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tuna patties plated with salad on white plate with dip and more patties blurred in background
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5 from 11 votes

Tuna Fish Cakes

Crispy on the outside & smooth on the inside, these Tuna Fish Cakes are the perfect way to use up some cupboard staples for an easy and delicious lunch! Makes 6 fish cakes
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Brunch, Lunch
Cuisine: American, English
Servings: 6 patties
Calories: 225kcal
Cost: £1.50 / $2


  • Medium Sized Mixing Bowl & Spatula
  • 3 Shallow Medium Bowls (for dredging)
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Pot, Masher & Colander (if making mash)
  • Zester/Fine Grater
  • Non-Stick Frying Pan & Turner (if frying)
  • Baking Tray (if baking)


  • 1.5 cups Mashed Potato, or 16oz/450g potatoes to make mash (see notes)
  • 2x 6.5oz/185g cans of Tuna, drained (preferably spring water, not oil)
  • 1 cup / 60g Panko Breadcrumbs (see notes)
  • 1 large Egg, beaten
  • 2-3 heaped tbsp Flour
  • 2 Spring/Green Onions, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tsp Mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp finely diced Fresh Parsley
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • zest of 1/2 Lemon
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
  • Vegetable Oil, as needed (frying)
  • Oil Spray, as needed (baking)


If Making Mashed Potato

  • Peel and dice 16oz/450g white potatoes and place in a pot of enough cold water to comfortably cover them. Add a hefty pinch of salt and bring to a boil until they are just about tender enough to slice. It's crucial you don't over boil the potatoes or they'll soak up too much water and the patties will be too sloppy to mould.
  • Drain in a colander and allow to steam completely dry. This is crucial to allow as much moisture to leave the potatoes as possible. If you have time cool them completely in the fridge, do that as well, but the main thing is allowing all the steam to escape. Mash until lump free.


  • Combine your cold mash with butter, mustard and mayo. Add in tuna, spring onions, parsley, lemon zest, garlic powder and seasoning to taste. If you're using leftover mashed potato which was made with butter you won't need to add more. Also just take into consideration how much it was already seasoned.
  • Mould into equal burger-shapes, you should get 6-8 depending on size. I find scooping with a 1/3 measuring cup gives 6 equal patties. I highly recommend popping them in the freezer at this point for 10-15mins to firm up before dredging. Or at least while you set up your bowls.


  • Set up your stations: 1 bowl with flour and a pinch of salt and pepper, then 1 with your beaten egg and lastly breadcrumbs with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • One by one, delicately (but still thoroughly) coat the patties in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Again, if they feel at all flimsy at this point pop them in the freezer to firm up.

Frying (option 1)

  • Pour enough veg oil in a pan to comfortably cover the entire surface. Bring to a medium-high heat and when it sizzles when a crumb is dropped in, carefully place in 3 patties at a time. Allow to fry for 3-4mins (or until golden underneath) then flip and fry until golden on the other side. 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.

Baking (option 2)

  • Place on a greased tray and liberally spray with oil. Bake at 390F/200C for 20-25mins, flipping once, or until golden and crispy all around (timings will vary depending on size of patties).
  • See recipe notes for make ahead and freezing options.



a) Mashed Potato - I recommend making this in advance and storing in the fridge. Mainly so you don't have to wait for the potatoes to steam dry, but also so the potato is cold, which in turn helps the patties stay together. 16oz/450g potatoes is around 3 medium sized potatoes (before peeled) and will make 1.5 cups of mashed potato.
b) Breadcrumbs - Panko Breadcrumbs are awesome because they're very large and quite light, meaning they turn extra crispy. You will find them in almost all supermarkets/grocery stores in the Asian section. If you don't have them you can sub regular dry breadcrumbs, where 1 cup is around 140g.
c) Make Ahead Options:
i) Part Make Ahead - You can make up until forming the patties and cover in the fridge until ready to dredge. Or you could fully coat in breadcrumbs and store in the fridge and proceed with recipe when needed. You could also fully coat in breadcrumbs and freeze them. From there I recommend baking from frozen (add another 10-15mins on). Or thaw in the fridge overnight and fry as recipe states.
ii) Fully Make Ahead - You can cook the patties then allow to completely cool, cover and store in the fridge for 2-3days and reheat in the oven at 180C/356F for around 10-15mins until crispy again. Or, store in the freezer for up to a month and reheat from frozen in the oven at 180C/356F for around 20-25mins or until crispy on the outside and hot through the centre.
In all cases above they won't be quite as crispy as if they were cooked and eaten fresh, but still taste great!
d) How to reduce mess when dredging patties - 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.
e) Serving Sauce - The sauce I serve with in the video and photos is my Homemade Tartare Sauce.
f) Calories - An estimate as it's difficult to measure how much flour/egg/breadcrumbs is picked up by the patties.


Calories: 225kcal | Carbohydrates: 22.41g | Protein: 14.65g | Fat: 8.87g | Saturated Fat: 2.126g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.301g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4.691g | Trans Fat: 0.006g | Cholesterol: 126mg | Sodium: 207mg | Potassium: 436mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1.34g | Vitamin A: 450IU | Vitamin C: 9.9mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2.2mg