Four Ingredient Tuna Cakes

Granny's Tuna Cakes

Family Recipes! It’s Time for Granny’s Cripsy and Easy Tuna Cakes!

Many of my recipes are inspired by meals I remember having at my grandmother’s house, that my Mom made or recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation through my husband’s family. I’m excited to bring you a new page and category called “Family Recipes.” You’ll find recipes like these easy, crispy four ingredient tuna cakes, inspired by childhood memories, or family favorites, old and new!

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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. Since I’ve been thinking a lot about my vintage glass containers, I’m feeling nostalgic and this is the perfect post to include my Granny’s Tuna Cake 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 when I was little.

Granny's Tuna Cakes
Grans Tuna Cakes with a reproduction of her spatula
Granny’s Tuna Cakes with a reproduction of her super thin spatula/turner.

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 Cakes recipe on. Some may consider these tuna cakes a cheap quick meal, but I consider them a treat!

Granny's Tuna Cakes

Granny’s Tuna Cakes (Quick & Easy 4 Ingredient Tuna Cakes)

Simple ingredients for a quick and inexpensive meal! These salty, crispy treats will kids and husbands begging for more! They can be air-fried for a healthier version, oven-fried or just like granny made them, pan-fried in a sizzling cast-iron skillet. They can be eaten by hand, with a fork or in a sandwich!!
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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 248 kcal



  • 2 eggs If you don't have any eggs just add some extra mayo!
  • 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. Ritz or butter crackers are amazing in this recipe!
  • 12 oz tuna packed in water Strained. You can use cans or pouches.
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil Coconut oil, or red palm oil works well, or use a little spray oil 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.
  • ½ cup panko For extra crispy crunchiness, coat the patties in panko crumbs! Season with salt & pepper, or any seasoning blend you like!


  • 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. of yoru choice NOTE: If your crackers 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.)
  • 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. 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.
    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 more 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 to ten minutes at 425° or until browned on the bottom and flip, then bake a couple 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!


  • 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 saltine crackers really make these awesome!
  • When/if we have these leftovers, I make sandwiches with thin-sliced bread, these Heinz Sweet & Spicy Pickle Chips, and some mayo or homemade yogurt spiced up with Sriracha.


Serving: 2tuna cakesCalories: 248kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 20gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 115mgSodium: 375mgPotassium: 197mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 167IUCalcium: 27mgIron: 2mg
Keyword air fryer, mealthy, quick recipe, saltines, sriracha, Tuna, tuna cakes, tuna patties, weeknight meal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Nutrition Facts
Granny's Tuna Cakes (Quick & Easy 4 Ingredient Tuna Cakes)
Amount Per Serving (2 tuna cakes)
Calories 248 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 115mg38%
Sodium 375mg16%
Potassium 197mg6%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 20g40%
Vitamin A 167IU3%
Calcium 27mg3%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

4 thoughts on “Four Ingredient 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.

    2. 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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