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These tuna burgers are thick, savory, and irresistible! Pile on the toppings and smother with aioli for a satisfying meal.

Tuna Burger
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Here’s a unique way to use a can of tuna…try Tuna Burgers! Tuna makes an unexpectedly excellent burger: thick and savory. Balanced on a bun with chipotle aioli and veggie toppings, it’s a satisfying meal that everyone will enjoy. Plus, it’s economical and a great alternative to red meat. Just like our popular tuna patties, it’s a healthy dinner idea that will surprise and delight. Here’s how it’s done!

Ingredients in tuna burgers

Tuna burgers are simply a burger where canned tuna stands in for ground meat. You’ll also need to add some binders to help the tuna stick together, like egg, breadcrumbs, mustard and mayonnaise. It all comes together into a savory, hearty mix of flavors! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • White meat tuna (see below)
  • Green onion
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Garlic powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Plain panko or coarse breadcrumbs (or gluten free breadcrumbs; see below*)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Eggs
  • Olive oil
Tuna Burger

Tips for buying canned tuna

There are lots of options at the grocery store when it comes to canned tuna. Here’s what to look for when buying for these tuna burgers:

  • Look for light tuna caught by pole and line fishing, which is the most sustainable choice. Light tuna that comes from skipjack has the lowest mercury levels of all types of tuna. (Read more here.)
  • Buy BPA free cans. Look for cans or pouches that are BPA free.
  • Oil packed or water packed work. Use whatever is your personal preference for this recipe! Either way, drain the can before using.

Panko vs breadcrumbs

Do you stock panko in your pantry? It’s extremely versatile and our favorite option when it comes to breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs are important to get a cohesive, solid texture to a tuna burger. Here’s the difference between panko and traditional breadcrumbs, and why we prefer panko:

  • Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb mixture that is airier and lighter than traditional breadcrumbs. It makes a beautifully crispy coating and it’s very versatile. Use it in recipes like Pistachio Crusted Salmon or Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. Or our favorite way: use it as a stand-in for croutons in a Kale Caesar Salad or Romaine Salad.
  • Breadcrumbs also work! Packages labeled “coarse breadcrumbs” are best, since traditional breadcrumbs have a finer texture like sand. But either should work! You can also make homemade breadcrumbs.
  • Want breadcrumb substitutes? Try gluten-free panko or gluten-free breadcrumbs, or use an equal amount of crushed crackers of any type.
Tuna Burger

How to make tuna burgers: some tips

Once you’ve got all your ingredients, tuna burgers are simple to put together. Just make sure to leave 15 minutes for allowing the burgers to firm up in the fridge. Here are some notes on the process:

  • This recipe makes 4 very large or 5 medium burgers. We prefer the size with 5 because it fits in a bun nicely but still has some heft (the size with 6 is too small). It might be an odd number, but then someone gets seconds! Or leftovers save well for 2 to 3 days.
  • Form the burgers, then refrigerate 15 minutes. This helps them firm up prior to pan frying. Use this time to make the burger sauce or prep other parts of the meal.
  • Pan fry 4 minutes per side. Fry in olive oil until they’re golden brown on both sides.

Tuna burger toppings

Once you’ve got your tuna burgers: the best part is the toppings! Make sure you pair a creamy sauce with these tuna burgers, otherwise the sandwich will be on the dry side. Here are some of our favorite sauces and toppings for a tuna burger:

Chipotle Aioli

More tuna recipes

There’s so much you can do with a can of tuna! Here are a few more ideas:

This tuna burger recipe is…

Pescatarian and dairy-free.

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Tuna Burger

Tuna Burgers

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 large or 5 medium burgers 1x


These tuna burgers are thick, savory, and irresistible! Pile on the toppings and smother with aioli for a satisfying meal.


  • 3 5-ounce cans white meat tuna
  • 1 green onion, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups plain panko or coarse breadcrumbs (or gluten free breadcrumbs*)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking
  • 1 recipe Chipotle Aioli, Truffle Aioli, Remoulade, or Tartar Sauce, for serving*
  • To serve: red onion, tomato slices, lettuce, buns


  1. Drain the tuna and flake it into small pieces with a fork, smashing up any big chunks. In a medium bowl, mix it with green onion, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, kosher salt, panko, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, and eggs.
  2. Form the dough into 5 small or 6 large patties. Refrigerate the patties for 15 minutes to firm up the texture (or up to 24 hours). If desired, use the time to make the aioli, remoulade or tartar sauce.
  3. When ready to cook, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the burgers and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes until lightly browned, then gently flip them with a spatula and cook about 3 to 4 minutes more until lightly browned on the other side.
  4. Serve on a bun with tomato, red onion, lettuce, and aioli, remoulade or tartar sauce. Leftovers save well refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.


*Make sure to have a creamy sauce with these tuna burgers, otherwise the texture will be on the dry side. 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Seafood

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Amanda Little says:

    I made this today for lunch, exactly to the recipe and it was so good! My husband and I started eating vegetarian a few months ago and I have made at least 5 recipes from you guys and have loved them all, Thanks for sharing!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      You’re welcome! Glad you enjoyed.

  2. Colette says:

    Yum! They turned out fantastic. I did make 4 very large burgers and put them in the air fryer – I think I tried 380 for 7 minutes and they almost looked crispy and I was worried they would be dry. I flipped them over (I find air frying tends to need your stuff to be flipped) and did 370 for I think 4 minutes. I wanted to make sure they were well cooked because of the eggs. They were not dry, but they weren’t exactly moist – which was fine because they didn’t fall apart. I would try to air fry them a little lower and less time next time. I would probably try to make these into 5 or 6 burgers next time. Served them with Sriracha mayo, dill relish, lettuce and red onion.