The Method You Should Use To Prevent Tuna Cakes From Falling Apart

When you think of tuna cakes, you may also think of crab cakes. These seafood patties are the perfect lunch or dinner option, accompanied by a squeeze of lemon juice – especially in the summer months. While tuna cakes aren't as popular as crab cakes, canned tuna is much cheaper than canned crab, and with the help of similar ingredients such as mayonnaise, egg, breadcrumbs, celery, and whatever else you fancy, they taste almost identical. In fact, Paula Deen calls her tuna cakes "Faux Crab Cakes."

That being said, it's easy to shred up the tuna and mix it in with the other ingredients, but when it comes to cooking them, it's hard to make 'em look like the restaurants do. When ordering them out, the patties are always so uniform, making you question why when making them at home, they always want to fall apart. However, if you notice them turning into a scramble instead of a solidified patty, there's a way to prevent this.

Some chill time and alone time

According to Every Last Bite, once you've whipped up your tuna cake mixture and formed 'em into patties, instead of heading to the stovetop, chill them in the fridge for about 20 minutes, or in the freezer for 5 minutes if you're in a pinch. This will not only help the flavors marry together, but will help them firm up and hold their shape while searing. 

Another major piece of advice is when you're ready to sear, be cautious not to move them around. It's tempting to take your spatula and check on them, or move 'em to the left or right, but just like chicken can't get a nice golden crust if you're moving it around, tuna cakes are the same way. Tuna cakes are independent and only need to be flipped once. The less you mess with them, the more the binding agent inside the mix, such as the eggs, will cook and congeal together, allowing all the counterparts to become one. That being said, wait until a golden crust has formed on one side, and there's your cue to flip. 

If you feel that your recipe needs more of a binder, Melanie Cooks suggests adding a bit of flour into the mix to help hold the ingredients together more. Most crab or tuna cakes don't include flour because it's finicky. Too much flour can make them tough, but if you add just a sprinkle in, it will do wonders.