November 29, 2022

Canadiannpizza

Cooking Is My World

Tuna Patties – Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Tuna Patties are packed with flavor and have the best texture — crisp on the top and bottom with a soft (never dry or hard) interior. These patties are so quick and easy to make (thank you, canned tuna!) and sure to be a family favorite! Serve your patties over a quick (two-ingredient) slaw and a tasty tartar sauce.

Overhead image of Tuna Patties

Tuna Patties

A can of tuna can be transformed into some pretty stellar meals–like these website-favorite Tuna Stacks, this one-dish Tuna Casserole, or this personal favorite Mediterranean Tuna Salad to name a few. We love these easy patties, and if you’d like to try a slightly more sophisticated recipe, how about these Salmon Burgers?

And today we’re tossing a few cans of tuna with some fresh herbs, some panko breadcrumbs, a couple of eggs, and a few other ingredients to bring you a new favorite — a fresh and tasty Tuna Patty.

These are the best Tuna Patties — they’ve got a crisp top and bottom with a soft succulent interior — no dry/hard/flavorless patties here! Also, this recipe is fairly quick and easy to make and a great make-ahead meal — the patties can be assembled ahead of time and cooked later when you’re ready to eat.

Process shots of the patties being made

What Can I Mix With A Can Of Tuna?

A few of the ingredients  are worth diving deeper for this Tuna Patty recipe:

  • Canned tuna packed in olive oil. My personal favorite is Genova’s® albacore tuna. Tuna packed in olive oil is richer and has a fresher flavor. Plus, this brand of tuna doesn’t disintegrate into the patty blend — it holds a chunkier shape much better (this is important for texture).
  • Use panko breadcrumbs. Panko is similar to regular bread crumbs, but it creates a much crunchier, crispier, lighter, and more delicate result. 
  • Parmesan cheese. Parmesan from a can will be too salty and overpowering in these patties. Use the freshly grated — sandy-like consistency from the store. Here’s exactly what we use and we’ve also tested this brand.
  • Fresh herbs. Our favorite combo in these Tuna Patties is fresh dill, green onions, and flat-leaf parsley. The combination of the three flavors creates a much more nuanced (and delicious!) taste. Be sure to get flat-leaf (as opposed to curly) parsley — the flat-leaf type has much more flavor.

Do You Put Egg In Tuna Patties?

Yes! The eggs are important for flavor, texture, and binding of the ingredients so you don’t have a patty that falls apart.

Process shots of Tuna Patties-- images of the patties being cooked

How To Make Tuna Patties

  1. Mix together all of the ingredients except the tuna.
  2. Add drained tuna and gently mix to incorporate — we want to keep the chunks of tuna which will yield a superior texture.
  3. Form the patties and chill them (perfect time to make the accompanying elements!).
  4. Sauté or bake the patties and serve!

Process shots-- images of the tarter sauce being made

What Do You Eat With Tuna Patties?

Hands-down, our favorite way to enjoy these patties is on a bed of two-ingredient coleslaw (keeping things simple!) with a quick homemade tartar sauce (so worth the extra couple of minutes!).

We grab a bag of coleslaw mix and some fresh (refrigerated) coleslaw dressing (We love Litehouse®; not sponsored) and toss the two together until the mix is sufficiently mixed. (Here’s a homemade Coleslaw recipe if you’d prefer to make it from scratch.)

Other ways to enjoy these patties: on a salad, as an appetizer, as a side dish, or in a quick tuna burger. (Grab a brioche bun, top with your fave veggies and a tuna patty, and use tartar sauce instead of mayo!)

QUICK TIP

Did you ever wonder how coleslaw got its name? The Latin word for cabbage is cole. And the Dutch word is kools. Koolsla is Dutch for cabbage salad. Makes sense, now, doesn’t it?

Up close image of Tuna Patties

Let’s Chat Tartar Sauce

The tartar sauce is the ultimate accompaniment for these patties — it’s creamy, flavorful, and so fresh tasting. Plus, a lot of the ingredients from the patties overlap with the sauce. A few quick tips:

  • If you don’t use dill for the patties, it’s fine to leave it out of the sauce; add a touch of dried herbs (dill if you have it) instead.
  • Grab good mayo! We love Hellman’s/Best Foods® in this sauce — the better the mayo, the better the flavor.
  • We love zesting the lemons with a microplane and then juicing them with this citrus juicer. These two tools make the recipe prep a breeze!

Overhead image of Tuna Patties on a bed of cole slaw with tartar sauce on top

How Do You Keep Tuna Patties From Falling Apart?

  • Use a binder — in this recipe, we add two eggs and some mayo.
  • Chill the mixture — we pop the formed patties in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Handle delicately — using a sharp metal turner pick up 1 patty at a time (carefully) transferring from tray to skillet. Flip only once using a the sharp metal turner.
  • Thoroughly drain the tuna — overly wet tuna is going to create an overly wet patty more prone to breaking apart.

More Tasty Tuna Recipes

Tuna Patties

Tuna Patties are packed with flavor and have the best texture — crisp on the top and bottom with a soft (never dry or hard) interior. These patties are so quick and easy to make (thank you canned tuna!) and sure to be a family favorite! Serve your patties over a quick (two-ingredient) slaw and a tasty tartar sauce.

Tuna Patties

Tuna Patties are packed with flavor and have the best texture — crisp on the top and bottom with a soft (never dry or hard) interior. These patties are so quick and easy to make (thank you canned tuna!) and sure to be a family favorite! Serve your patties over a quick (two-ingredient) slaw and a tasty tartar sauce.

Instructions

  • PREP: Peel off outer layer of onion and then grate on the large holes of a box grater. Measure to get about 1 scant cup (200g) grated onion. Finely dice the parsley, green onions and dill; measure after being diced to get 2 tablespoons of each. Zest and juice a lemon. Thoroughly drain tuna and set aside for now. Set out a large sheet pan and line with parchment paper, set aside for now.

  • PATTIES: In a large bowl, combine all of the patty ingredients EXCEPT the drained tuna. Season to taste; I add 1/4 tsp each of salt & pepper. Mix well and then add in the drained tuna. Gently mix, leaving the tuna in flakes instead of breaking it up further. See Note 4 for trouble-shooting. Once incorporated, use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop up the mixture and pack it in tightly. Release the packed tuna mixture onto the prepared sheet pan and form round patties that are just under an inch thick. Repeat with the rest of the mixture until you have about 12 patties. Place tray of patties in the freezer for 15-20 minutes (as long as it takes to make the tartar sauce and coleslaw if making!).

  • TARTAR SAUCE: Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt & pepper (I add 1/8 tsp of each). Mix well, taste, adjust to personal preference. Refrigerate until ready to use (great sauce to make ahead of time — it only gets more flavorful as it sits).

  • OPTIONAL COLESLAW: Open a package of coleslaw mix and toss with prepared coleslaw dressing (add to desired creaminess preference). Toss with tongs. Refrigerate until ready to use tossing before serving.

  • COOK PATTIES: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully take patties (I use a sharp metal turner to move and flip patties so they don’t break apart!) straight from the freezer into the pan and cook until nicely browned, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer cooked patties to a paper-towel lined plate repeating until all patties are cooked, adding more oil as you go. (Want them all cooked at once? See Note 5).

  • SERVING: Divide coleslaw among plates. Add tuna patties on top along with lots of tartar sauce. Serve with additional wedges of lemon if desired. Enjoy promptly!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Parmesan cheese: Parmesan from a can will be too salty and overpowering in these patties. Use the freshly grated,  sandy consistency from the store. Here’s exactly what we use.
Note 2: Tuna: Good tuna makes a world of difference in flavor AND texture. Pick an olive-oil-packed tuna (my personal favorite is Genova’s®). Tuna packed in olive oil is richer and has a fresher flavor. Plus, this brand of tuna doesn’t disintegrate into the patty blend — it holds a chunkier shape much better (this is important for texture). Make sure to VERY thoroughly drain the tuna (we have found tuna packed in water can make the patties too moist if not drained well).
Note 3: Serving suggestions: We combine a bag of coleslaw mix and some fresh (refrigerated) coleslaw dressing (We love Litehouse) and toss the two together until the mix is sufficiently mixed. So quick and easy!
Note 4: Trouble-shooting: If the mixture is coming up too dry add a touch more mayo or simply stir the mixture a little more. Overly wet? Add a touch more Panko. Patties should be more on the moist side and can be more prone to falling apart (depending on the tuna used) which is why it’s important to tightly compact the mixture, shape compressed patties, chill the patties, and handle them delicately.
Note 5: Bake patties: We prefer these sautéed, but if you want them all done at the same time you can’t beat baking! Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Drizzle on 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (not olive oil — it burns) and heat the pan for 1 minute. Add patties in a single layer with plenty of space and then bake for 12-15 minutes. Flip and bake another 4-6 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve promptly.
Nutrition information does not include the tartar sauce as amounts will vary.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 132kcal | Carbohydrates: 7.8g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 5.1g | Cholesterol: 44.4mg | Sodium: 152.4mg | Fiber: 0.6g | Sugar: 1.1g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.