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 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.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Tuna Fish Cake Ingredients
- Mashed Potato
- Spring Onion
- Dijon Mustard
- Garlic Powder
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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How to make Tuna Fish Cakes (Full Recipe & Video)
'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!'
- 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).
Watch how to make it!
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.
If you’re after more quick, easy and DELICIOUS Tuna recipes, look no further – 12 Creative Meals With Canned Tuna