These yummy Tuna Cakes with Jalapeño and Cilantro are low carb, low calorie, and big on flavor! They are a budget-friendly protein-packed entrée that requires a handful of ingredients and canned tuna.
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The full recipe is below at the bottom of this blog post.
I’ve been making these crispy fried tuna patties for over 20 years and we never get tired of them. I’ve shared this recipe with so many friends and loved ones and they always get amazing reviews. I make a Sriracha Aioli sauce to drizzle on them but they are delicious all by themselves.
Why these easy Tuna Cakes from a can are so popular?
The combination of jalapeno, cilantro, and lemon gives these tuna croquettes the most delicious flavor, they are herbaceous and citrusy with just a little kick… they are sooo good my friend!
Are this Tuna Cakes low-calorie, low-carb, and gluten-free?
So the answer is a big – YES!
These tuna patties are low-calorie about 112 per serving which is 1 cake. They are also full of protein – 11 grams per tuna patty. AND they are low-carb with just 3g of carbs per cake, AND gluten-free because I use almond meal or almond flour in place of breadcrumbs. Brilliant – right!??
Can I freeze Tuna Patties?
Just pan-fry them and let them cool on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Then wrap each cake in plastic wrap, add them to freezer bags or an airtight freezer-safe container, and store them in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
You can defrost the patties in the microwave or place them in the refrigerator the night before you want to enjoy them and they will defrost naturally.
It’s so handy to grab one or two out of the freezer for a quick lunch or on a busy weeknight when you don’t have the energy to cook.
Are Tuna Patties good for meal prepping?
And that would be another big – YES!
Another great thing about this tuna cake recipe is that it creates around 13-14 patties so they are perfect for meal prepping. Make a batch and enjoy them for lunches or dinner during the week or freeze them for meals at a later time.
Can’t you see why everyone loves them!?
How to make Tuna Cakes?
These Tuna Cakes with Jalapeño and Cilantro couldn’t be easier to make. (The full recipe is below at the bottom of this post.)
You strain the water from your tuna. Press the tuna against the bottom of the strainer to get most of the water out.
I like to use solid tuna in water because it has a low amount of liquid and too much liquid will make these tuna cakes too moist and they will fall apart when you’re cooking them.
Next, prep the rest of your ingredients and add them all to a large mixing bowl.
Thoroughly mix all the ingredients together.
Use a ⅓ measuring cup, scoop, and press the tuna mixture into the cup so it’s packed in good.
Turn the tuna cake out into the palm of your hand, keeping its shape from the measuring cup.
Press it together so it’s compact and solid and stays together while cooking. (If the mixture is too loose add a tablespoon at a time of almond flour/almond meal until it holds together when you form them.)
So now heat a teaspoon or two of olive oil in a medium-sized non-stick pan. Add three tuna patties and fry them for about 3 minutes per side or until golden. Transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet as they are finished cooking.
I love to pair these Tuna Cakes with Jalapeño and Cilantro with my creamy Sriracha sauce. Basically, it's just Sriracha, mayonnaise, lemon juice, minced garlic, cayenne pepper salt, and pepper. (You can find the full recipe below at the bottom of this post.)
Then make a salad or a veggie side dish and enjoy!
If you’re wondering what to serve with these yummy discs of protein – I have a few ideas. Of course!
What to serve with Tuna Patties?
Any of these sides would be a delicious pairing for a family-friendly meal.
- My tasty and crazy popular Roasted Parmesan Broccoli.
- One of my Brussels Sprout recipes… Balsamic-Glazed Brussels Sprouts, Asiago Cheese Brussels Sprouts, and Spicy and Sweet Brussels Sprouts.
- A simple Arugula Salad.
- Or some Garlic Green Beans… mmm!
These Tuna Patties are a huge time saver!
Basically, it comes down to the simple fact that life is busy. Our time is very precious, and a bit elusive. We all need quick, easy, inexpensive, delicious, recipes to make for easy weeknight dinners.
We want to spend less time cooking over a hot stove and more time checking out food blogs and watching one of my favorite TV shows of all time - Poldark! Oh, Poldark.
I must digress for a quick minute… I’ve mentioned Poldark before but I’m not sure I did it justice. And I’m concerned that you may be missing out on, well, one of the best TV series to come along since color TV.
People for the love of PBS, Mr. Darcy, and Downton Abbey – click here for Season 1 of the most amazing, tea-drinking, family-feuding, horseback-riding show in the history of time. ✨
Is my minute up? Is anyone keeping track of all the fantastic tips I shower you with? #humblebrag
The greatest of all canned Tuna recipes!
So to recap… these Tuna Cakes with Jalapeno and Cilantro are delicious, inexpensive, quick and easy to make, good for us, great for meal prepping and freezing, AND everyone loves them because they remind us of growing up eating mom’s (or dad’s) tasty tuna salad sandwiches! Aww, the sweet memories.
I can’t wait for you to give these tuna patties a try!
PS: If you love them as much as I do (which you will – of course) you should also give my Easy Crab Cakes, Salmon Patties, and Mini Salmon Cakes a try.
PSS: If you’re a saucy kind of person you can mix up a simple Sriracha Aioli sauce for them. I’ve included that recipe below for your eating pleasure.
Please enjoy my friend!
Tuna Cakes with Jalapenos and Cilantro
These yummy Tuna Cakes with Jalapeño and Cilantro are low on carbs and calories and big on flavor!
- 25 ounces canned solid white tuna in water, (five 5-ounce cans)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped, plus a few sprigs saved for garnish
- ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons, almond flour, almond meal (or breadcrumbs if you're not concerned about carbs or being gluten-free.)
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise, (Greek yogurt can be used instead)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, (about 1 to 1 ½ lemons)
- 3 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped, ribs and seeds removed (unless you like it a little spicy)
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- In a large strainer, in the sink over a large bowl, add the 5 cans of tuna and let them drain, press the tuna into the strainer to remove as much liquid as you can. Then prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Sauté the onions in a little olive oil for about 8 minutes in a sauté pan over medium, until translucent. Set aside and let cool.
- While the onions are cooking, in a large mixing bowl, add the mayo, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and whisk till combined. Then add cilantro and jalapeno peppers to the mixture.
- Add the tuna, beaten eggs, cooked onions, and almond flour (almond meal or breadcrumbs), and mix until ingredients are thoroughly incorporated and hold together.
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat about a teaspoon of olive oil on high for about a minute, then turn it down to medium to medium-high depending on how hot your stovetop gets.
- Working in batches, use a packed one-third cup measure of tuna mixture per cake. Turn the tuna cake out into the palm of your hand, firmly keeping the original shape of the measuring cup.
- Cook the tuna patties until just golden brown and a bit crisp on the outside, about 3 minutes per side. You may need to adjust your heat as you cook them so they don't burn and you may need to add a teaspoon of oil to the pan between batches. Serve hot, or warm over simple arugula or with your favorite veggie side dish. The recipe makes 13-14 patties.
- Scoop the tuna mixture with a one third measuring cup, pat it a little to make sure it's formed tightly, then place it in the sauté pan.
- Use a grease screen to cut down on the oil splatter while cooking the cakes.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan when cooking the cakes. They will take longer and flipping them over will be more difficult. I use a 10inch Calphalon pan and cook 4 patties at a time.
- There is not much filler in these cakes, which makes them a little loose. Be sure to gently flip them over when cooking.
Serving Size1 tuna cake
Amount Per Serving Calories 112Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 42mgSodium 349mgCarbohydrates 3gProtein 11g
If spicy isn't your thing, just omit the the Sriracha and cayenne.
- ¾ cup light mayonnaise
- 2 cloves small garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of Sriracha
- About 3 shakes of cayenne pepper
- Whisk together all the ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Serving Size1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving Calories 42Total Fat 3gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 2mgSodium 310mgCarbohydrates 2g
delicious! i added some old bay seasoning and had to add alot more breadcrumbs but it was yummy!!
Hi Arya I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe! So happy to hear when people add to recipes, I love getting creative in the kitchen!
These were really tasty but I think I used the wrong size tuna cans...it was very flaky and did not stick much together so added more egg and flour...that seemed to have helped. I'm assuming when you say 5oz cans those are the small one? 🙂
Hello Nancy I'm glad you thought the recipe was tasty! Yes the 5 oz cans are the small ones, the larger cans would cause the recipe to change which is why the tuna didn't stick together as much!
Is there an air fryer method? I stink at frying things, but mine turn out dry.
Hi Amber, I haven't tried these in the air fryer. If I did I would use a parchment liner for sure.
Hi, I am going to make these, do they freeze well?
Hi Maria, absolutely! There are two ways to freeze the patties:
Option 1: Freeze before sauteeing. To do this, leave the patties on a baking sheet, cover the entire sheet with plastic wrap, and place it in the freezer for several hours. Once they’ve frozen enough to hold their shape, wrap each tuna cake individually with plastic wrap. Place them all in a freezer bag together, and save for another day. (Note: Defrost the cakes in the fridge before cooking.
Option 2: Freeze after sauteeing. To do this, allow them to cool fully after you have pan sauteed them. Then wrap each cake individually with plastic wrap. Place them all in a freezer bag together, and defrost whenever you are ready to eat one. You can defrost them in the fridge the day before eating.
I have made these so many times and they are the best! So delicious! I was wondering if this same recipe would be good if using crab?
Thank you Jesika! Yes if you used the same quantity of meat I think crab would work quite nicely!
Do you think basil would pair well instead of cilantro?
Hi Christine swapping cilantro for basil works well! In some cases it would alter the flavor but this recipe shouldn't have any major changes due to the basil!