Tuna Cakes

Tuna Cakes are packed with flavor and are so easy to make! Delicious for lunch, dinner or brunch with a side salad, potatoes, even on a bun. We often double or triple this recipe for easy meals during the week. Our family just loves them, and we hope yours does too!

three tuna cakes on a white plate with lemons

Why We Love Tuna Cakes!

Not only are these Tuna Cakes delicious, but they’re super budget friendly. We love adding a side salad or baked potato to round out the meal. You can even enjoy these on a bun for a delicious fish sandwich!

  • Budget Friendly: We know how expensive groceries are these days. These tuna cakes will only cost you a couple of dollars per serving, even with a baked potato side.
  • Protein Packed: In addition to being affordable, tuna fish is a very lean protein and we’re here for all the rewards. Just one cake packs around 15 grams!
  • Versatile: You can switch up the flavors in these tuna cakes a million different ways. See the post below for more ideas.
  • Make Ahead Meal: A great idea for meal prepping, tuna cakes reheat wonderfully, either in the microwave or in a skillet.
stacked tuna cakes on plate with yellow napkin

Ingredients You’ll Need

Just a few ingredients and the star of the show – albacore tuna. For this recipe, albacore tuna is best. Albacore tuna is solid, white meat tuna so it’s much more firm than a chunk light tuna fish. It’ll cost you a few cents more a can but you only need 2 cans for this recipe.

  • Albacore Tuna Fish: Like we mentioned above, albacore tuna works best for this recipe because of it’s firm texture.
  • Shallot: A large shallot, or two smaller ones. You want to end up with about 1/4 cup for the recipe. Yellow or red onions can also be substituted.
  • Celery: Finely diced celery.
  • Mayonnaise: We like regular mayonnaise but you can swap out light mayo or even fat free.
  • Dijon Mustard: A tangy, slightly spicy, smooth mustard.
  • Lemon: Just the zest is needed, but a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on top of the cakes before serving is delicious.
  • Breadcrumbs: Seasoned breadcrumbs will add a bit more flavor.
  • Egg: One large egg, beaten.
  • Parmesan Cheese: A tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese helps to bind the cakes and add flavor.
ingredients for making tuna cakes

How To Make

You can get these together in just about 20 minutes – from start to finish. We often will double this recipe because they’re great for a quick lunch or dinner (even breakfast!) during the week.

  • Cook the vegetables: Add the diced celery and shallot to a skillet with olive oil. Cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Form the tuna mixture: Add 2 cans of drained tuna fish to a bowl along with mayonnaise, mustard, breadcrumbs, a beaten egg, parmesan cheese and lemon zest. Add the cooled vegetables and mix to combine.
  • Form the cakes: Form the tuna mixture into 4 cakes and place into a skillet over medium to medium low heat with olive oil.
  • Brown and cook through: Cook for 5 minutes on each side until the centers are cooked through. If the cakes are getting too brown before the 10 minutes is up, turn the heat down to low and complete the cooking time.

How To Serve

Like we mentioned before, maybe french fries for the kids or a simple baked potato. A delicious side salad like our homemade caesar or just a simple arugula salad tossed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Here are some other tasty options for you to try!

Our family also loves serving these on a soft bun with lettuce, mayo or tarter sauce and tomato. Add a slice of cheese for a tuna melt feel!

tuna cake on white plate with lemons

How To Store and Reheat

This recipe only makes four cakes, so leftovers aren’t usually a problem! We do very often double the recipe though since it’s a great meal to have on hand.

  • To Store: Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat: The microwave is an easy option, or you can reheat in a skillet with a little more olive oil to keep that crispy exterior.
tuna cakes stacked on plate with parsley


Starting with a versatile ingredient like tuna fish, you can really go in a lot of different directions as far as flavor. Try using a teaspoon of buffalo sauce or sriracha mixed in with the mayonnaise for a little spice. Old Bay seasoning will of course be delicious and most any fresh herbs that you like.

Different vegetables like broccoli, spinach or bell peppers can also be used. Cook them down with the celery and shallots in the first step, then add to the tuna mixture.

Looking For More Tuna Fish Recipes?

tuna cakes stacked on plate with parsley

Tuna Cake Recipe

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

These tasty Tuna Cakes are packed with flavor and cook up with very little effort! Think of a carb cake, but way less expensive. These are delicious with a side salad or potatoes, even on a bun!



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 smaller shallots, finely diced (or 1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion or red onion)
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • 2 cans water packed albacore white tuna, drained (5 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons regular mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Chopped, fresh parsley for garnish (optional)


  1. Add the oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, celery, salt and pepper to the skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  2. Add the drained tuna to a bowl and flake with a fork. Add the mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, mustard and breadcrumbs. Add the cooled shallots and celery and mix together to combine. Taste the mixture to see if the seasoning needs to be adjusted, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Stir in the beaten egg.
  3. Form the mixture into 4 cakes and set on a plate. Wipe out the skillet and add the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-low heat.
  4. Carefully add the tuna cakes and let cook for 4-5 minutes until browned. Turn the tuna cakes over and cook another 4-5 minutes on the other side. Turn the heat down if the tuna cakes are getting too brown, the center of the tuna cakes needs the full 10 minutes to cook through.
  5. Season with fresh black pepper and kosher salt and serve with chopped parsley for garnish. (optional)

Recipe Notes

Store: Store tuna cakes in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Reheat: Reheat in a skillet for a crispy outside, or in the microwave until heated through.

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

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9 Responses
  1. Timin Mils

    just bookmarked this recipe !!– im going to try this for sure on the weekend – if you dont mind me giving my 2 bit !! — i think some “Mrs. Dash spice blend” would be nice in this :) :) !!

    Super recipe over all — Cheers !! :)

  2. Marita

    This was delicious. Skipped shallots and celery (didn’t have any), doubled the recipe but not the mayo part because of my toddler. It was really good.

  3. Victoria

    These were easy to make and tasted great. Only problem is they fell apart a little bit in the pan, any solutions?

    1. Dan

      You do have to be gentle with these as there isn’t a lot of bread crumb filler. Once you get them in the pan, leave them to form a crust on the first side for a couple of minutes before turning. Then flip and push anything that came out back together with a spatula. Another tip is to refrigerate the tuna cakes for an hour before cooking to firm them up. Lastly, you can add more bread crumb to the tuna cakes to make them more firm, but we like these cakes as a low carb option so we usually use the first two methods.

  4. MelBell

    These were really good! We will probably tweak with some seasonings to suit our taste buds but as they were, they were tasty and satisfying. I added a little extra parmesan, made them a little smaller, and put them in the fridge before cooking and they stayed together very well in the pan. This is going to be a new staple. Thanks!

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