Quick and Easy Tuna Patties

Quick & Easy Tuna Patties

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Quick and Easy Tuna Patties

The last three years have been earth shaking for so many reasons. First, the global pandemic. Next, supply issues and quarantine. Then, crushing inflation and talk of a second Great Depression. Need I mention the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank?…cue the brown bag breathing!

But sometimes we need to remind ourselves, out of great tragedy comes great opportunity. Or in this case, oppor-tuna-ty….

Lately, my Google search history has been bursting at the seems. Like most families, phrases like “cheap dinner ideas, groceries on a budget, and how to cut grocery bills.” are among the most common. What used to buy a whole cart load of groceries, can now only buy a carton of eggs. While yes, that might be a slight exaggeration, the feelings behind it are still valid. Buying groceries for a family is getting harder by the day. Especially, paleo groceries.

Little did I know the answer was sitting in the back of my kitchen cabinet…

Tuna It Down!

It was 5 o’clock in the evening. Music was blaring. And I was in my kitchen trying to figure out what to make for dinner. Due to the aforementioned strain on budget, we were sitting in the “what can I do with a box of cake mix and a can of peas” stage of needing groceries. Fortunately, I discovered several cans of tuna stashed in the back of the pantry. Tuna patties it is!

If you’ve never had a tuna patty, it’s pretty easy to describe. Essentially, it’s a hamburger patty made out of tuna, then pan fried. You can also make it with 100% crab meat or canned salmon, but the cheapest and easiest option is by far tuna.

The best part about tuna patties are that you can mix whatever you want into them. Because I try to eat grain free, I like to use almond flour as my filler. However, you can easily use bread crumbs, crackers, or stuffing if that’s what you prefer. I also like to diced up veggies and seasonings to give them extra flavor. Whatever you have on hand is fine!

Quick and Easy Tuna Patties
Quick and Easy Tuna Patties

So-fish-tication On A Budget

Whenever I make tuna patties, I feel like I’m making the Wish version of crab cakes. Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and flavored however I’d like. It’s definitely a great meal option to break up the typical budget menu…with enough for leftovers! BONUS!

Since these patties are fried, I like to serve fresh fruit, veggies, or salad as a side to break up the heaviness. Pictured with the patties are these delicious honey garlic carrots from Diethood. However, mashed potatoes or mac n’ cheese would also be great options. If you’re dairy free, be sure to check out my plant based mac n’ cheese before you go! It’s a total game changer.

If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can even make a dipping sauce to serve along side. This roasted red pepper aoili from everylastbite.com is amazing (so is their connected crab cake recipe…just saying). For my family of Midwest fuddy-duddies, ketchup does just fine.


I tend to cringe when bloggers claim things like “dinners for 4 for under $10.” There are so many factors that change how much a meal can cost. Did the blogger find a sale that isn’t readily available to their readers? Is their pantry stocked with ingredients that most people wouldn’t have? Are they homesteaders that have access to free produce others don’t? Are the prices recent? So many things can change how much something costs.

Though the same is true for these tuna patties, it’s the ability to adapt that makes this recipe a stand out winner. I won’t claim that you can make them for free like I did (because I already had all the ingredients). BUT they are easy to make and flexible enough to fit each person’s budget. All you need is tuna, a filler (crackers, etc), a binder (eggs), and milk. Then you’ll be on your way to an economical, yet unique, dinner option even my picky eaters enjoy!

Quick and Easy Tuna Patties

Tuna Patties

Recipe by Messy MasterpieceCourse: MainDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 30oz of tuna, well drained

  • 1/3 cup almond flour (or crushed crackers)

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/4 cup milk (I use almond milk)

  • 1/2 cup diced veggies of choice, optional (I prefer bell pepper and onion)

  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, optional

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Combine tuna, almond flour, eggs, milk, fillings, and seasonings in a medium sized bowl. Mix well.
  • Take a little bit of tuna mixture out and squeeze it in your hand. If it’s moldable and holds its shape like playdoh, then it’s the correct consistency. If it crumbles apart, it’s too dry. Add a tablespoon of milk at a time until it holds. If the mixture is to wet and hard to work with, add almond flour a tablespoon at a time until it’s moldable. Set aside.
  • Preheat 1/2″ of oil in the bottom of a skillet. You can test if the oil is ready by dropping a tiny bit of tuna mixture into the pan. If it sizzles right away, it’s ready.
  • Once oil is hot, roll tuna mixture into ping pong ball sized balls and drop it into the skillet. Gently flatten the rounds just a little bit.
  • Carefully flip patties when the bottoms are a deep golden brown. Once both sides are brown, remove patties and place on a paper towel lined plate. Serve warm.

To explore more great recipe ideas, head to the MMB Recipes page!

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