Raid your Pantry and Make These Crispy Tuna Patties for Your Next Meal

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Are you in a cooking rut? Head to your panty and no doubt you have a stack of tuna cans somewhere in there. With the tuna and a few other key ingredients you can mix, shape and pan fry these crispy tangy patties for your next lunch or dinner.

The trick with the patties is to use a binder to keep them from falling apart. This recipe uses eggs, mayo, and panko breadcrumbs to achieve that important “glue.” Panko leads to a crispier, more crackly crunch than regular breadcrumbs, so they are well worth buying and keeping in your pantry if they aren’t already there. Make sure to drain the tuna well, but don’t worry if the patties feel wet while you are shaping them.

The second trick to keeping your patty shape is to chill them in the fridge for about 20 minutes before cooking. It gives the panko time to absorb the moisture, which helps the patties hold together and keep from falling apart.

Have a 1/3 cup scoop on hand to shape the patties and aim to have them be 3 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. A cast-iron skillet is ideal to get that crispy crust, but use what you have on hand if you don’t have one. Consider investing in a wide, flat spatula, as this will help the patty flip (and you can use them for hamburgers.)


  • large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 10 to 12 sprigs fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • medium scallion (green onion), thinly sliced
  • clove garlic, minced or grated
  • medium lemon, cut in half
  • 3 cans tuna packed in water, drained
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • tablespoons mayonnaise
  • tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • tablespoons olive oil, divided


  1. Lightly beat 2 large eggs in a large bowl. Drain 3 cans of tuna, add to the bowl, and flake into smaller pieces with a fork.

  2. Pick the leaves from 10 to 12 fresh parsley sprigs and finely chop until you have 2 tablespoons. Throw them into the large bowl with the tuna and eggs. Thinly slice 1 medium scallion (about 2 tablespoons). Finely grate 1 garlic clove. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon (about 1 tablespoon). Halve the lemon; juice one half until you have 1 tablespoon juice, then add to the bowl.

  3. Cut the remaining lemon half into 6 wedges and reserve for serving.

  4. Add 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to the tuna mixture and stir until well combined.

  5. Divide the mixture into 6 (about 1/3-cup) portions. Shape each into a 3-inch wide patty about 1/2-inch thick, and place on a baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Swirl so that it coats the bottom of the pan. Using a wide, flat spatula, gently transfer 3 of the patties into the pan and cook, flipping once, until golden-brown and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

  7. Repeat cooking the remaining tuna patties in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Serve warm with the reserved lemon wedges.


You can watch how to make tuna patties here.


The patties can be mixed together and shaped up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to cook.

Leftovers! If you have them, they can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Reheat in a low oven until warmed through.

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