Family Recipes! It’s Time for Granny’s Tuna Cakes!

Granny's Tuna Cakes

Many of my recipes are inspired by meals I remember having at my grandmothers house, or that my Mom made, or recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation through my husbands family. I’m excited to bring you a new page and category called “Family Recipes.” I’ll share recipes inspired from childhood memories, or family favorites, old and new!

If you follow me on Instagram you saw my post about some glass containers that I got from my grandmother. I LOVE shooting pics of my recipes with vintage glass, cool dishes and silverware.

A sampling of our funky wedding silverware. I LOVE IT SO MUCH
Our wedding silverware. I LOVE IT SO MUCH, but it takes up so much room that we can’t store it in our silverware drawer.

Since I’ve been thinking a lot about my vintage glass containers, I am feeling nostalgic and it’s the perfect post to include my Granny’s Tuna Cakes recipe for you! (Or as close to the original recipe as I can remember.) She used to let me drain the tuna and make the patties. I loved them silver dollar sized!

Granny's Tuna Cakes
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Grans Tuna Cakes with a reproduction of her spatula
Granny’s Tuna Cakes with a reproduction of her super thin spatula/turner.
Moms Corn Flower Pyrex Loaf Pan
Moms Cornflower Pyrex Loaf pan has seen many a meatloaf, banana bread, zucchini bread…

I had a moment of nostalgia and dug out my vintage Pyrex Blue CornFlower Loaf Pan, and suddenly realized I really shouldn’t be putting any of my Pyrex in the dishwasher. It hit me that the items given to me, that I’ve been using (some since the nineties!) may be keepsakes. I may even pass some of these down someday.

I remember getting the step stool out so I could reach grans red “fridgies” (Pyrex Refrigerator Dishes) and the clear refrigerator boxes seen posted below. These glass refrigerator dishes were from before the days of Tupperware! She may have had some old Cool Whip containers in her cupboards, but she always used her glass refrigerator dishes. (Zip-top bags were reused over and over when she did have some.)

I started browsing on Etsy and Amazon and found some cute pyrex! I picked up these 2 cuties below from eBay! I confess, I picked up several pieces in the past week. Like the adorable pink stripped bowl in my tuna cake photo. I’m sure they will show up here or in my Instagram in the near future!

Tony's Grandmothers Spinach & Meatballs in Town & Country Pyrex
Tony’s Grandmothers Spinach & Meatballs in cute little Town & Country Pyrex fridgies.
Vintage Pyrex Fridgies
I really wanted a red one, but I found a set of brown, yellow and red!
Depression Glass Crisscross Refrigerator Box
Rosewater Pistachio Black Sesame Seed shortbread in Grans Crisscross Refrigerator dish.
Vintage Federal Glass Vegetables Clear Ribbed Refrigerator Jar
Cornbread made from an ear of frozen corn, polenta and corn meal…in Grans Vegetable Refrigerator Dish.

Depression Glass Crisscross Refrigerator Box
Caprese Salad

I hope you’ll try these simple, tuna cakes made with just a few ingredients. You can add minced vegetables, garlic, sriracha or other seasonings. This recipe is what I based my Salmon Cake recipe on. Some may consider these tuna cakes a cheap quick meal, but I consider them a treat!

What I’m wondering, is do you still use your vintage glass or have you stashed it away for safe keeping? Please comment below!

Granny's Tuna Cakes

Granny’s Tuna Cakes

Simple ingredients for a quick inexpensive meal! These salty, crispy treats will have kids begging for more! (At least I did when I was little!) They can be air fried, oven fried or pan fried & eaten by hand, with a fork or in a sandwich!
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Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 248kcal
Author: ebookfoodie

Equipment

  • Heavy bottomed skillet, sheet pan or air fryer.
  • 1 medium sized bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise You can skip the mayo here if you'd like. Gran used Miracle Whip but we never buy it…
  • ½ cup saltines Crushed but not pulverized, roughly 1/2 cup.
  • 12 oz tuna packed in water Strained. Use cans or pouches.
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil Coconut oil works well, or use spray for air frying. Gran may have used "bacon drippins'" or Crisco. Hers were very crispy!

Optional Ingredients

  • 1 tsp parsley Dried or fresh, chopped.
  • 1 tbsp onion Or scallions, very finely minced.
  • ¼ tsp black pepper You could also add a sprinkle of garlic powder or lemon pepper.

Instructions

  • Add two eggs to a medium bowl and whisk with a fork
    Grans Tuna Cakes
  • Add mayonnaise to the bowl and stir. Add optional ingredients like finely minced fresh onions, black pepper and/or parsley or other seasoning. NOTE: If your saltines are good and salty, you won't need to add any salt.
  • Crush saltine crackers to fill a ½ cup measuring cup, and add to the bowl. Don't pulverize them, leave them chunky. TIP: If you are short on tuna and need to stretch the recipe, leave them chunky and add an additional ¼ cup.
  • Heat a heavy bottomed or cast iron pan to medium high. (Or prepare the air fryer or lightly oil a sheet pan to oven fry.)
  • Strain the tuna very well and add to the bowl. Mix everything together gently. Don't over mix or they will become very dense!
  • Form the mixture into about 8-12 patties. If you like them super crispy form 10-12 small, thinner patties. They will be moist, you will have to handle carefully and quickly to keep them from falling apart. (If you have time, try coating them in Panko before frying like I do my Salmon Cakes) I loved it when gran made them silver dollar sized for us.
  • Pan fry carefully in hot oil for about 3-5 minutes per side, or until nicely browned. Be careful, they will spatter in the hot oil a bit. Don't overcook or they'll be dense. You just want to brown and cook the eggs and onions. If you press with your finger they should spring back. If your finger leaves an indent, they are not quite done. (I found this thin spatula at an estate sale. I can't find anything as thin as the old spatulas except for fish spatulas!)
    Grans Tuna Cakes with a reproduction of her spatula
  • (If using an air fryer, spray the basket well and gently lay them in a single layer in the basket. Spray a little oil on their tops. Fry on high heat until browned on top, flip and spray a little ore oil on the second side and air fry a minute or two until they brown a bit. Not too long because they are also still cooking from the bottom in that hot air fryer!)
  • (If oven frying, bake about five minutes per side at 425° or until browned on the bottom and flip, then bake a few more minutes until browned on the second side.)
    Granny's Tuna Cakes
  • Serve with lemon zest, a squeeze of fresh lemon, in a sandwich, or with a fancy mayo or spiced yogurt. I like to mix homemade yogurt with Sriracha!

Notes

  • The calorie count is with 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil added. If you air fry or oven fry you will use much less! You can spray both sides with spray oil. If you haven’t tried the new Reynolds Wrap non-stick aluminum foil, it works amazingly well for these recipes when you oven fry!
  • I’ve made these in my Instant Pot with my Mealthy Crisp Lid and they come out great! Especially if I roll them in Panko crumbs right before frying. If you don’t have one, check it out on Amazon! I love it, and it works great for two people. If I’m making a larger batch, I pan fry or oven fry. 
  • These also are wonderful with Ritz or butter crackers, or even plain bread crumbs, but the saltines really make these awesome!
  • When/if we have these leftover, I make sandwiches with thin sliced bread, these Heinz Sweet & Spicy Pickle Chips and some mayo or homemade yogurt spiced up with Sriracha. (BTW, if you use as much Sriracha as I do, consider buying it from Boxed – $2.99 for a 28 oz bottle! Use their app or go to boxed.com. I actually start with my iBotta app and use the Boxed link from to get extra rebates.) You can find more info on iBotta on my Shop page.
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4 thoughts on “Family Recipes! It’s Time for Granny’s Tuna Cakes!

  1. I love this! My grandmother used to make tuna patties as well, usually around Lent because she was a very devout Catholic. These definitely bring back memories. Did your grandmother also make tuna noodle casserole? Mine did and it is a favorite comfort food.

    1. Oh yes! Lots of tuna casserole! I think her tuna cakes were probably half crushed saltines and half tuna. I remember crushing at least an entire sleeve of saltines.

      1. Hah! My grandmother used either crushed saltines or crushed potato chips! Those women who were born during the depression. They would use anything that came to hand. I’m sure your grandmother’s tuna patties were delicious with crushed saltines. That actually sounds really good! Lol!

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