Healthy Tuna Patties Recipe

These healthy tuna patties are a delicious switch for dinner tonight and they’re made with a clean eating recipe!

Tuna patties are a remarkably easy and simple dish to throw together. They make a wonderfully light meal on a hot summer evening. The flavors are light and delicious and you can serve them with any sauces you prefer.

A stack of theseClean Eating Tuna Patties sits on a white plate topped with fresh herbs, chopped red onion and some bright yellow lemon wedges.

They make a wonderful high-protein meal or snack the whole family will love! You can even serve them with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese or mix in some old bay seasoning. Just make sure to read the ingredients because some brands may have unwanted ingredients.

Tuna Patties Recipe Tips

  • Use an ice cream scoop to scoop the patty into the skillet and then use a fork to gently press it down to a flatter form.
  • If you prefer to bake these instead of frying them, simply scoop the patties onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes at 350 F.

If Your Tuna Patties Fall Apart

If your patties fall apart in the pan, there could be one of a few things that are causing it.

  1. The tuna was not drained well enough. You want to get all of the water removed or it will cause problems.
  2. Temperature and humidity can vary from kitchen to kitchen, for many different reasons. The fix could be as simple as adding one more egg. Three eggs worked fine for me, but it’s possible that some people may need to use four eggs. So if the first patty falls apart, just stir in an extra egg with the remaining tuna and try again.
  3. The size of the tuna chunks – very large chunks will not hold together as well as smaller chunks. If you find the chunks of tuna are on the larger side, simply put the tuna in a small bowl and mash it a bit with a fork until the pieces are much smaller.
  4. The heat of your pan – While you don’t want to cook these on high heat, you do want to put them in a very hot pan so the egg cooks immediately and holds everything together. So get the pan nice and hot, then reduce the heat to medium heat and cook.
  5. You can add a binder if you wish – Good binders can be almond flour, oat flour, or whole grain cracker crumbs (Panko makes a whole wheat version of bread crumbs). Start with 1 tablespoon. You can add more, but don’t go overboard.

Dietary Needs

These are great for a low-carb or keto eating plan. They are also low glycemic, gluten-free, and paleo.

What To Serve With Tuna Patties

Tuna patties are pretty versatile. Anything you would generally serve with fish will work here. I love sweet potatoes or even sweet potato fries (for more of a “fish-n-chips” type of dish). Rice or quinoa and vegetables are always a great option, as is a simple, green salad.

Can You Make Healthy Tuna Patties In An Air Fryer?

You can! Line your air fryer basket or tray with parchment paper and cook these at 360 F. for 10 minutes.

IMPORTANT: If you opt to air fry these, you will want to do 2 important things.

1. Preheat your air fryer, if it has that function.

2. Definitely use one of the binders mentioned above. And for this, I would start at 2 tbsp.

About Tuna Patty Ingredients

Water-packed, canned tuna  – Make sure to get the water-packed tuna, not oil-packed. No added salt is best.

Large eggs – These do best if used at room temperature, but it’s not as important as it would be in baking. I’ve made these with cold eggs as well and they do just fine.

Lemon juice – Freshly squeezed or bottled with no sugar added.

Red onion – Chop these really well. If you have a different color onion on hand, feel free to use it. But purple onions have a sweetness that works really well here.

Dried parsley – If you prefer to use fresh parsley, use 1 tbsp. and mince it really fine.

Dried dill – Again, you can use fresh if you prefer. Use 1 full tsp. for that, and mince well.

Garlic powder – If you prefer fresh garlic, I highly recommend mincing it and sautéing it first before adding it to this recipe. If you go that route, use 2 medium garlic cloves and mice well.

Oil  – This is as needed for cooking. Use any oil you have on hand. Lightly flavored oils will taste best here.

More Optional Topping Ideas

  • Green onions
  • Shallots
  • Ground black pepper
  • Fresh herbs
  • Fresh chives
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh basil
  • Lemon zest
  • Fresh lime or lemon wedges

How To Make Healthy Tuna Patties

Ingredients for these clean eating tuna patties put together in a mixing bowl, ready to mix for forming the patties.

Stir everything together in a medium mixing bowl until well combined.

Formed raw tuna patties sit on a white plate, ready to be cooked.

Form small patties with the tuna mixture, with your hands (about 1½ inches in diameter).

Two clean eating tuna patties cooking in a skillet as one gets flipped over with a metal spatula.

Cook in a skillet using a heart-healthy oil.

Freshly cooked, clean eating tuna patties sit on a plate with a lemon wedge, ready to eat.

Top your tuna cakes with fresh, chopped onion, fresh parsley, and serve with a lemon wedge. Top these with a little kosher salt or pink Himalayan salt. A little black pepper is good too.

How To Store Tuna Patties

If you have extras or need to make these ahead of time (you can make them up to 2 days in advance), store them in an air-tight container and keep them in the fridge. Make sure they all get eaten by day 3. Fish has a very short shelf life before it can make you sick. 3 days is the max time they should spend in the fridge.

Can You Freeze Tuna Patties?

You can! You’ll need to cook them first, but once cooked, they will freeze for up to 3 months.

To do this, cook the patties according to the recipe. Place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and place them, uncovered, in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours. Once frozen, transfer them to an air-tight container and return them to the freezer.

Thawing And Reheating

To thaw, let them sit in the fridge overnight.

To reheat, simply place them into a warm pan with a light spritz of oil and flip them frequently until warm.

You can also microwave them, 30 seconds at a time until they are just warm. Do not overdo it in the microwave because they will get dry and rubbery fast.

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Clean Eating Tuna Patties on a white plate with lemon wedge

Healthy Tuna Patties

These easy-to-make tuna patties make a perfect lunch or dinner for a busy day. Enjoy with a squeeze of lemon!
4.22 from 80 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 12 patties
Calories: 54kcal



  • 15 oz. water packed tuna (no added salt, water drained well)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ½ cup red onion (chopped)
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • ½ tsp. dried dill
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • oil (for cooking)


  • Stir everything together in a medium mixing bowl until well combined.
    Ingredients for these clean eating tuna patties put together in a mixing bowl, ready to mix for forming the patties.
  • Form small patties with your hands (about 1½ inches in diameter).
    Formed raw tuna patties sit on a white plate, ready to be cooked.
  • Cook in a skillet using a heart healthy oil.
    Two clean eating tuna patties cooking in a skillet as one gets flipped over with a metal spatula.
  • Top with fresh, chopped onion, fresh parsley and serve with a lemon wedge.
    Freshly cooked, clean eating tuna patties sit on a plate with a lemon wedge, ready to eat.


Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 1pattie | Calories: 54kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 108mg | Potassium: 113mg | Vitamin A: 110IU | Vitamin C: 1.6mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

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    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Martha – Possibly, but it wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice. If you need to make less, I recommend just cutting the recipe in half.

  1. I made this with albacore because I had that on and wanted to try this recipe… huge mistake ๐Ÿ™ they came out terribly dry! Iโ€™m sure they are much better with regular tuna ๐Ÿ™‚ hoping to try again!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Gabi – Oh bummer!!! It could be that it just needed a little more egg to keep the moisture, but I can’t be sure. It’s a wonderful recipe so I hope you’ll give it another chance!

  2. Iโ€™m just wondering how you got the 21 calories a serving ??

    3 5oz Cans of Tuna is about 500 calories , 3 large eggs is about 210.. sooo 710 calories .. divide that by 12 patties is 60 calories a party without accounting for any extras added in.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Monica – A 5 oz. can of water packed tuna is 140 calories. Are you buying oil packed perhaps? Either way, please see the disclaimer just above the data. None of my data is exact. That would be impossible.

  3. The nutrition chart says only 1 gram of protein? How is that possible? Thanks for the info!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      MegAn – Thanks for bringing that to my attention! I updated the data. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. 5 stars
    My patties came out firm and solid. I agree with the writer โ€” make sure you THOROUGHLY drain out the water. I drained it out by letting all of the cans sit in a strainer for about 10 minutes, and then squeezed out the remaining water between my hands as I formed the patties. This is because even though the tuna looked drained in the strainer, there was still a LOT of water hiding in it.

    For extra flavor, I also added sage and celery seed.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Valerie – Sounds like yummy additions! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious ๐Ÿ˜‹. Made these for dinner tonight and the flavours were so clean and fresh! I would definitely make these again. Thank you so much for the recipe ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Susane Carr says:

    Can you bake these? and can you use regular white onions?

    1. Susane – I have never tried baking them, but I have a hunch they may fall apart. Worth a shot though! And yes, you can use regular white onions. Enjoy!