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Tuna Burgers

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Tuna burgers are a fast and easy meal option that is sure to please. You can use the same recipe to make tuna patties without the bun if you prefer. Either way, this is an economical and tasty way to fill up.

Homemade tuna burgers on bun with lettuce and onions served alongside french fries.

Whether you are looking for new recipes to enjoy during Lent, or you are just looking for ways to reduce the amount of red meat you consume, tuna burgers are the perfect option. They offer great flavor and texture all from a can of tuna.

Close up of tuna patty on bun showing the thick meaty tuna patty and how well it held together.

It is fun to enjoy them on a bun like a hamburger. Or you can serve them on their own with a lemon wedge and a little tartar sauce for dipping and call them tuna cakes.

Because they come from cans of tuna, it is a very cost-effective way to feed your family. That’s good, because they will be asking you to make them more!

What is a tuna burger made of?

Tuna – A couple of cans of tuna are the base for these patties. I like using tuna packed in water, but oil packed tuna works as well. Just drain all of the liquid, and you will be ready to go.

Breadcrumbs – Using Italian breadcrumbs gives added flavor without the effort. But go ahead and use plain breadcrumbs if that is what you have.

Ingredient shot including cans of tuna, Parmesan cheese, onion, breadcrumbs, lemon, egg, mayonnaise, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and buns.

If you don’t have breadcrumbs, use crushed crackers instead. Saltines or butter crackers work well. Just smash them a bit and add them in.

Parmesan Cheese – the cheese helps to add great savory richness to the burgers. You can skip it, but it is so good in there.

Mayonnaise and Lemon Juice – The mayonnaise helps to bind everything together, and the lemon juice adds a little brightness to the mix. Both also help to keep the patties moist.

Egg – helps to hold everything together

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you freeze tuna patties?

Yes, you can freeze tuna burgers either before or after you cook them. To freeze uncooked, form the patties, and put layers of parchment paper between them.

Place in an airtight freezer container and freeze for up to three months. When you are ready to cook them, you don’t need to thaw the burgers.

Just cook them from frozen, which will help them hold together. Add a couple of minutes to the cook time, and they will be wonderful.

If you are freezing cooked patties, allow them to cool completely, then layer them with parchment or wax paper. When you are ready to eat them, thaw overnight in the fridge, then warm in the oven.

Can I bake the tuna burgers?

You get the best crust and flavor cooking these tuna patties in a skillet. However, if you prefer to use the oven, you can.

Place the patties on a parchment lined baking sheet and cook at 375F. Gently flip after 10 minutes and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes total.

Serving Suggestions

As the name implies, tuna burgers are great on a bun. Add some lettuce, a slice of onion, or maybe some pickles.

We like ours with a little bit of tartar sauce on top. Then, serve it with some Cajun fries for the full burger experience.

Dinner plate with fries and a golden tuna burger placed on a bun, building the burger.

Sometimes, we just call them tuna cakes and leave the buns off. Then, we serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce and dig in.

For a healthier option, you could serve it on or with a green salad. Or make some roasted veggies.

Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1-2 teaspoons pickle relish
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice

Just stir together and refrigerate until ready to use. You can add fresh herbs like dill or tarragon if you would like.

More Tuna Recipes:

For a comfort food classic, make some tuna noodle casserole. There is something about the creamy pasta and tuna that feels like home.

Growing up, my mom always made us creamy tuna casserole without noodles. Instead, she served it over rice. That one tastes like childhood to me.

Hands holding tuna burger on bun with lettuce and red onion, ready to eat.

Of course, you could make my salmon and potato patties with tuna instead. Or whip up some tuna salad for a perfect lunch.

If you tried this recipe, or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the comments. Hungry for more?  Be sure to stay in touch on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram for all of the latest updates.

Tuna burger on bun with red onion and lettuce served with french fries.

Tuna Burgers

Servings: 4 Patties
Author: Carlee
Tuna burgers are a fast and easy meal option that is sure to please. You can use the same recipe to make tuna patties without the bun if you prefer. Either way, this is an economical and tasty way to fill up.
5 from 5 ratings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup onion finely diced
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 10 ounces tuna (2 cans)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons oil for frying


  • In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the egg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, mayonnaise, garlic, salt and pepper.
    1 large egg, ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs, ¼ cup onion, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Add the drained tuna and mix until just combined. You don't want to overmix, or it will become mushy.
    10 ounces tuna
  • Use your hands to form four burger sized patties.
  • In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
    2 Tablespoons oil
  • Once the pan is hot and the oil has a shimmer, gently place the tuna burgers in the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side.
  • Remove from heat and serve on burger buns with your favorite toppings.


You can use plain breadcrumbs or even crushed crackers if you don’t have Italian breadcrumbs.
If you have leftovers, cool completely then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Freeze for longer storage.
You can also freeze uncooked tuna patties. Check out the post for tips for freezing and/or cooking the patties in the oven. 


Serving: 1BurgerCalories: 256kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 20gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 642mgPotassium: 208mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 189IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 125mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating

Karen @karenskitchenstories

Friday 27th of October 2023

I love that you used canned tuna. So easy and economical. So much more fun than a tuna sandwich too.


Friday 27th of October 2023

I do love a good tuna salad sandwich, but it is nice to do something different every once in a while.


Saturday 21st of October 2023

Reminds me of my favorite salmon patties. These have to be great


Saturday 21st of October 2023

Yes! Now I want to make salmon burgers too.