crunch of the potato chips on top.

  • Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch

    A portion of tuna noodle casserole on a serving spoon

    Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

    Here’s a more homemade take on tuna noodle. Instead of using a can of cream of mushroom soup, we’ll use fresh mushrooms to make a creamy, cheesy mushroom sauce. Crushed potato chips are layered on top before baking until bubbly and golden brown. For the best results, use light tuna packed in water.

  • Tuna and Tomato Pasta Casserole

    Pasta with Tuna and Tomato Sauce

    Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

    Raid the pantry and make this comforting tuna-lovers casserole. Pasta shells, tomato sauce, ricotta, and a can of tuna packed in oil are tucked into a casserole dish, topped with parmesan cheese, and baked until bubbly. Delicious.

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  • Pasta with Tuna and Arugula

    Pasta with Tuna and Arugula

    Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

    Exhausted after a long day and not in the mood to cook? Well, look no further for dinner. This simple pasta uses only 7 ingredients and is on the table in fifteen minutes. Use whatever long pasta you have in the pantry and while the pasta cooks, drain the tuna and mince garlic. Mix in the drained pasta and serve.

  • Tuna Pasta With Tomato and Olives

    Canned Tuna Pasta with Tomatoes and Olives

    Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

    Take a bold approach to tuna and pair it with tomato sauce, short pasta, and briny olives. This stunning meal is ready in 30 minutes. Use oil-packed tuna and serve with a simple green salad.

  • Tuna Macaroni Salad

    Tuna macaroni salad in a serving bowl.

    Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

    This tuna macaroni salad is chock full of crunchy bell peppers, celery, and lettuce; delighting our taste buds with an array of textures and flavors. Pack it in a lunch box or serve at a backyard bbq to the delight of friends and family. For the best results use oil-packed tuna and omit the lettuce until ready to serve.

  • Best Tuna Salad

    Classic Tuna Salad Sandwich on a Plate with a Side Salad

    Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

    Classic mayo-dressed tuna salad never goes out of style. Feel free to adjust it to your tastes by adding fresh herbs or serving over lettuce instead of bread. Whatever you choose, it’s sure to please.

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  • Pasta with Tuna and Capers in White Wine Sauce

    Pasta with Tuna and Capers in White Wine Sauce

    Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

    Dress up oil-packed tuna with bow tie pasta, white wine, and capers for a mid-week meal that’s ready in twenty-five minutes. Double to serve 4. Add even more flavor by adding sliced tomatoes, garlic, or lemon zest.

  • Mediterranean Tuna Pasta

    Mediterranean Tuna Pasta

    Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

    White tuna packed in olive oil delivers big tuna flavor in this easy, thirty minute dinner. Warm fusilli pasta is incorporated into the kalamata olives, fresh tomatoes, and mozzarella. For a cold pasta salad, substitute feta for the mozzarella and chill before serving.

  • Tuna Salad Sandwich

    Open Face Tuna Salad Sandwich

    Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

    Upgrade your tuna sanny with undrained oil-packed tuna and mix with mayo, cottage cheese, fresh herbs, and celery. Generously layer onto toasted bread and add lettuce. This recipe makes 1 to 2 sandwiches so double or triple to feed more or for leftovers, which last 3 to 4 days.

  • Classic Tuna Melt

    Grilled tuna sandwich cut in half and stacked on top of each other. The bread is toasted and tuna, melted cheese and tomatoes are visible in the filling.

    Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

    This diner classic is easy to make at home. Mix tuna with tarragon, mayo, and lemon and spread on crusty bread. Add sliced tomato and your favorite shredded cheese (cheddar, havarti, and swiss are all great options). Grill in a skillet until golden and toasted. Serve with french fries.

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  • White Bean and Tuna Salad

    Bowl of White Bean Tuna Salad

    Simply Recipe / Elise Bauer

    Looking for a tuna salad that doesn’t include mayonnaise? Here it is! This flavorful salad is quick and dairy free. Grab a can of beans, tuna, herbs, and a red onion and you have a filling lunch or dinner. Serve as an open-face sandwich, over lettuce, or all on its own.

  • Pan Bagnat (French Tuna Sandwich)

    Pan Bagnat (French Tuna Sandwich) on Parchment Paper with Three Drinks Next to It

    Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

    Channel your inner Emily in Paris and make this classic French sandwich. This tuna sandwich is pressed to ensure that all the ingredients meld into a mouth-watering meal. Best eaten the same day at room temperature.

  • Tuna Burgers with Dill Olive Mayo

    Tuna Burgers with Dill Olive Mayo on a Plate with Olives, Lemon Wedge, and Dill, Surrounded by Dinner Towel and a Bowl with Dill Sauce

    Simply Recipes / Leela Cyd Ross

    Hold the beef and make tuna burgers instead. Don’t sleep on the dill mayonnaise. It uses a lot of the same ingredients as the burgers and is jaw-droppingly good. These patties can be baked in the oven or pan fried.

  • Asian Tuna Salad

    Bowl of Asian Tuna Salad

    Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

    Skip the mayonnaise and make this tuna salad using rice vinegar and sesame oil along with radishes, ginger, and fresh herbs. Choose water-packed white tuna for the cleanest flavor. Serve over soba noodles or lettuce.

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  • English Muffin Tuna Melts

    Cheesy Tuna Melts on an Plate with a Fork

    Simply Recipes / Nick Evans

    Move over eggs, because English muffins are more than for breakfast. Mix up a classic tuna salad and layer over a half slice of swiss cheese set on half of an English muffin. Top with the other half of the cheese and bake until toasted. Four English muffins make eight open-faced tuna melts.

  • Avocado Tuna Salad

    Tuna Avocado Sandwich on a Marble Counter

    Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

    A creamy, ripe avocado pairs deliciously with tuna, red onion, and lemon juice in this dairy free tuna salad. This is delicious as a sandwich or served over lettuce. Best eaten immediately before the avocado begins to brown. Ready in 10 minutes.

  • Nicoise Salad

    Overhead view of a nicoise salad.

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

    I’m always looking for a main dish salad that the whole family enjoys. Not only is this salad delicious, but most of it can be made ahead of time. Choose a high quality tuna packed in olive oil for the best results.