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Spicy Tuna Cakes

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These Spicy Tuna Cakes are BIG on flavor and low in calories. Combining canned tuna with finely chopped jalapeño, green onions, and cilantro, along with breadcrumbs and Greek yogurt, make these a must-make dinner. Top them with some Chipotle Ranch Dressing for even more flavor!

Make my Salmon Burgers next!

Overhead view of a tuna cake with a spoonful of chipotle ranch dressing.

Cast Iron Tuna Patties

Lately, I’ve been making all the tuna recipes. We grew up eating a lot of it, and while I know that fresh fish is healthier, I secretly LOVE the canned stuff. I’ve even been known to eat leftover tuna melts for breakfast, with LOTS of pickles.

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Reasons to love this recipe:

  • Soft on the inside, and slightly crunchy on the outside.
  • Full of a variety of textures – from the crunchy veggies and and the dense tuna.
  • Spicy, but not too spicy. Using half of the seeds from the jalapeño adds the perfect amount of spice for me, but if you are adverse to spice, just use the outside of the jalapeño or maybe even a portion of it.
Side view of a large plate of jalapeno. tuna patties with smaller plates too.

Ingredients needed to make Jalapeño Tuna Cakes:

  • Tuna – I use Albacore (Chunk) Tuna in water.
  • Jalapeño – I used one large jalapeño, half with seeds, half without. Chop it very finely.
  • Onions – Green onions give great crunch and flavor, but you could use red onion as well.
  • Cilantro – Finely chopped cilantro adds amazing flavor.
  • Egg – One egg needed.
  • Yogurt – Just a bit of plain Greek yogurt helps bind everything together.
  • Breadcrumbs – I went with Panko breadcrumbs, but you could use any breadcrumbs here.
  • Seasonings – Garlic powder, ground cumin, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Olive Oil – Use olive oil to sauté the tuna cakes.
A board with the ingredients for the tuna cakes.

How to make Spicy Tuna Cakes:

Step 1
Prep tuna. Strain the tuna in a colander, and chop up the chunks with a fork. Pour it into a mixing bowl.

Step 2
Add remaining ingredients. To the bowl, add the finely chopped veggies (jalapeño, green onions, and cilantro), the egg, plain yogurt, breadcrumbs, and seasonings (garlic powder, cumin, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper). Mix well.

Step 3
Form patties. Use your hands to form about six large tuna patties. You can also make smaller ones, if desired. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so to help them stay together.

A plate of six tuna patties before cooking.

Step 4
Sauté tuna cakes. Heat up a large cast iron skillet to medium-high heat, and a bit of olive oil. Place about three tuna cakes on skillet at a time, and cook until the both sides are nice and golden brown. This will take a few minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining tuna cakes.

Note: These tuna cakes can fall apart easily, so make sure they are well patted together. Be very gentle when flipping!

Step 5
Make Chipotle Ranch Dressing. I recommend making a half batch of this dressing for these tuna cakes.

Expert Tips

  • You can make these gluten-free by using almond flour instead of bread crumbs.
  • If you want to cut down on the spiciness, you can omit the seeds of the jalapeño. (Or if you are like me, use them all!)
  • Be careful when flipping because they are tender!
  • You can add a couple tablespoons of flour to help keep the patties together, but we like them without.
  • I recommend doubling these and packing for lunches for the week.
  • These tuna cakes can be frozen after cooking. Just thaw out and sauté to reheat.

What to serve with Spicy Tuna Cakes:

A plate with a just cooked tuna cake with a couple of slices of jalapeño.

All of these tuna recipes use the canned Albacore version. Really delicious and wild-caught too!

Side view of a tuna cake being eaten with a fork.

Kitchen Tools Used: (affiliate links)

xoxo ~Sue

A small plate with a jalapeño tuna cake with cilantro.

Spicy Tuna Cakes

These Spicy Tuna Cakes are BIG on flavor and low in calories. Combining canned tuna with finely chopped jalapeño, green onions, and cilantro, along with breadcrumbs and Greek yogurt, make these a must-make dinner. Top them with some Chipotle Ranch Dressing for even more flavor!
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 tuna cakes
Calories: 157kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf


  • 18 oz. canned tuna – drained of liquid (undrained weight is 24 oz.)
  • 1 medium jalapeño – diced (half the seeds included)
  • 1/3 cup green onions – finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup cilantro – dinely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil – for frying


  • Strain the tuna, and chop up the chunks with a fork. Add to a mixing bowl. Then add the remaining ingredients – the finely chopped jalapeno, green onions, and cilantro – and the egg, yogurt, breadcrumbs, and seasonings (garlic powder, cumin, salt, and papper).
  • Using your hands, form about six patties from the tuna mixture. Place on a platter, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  • Heat up a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add some olive oil and saute about three patties at a time, flipping to make sure both sides are nice and golden brown. Be careful so that the patties don't break apart. They are a bit fragile.
  • Serve with a spoonful of Chipotle Ranch Dressing, if desired. Recipe is on the blog.


Calories: 157kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 264mg | Potassium: 213mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 234IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!


  1. Cathy Hanson says:

    Made these for dinner and hubby declared that they are fine dining restaurant worthy! I also used the Chipotle Ranch Dressing! Excellent recipes Sue! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      That’s awesome! So glad you all enjoyed them. 🙂

  2. These were fantastic! I used purple onions instead of green. The contrast of the purple & green looked pretty. I made your *Chipotle Ranch Dressing* with them. Wow! So much flavor! I want to try it on eeeevveeything! 🙂

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Hi Michelle! I’m so happy you enjoyed both recipes. They do go great together!

  3. Donna Thomas says:

    These tuna cakes were a hit with the husband & myself. We ate them hamburger buns with purple onion and fresh spinach. The next night I fixed mine in a salad. I definitely will be making then again.

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the tuna cakes, Donna! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Josh Ringsdorf says:

    Making this next week for my lunches! Got to take advantage of seafood for lunch!!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Very cool! I hope you enjoy them, Josh. 🙂

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