Fish/ Lunch/ Potato

Tuna Fish Cakes (Tuna Potato Patties)

December 6, 2017 (Last Updated: December 10, 2019)

Crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside, these Tuna Fish Cakes are the perfect way to use up some cupboard staples for a quick, easy and delicious lunch!

For so long I used to open my pantry, see about 300 cans of tuna and stare blankly until I made pasta. For real, I can’t even begin to tell you how long I lived off tuna mayo pasta for. So this year I made it my mission to broaden my canned tuna horizon. Oh hey, tuna fish cakes!

Tuna Fish Cakes with salad and lemon wedges

Tuna fish cakes are my favourite kind of cake for so many different reasons.

Firstly, potato. Because life is better with potato right?

But in all seriousness I think that’s one of the reasons these tuna patties are so delish. I’ve made tuna fish cakes without potato before and I don’t know, they kinda just fall flat for me. The potato adds a real hearty component to the patties and adds a fluffy, creamy texture. Not only that, but it offers a nice crispy casing too.

Crispy on the outside, smooth on the inside? Yep that’s the tuna fish cake life I’m all about.

Best way to make Tuna Fish Cakes

I tend to categorize making tuna fish cakes into 3 easy steps:

  • Combining – first step is combining the potato with your filling ingredients. You can either use leftover mash or freshly made mash, I’ve added a section in the recipe notes on that.
  • Coating – next phase is coating in flour, then egg and finish in breadcrumbs. This will give a gorgeously golden crust to the patties.
  • Cooking – for me the best option is always frying. I have baked them in the oven before but because there’s such little fat in the filling or in the batter, they turn out being fairly dry.

Simple as that! The 3 C’s if you will.

How to make Tuna Fish Cakes - step by step

Here’s what you’ll need:

Tuna Fish Cake Ingredients

  • Mashed Potato
  • Tuna
  • Spring Onion
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Mayo
  • Dill
  • Garlic Powder
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Egg
  • Breadcrumbs

Tuna fish cakes have a bad rep for two reasons: bland and mushy. The above ingredients will rule out the bland factor for sure. I’ve tested this recipe countless times and I truly believe the above combo offers a really flavoursome fish cakes. The second aim is getting fish cakes that are crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside. Nobody wants a fish cakes that falls apart by just looking at it.

How to keep Tuna Fish Cakes from falling apart

  1. Dry Mash – When you make the mashed potato, make sure you leave the potatoes to steam before you mash them. This will allow moisture to escape the spuds and result in a less ‘mushy’ mash.
  2. Freezer – If you feel like the filling is too flimsy when you form it into the patties, pop them in the freezer before you dredge them through the egg, flour and breadcrumbs.
  3. Hot Oil – Ensuring the oil is sizzling before you put the patties in the pan is essential to them staying together. If the oil isn’t hot, the patties will just soak it up and go mushy before they get the chance to crisp up.

Stacked Tuna Fish Cakes with Potato

How much potato to use for a tuna fish cake?

I use 1.5 cups of mashed potato with 2 cans of tuna. If you’re making the mashed potato there and then, use 3 medium potatoes (which works out to be around 450g/1lb)

Can I coat the patties in just breadcrumbs?

I really don’t recommend this. I know dredging through flour and egg is a minor inconvenience, but it really makes all the difference. By using flour and egg you creating a thick coating to the patty which crisps up and and in turn stop the cakes from going mushy. I have used just breadcrumbs before and they don’t turn out half as well.

How to reduce mess when making fish cakes?

Whenever I’m coating anything in a batter of flour, egg and breadcrumbs, I allocate a ‘wet hand’ and a ‘dry hand’. Place the patty in the flour with the dry hand and transfer into the egg. Coat with your wet hand and transfer into the breadcrumbs. Coat with your dry hand. Voila – less mess!

Tuna Fish Cakes with Mayo

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How to make Tuna Fish Cakes (Full Recipe & Video)

Tuna Potato Patties - Stacked

Tuna Fish Cakes

'Crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside, these Tuna Fish Cakes are the perfect way to use up some cupboard staples for a quick, easy and delicious lunch!'
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer / Brunch / Lunch
Cuisine: Original
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings (click & slide): 6
Calories: 225kcal

Ingredients (check list):

  • 1.5 cups Mashed Potato (or 3 medium potatoes - approx 450g)
  • 2 Cans of Tuna, drained (185g/6.5oz each)
  • 2 Spring Onions, finely diced
  • 2 heaped tbsp all-purpose Flour
  • 4 tbsp Breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tsp fresh Dill, finely diced
  • 1 tsp Mayo (full fat)
  • zest of 1/2 Lemon (save wedge to serve)
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper or to taste
  • Salt & Black Pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying


  • Set up your stations: 1 bowl with flour, then 1 with your beaten egg and lastly with breadcrumbs. Season both the flour and breadcrumbs with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Combine your Mash with Butter, Mustard, Mayo, Spring Onion, Dill, Tuna, Garlic, Cayenne, Lemon Zest and generous helpings of Salt & Pepper.
  • Mould into equal burger-shapes (should get 6-8 depending on size). If they seem flimsy, consider popping in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm them up. Carefully dip in the Flour, then the Egg and finally the Breadcrumbs, making sure all surfaces are covered.
  • Pour enough oil in a pan to comfortably cover the entire surface. Fry over medium heat, flipping once until golden and crispy (6-8mins).

Quick 1 min demo!


Tips for keeping the patties from falling apart

a) Boiling Potatoes - If you are boiling potatoes, ensure you leaves them to steam before you mash. This will allow some moisture to escape the potato and prevent the patties from going mushy.
b) Freezer - If the patties seem flimsy after you've moulded them, pop them in the freezer for 5 or so mins before you dredge them through the batter to firm them up.
c) Oil -  It's important that the oil is hot enough to 'sizzle' when the patties hit the pan. If it's too low, the patties will merely soak up the oil, become soggy and fall apart. Test by dropping a tiny bit of patty in the oil beforehand.

How to reduce mess when making the breadcrumb batter

Coating anything in a flour, egg, breadcrumb batter opens the possibility of mess. my advice is to have a 'dry' hand and a 'wet' hand. Use one hand to coat the dry ingredients and the other to coat the wet. Simples. I also have a bowl of warm water next to me to dip my fingers in if things get too sticky.


If you're not keen on dill then sub parsley. If you don't like spice then just leave out the cayenne pepper.


Based on the assumption around 2 tbsp of olive oil is soaked up by 6 fish cakes.


Nutrition Facts
Tuna Fish Cakes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 225 Calories from Fat 80
% Daily Value*
Fat 8.87g14%
Saturated Fat 2.126g11%
Trans Fat 0.006g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.301g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.691g
Cholesterol 126mg42%
Sodium 207mg9%
Potassium 436mg12%
Carbohydrates 22.41g7%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1.34g1%
Protein 14.65g29%
Vitamin A 450IU9%
Vitamin C 9.9mg12%
Calcium 40mg4%
Iron 2.2mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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If you’re after more quick, easy and DELICIOUS Tuna recipes, look no further – 12 Creative Meals With Canned Tuna

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  • Reply
    October 11, 2019 at 12:13 am

    5 stars
    These are so good! The breadcrumb step is key. Great recipe.

  • Reply
    August 14, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    5 stars
    OH MY! they look incredible!!! Seriously some of the best tuna cakes Ive ever seen!!

    • Reply
      August 14, 2018 at 8:15 pm

      You’re too kind Camila!! Thank you so much 🙂

  • Reply
    August 14, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    5 stars
    I love tuna fish cakes and they remind me of being a kid. My daughter loves them too.

    • Reply
      August 14, 2018 at 8:15 pm

      Yes!! They totally remind me of being a kid too! 🙂

  • Reply
    August 14, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    5 stars
    Thanks for sharing all these tips for making amazing tuna cakes. I can’t wait to try!

    • Reply
      August 14, 2018 at 8:11 pm

      Enjoy, Lisa!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Shinta Simon
    August 14, 2018 at 11:51 am

    5 stars
    I enjoyed reading your recipe and the tips as well! The freezer tip is one that I follow when I make patties too, they hold up pretty well after a trip to the freezer. The patties look yum!

    • Reply
      August 14, 2018 at 8:11 pm

      Freezers always handy for a patty recipe isn’t it! Glad you found the other tips useful!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Cliona Keane
    December 11, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    5 stars
    This sounds like my perfect lunch recipe! I love tuna fish cakes!

    • Reply
      December 12, 2017 at 9:52 am

      Awesome for lunch! 🙂

  • Reply
    December 11, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Oh, this reminds me of my childhood. We had tuna patties all the time. Probably because they were inexpensive – but we all loved them. I don’t think my mom put potatoes in her though. I bet the potato gives it extra staying power.

    • Reply
      December 11, 2017 at 9:08 pm

      Yes, had these all the time growing up for the same reason!

  • Reply
    Katie D
    December 11, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    Dill is by far one of my favorite herbs to use – yum!

    • Reply
      December 11, 2017 at 8:47 pm

      Isn’t it just the best!?

  • Reply
    Adriana Lopez Martin
    December 11, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    5 stars
    This a lovely combination I prepare a similar recipe but make croquettes my mom’s recipe for lent. Thanks for bringing me so many good memories =)

    • Reply
      December 11, 2017 at 8:47 pm

      That’s so amazing to hear! I’m glad this post brought some joy 🙂 Have a great day!

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