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Parmesan crusted tuna patties may be budget friendly, but they are incredibly delicious and filling to boot. Canned tuna fish cakes transform boring tuna from something mundane to a delightful, protein-packed entrée that’s crispy on the outside, tender and moist on the inside.

Air fryer tuna patties ready for serving.
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Air fryer tuna patties are perfect for meal prep because they can be made up to 2 days in advance, freeze well and cook to crispy perfection in just 8 minutes. Dinner doesn’t have to be expensive, and you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen to enjoy a quality meal at home. 

The combination of onions and garlic, several seasonings and a coating of breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese give these crispy tuna cakes an intense flavor that will make this a favorite meal that you come back to again and again.

If you love tuna, try my Greek Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe, Tuna Ceviche or Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe.

Why You’ll Love These Air Fryer Tuna Patties

  • It’s budget friendly. Canned tuna is an affordable protein, and you can stretch this recipe really far. 
  • It’s quick to make. You can prepare and cook these parmesan crusted tuna patties in under 20 minutes. 
  • It’s versatile. Serve crispy tuna cakes as an appetizer, main course, on top of salads or in a sandwich. 

Canned Tuna Fish Cakes Ingredients

Ingredients needed for parmesan crusted tuna patties.
  • Tuna: drain the water from one 12 oz. can of tuna.
  • Parmesan Cheese: use freshly grated cheese.
  • Bread Crumbs: use a combination of regular bread crumbs and panko bread crumbs for the most crunch.
  • Aromatics: chopped onion and minced garlic will add a wonderful flavor. 
  • Mayonnaise: adds moisture and flavor. 
  • Lemon Juice: Fresh squeezed lemon juice adds a bright flavor to the air fryer tuna patties.
  • Seasonings: dried parsley, salt and black pepper are used to season the canned tuna fish cakes. 
  • Egg: a lightly beaten egg holds everything together. 
  • Chopped parsley: to garnish.
  • Lemon wedges: to garnish.

How To Make Parmesan Crusted Tuna Patties

How to make air fryer tuna patties. Mixing all the ingredients together.
  • Prepare the canned tuna fish cakes. In a large bowl, combine the ingredients together; tuna, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, onion, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, salt, black pepper and egg. 
  • Form the patties. Divide the mixture into 8-10 equal portions and firmly pack the mixture between the palms and make thick patties.
  • Coat the parmesan crusted tuna patties. In a wide bowl, combine the remaining parmesan cheese and panko bread crumbs together. Coat the patties in the panko mixture, making sure it coats evenly on both sides. Repeat the same with the remaining patties.
Before and after air frying crispy tuna cakes.
  • Air fry the crispy tuna cakes. Meanwhile, preheat the airfryer to 390 degrees F for 5 minutes. Spray the air fryer basket with oil and arrange the patties into the basket and cook for 6-8 minutes by flipping the patties halfway through.
  • Garnish and serve. Once done, garnish the tuna patties with fresh parsley and lemon wedges and serve with a dip.  
Pile of crispy tuna cake on a plate.

Tips To Make Crispy Tuna Cakes

  • Drain the tuna well so the cakes hold together. 
  • Use a measuring cup or an ice cream/cookie scoop to form even-sized tuna patties. 
  • Don’t overcrowd the air fryer. Leave room between each tuna cake so the air can circulate. 
  • Cook air fryer tuna patties in batches if necessary. 
  • For the crispiest tuna cakes, spray the fresh tuna patties with oil at the start of cooking and again about 2 minutes before the end of cooking. 
  • Leave out the breadcrumbs for a gluten free and low carb option. 
  • Spice it up a bit by adding a bit of crushed red pepper, chipotle or sriracha. 
Close up of canned tuna fish cakes with lemon wedges.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make tuna patties in advance?

You can certainly make these tuna patties in advance if you are in planning mode. Mix, form, and place in an airtight container for up to 48 hours until you are ready to air fry them. 

Can I bake tuna cakes?

Yes, these tuna cakes can be baked in the oven. Prepare the tuna cakes as directed and arrange them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in a 375 degrees F oven for about 18 to 20 minutes.

Can I make tuna patties without breadcrumbs?

Yes. The bread crumbs help absorb some of the excess moisture and give the coating a crispy crunch, but you can make them with the breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs aren’t necessary, making this recipe easily adaptable for gluten free and low carb diets. 

How do I store and reheat parmesan tuna patties?

Leftover salmon patties can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Spray lightly with oil and reheat in a 350 degrees F air fryer for about 5 minutes. 

Can I freeze crispy tuna cakes?

Yes! Make and form the patties and place them on a lined baking sheet in the freezer. Freeze until solid, about 2 hours, then transfer the patties to a freezer bag. If stacking the patties, place wax paper between them. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and cook as directed. 
To cook from frozen, preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F. Place the frozen patties in the air fryer and cook for 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time.

What to serve with tuna cakes?

Tuna cakes pair well with Crispy Air Fryer French Fries or a fresh salad like Lemon Herb Mediterranean Pasta Salad or Spinach Chickpea Salad Recipe.

A piece of air fryer tuna patties is dunked into dip.

More Fish Recipes

I hope you enjoy all the recipes I share with you, including this delicious Crispy Tuna Cakes recipe. I hope you try it, enjoy it, rate it, and share it with your friends and family!

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5 from 1 vote

Parmesan Crusted Tuna Patties

Parmesan crusted tuna patties may be budget friendly, but they are incredibly delicious and filling to boot. Canned tuna fish cakes transform boring tuna from something mundane to a delightful, protein-packed entree that’s crispy on the outside, tender and moist on the inside. The combination of onions and garlic, several seasonings and a coating of breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese give these crispy tuna cakes an intense flavor that will make this a favorite meal that you come back to again and again.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 10 patties

Ingredients 

  • 12 oz can of tuna, drain the water
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup regular bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Chopped parsley, to garnish
  • Lemon wedges, to garnish

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, combine the ingredients together; tuna, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, onion, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, salt, black pepper and egg.
  • Divide the mixture into 8-10 equal portions and firmly pack the mixture between the palms and make thick patties.
  • In a wide bowl, combine the remaining parmesan cheese and panko bread crumbs together. Coat the patties in the panko mixture, making sure it coats evenly on both sides. Repeat the same with the remaining patties.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the airfryer to 390 degrees F for 5 minutes. Spray the air fryer basket with oil and arrange the patties into the basket and cook for 6-8 minutes by flipping the patties halfway through.
  • Once done, garnish the tuna patties with fresh parsley and lemon wedges and serve with a dip.

Notes

  • Drain the tuna well so the cakes hold together. 
  • Use a measuring cup or an ice cream/cookie scoop to form even-sized tuna patties. 
  • Don’t overcrowd the air fryer. Leave room between each tuna cake so the air can circulate. 
  • Cook air fryer tuna patties in batches if necessary. 
  • For the crispiest tuna cakes, spray the fresh tuna patties with oil at the start of cooking and again about 2 minutes before the end of cooking. 
  • Leave out the breadcrumbs for a gluten free and low carb option. 
  • Spice it up a bit by adding a bit of crushed red pepper, chipotle or sriracha.

Nutrition

Calories: 88kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 350mg | Potassium: 96mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 90IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 1mg
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