These Tuna Burgers are made with canned tuna, are easy and quick to make, and are so good they will even make a tuna lover out of the biggest hater! Even my teenage son, who is not a fan of canned tuna, loves these healthy tuna burgers.
These healthy tuna patties make a great weeknight dinner can be made in the air fryer or on the stovetop (I've included directions for both) and are also Weight Watchers friendly. This tuna burger recipe was inspired by my Open Faced Tuna Melts (no mayo) on this site, and pairs well with my Healthy Homemade Tartar Sauce and this Skinny Coleslaw.
For this Tuna Burger recipe, you'll need:
- canned tuna in water
- bread crumbs
- low-fat mayonnaise
- green onion
- chili sauce * I use Heinz
- fresh cilantro
- olive oil
- buns * I use President's Choice Thins
- Lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes, and tartar sauce (optional)
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Tuna Burgers
How to Air Fry Tuna Patties:
Combine tuna, bread crumbs, eggs, chili sauce, green onion, celery, cilantro, and mayonnaise to a medium-sized bowl.
Mix ingredients together until fully incorporated.
Shape into 6 patties. *They don’t have to be perfectly round
Spray air fryer basket or drawer with oil spray.
Place raw tuna patties in the air fryer. Spray a few pumps of oil on burgers.
Set the air fryer to air fry setting at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)
*Use match cook if making this in a Dual Zone Ninja Foodi air fryer
Air fry for 7 minutes, then flip.
Spray a few more pumps of oil spray on the other side.
Air fry for 6 additional minutes, until golden brown.
*Time will vary around 5-7 minutes on each side, depending on the type of air fryer you have
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
Cook patties until lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes on each side.
Hint: Try not to get impatient and turn them too soon - give them the full 5-6 minutes or they are more likely to fall apart. I recommend using a large/wide spatula (affiliate link) and flipping them carefully.
📖Substitutions & Variations
- Mayonnaise - you can use any type of mayonnaise you prefer *I use Hellman's low-fat
- Lettuce - you can use iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, or spinach
- Buns- you can use any type of bun you like (i.e. hamburgers buns), white or whole wheat buns or bread instead
- Gluten-free - use gluten-free buns and gluten-free bread crumbs
- Chili sauce-*I use Heinz but you can click HERE for substitutes and recipes
- Spicy - add red pepper flakes or sriracha sauce to the tuna patty mixture
🥗 Side dishes
What to serve with Tuna Burgers
If you're wondering what to serve with tuna burgers, I would recommend Healthy Homemade Tartar Sauce, salad, coleslaw, raw vegetables, kimchi, fruit salad, or soup:
- Quick Cucumber Kimchi (pictured below)
- Classic Fruit Salad (with Honey Lime Dressing) or fresh fruit
- Skinny Coleslaw Recipe
- Healthy Artichoke and Red Pepper Coleslaw
- Spinach Salad
👪 Serving Size
This tuna cakes recipe makes 6 tuna patties. You can half, double or triple the recipe by clicking on the blue serving number and selecting the number of servings you'd like. The ingredient quantities will automatically adjust.
These Healthy Tuna Patties are Weight Watchers friendly at 3 WW points. With these buns, they are 7 points. You can bring down the WW points even further by using a lower-point bun and bread (when you're making bread crumbs) *Points do not include tartar sauce
These easy tuna burgers recipe needs a frying pan (affiliate links) and a mixing bowl. If you make your own bread crumbs (see top tip) you'll need a food processor. And if you are using the air frying method for these tuna burgers, you'll need an air fryer. I recommend a Ninja Foodi (affiliate links).
Store the tuna patties and toppings (lettuce, tomato, onion, as well as tartar sauce) separately from the dry ingredients (buns) in the fridge, and recombine when ready. Good for 2 days in airtight containers (canned tuna recipes start to taste very fishy after a couple of days and not as tasty.)
Freezing: These tuna patties can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
How to make bread crumbs
If you don't have bread crumbs on hand, you can easily make them by processing pieces of bread in your food processor. Simply add the pieces of bread to your food processor and process until they become a crumb-like consistency.
Then store the extras in your freezer (for up to 3 months) until the next time you need them!
❔ Frequently Asked Questions
The best way to keep tuna burgers from falling apart is to ensure you compress the patties together tightly when forming them. You don't want the patty too big either; 3-4 inches in diameter is the ideal size for a tuna patty. When you're cooking the tuna patties, make sure the pan is hot (medium-high heat) before you add the patties and let them cook the entire 5-6 minutes on each side (do not try to flip them too early) and flip them over carefully with a large, wide, thin spatula.
Tuna burgers are healthy when they are made with canned tuna in water (not oil), as canned tuna is a healthy and economical protein alternative. Also using whole ingredients such bread crumbs (making them yourself is ideal and more economical) eggs, celery, and green onions make them healthier, as well as air frying them, instead of frying. They are 288 calories with a thin bun.
Put toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, and tartar sauce on tuna burgers. You can also add jalapenos, cucumbers, sriracha sauce, fresh herbs like cilantro or dill, mayonnaise, pickles, relish, aioli, a little coleslaw, or any topping you like that pairs well with tuna fish!
Fish burgers (with canned tuna) are an easy, healthy, quick, and economical dinner idea that's a great alternative to both beef and chicken burgers.
And if you're looking for more fish burger recipes, give my Salmon Fillet Burgers (with frozen salmon) a try!
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoke point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
📋 Tuna Burger (with canned tuna) Recipe
- 3- 170 g cans light tuna in water, drained
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1 ⅓ cup fine bread crumbs *see post for instructions to make your own
- ¼ cup chopped celery
- ½ cup low-fat mayonnaise
- ½ cup finely chopped green onion
- 4 tablespoon chili sauce
- 2 teaspoon olive oil *use pump spray for air fryer (you'll use a lot less oil)
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- 6 thin buns * I use President's Choice
- Lettuce leaves and sliced tomato optional
- tartar sauce https://foodmeanderings.com/healthy-homemade-tartar-sauce/
*Instruction photos are set to NOT print by default- you will need to click 'print' if you want them to print
- Add bread crumbs, tuna, eggs, chili sauce, green onion, celery , cilantro and mayonnaise together in a medium mixing bowl.
- Mix together until fully incorporated.
- Shape into 6 patties.
Air Fryer Method
- Spray air fryer basket or drawer with oil spray.
- Place raw tuna burgers in air fryer. Spray a few pumps of oil on burgers.Set air fryer to air fry setting at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)*Use match cook if making this in a Dual Zone Ninja Foodi air fryer
- Air fry for 7 minutes, then flip.Spray a few more pumps of oil spray on the other side.
- Air fry for 6 additional minutes, until golden brown.*Time will vary around 5-7 minutes on each side, depending on the type of air fryer you have
- In a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and place patties in frying pan, once heated.
- Cook patties until lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes on each side.
- Serve on buns. If desired, top with lettuce, tomato slices and tartar sauce.