Tuna Patties

LentenBudgetQuick and EasyCanned Tuna

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

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Tuna patties!

All you have to do is say these two words and I’m flooded with childhood memories. We kids are only a few feet high, have tiny feet, scabbed knees, and boundless energy.

In between chasing each other around the dining room table we are squealing to our mother, “We’re having tuna patties!”

We were enthusiastic about food, to say the least. And always hungry.

Back then, this was one of my mother’s go-to dishes. No idea what her recipe was, and it’s been so long since she’s made them, it’s long forgotten.

This recipe is as close as I can come to what I remember, probably with a few added flourishes.

Tuna Patties

What I love about the recipe is that I almost always have the necessary ingredients in the pantry and fridge, the patties are incredibly easy and quick to make, and they’re budget friendly too. Oh yes, and they taste great! (At least to us. Big fans of canned tuna here.)

How to make tuna patties

Tuna Patties Recipe

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

Ingredients

  • 2 cans tuna (5 to 6 ounce cans)
  • 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.)

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.

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

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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269 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Scott

    I had some tuna in the pantry that I wanted to use up and ran across this recipe and I’m very glad I did. Dad is not too fond of onions so I added finely diced celery and red bell pepper for some crunch and taste. I didn’t have any parsley but had some fresh cilantro on hand and added that as well and topped the patties with provolone slices. Someone suggested adding dill and as soon as my plants are ready to start harvesting I may try that also. Thank you for the recipe! Having been a professional cook for over 35 years, canned tuna is an item I generally won’t use (when I hear tuna I think sashimi or sushi). Both Dad and I were very pleased with the results.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Brooke

    I was wondering if you could substitute dry bread crumbs for the white bread? And if so would the measurements be the same?

    Show Replies (2)
  3. Bernice Klingler

    I made these, absolutely delicious!

  4. Elaine jenkins

    This was a really good recipe…but I had a hard time keeping them together….any tips would help because they were delious

    Show Replies (1)
  5. titania

    I made these and didn’t have bread crumbs and a few other ingredients. I use 4 cans of tuna , 1 egg, onion powder, parsley, lemon pepper seasoning a little lemon juice, flour and fish fry to substitute for the bread crumbs , two squirts if brown spicy mustard and made 8 patties in the deep fryer they were yummy and had it with string beans and cauliflower rice.

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