These Tuna Patties are tender inside, crispy outside and bursting with flavor from tuna, sweet potatoes, fresh herbs, and spices. They’re a quick and easy snack, appetizer, or main dish the whole family will love. Paired with a dairy-free avocado lime crema, these tuna cakes are gluten-free, egg-free, paleo, and AIP-friendly.
Tuna Patties Recipe
This Tuna Patties recipe is inspired by Mexican tortitas de atún (tuna pancakes or little tuna cakes). In my paleo and AIP-friendly version, these moist, crispy tuna cakes keep their shape perfectly without breadcrumbs or eggs.
Instead, mashed sweet potatoes and tapioca starch bind the tuna cakes, with the tapioca starch also creating the crispy exterior. Mixed with canned tuna, the sweet potatoes add moisture and some natural sweetness. They also impart their color, so the cooked tuna cakes are a vibrant, golden-burnt orange. Fresh chives and cilantro complement the jalapeño’s mildly spicy heat. Sea salt, garlic powder, and onion powder provide a savory taste. Lime zest brightens the overall flavor profile.
Pan-seared to crunchy perfection, these versatile tuna patties are ready in about 20 minutes– ideal for a quick weeknight main, appetizer, or Game Day snack!
- canned tuna
- sweet potato
- tapioca starch
- sea salt
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- lime zest
- olive oil – for pan-frying
Avocado Lime Crema
- unsweetened coconut yogurt
- lime juice
- sea salt
- Tapioca starch: You can use arrowroot starch instead.
- Olive oil: You can use avocado oil or another high heat oil for frying.
- AIP Modifications: To make these tuna patties compliant with the elimination stage of the autoimmune protocol (AIP diet), omit the jalapeño.
How to Make Tuna Patties
Step 1: Mix the Ingredients
To a large bowl, add all the ingredients except the olive oil. Mix well to combine.
Step 2: Form the Patties
Use a spoon to portion the tuna mixture into evenly sized balls then use your hands to shape them into flat, round patties. I made 9 tuna cakes about 2 inches in diameter. You can make them slightly larger or smaller if you prefer, just note this may affect the cooking time. Set them aside on a plate or parchment-paper lined tray.
Step 3: Cook the Tuna Patties
In a large skillet or frying pan, heat the olive oil over low-medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the patties to the skillet. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy. You may need to work in batches depending on the size of the tuna cakes and the skillet.
Step 4: Make the Avocado Lime Crema
In a food processor or blender, combine all of the ingredients. Alternatively, make the dipping sauce by hand by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl with a fork or spoon.
Step 5: Serve
Plate the cooked tuna patties and transfer the avocado lime crema to a small dipping sauce bowl. If desired, garnish the tuna fritters with flaky sea salt, chopped cilantro, and a lime wedge. Serve warm and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
- Steam or boil the sweet potatoes to soften before peeling and mashing them.
- Adjust the size of the tuna cakes to your preference– smaller or larger, thicker or thinner.
- Make the patties a consistent size to ensure they cook at the same rate.
- For an extra crunchy exterior, lightly coat or sprinkle the patties with additional tapioca starch before frying.
- Avoid overcrowding the pan by cooking the tuna patties in batches. Add more oil between batches if necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can make the tuna mixture, shape the patties and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to pan-fry them.
Yes! Preheat the air fryer to 400F and spray or coat the basket with avocado oil or another high heat oil. Cook for 12 minutes, flipping the tuna cakes at the halfway mark.
This dipping sauce adds a deliciously creamy and zesty tang that pairs perfectly with these tuna cakes. For a coconut-free sauce with similar flavors, try this cilantro-lime sauce from my Air Fryer Cauliflower recipe.
You can serve the tuna patties with a different sauce of your choice or enjoy them plain.
These tuna patties are super versatile and can be enjoyed as a snack, appetizer, or as a protein main for lunch or dinner.
As a snack or appetizer: Serve with the avocado lime crema or other dipping sauces.
As a main: Drizzle the avocado lime crema over the tuna patties and serve with leafy green salads like my Roasted Beet and Citrus Salad, this Cucumber Salad, or this Cucumber Mango Salsa, and other side dishes like this Vegan Potato Salad, these Golden Beets, or this Paleo Pasta Salad.
Make a crispy tuna sandwich with these Butternut Squash Biscuits or a taco by wrapping the patties in these gluten-free tortillas or sweet potato tortillas and topping them with the avocado lime crema.
Storage & Reheating Instructions
Fridge: Store the tuna cakes and the avocado lime crema in separate, airtight containers in the fridge for 2-3 days. Reheat the tuna patties in the microwave or on the stovetop if you want to re-crisp them.
Freezer: Store tuna patties in a freezer-safe container or resealable bag with pieces of parchment paper between each layer for up to 1 month. Reheat on the stovetop or in an air fryer. I don’t recommend freezing the avocado lime crema.
I hope you love these gluten-free and egg-free Tuna Patties. If you do, I would appreciate it if you would give the recipe a rating and review. Be sure to snap a picture of the finished product and share it with me on Instagram by tagging @healmedelicious and using the hashtag #healmedelicious.Print