Easy Paleo Canned Tuna Fish Cakes

This is a simple and easy recipe for Canned Tuna Fish Cakes. Only 8 ingredients and 30 minutes needed. Gluten-Free. Paleo. Whole 30. Healthy.

Use the “Jump To Recipe” button above to skip ahead to the recipe card, but don’t be too hasty – as the post contains all the tips and tricks.

A side shot of a stack of tuna fish cakes topped with sliced avocado and a drizzle of sriracha, on a bed on greens, in a grey plate.

We’re always on the lookout for easy, but tasty lunch recipes. Using canned tuna is a great way to incorporate protein into your meal without breaking your budget.

So, we’re always experimenting with new ways to spruce up this simple and affordable ingredient.

Can you make fish cakes with canned tuna?

Hell yeah!

In fact, it’s great way to spruce up plain ol’ canned tuna! By transforming it into delicious fish cakes, you’re taking a cheap ingredient and making it fancier with just a few simple additions.

This recipe for easy canned tuna fishcakes is great because it contains no flour or breadcrumbs, making it healthy, paleo and whole 30 friendly!

No reason to look down on tin tuna ever again.

What makes this recipe the best canned tuna fish cake, in my opinion, is the addition of sweet potato. This gives just the right amount of necessary sweetness, to truly elevate the flavor of canned tuna to a new level.

How to make Paleo Canned Tuna and Sweet Potato Fish Cakes:

First things first – you need to sauté the red pepper and onion together, until the onion is soft and translucent.

Top shot of a pan filled with chopped peppers and onions and a wooden spoon.

Then, you add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl.

These are the ingredients needed:

  1. Canned Tuna
  2. Cooked Sweet Potato
  3. Onion
  4. Red Pepper
  5. Some herbs and spices
  6. An egg, and
  7. Voilà!
A clear glass mixing bowl with separated ingredients for canned tuna fish cakes.

Now, you need to mix, mix and mix until everything is well combined. I prefer to leave the sweet potato at least a little chunky – not completely mashed up. It gives great pops of sweetness in the fish cakes.

A clear glass mixing bowl with mixed ingredients for canned tuna fish cakes and a stirring wooden spoon.

Once everything is mixed together properly, form into cakes. I use a 1/4 cup to potion the mix, and it creates 12 fish cakes.

A black baking tray with uncooked, formed canned tuna fish cakes.

Heat up some oil in a skillet and carefully sear the cakes well.

This is very important! Since this recipe is tuna cakes without breadcrumbs or flour, they can turn out a little soft if you make the cakes too thick or big. So, I recommend using a 1/4 cup of mix per fishcake.

If needed, the recipe can also be make without the egg, but it definitely helps with binding everything together since there’s no breadcrumbs involved.

Tuna Fish Cakes is a great recipe for easy lunches and can be made ahead of time, since it’s better to have the fishcakes chilled in the fridge before searing anyway. This also aids in making the cakes hold together even better – so it’s a double win.

A high side shot white oven tray with cooked Paleo Canned Tuna Fish Cakes garnished with an assortment of greens.

Really…it’s hard to believe that such tasty fishcakes can be make with something as simple and plain as canned tuna.

It’s one of our favorite lunch meals.

A top shot white oven tray with cooked Paleo Canned Tuna Fish Cakes garnished with an assortment of greens.

What to eat with Canned Tuna Fish Cakes?

The best thing to eat with canned tuna, for me, is a simple salad. I also like to spruce it up with a bit of avocado and Sriracha for a spicy kick. 

Here’s some ideas of salads to serve with the Canned Tuna Fishcakes:

  1. Cucumber Noodles /w Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
  2. Avocado Tomato Cucumber Salad

Even though the tuna cakes themselves contain sweet potato – sweet potato fries are also another great side for these yummy cakes.

I’d also recommend our Mango Remoulade as a delicious dipping sauce that goes great with these fish cakes.

A high side shot of a stack of tuna fish cakes topped with sliced avocado and a drizzle of sriracha, on a bed on greens, in a grey plate.

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Easy Paleo Canned Tuna Fish Cakes Recipe and Nutritional Facts / Calories:

Easy Paleo Can Tuna Fish Cakes

Easy Paleo Canned Tuna Fish Cakes

This is a simple and easy recipe for Canned Tuna Fish Cakes. Only 8 ingredients and 30 minutes needed. Gluten-Free. Paleo. Whole 30. Healthy.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 343kcal


  • 3 cans Tuna
  • 2 Sweet Potato (Approximately 2 Cups Chopped)
  • 1 Red Pepper (Finely Diced)
  • 1 Yellow Onion (Finely Diced)
  • 1 Garlic Clove (Minced)
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Fresh Chives
  • 1/2 Lime (Juice)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 tbsp Salt (I used course salt, so use less if you’re using fine table salt)
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Paprika


  • Dice the sweet potato into smallish cubes and boil for 10 minutes in salted water. They should be fork tender.
  • While the sweet potato boils, sauté the diced red pepper and onion in a little bit of oil until the onion is soft.
  • Now mix everything together in a mixing bowl until well combined. 
  • Form the mixture into fish cakes. I used 1/4 cup per cake and this yielded 12 cakes.
  • Heat up oil in skillet over a medium high heat. Once the pan is hot – carefully place the fish cakes in the pan and allow them to get a good sear on each side. Let them sit for at least 3 minutes per side.
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Tips and Tricks:
1. I used 6oz water packed tuna cans. I drained the water. Although, it is not an exact science. Slightly smaller, or oil packed cans will work fine.
2. When draining the tuna, be sure to drain the tuna cans WELL, or the mixture might be too runny.


Calories: 343kcal | Carbohydrates: 18.4g | Protein: 38.9g | Fat: 12.2g | Saturated Fat: 2.6g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 977mg | Potassium: 863mg | Fiber: 3.5g | Sugar: 6.7g | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 3.6mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @LivingChirpy or tag #livingchirpy!

12 thoughts on “Easy Paleo Canned Tuna Fish Cakes”

  1. We made these tonight with a pint of home canned, water packed tuna drained. They were very tasty and we will make them again. The only problem we had was the were very soft and difficult to flip in the pan. Next time we will try adding a bit of panko to stiffen them up a bit. Thanks!

    1. Hi David – glad you enjoyed the flavor of these tuna cakes. When we make them, they are definitely on the softer side as well, but we usually do not have issues with flipping them. If you are ok with panko in your diet, it will definitely help stiffen them up:)

  2. Hi, I loved these!!! So delicious and healthy! Mine did crumble a bit so next time I’d add another egg. The mixture was also quite watery before i made the cakes – I think it was maybe my potato – i might mash it next time or use the rind of the lime instead of the juice. I didn’t have paprika so I used 1/2 tsp of Cayenne Pepper. I really appreciated you sharing this recipe. It was very pantry friendly, healthy and tasty!

  3. Therese Livermore

    I followed your recipe to a tee. They fell apart. I didn’t like this recipe. Ended up adding almond flour to get it to bind.

    1. Roche Woodworth

      Hello Therese. I’m so sorry the recipe didn’t work for you! Since I wasn’t in the kitchen with you, it’s impossible to know what went wrong. This recipe is part of our personal lunch menu rotation, and they’ve never failed. I will add them to our menu for this week and recheck the quantities on my recipe card to be sure. Thanks for the feedback.

    1. Roche Woodworth

      I used 6oz cans, water packed and I drained it. It’s not an exact science though – I’ve used 5oz oil packed cans as well. Also, I’ve never NOT drained tuna cans, but I’ll be sure to add this information to the recipe card.

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