Tuna Patties


5 from 85 votes
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This tuna patties recipe makes for a fabulous low carb dinner that takes minutes to make! These tuna cakes are crispy on the outside, and juicy in the middle. 

tuna patties.

Dinner on the table in less than 10 minutes? These tuna patties are a winner.

As a family who adores salmon patties, I’m surprised it took us such a long time to try them using tuna. 

Table of Contents
  1. What are tuna patties?
  2. Ingredients needed 
  3. How to make tuna patties
  4. Dietary swaps and substitutions
  5. How do you keep tuna patties from falling apart?
  6. Which canned tuna is best? 
  7. Storage instructions
  8. What goes good with tuna patties? 
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
  10. More tuna recipes to try
  11. Tuna Patties (Tuna cakes!) (Recipe Card)

What are tuna patties?

Tuna patties (tuna cakes) are a cross between a burger and a fritter. The base is made from canned tuna and is flavored with seasonings, including a hint of curry powder. They are bound by eggs and panko bread crumbs, but there’s a keto option if you need these to be low-carb.

Why this tuna patty recipe will be a dinnertime favorite:

  • Kid friendly. If you’ve ever been wary of how to get your kids to eat seafood, this is a fantastic recipe to start with.
  • Ready in 10 minutes. From prep to plate, these come together in no time.
  • Affordable. Tuna is one of the cheapest and healthiest foods ever, so this recipe is super cost-effective.

Can we lament about how delicious they are? They taste SO good, you’d be shocked into thinking they were something fancy. 

tuna cakes.

Ingredients needed 

This recipe is very simple and besides some tuna and pantry staple condiments, there isn’t much else that goes into them. Here is what you’ll need:

  • Canned tuna– Choose tuna that is packed in springwater or water, NOT oil or flavors. If you have tuna in brine, omit the salt. 
  • Salt and pepper– to taste. 
  • Curry powder– the secret ingredient that gives these patties an incredible flavor. 
  • Panko bread crumbs– bind the patties together, along with the eggs. 
  • Eggs– room temperature eggs. 
  • Mayonnaise– I’ve stopped buying store bought mayonnaise ever since making my own
  • Worcestershire sauce– Adds a pop of flavor that works so well with tuna. 
  • Parsley– Finely chopped. 
  • Butter– to fry everything in. 

How to make tuna patties

In less than 10 minutes, you can make a tuna mixture and have them all fried up!

Step 1- Make the mixture

Drain the tuna, ensuring there is no excess moisture. Add the salt, pepper, and curry powder and mix. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well until a thick mixture remains. 

tuna patty mixture.

Step 2- Shape and fry

Lightly wet your hands and shape the mixture into 8-10 thick patties (I prefer 8, as they make juicier patties). 

pan fried tuna cakes.

Add butter into a non-stick pan and fry the patties for 3-4 minutes, flip, and cook for a further two minutes. Once tuna patties are golden brown, they are ready to serve. 

pan fried tuna patties.

Dietary swaps and substitutions

The beauty of these tuna patties is how easy they are to customize or adapt to fit other diets. My father actually follows a low carb diet, so I make him keto tuna patties whenever he requests them and they taste the same! 

  • Cut the carbs by using keto bread crumbs instead of traditional ones.
  • Replace the eggs with an egg substitute
  • Use different spices like red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, or lemon pepper seasoning. 
  • Make it gluten free by using gluten free panko bread crumbs. 

How do you keep tuna patties from falling apart?

A good tuna patty needs at least one binding agent, either as an egg or bread crumbs. For this recipe, we use both of them, which guarantees they never fall apart

Which canned tuna is best? 

No canned tuna is created equal and choosing the right kind makes all the difference in terms of taste and environmental impact. Here are our tips on choosing the best kind-

  • Choose water packed tuna which should only have springwater and tuna as the ingredients and nothing else. If you are eating tuna on its own, you can choose options packed in olive oil. 
  • Tuna caught by pole and line fishing is sustainably caught and has the lowest levels of mercury. 
  • BPA free cans or pouches are always best as they limit the metal leaching into the fish. 

Storage instructions

To store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to five days.

To freeze: If you’d like to freeze tuna patties, place them in an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to six months.

Reheating: Reheat the patties in a non-stick pan or in the air fryer until hot and crispy. 

tuna patty.

What goes good with tuna patties? 

Growing up eating tuna patties, we used to pair childhood staples with them, like mac and cheese or garlic bread. Now that our palates are a little more advanced, there are tons of options to pair them with. Here are some of our favorite things to serve with tuna cakes: 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do you bake tuna patties?

While frying is preferred, you can bake the patties too. Generously grease a lined baking sheet and place the patties on top. Bake at 200C/400F for 20 minutes, flipping carefully halfway through. Continue cooking until golden brown on the outside.

Can I make these in the air fryer?

To make air fryer tuna patties, place the prepared patties on a greased sheet of parchment paper and place it in the air fryer basket. Air fry at 200C/400F for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Can I use fresh tuna?

If you want to use fresh tuna, you will need to cook it first and then flake it.

More tuna recipes to try

tuna patties recipe.

Tuna Patties (Tuna cakes!)

5 from 85 votes
This tuna patties recipe makes for a fabulous low carb dinner that takes minutes to make! These tuna cakes are crispy on the outside, and juicy in the middle. 
Servings: 12 Patties
Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 6 minutes


  • 1 15 oz can tuna in springwater
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder optional
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs * See notes
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup parsley finely chopped


  • In a mixing bowl, add the tuna, garlic salt, pepper, and curry powder and mix well. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until a thick batter remains.
  • Using slightly wet hands, form the mixture into 12 patties.
  • Add butter or oil in a non-stick pan. When hot, Cook for 3-4 minutes, flipping halfway through. Repeat the process until all the patties are cooked and are golden brown and crispy.


* For a keto option, use keto bread crumbs
TO STORE: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to five days.
TO FREEZE: Place them in an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to six months.
TO REHEAT: Add patties in a non-stick pan or in the air fryer until hot and crispy.


Serving: 1pattyCalories: 58kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 6gFat: 2gSodium: 175mgPotassium: 42mgFiber: 1gVitamin A: 158IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 19mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 1g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Really, really good. Even hubby, who doesn’t usually care for tuna liked it. Not a big fan of curry, so I used paprika. One question – garlic was not listed in the ingredients, but was in the directions. Where does the garlic come in? I used 1/2 teaspoon each of sea salt, garlic powder and pepper. Really stepped up the flavor profile. BTW, I love your recipes. I have several on file since going gluten and dairy free.

  2. Hello, thank you for your recipe. I live at EU could you please tell me how much drained tuna you use in grams? Totally is it 425grams? Sorry but I got confused…

  3. 5 stars
    Hi, I want keto version but can’t eat pork! Would this work without any breadcrumbs? Or any other suggestions?
    Thank you

    1. I use a homemade mix, but find the best store bought ones are from Asian grocery or Indian grocery shops.

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