Heather’s Tuna Cakes

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on April 15, 2011

Tasty Tuna Cakes

Have you ever gotten to the end of your week and realized you were short on meat? Or you simply forgot to defrost the ground beef you meant to use for tonight’s dinner. No worries, we all have a few cans of tuna in our cabinets, right? Turn plain, ordinary canned tuna into a delicious entree for your family in just minutes!

This recipe uses ingredients you typically always have on hand in your refrigerator and pantry, even if it has been way too long since you set foot in the grocery store. Although it is definitely a frugal meal, it doesn’t feel like one.

Who doesn’t like a cheap meal that doesn’t taste cheap?

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Tasty Tuna Cakes

Yield – 4 servings

Preparation Time – 10 minutes

Cooking Time – 10 minutes


  • 3 cans of tuna
  • 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup of bread crumbs (I like Italian style)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray
  • parsley for garnish (optional)


  • Open up all of your cans of tuna, drain the liquid out, and place the tuna in a bowl. Break up the big chunks so the tuna is all roughly the same size.
  • Add your eggs, mayo, bread crumbs, lemon juice and a bit of salt and pepper (you can add more salt and pepper after it’s cooked so don’t put too much now)
  • Heat up a pan on the stove or an electric griddle (I always do mine on the griddle so I can cook them all at once!), spray with cooking spray
  • Form into 8 patties and cook about 2-3 minutes per side. Sprinkle with some parsley to garnish (I prefer dry, but you can use fresh as well)

This recipe is very versatile. You can give larger portions and serve 4 people 2 patties each or use it as a side protein over a big salad and serve 8 (if you are trying to stretch things out a bit!). I’ve also shredded some zuchinni into it a few times and the kids still gobbled it up (be sure to drain all the moisture from whatever you add in!).

Tuna goes on sale all the time, so I always make sure to stock up and keep all the ingredients on hand to make this delicious, quick and easy frugal meal!

Heather is a wife and mom of 2 living in the great state of Texas! You can always find her carrying on about great deals and frugal living on her blog Family Friendly Frugality.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandy April 16, 2011 at 7:50 pm

What size can of tuna do you use for this recipe- smaller or large ones?


MKS April 16, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Recently, tuna was on sale for 50 cents a can so I stocked up. Then this week it is on sale for 38 cents! With the way grocery prices are going….I bought 6 more. Now with 18 cans of tuna it might be a good time to try this recipe. Thanks. :)


andrea_upnorth April 17, 2011 at 8:28 am

Ditto the question regarding what size can of tuna is used for this recipe? Thx!


Heather @ Family Friendly Frugality April 17, 2011 at 6:46 pm

So sorry! It’s the 5 oz cans!


David, Wild Planet Foods April 19, 2011 at 1:42 pm

This looks so much better than the tuna cakes I have been making! For the tuna, a great tasting sustainable 5 oz can is from Wild Planet Foods. They have albacore and skipjack and all their fish is sourced from the North Atlantic, meaning half the mercury of the national brands!


Susan D May 5, 2011 at 5:09 pm

I can’t wait to try this recipe! I love tuna but have trouble getting my kids to eat it. BUT, they always like fried food better…Thanks!!!


Kristi April 9, 2012 at 5:45 pm

I just made this exact recipe and i’m feeding 8. LOVED it :) thanks so much


Daniela June 23, 2013 at 4:42 pm

I have tried many tuna cake recipes and they never turned out right. So glad I found this 1 my kids inhaled them. They were absolutely amazing!!!!!!!


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Motheroflittle November 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm

I make tuna cakes quite often. I like to add old bay seasoning (homemade) and dijon mustard. I’m gluten free so I substitute dry potato flakes for the bread crumbs. I usually serve them with baked grits and coleslaw.


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