Every January, I set ambitious goals for myself. I chase them in earnest for a few weeks. Then, before I even realize what’s happened, it’s March and many of my good intentions have evaporated beneath the pressures of everyday day life. This year, I’m trying a new tactic. At the end of each month, I’m taking five minutes to ask myself what worked, what didn’t, and what I’d like to stop, start, or continue doing the next month. On the list for what worked in January and will continue as long as I need to get dinner on the table: Avocado Tuna Cakes.
Goals I set for myself in the kitchen this year include cutting down on our monthly grocery bill, going meatless twice per week (thank you, Avocado Egg Salad), and eating seafood two to three times per week.
The meatless meal part has been easy—if you need some suggestions, you can check out the vegetarian section of my recipe index—but seafood portion has been harder, especially since I live in landlocked Wisconsin.
Good-quality, fresh seafood, while it’s certainly available, is fairly expensive, and it still feels like more of a splurge versus something to be enjoyed several nights a week.
Then I remembered an important ingredient that was a staple in my pantry my first few years out of college—canned tuna.
About These Tasty Tuna Cakes
I know what you are thinking: canned tuna? This is a food blog, and she is suggesting canned tuna?
And the answer is yes. Yes, I absolutely am.
Canned tuna (just like canned salmon in Salmon Croquettes) is an incredibly easy, healthy, and budget-friendly way to enjoy seafood. It’s low in fat, high in protein, and, thanks to recipes like these avocado tuna cakes, it’s delicious too!
Now, I will say that not all canned tuna is created equal.
Like in my Tuna Pasta Salad, you want to look for tuna that’s meaty, comes in good-sized chunks, and that (despite being from a can) tastes relatively fresh.
If you feel hesitant about canned tuna, avocado tuna cakes are a great place to start.
Just like this Shrimp Burger, they’re crispy on the outside, moist and creamy on the inside, and include plenty of fresh ingredients to keep them bright and light.
And if you already regularly rely on canned tuna as a fast, healthy way to get your protein? You are going to love these baked tuna cakes too!
Avocado Tuna Cakes—A Nutritional Powerhouse
The combo of avocado and tuna provides double the source of omega-3s (which are part of the reason the U.S. 2016 Dietary Guidelines advise Americans to eat two to three servings of seafood per week), and it makes the tuna cakes extra filling and juicy too. (These Salmon Burgers are also a great source of omega-3s.)
A splash of lime, handful of cilantro, and dash of hot sauce give the patties a zippy Southwest flair.
Finally, because the tuna patties are baked, there is very little clean-up, AND the entire recipe can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. We have a keeper! (Not feeling tuna? Try this Salmon Patty Recipe!)
How to Serve These Tuna Cakes
- On a Bun. Ben had his tuna cakes burger-style on a pretzel bun topped with Greek yogurt and more avocado and salsa,
- On Greens. while I preferred mine on top of greens. I warmed up the leftovers the next day with cheese.
- With Fries. A side of Crispy Baked Fries, Grilled Sweet Potato Fries, or Parmesan Parsnip Fries would all go well with tuna cakes (or this Italian Tuna Salad).
No matter how you enjoy them, these easy avocado tuna cakes are a simple, tasty way to introduce more seafood into your diet—and to land a healthy meal on the table more quickly tonight.
Avocado Tuna Cakes
For the Avocado Tuna Cakes:
- 1 medium ripe avocado peeled and pitted
- 10 ounces solid white albacore tuna in water drained (look for wild caught)
- 1/4 cup seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce plus additional to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg
Optional, for Serving:
- Whole wheat hamburger buns toasted whole wheat bread, or a bed of mixed greens
- Sliced avocado cheese, plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, cilantro, salsa
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, lightly mash the avocado. Add the tuna, bread crumbs, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, hot sauce, garlic powder, salt, and egg. Mix until the ingredients are fairly well combined. (It's ok if the mixture is a little clumpy.)
- Form into 6 patties, then arrange the patties on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flip, then continue baking until the outsides are lightly crisp and the cakes are cooked through, about 10 additional minutes. Enjoy warm.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat.
- If you’d like to make the recipe gluten free, use gluten-free bread crumbs. You could also swap ground gluten-free rolled oats. (I haven’t tried either, but I think both would work nicely.)
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Love how healthy and full of flavor these are, they would disappear in seconds here!
Agree with you Matt. I will be trying this recipe too!
Thank you so much, Matt!
Can they be frozen ?
Hi Heather, I haven’t tried freezing them myself, but if you would like to try, I’d recommend cooking them first and then freezing. Then thaw in the microwave or fridge and reheat on the stovetop or in the oven! I hope you enjoy!
I put tuna and avocado on my salad for lunch every day. I can’t believe I never thought about combining the two! Love the video too!
It’s a delicious combination, Megan!
I used to make tuna cakes for lunch all the time years ago after seeing a recipe in Cooking Light and for some reason I stopped – thanks for the reminder!!!
I notice that these tuna cakes don’t last for very long in the fridge – only up to 2 days. Would they do okay in the freezer?
Hi Annie, I haven’t tried this, but I think that would be fine! You should thaw them in the fridge or microwave and then reheat on the stovetop or in the oven. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Chicken of the Sea is the BETS! LOVE these tuna cakes!
These look and sound delicious! Canned tuna, sardines, and salmon are my go-to pantry staples to help provide Matt and myself with more seafood in our weekly meal plans. I already have gluten free breadcrumbs to use too. :)
Thanks so much, Kori! I hope you and Matt enjoy these. :)
That sounds really good! Will be trying these for sure!
I hope you love them, Peggy!
also curious if these could be frozen?
Hi Amanda, I haven’t tried freezing them, but I think that would be fine! You should thaw them in the fridge or microwave and then reheat on the stovetop or in the oven. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
These look incredible! I will have to try making them fresh, but I’m interested in freezing because I need to have a lot of low-prep meals available over the next couple of months. Would you recommend cooking before freezing or freezing the patties and cooking after thawing?
Hi Rebekah, I haven’t tried freezing them myself, but if you would like to try, I’d recommend cooking them first and then freezing. Then thaw in the microwave or fridge and reheat on the stovetop or in the oven! I hope you enjoy!
Thank you Erin!
Now THIS is what I call a college-approved dinner! I got tons of canned tuna in my apartment along with some avocados that need to be used up. SCORE!
hey girl -these look really good! Very creative! Yummy!
Thanks so much for saying so, Shawnna!
Tuna and avocado is such a bomb combo! I love Chicken Of The Sea, so I love this!
Beautiful! I love a good fish cake (:
It is summer here in Nth Qld Australia. These will be a light and tasty meal which wont be a chore to cook up in our hot hot hot weather. Also..my avocado tree is full of fruit so these will be popular. We don’t have that brand of tuna so will use John West or Saffcol Thankyou so much..just love your recipes?
Thank you so much, Lynda! I am so glad you enjoy my recipes, and it means a lot to me that you would take the time to leave this wonderful comment. ? (Also, I’m jealous that you have an avocado tree!)
Just made them with a few modifications because I didn’t have coriander so used parsley and replaced red onion with white and lime juice with lemon. Delicious! The nutrition info you put is way out though. 6 grams of protein only per cake and 80 something calories. I checked and it’s more like 18 grams protein and 211 calories per cake. Thanks for the recipe, it’s a good one to play around with and tuna is definitely an awesome source of protein and omega3s
Hi! Although some variation is normal, that is definitely a big swing! Were you using My Fitness Pal for your calculation? I doubled checked, and in this case, My Fitness Pal was only pulling 1 can of tuna instead of 2, which definitely throws things off! I updated the nutrition info to the correct 102 calories and 10g of protein per cake. Often, if you just plug in the recipe link, the ingredients that the program uses to calculate the nutrition facts by default are incorrect. I usually try to eyeball them to make sure that they are close and make a substitution if they’re not. This is why it’s important to remember that nutrition information is meant to be a guide versus 100% accurate (you can read more about this in my FAQs).
Regardless, I’m so happy that you love the recipe! Thanks for trying it out and letting me know.
I used caloriecount.com. Funny thing is I’m not even a calorie counter but just wanted to check because I thought 6 grams protein per cake was such a small amount t for something like tuna which is rich in protein. Thanks again
I pulled it into MyFitnessPal and it was 211 calories for one. Then I realized it was saying the garlic powder was 600+calories. So I replaced that and then it went down to 110 calories for one. :)
That garlic powder has gotten me before too, Cassie! It’s always worth it to double check. :)
What can I use to swap the avocado with ? I’m allergic to it and your recipe sounds so good !
Hi Aline, you’d be experimenting since I’ve never made the recipe without avocado, and it does bind the cakes somewhat, but I think you could just leave it out and have a smaller yield. If the mixture is too dry and not holding together, you could add an egg white or a few tablespoons of milk or water. If you try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!
Thank you Erin ! I’ll try this on saturday :)
I would try with an egg mixed in. I make tuna patties regularly and use egg and crushed crackers to bind it.
Thanks for chiming in Ashley! The recipe does call for an egg, but an additional one can help bind too, as you said.
I wonder if you microwaved a sweet potato until soft might work or use cashew paste.
Thanks for chiming in, Suzi!
Omg! These were sooooo yummy!!I am not a big fan of cilantro, but you don’t even taste it! (I did however only use half of what is called for;) I’ll be making these weekly! Super easy!
I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Sherry! Thanks so much for taking the time to report back.
Made these tonight with some leftover salmon instead of tuna and they were AWESOME!! Served them on top of slices of a lovely Heirloom tomato — Will definitely be making these again!!
Serving with tomato sounds absolutely delicious, Susan! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe. Thank you for taking the time to leave this great review!
Oh my! So delicious!! I left out the hot sauce and used quick oats instead of bread crumbs cause that’s what I had on hand. These will absolutely be going into the rotation!
Awesome, Shelley! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed these! Thanks so much for taking the time to report back.
My three-year old who loves burgers, didn’t bat an eye when I served him this burger (with cheese). He ate almost the whole thing and it’s a battle getting him to eat seafood of any kind. HUGE WIN! Thanks Erin :)
That’s DEFINITELY a huge win, Viki! Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try and leaving this great review. I’m so glad they were enjoyed.
About how many ounces of tuna each are the cans used in this recipe?
Hi Alice, each can is 5 ounces. I updated the recipe to clarify as well. Thanks for pointing that out!
I loved this recipe! I look forward to any other recipes you post with canned tuna, since it is so affordable and is usually in my pantry :). In particular, I really appreciated this recipe today because I had a rough day and was TOTALLY considering just hitting the couch with some tortilla chips for “dinner”….but this recipe was so approachable and quick that I made this instead (and of course, feel way better all around for nourishing myself with good food). So it was a lesson in self-care AND a great weeknight recipe for the future….win win! Thanks so much :)
Hi Melissa, thank you so much for leaving this comment! It makes me so happy that this recipe was the perfect solution for your dinner. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
These look great and I’ve got them on the menu for lunch later this week, I just have a quick question. I already have Panko in my pantry, do you think that would work instead of the whole wheat bread crumbs if I just up the seasonings a bit?
Hi Michelle, I think using panko would be just fine! I hope you love the recipe!
Love making this! I get super nervous trying new things! With the diet i have just began I’ve decided to go on the search for fun health recipes and this one was a great one to add! I’ve passed it a long to a few people as well!
Hi Tiana, I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for giving this a try and reporting back. I truly appreciate it!
I did make these and the taste was very good but they didn’t bake that well and they seemed too wet.
Love this site. Thanks Bobby
Hi Bobby, I’m sorry to hear that the tuna cakes didn’t turn out as expected! It could be that the tuna was still a little too wet after draining. Thanks for giving the recipe a try, and I’m glad you enjoyed the flavor!
My daughter was introduced to this recipe by a friend…she made them twice in one week! I loved them! I ate them once on top of a salad with hearty greens…fabulous!
I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed these, Bonnie! How nice of your daughter and her friend to share the recipe love! :)
Just tried these tonight, Etin..they’re awesome! At first I thought..tuna and avocado paired? – okaay. But it really works! I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been having a little trouble with my oven or what but mine did not look like yours in the picture. They steamed a lot but they didn’t get very crispy. So, I transferred them to a pan and crisped them up in a bit of olive oil. Voila!
We served them on toasted buns and mixed sour cream and sriracha for the topping. Absolutely delish. Definitely one recipe we’ll be making again!
Cat, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you so much for giving it a try and for taking the time to report back!
I’m wondering if this could be made without the bread crumbs for a low carb recipe? Maybe with ground pork rinds instead?
Hi Marianne, I have only tried pork rinds once or twice, but since they are pretty oily and not dry like bread crumbs, I’m not positive that would work, and I would imagine they’d change the final flavor too. If you want to experiment, I’d love to hear how it comes out!
Thank you for your response! I ended up putting two low carb pitas in the food processor and tried that instead! I also used canned salmon rather than tuna..I’ll let you know how they taste!
I had to make a few adjustments just due to deciding to make it last-minute and not having a few ingredients but they turned out really well. It was a fast and easy tuna burger that I will definitely make again.
I’m so glad you enjoyed them, Tierney! Thank you so much for taking the time to make them and report back!
This was AMAZING! No cilantro for me–I had to use a bit of Panko- and I also had to fry them slowly in a pan (oven is acting stupid)–I would have never thought of combining this together. Again, amazing! Thank you!!!
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Darlene! I’m happy to hear the tuna cakes were a hit.
These were delicious, and easy to make! My whole family loved them, they disappeared very quickly! Thank you very much for the recipe, I will definitely be making them again!
Julie, YAY!I am so pleased to hear this. Thank you for taking time to let me know how it came out!
These were quick to make and full of flavor! Delicious. Will definitely make again! Thank you!
I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed them, Kelly! Thank you for taking the time to leave this wonderful review!
Hello Quick question can you substitute the Egg for Flax Egg? Thanks
Hi Perla, I have not experimented with a flax egg in this recipe, so I cannot say for certain. If you do decide to give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes.
These tuna cakes are very easy to make and packs in a lot of flavor! I have made these with/without avocado for my boyfriend who is allergic and both versions tasted great. I subbed an extra egg for the avocado-less version. I packed these babies for lunch at the beach one day and had my friends try them. They were so good that one of my friends had me make them for him. After learning to make it himself, he made these all week for his meal prep!
Thank you so much for sharing this kind review, Marielle! I’m glad this recipe was a hit!
Made these for dinner and they were sooo good! Do you think you could freeze them? Either uncooked or cooked?
Definitely Sasha! I’d cook them then freeze them. Let thaw overnight in the fridge, then reheat them gently on the stove. I’m so glad you loved them!
Found this recipe while looking for salmon patties. I decided to make these instead, since I had everything. While trying to make it a meal, I decided to serve them with sticky rice and a sunomomo salad, since we love sushi. I doubled the patties recipe, and my family fought over them .
Will definitely make this again!
I’m so happy to hear that this recipe was a hit, Lori! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
Very very flavorful and easy to make. The combination of the lime juice and hot sauce was the perfect combo
I’m so happy that you enjoyed the recipe, Kay! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
This is a great recipe! I used rolled oats instead of bread crumbs and they turned out really well. My whole family enjoyed it, including my 2 year old :)
I’m so happy that you enjoyed the recipe, Lina! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
The flavors in this recipe were delicious. The problem I had was that the patties were too wet and didn’t crisp up or solidify when I baked them. I probably didn’t drain the tuna well enough? They kind of fell apart when I tried to flip them, so I ate them in deconstructed form. Still tasted great topped with some yogurt, lemon, and hot sauce. I’ll definitely be trying these again
I’m happy that you enjoyed the flavors, Drew! Thank you for sharing this kind review!
do these tuna cakes freeze well?
Hi Gwen! Definitely! I’d cook them then freeze them. Let thaw overnight in the fridge, then reheat them gently on the stove. Hope you enjoy them!
Is this recipe freezer friendly?
Hi Julia! I haven’t tried freezing them, but I think that would be fine! They would need to be cooked first. You should thaw them in the fridge or microwave and then reheat on the stovetop or in the oven. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Best tuna patty we’d ever had! My husband actually couldn’t guess what the secret ingredient was (avocado), but we assume that’s what made it so different than other tuna patties we’ve had before.
I actually forgot to put in the breadcrumbs, but it still turned out fine – stuck together well enough, after an extra 5-10 minutes in the oven.
We actually really enjoyed it as a burrito – inside a tortilla with some salsa/sauce! Will definitely be on repeat for days when I forget to put meat down from the freezer :)
Hi Melinda! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
I cooked in my ninja oven and it turned out great. Might try to air fry it in the future.
Hi Ruth! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!