15 Great Meals to Make with Canned Tuna

Do you like canned tuna? Growing up in a “fish on Fridays” home, we were never without canned tuna in the pantry.

Even now, if you open up my pantry door, you’ll find a stack of cans on the shelf right next to the cans of sardines and whole peeled tomatoes.

It’s just the most perfect food in pinch, when you haven’t had time to shop, or what’s in the fridge is scarily long past its use-by date.

Canned tuna is budget-friendly, good for you, and wonderfully versatile. With it you can make tuna patties, tuna salad, tuna crostini, tuna casserole, and even tuna mac n cheese. Here are just a few ideas for creative ways to use canned tuna, pulled from Simply Recipes and other blogs we love.

Do you have a favorite meal to make with canned tuna? Let us know about it in the comments!


1. Mediterranean Tuna Pasta
This tuna pasta is dressed with a salty blend of olives, capers and mozzarella cheese.

Mediterranean Tuna Pasta

Simply Recipes


2. Avocado Tuna Salad
Skip the mayo and use avocado instead!

Avocado Tuna Salad

Simply Recipes


3. Lighter Tuna Casserole from Gimme Some Oven
Ali’s lightened-up take on the tuna noodle casserole with plenty of veggies.

Lighter Tuna Casserole | Gimme Some Oven

Gimme Some Oven


4. Tuna and Tomato Pasta
A quick trip under the broiler gives this pasta bake a melty Parmesan crust.

Pasta with Tuna and Tomato Sauce

Simply Recipes


5. Asian Tuna Salad
This Asian-inspired tuna salad features ginger, sesame and green onions. Serve with lettuce or noodles!

Asian Tuna Salad

Simply Recipes


6. Pasta with Tuna and Arugula
Pasta, canned tuna, with a peppery kick from red pepper flakes and wilted arugula—but you could easily substitute baby spinach, if that’s what you have on-hand.

Pasta with Tuna and Arugula

Simply Recipes


7. Tuna Patties
Family staple. Kid friendly. Budget friendly. So good!

Tuna Patties

Simply Recipes


8. White Bean and Tuna Salad
With white beans and tuna, this quick and easy salad is packed with protein. With onion, parsley, lemon, and Tabasco.

White Bean Tuna Salad

Simply Recipes


9. Wild Caught Tuna Crostini from View from the Great Island
In terms of “clean-out-the-pantry” recipes, canned tuna crostini is a godsend. This post offers up plenty of topping inspiration, but really, you’re only limited to the ingredients you have on-hand—and whatever you can reasonably pile onto slices of toasted baguette.

Tuna Crostini | View from the Great Island

View from the Great Island


10. Cucumber Noodle Salad with Tuna from Inspiralized
Another fabulous way to dress up chicken salad? Veggie noodles! This recipe uses fresh spiralized cucumbers.

Cucumber Salad with Tuna | Inspiralized



11. Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower and Tuna from An Edible Mosaic
When comfort foods collide!

Mac and Cheese with Cauliflower and Tuna | An Edible Mosaic

An Edible Mosaic


12. Best Ever Tuna Salad Sandwich
I have yet to have a tuna salad sandwich better than this one. No kidding. You may find the ingredient list a little surprising, but believe me it works!

Best Ever Tuna Salad Sandwich

Simply Recipes


13. Mexican Tuna Salad Stuffed Avocados from The Wicked Noodle
For a grain-free, paleo-friendly way to serve tuna salad, skip the sandwich bread, and opt for an avocado boat!

Mexican Tuna Salad Stuffed Avocados | The Wicked Noodle

The Wicked Noodle


14. Pasta with Tuna and Capers in White Wine Sauce
Super easy for a mid week meal, and packed with flavor.

Pasta with Tuna and Capers in White Wine Sauce

Simply Recipes


15. Chipotle Tuna Empanadas from One Hungry Mama
Almost too cute! Perfect little hand pies for picnics, and tailgates, or road trips.

Chipotle Tuna Empanadas | One Hungry Mama

One Hungry Mama


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  • Nancy Brown

    Sorry for the typo, I meant to say “ unclear” not “unclean”, first post, I will do better next time.
    Nancy Brown

  • Nancy Brown

    I love tuna! When I am short on time or tight on a budget tuna can be a life saver. I would love to share a recipe with you which my family says is delicious.
    2 large cans of tuna,
    drained and flipped onto a plate covered in paper towels, let drain again and use the paper towels to get the remaining water.
    1 stick of celery chopped into whatever size bits you want and set aside.
    1 small to medium onion, ( like valida) set aside after chopping.
    1 large can cream of mushroom soup
    3/4 cup of Dukes mayonnaise
    1 1/2 cup of your choice of cheese. ( I like the Italian blend)

    Now that those ingredients are ready start boiling a bag ( I usually get a small one) egg noodles in lightly salted water until almost done.

    Have ready a 9×13 pan lined with a puff pastry , put tuna, celery, onion soup, mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste, I a large bowl toss these ingredients then drain noodles and add, mixing all together.
    Dump all that into your pastry lined pan and top with more pastry or top off with more cheese and bread crumbs.
    Bake at 350 until pastry is lightly browned and or cheese has melted.
    This is my first recipe that I have shared, if unclean text me and I will help you. Thank you and enjoy!

    • Claudia Cash

      Nancy, that sounds like a wonderful recipe! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. And I completely agree… tuna is such a lifesaver when you’re on a tight budget!

  • Jessie

    No-Mayo Tuna Salad Sandwiches:SOO GOOD! Esp the artichokes!

    1 loaf Italian bread cut in 1/2 lengthwise and scooped out, toasted in oven
    2 cans tuna in olive oil, drained
    3 tbsp capers
    1/4 red onion, chopped
    I can quartered artichoke hearts in water
    1/2 Kalamata olives
    1/4 C flat leaf parsley, chopped
    Juice of 1 lemon
    S&P (Freshly cracked)

    Mix together and cut into mini sammies! You’re welcome!

  • Sandy S

    How fortuitous. All out of mayo and did not want to run to the store. So glad I looked here first. This wealth of tuna recipes has me giddy with possibilities! Also love the many ideas in the comments! May have to draw a name out of a hat to make a decision!

    • Sandy S

      I went for the White Beans and Tuna recipe and will definitely be making it again! So delicious! I served it over a small bed of baby mixed greens. Love knowing that if I have tuna and white beans I will more than likely be able to make a delicious meal pronto!


      • Elise Bauer

        Hi Sandy, I’m so glad you liked that white beans and tuna recipe! It’s a favorite here, so easy to put together.

  • Diane W.

    Love this post and the ideas in the comments! My favorite dish is a tuna fish omelette. My mom always used to say fish was brain food, so this was something I’d make on exam days:

    1. Start an omelette cooking in a well-buttered pan on low heat.
    2. While the eggs are still wet, top half the omelette with a generous amount of tuna salad (I’d use just a tuna/mayo mix — on the dry side, with the tuna well flaked)
    3. Layer on cheese (American works best IMHO0
    4. Fold the omelette and cook until well heated through, with the cheese melted

    This a hearty, salty, lucious, protein-packed breakfast. Bonus points if some of the tuna or cheese oozes out and gets crunchy on the buttered pan.

  • Martha

    Oh yes, we had fish on Fridays, too! We always had a dish that everyone liked, from the adults to the big kids to the babies. It was a casserole of tuna fish, Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup or Cream of Celery soup, crushed potato chips, and some milk. It was easy for me to make as a youngster, and so I began cooking. We all loved it, although none of us makes such high-salt dishes today. (But full disclosure: I made it a few times in my adult life when going through really, really hard times. The casserole helped!)

  • Randy Wood

    My favorite tuna dinner recipe is what I call a “tuna roll up” It’s canned tuna rolled up inside a biscuit dough wrapper, baked golden brown, sliced into rounds and served with canned mushroom soup sauce. Easy and delicious.

  • Cleo Arezio

    Thank you so much.I had no idea what to cook for tonight and here comes your tuna
    recipes spaghetti with tuna olives and cappers sounds yummy

  • Anne

    We live in central Mexico. My husband is from here. A very common dish made here with tunafish is “ceviche de atun”. It is canned tuna with fresh lime juice, chopped onion, tomato and chile serrano. We like to add cut up avocado. You could add cilantro too. Everyone eats it on tostadas. It is healthy and delish!

  • donutty

    My kids’ favorite way to have tuna is what we call a California Bowl. I mix canned tuna with a soy-based dressing or teriyaki sauce, chop cucumbers and avocados, and cut up seasoned dried seaweed into little strips. We put all over bowls of rice and voila! one of our favorite weeknight meals appears. I got the inspiration from a Trader Joe’s sample I tried once.


    My mother would make us kedgeree from canned tuna or salmon. Delicious!

  • Tami Daugherty

    Sounds yummy! Can’t wait to try these out! I’ll post pictures to show you! Thank you so much, I love new recipes! Thank You!!

  • Dianne

    Thank you for compiling this list! So helpful for getting out of my tuna sandwich rut!

  • 2pots2cook

    Yes! You got me ! We also had Fish Fridays when growing up ! I am in ! Thank you dear !