Lemon Garlic Tuna Cakes are the best and easy patties made with canned tuna, lemon juice and zest, garlic, onion, breadcrumbs, eggs, mayo and shredded Parmesan. Quick and delicious tuna cakes for lunch or light dinner!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
I am all about easy lunches and light dinners but only if they have lots of flavor. The garlic-lemon combo is definitely one of my favorites to use. My Creamy Lemon Garlic Chicken is so delicious, I wanted to make another dish with this flavor pair. I know it works great with vegetables, like my Lemon Garlic Roasted Potatoes. This time, I added it to my best easy tuna cakes. They were a huge hit! Best tuna cakes I've ever made!
These Lemon Garlic Tuna Cakes can be made ahead of time or even frozen after frying. They are a great option for a delicious lunch or a light dinner. Serve with tartar sauce, simple aioli, or in a sandwich. The combination of garlic and lemon gives these tuna cakes plenty of flavor. Coating lightly in breading before frying makes them moist inside and crispy on the outside.
- tuna: from a can, drained from the water;
- bread crumbs: they help ingredients to bind and keep the cakes moist;
- onion and garlic: add flavor;
- lemon zest: the best way to add citrus flavor to a dish;
- egg: necessary for the ingredients to bind and prevent the cakes from falling apart;
- Parmesan cheese: adds cheesy flavor;
- seasoning: salt, pepper.
How to make tuna cakes?
- Start by draining canned tuna from water. I use a small colander to do that.
- Next, mix it with a large egg, breadcrumbs, finely chopped onion, minced garlic, lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper, and dried parsley.
- Combine the remaining breadcrumbs and grated cheese in a shallow dish. Scoop ¼ cup of tuna mixture, form into a patty, and lightly coat with the breading mixture.
- Fry the cakes in a pan with oil, until nicely browned on each side. Remove from pan and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with spinach or other greens, an additional lemon wedge, or even simple aioli.
How to make them crispy?
My secret to making these delicious tuna cakes crispy on the outside is to lightly coat them in breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese mixture. It makes the cakes moist inside and perfectly crispy on the outside.
What to serve with tuna cakes?
These tuna cakes are very flavorful thanks to the citrus and garlic, but if you want to dip them or drizzle them with a creamy sauce, you can make aioli by whisking together mayonnaise with lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a dash of hot sauce. You can also use my homemade Tartar Sauce.
Yes! It's great to make a larger batch of tuna cakes, cook (or bake), and cool completely. Then arrange them on a large baking sheet and freeze for 2 hours. Next, remove them from the sheet and place in a ziploc bag. Seal well by squeezing out as much air as possible. Label the bags and place them in a freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge and reheat before serving.
Yes, tuna cakes can be prepared and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. They make for a quick and easy lunch or light dinner on a busy day.
Yes, these tuna cakes can be easily cooked in the oven. Simply arrange prepared tuna cakes on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in 375 degrees F oven for about 18 to 20 minutes.
More seafood recipes:
If you like this recipe and make it, let me know in the comments below! Don't forget to rate it if you enjoyed it!
Lemon Garlic Tuna Cakes recipe
- 10 oz. tuna in water two 5 ounce cans; well drained
- 3 garlic cloves grated
- ¼ cup finely chopped white onion
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 4 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- Start by draining canned tuna from water. I use a small colander to do that.
- Next, combine it with garlic, onion, salt and pepper, lemon juice and zest, egg, breadcrumbs, mayo, ¼ cup of grated Parmesan cheese and dried parsley. Mix well.
- Combine remaining breadcrumbs and grated cheese in a shallow dish. Scoop ¼ cup of tuna mixture, form into a patty and lightly coat with breading mixture.
- Fry cake in pan with oil, until nicely browned on each side. Remove from pan and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with spinach or other greens, additional lemon wedge or even simple aioli.
- To freeze: cook (or bake) and cool completely. Then arrange on a large baking sheet and freeze for 2 hours. Next, remove from the sheet and place in a ziploc bag. Seal well by squeezing out as much air as possible. Label the bags and place in a freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge and reheat before serving.
- Please note, that the nutrition value can vary depending on what product you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use calorie counter you are familiar with.
Tuna cakes were good, but I have issues with the number of servings the recipe should have made. I followed exact recipe and measured out the tuna mixture and was only able to make 4 patties. I have made other tuna cake recipes and they are all very similar, this one was good but not fantastic. I might make again but will definitely have to double the ingredients.
I think the lady misread the amount of tuna so there fore didn't have enough mixture to make the required amount . We don't have oz here in Australia so I had to convert 425 g + 185g to make the required amount of tuna . Understand 8 oz. Converts to 250 g.
Love it, and so does my husband who at first screwed up his face in distaste when I told him we were having tuna patties for dinner. Lovely recipe, but I leave out the Mayo.
Excellent! The lemon zest makes all the difference and the coating browns up so nice and crispy! Loved it!
That's fantastic! Thank you for making my recipe, Sue! I am so glad it was a hit!
L. Chung says
Oops! Totally missed the rating section. But, I know you knew what it was.😊
You are so kind! Thank you, Lilly!
Lilly Chung says
Anna, I live in Connecticut and I volunteered to do lunch for my town's seniors at the local community center. I was assigned can tuna but didn't want to do tuna salad which is so typical; therefore, so boring... I found your recipie and decided that I liked how it read. And OMG, it was a resounding hit with the seniors and regular staff! Yum! And this was my first time ever making tuna patties. And I used 22 cans of tuna, 2 servings per can.😊
Now many want to have the recipie to use at home. What a delightful reconstruction of plain old tuna! Thanks so much for sharing.😄
Hi Lilly! I am absolutely delighted that you chose my recipe to make for the seniors in your community center! Thank you! I am so glad it was a hit and everyone enjoyed it. You did an amazing job (22 cans of tuna is a LOT!)! Thank you for sharing and for making my recipe!
Delicious!!! Even my 5 and 4 year old ate them up! Keeping this on the rotation. We ate air fried brussels and macaroni for sides! Thank you for sharing your genius!
Thank you so much, Linsey! I am so glad everyone loved the tuna cakes. Your sides sound perfect!
Made this in bulk for 10 people, and made a buerre blanc sauce to go with it and cheese gritz. When I came downstairs after they had started eating all I heard was this was so good, I ate it slow because I didn't want it to disappear! Sooooo good! And so easy for me! I give thanks to God for this recipe and allowing me to share it with my family!
The sauce and gritz sound delicious! Thank you for making my recipe!
Such a great recipe! I use my air fryer and they turn out beautifully. I put them on parchment paper, spray a little avocado oil on top and set the fryer on 375 for 10 min. I flip them, spray this side and set for an additional 5 min. They are so good! I found a Cajun tarter sauce recipe on another site and it was amazing! This is the only tuna cake recipe I will use😋
Delicious!! Used bottled lemon juice and dried peel, minced jarred garlic and seasoned bread crumbs because that’s what I had on hand. Also a little more than 1/4 cup bread crumbs in mix as I wanted to make sure they held together when pan fried but not really sure if necessary. Saved two for a cold sandwich on a soft bun tomorrow. This makes 8 small Patties. I ate 3 myself so you may want to double if feeding more than 2 people.
Danita Shearer says
Delish and easy! I use a little dill instead of parsley.
Serve with tartar sauce. About 4 points on WW.
Made these with no changes. Excellent! Will definitely be making these again.
Hi Anna, I just made these Tuna Cakes for supper and an aioli to go with them. Simply delicious!
We are eating more fish these days and cutting back on red meat.
Will be making this recipe again.
These are absolutely delicious! I modified by subbing almond flour and coconut flour in place of the breadcrumbs so the fact that they didn't hold together well is all on my shoulders. But I will definitely be working on that because the lemon garlic flavor is perfect!
One other question, we had some frozen albacore tuna, so I poached that first and used 10 oz, but that seemed like a lot more than would come out of two cans. Does anyone know if I should still use 10 oz when subbing regular tuna for canned?
Thanks for posting about using frozen tuna. I would rather do that, too.
The 5oz can weight includes the water it's packed in. The drained tuna is less than 10oz. Probably 6-8 oz for two drained cans.
This recipe sounds delicious. Grated Parmesan is mentioned more often in the text than shredded. Grated is listed in the ingredients, but the photos show shredded Parmesan. Which is it? Is it in the same form in the tuna cakes and in the breading?
I've had this recipe saved for awhile and finally made them tonight. I had looked through the comments to see if anyone had air fried them and didn't see one, but I love my air fryer so gave it a shot. Prepared the cakes as directed, preheated my air fryer, cooked them at 375 for 10 min., flipped them over (no problem) and cooked for an additional 5 min. They were very good - husband approved 😁 . Probably not as crisp as fried in oil, but crispy enough to be delicious. Made a simple aioli and green salad to go with.
Anita Ryan says
I made these tonight and they were delish! Even my picky eater gobbled them up!
I see they are 142 kcal per serving but nowhere did I find the serving size? I assumed just one..
Enjoying the dish while I write! Fabulous recipe. I didn't have Parmesan in the fridge, and it was still lovely without it. Will have to try with parmesan another time!
Fool-proof recipe! Have made it a few times and because my partner's gluten intolerant, I sub the breadcrumbs for gluten-free flour and it works well. He also isn't a fan of tuna but when I first made this, he finished everything.
I think the lemon zest really makes this a standout, so don't skip that! Going to try baking this instead of frying to reduce the amount of oil used.
That's wonderful! I am so glad you both enjoyed it! Thank you, Sher!
cleveland sam says
The recipe was spot on. My son and I tried it and the cakes were deeeeeelicious.
Thank you so much for making my recipe!
Candice Quadros says
I made these last night and they were incredible!
I loved the fresh burst of lemon and zest made it.
I used almond meal as I'm gluten sensitive and while they didn't hold well while forming, they fried up beautifully.
Thank you for sharing this delightful recipe!
Maria A Rodriguez says
This is the best Tunafish patty recipe EVER!!! My husband loved it so much that he asked if he can help me the next time, I totally agree, LOL!!
Delicious and flaky, with a bit of zing from the zest and lemon juice, this recipe is a winner.
Thank you for sharing💖
Thank you so much, Maria! I am so happy to know you both love the tuna cakes! Yay! That's wonderful!
Can you use fresh yellow fin tuna for this recipe
I made these with gluten-free Kinnikinnik panko bread crumbs and they were sooo good! Thanks so much for this recipe!
This is an amazingly simple, quick and delicious recipe and so good we made it two nights in a row! This is definitely something we will be adding to our regular plan and is also campervan friendly! Thank you so much!
I am so glad the tuna cakes were a success! Thank you for making my recipe!
Michael Driscoll says
As a survival type bachelor I just started cooking at home so certainly never commented on a recipe.
As a survival level bachelor I of course started preparing lemon garlic tuna before realizing I had no lemon (or mayo). Google said vinegar and Greek yogurt and I figured well you probably won’t die.
Did rest and I cannot tell you how good it turned out. Just like you said moist inside crisp outside. And the tang from the vinegar may even have been better than the lemon. Restaurant quality in my opinion.
Never dreamed that I would be talking like Martha Stewart. Keep up the good work.
This is excellent. I used 4 pouches of tuna, and I only had the lemon-flavored pouches. I used more olive oil to pan sear. They were delicious! Thanks for this recipe. I'll never spread tuna on bread again!
Hi Karen! That's fantastic! I am so glad you enjoy the tuna cakes.
Thanks so much for sharing this recipe, Anna! I make tuna salad all the time for lunch, and these cakes look like a nice upgrade from cold sandwiches. I'll bet they'd even be good on a bun!
They sure are! Thanks, Kim!
Ruby DeLaCruz says
I’ve made these once before and am making again tonight. Any suggestions of sides to serve with these tuna patties? Rice, veggies, 🤷🏻♀️
Grateful Gram says
I served cole slaw with mine.
Thank you! That sounds great. I was going to do salad greens with marinated artichokes, lemon wedge, and fried capers.
I did rice and roasted vegetables (tomato, broccoli, zucchini) with olive oil and lime.
I rarely, very rarely comment on recipes, but I had to on this one. I seriously think these are the best tuna patties I have ever made! The only thing I changed was... Costco tuna cans are 7 oz so I just added a bit more of all the ingredients except the egg, and I used all Panko breadcrumbs in the mixture and to coat. Oh, and I added dill. Served them with some spicy remoulade and they were gone in a flash! Highly recommend!
These really are the best best! Simple instructions. They turned out moist with this nice crispy outside. I've been making them for years now, but these are the ones. Honestly, I didn't realize they could be so moist but done at the same time. I've been over cooking them for sure. Thank you for the recipe🙂
Yum these were a nice easy and tasty lunch with a side salad! Would definitely recommend!
Thank you so much, Tracy!
Kali Hofmeister says
My son is a very picky eater and he loved it! I told him what I was making for dinner and he immediately said yuck. I went to give him a bite and he refused. I convinced him to try it and as soon as he started chewing he said MMMMM! He pointed at it and said I love it! Lol. YES!
I made it as the recipe said and they turned out amazing. The whole family loved it. They were crispy on the outside which I love. And the flavor is amazing.
So glad I found this recipe!
Hi Kali! That's absolutely wonderful! This is exactly why I create and share recipes. I am so glad you and your family loved the tuna cakes! Thank you so much for trying my recipe and for the comment!
GOOD AND HEALTHY. TUNA.
Elizabeth Ridings says
Made this for my son's family for Sunday night supper. My granddaughters made a face when I told them what I made, because they aren't crazy about tuna. Well, not only did they love these (I served on my homemade sandwich rolls), but they asked for seconds, and told me to add to their "favorites"! The only change I made was to add a tiny amount of dill. They were delicious, and will definitely make them again soon.
Can these be oven baked instead of pan fried? Thanks
Delicious! Loved the lemony flavor. We will definitely be making these again.
Delicious, easy, and quick!
Thank you, Dee!
Erica Lopez says
First time having cooked tuna (I know I know lol). And let me just say WOWWWWWW. FLAVOR PALOOZA. Had it on top of a salad and I’m so happy I made extra, I have some for lunch 😩❤️ I appreciate this, I branched out and I was not disappointed at all. And my house smells amazing 😊
I modified a tiny bit
I put Italian seasoned bread crumbs
Added bell pepper
And as a dressing on top I used chipotle sauce with a tiny squeeze of lemon.
Carol Bowker Lynch says
These are super yummy! The lemon zest takes it to a new dimension. I made the recipe exactly as written and it is awesome.
Maricel DELA CRUZ -JOHNSON says
Sooooo....delicious!!! Best recipe by far. I followed the directions but added some minced red bell pepper and it was the bomb!!!! I made some aioli sauce as you recommended and my husband and kids loved it!!! Thank you for sharing!!!
Hi Maricel! That's wonderful! I am so glad the tuna cakes were a hit! Thank you for trying my recipe!
These taste really yummy but I am a beginner cook and I read through the recipe and noticed you mentioned combining everything, you mention breadcrumbs and then say take the remaining breadcrumbs and mix with parmesan cheese. It confused me because how much of the breadcrumbs should be mixed in the batter? So I had to guess. I'm not sure if that contributed to my cakes falling apart, but I just thought I would point that out.
But a very tasty simple dish with stuff that most people have in their house.
Reread the recipe. Breadcrumbs are mentioned twice in the ingredients list! 1/4 of a cup breadcrumbs goes into the tuna mixture and then you need 4 additional tablespoons of breadcrumbs for the coating.
Oh my goodness what a delight !
I made these today and added some chilli flakes
and extra lemon zest to the recipe ...
WOW , thank you so much . A great starter or
light lunch to impress .
These tuna patties are great! We had some buns so we turned them into tuna burgers with tomatoes, clover sprouts, and a mayo/lemon juice mixture in them. Soooo good. I was wondering if the recipe would still work if I used canned salmon instead of tuna?
I made some alterations to the recipe just based on what was in the pantry and how I felt.
Instead of onions, I used a bit of onion powder. I was already peckish when I found this great recipe. Because I also did not have much in the breadcrumbs domain, I used the last of the GF Panko breadcrumbs I had, and instead put the cakes in coconut flour and parmesan cheese and cooked it with coconut oil.
Some of the cakes broke up, but it was minimal. I ended up having the cakes atop polenta with some tartar sauce and a couple of capers, and WOW.
You've made my day sincerely, and I look forward to seeing some of your other recipes.
Hi Victoria! Thank you for trying my recipe! I am glad it was a good base for your adaptations. I hope you enjoy my other recipes as well! Have a beautiful day!
Delicious! I made these for dinner tonight and they are a big hit!
I used lime and Italian bread crumbs as that is what we had!
One question, what is a portion for the calorie count, 1 or 2 patties!
Thanks for a great recipe!
Hi Karen! That's fantastic! I am so glad the cakes were a hit. The calorie count is per cake. Thank you so much for trying my recipe!
Virginia norris says
I didn’t have any breadcrumbs so I used potato flakes. Don’t do it!
Carol Templeton says
wich one ingredient can replace the Mayo?
Per google I used Greek yogurt delicious
Crispy, moist, delicious!! Perfect tuna cake! I made mini's as an appetizer, fantastic!!
very good and easy to make!
Thank you so much!
These cakes are fantastic! As I was eating them, I kept saying how extraordinarily good they tasted.... and then a happy comment came out from headquarters, my husband who was absorbed in tv while eating; but finally said, “THE TUNA IS GREAT! IT’S SUPER!” So it’s unanimous in our household! So grateful you shared this recipe! You’re a genius to put all these different flavors together with tuna, that I don’t particularly care for; and the end result taste like you can’t wait to eat the rest for dinner tonight! Girl, these cakes won us over! Thanks so much! 😀
is it 2.5 oz or 25?
It’s 2x 5oz, so 2 cans that are 5oz each
Delicious! They have a nice light flavor with a little kick of garlic, and they fried up nice and crispy. This recipe is a keeper.
Thank you so much, Debbie! I am so glad you enjoyed it!
Really good! My whole family enjoyed them! Prepared earlier in the day and baked right before dinner, salad, and done!
Thank you so much, Alice, for trying the recipe! I am so glad it was a hit with the whole family!
Michel Valera says
this recipe is absolutely delicious... thanks for sharing
Thank you for trying it, Michel!
robyn hamilton says
love this recipe. No fail and reliable and delicious from Australia
Thank you so much, Robyn!
Made these for dinner tonight- so so good!! I can already tell they'll be a go-to (I love finding a new go-to). Served as a main with some lemony dill mayo for dipping (threw a little fresh dill in the cakes, too) and some blanched green beans tossed in a nicoise-ish dressing on the side. Thank you for this recipe!
Hi Kirsten! Yay! That's fantastic! I am so glad the tuna cakes were a hit! Thank you so much for trying my recipe and for the comment!
As someone who is beginning cooking-If I wanted to do a potato and tuna version of this, how many potatoes would you suggest. I tried to find similar recipes, but everything was in grams.
Making them now for 1st time. For weight watcher t followers I calculated these for 4 points each. I made 12 patties thinking maybe about 1 1/2 patties. What do you think
These look so crispy and delicious! Yum!
Becky Hardin says
Lemon garlic tuna cakes!!!! These sound amazing! So much flavor!!
I made these for my children's lunches and they loved them! Thanks!
That's fantastic! Thank you, Steph!
These are so full of flavor and easy to make! Its a go to recipe in my home! My kids dont realize theyre eating fish! so good!
Perfect! Thanks, Krissy!
Tuna cakes was one of my go-to recipes when my husband and I were newlyweds. They're so budget-friendly! Love the lemon and garlic in these.
Yay! Thanks, Tara!