Mix Canned Tuna With Cream Cheese For An Easy, Tangy Treat

Cream cheese has proven itself a worthy spread for bagels and toast, but it's also an important foundation for countless iconic dips from spinach artichoke to buffalo chicken. Even a simple block of cream cheese smothered in barbecue sauce or pepper jelly is a tasty appetizer to scoop up with your favorite cracker. Canned tuna is another flavorful ingredient to elaborate with cream cheese for an easy, tangy treat that can be a dip or a spread.

Typically, we try to spruce up canned tuna with the help of mayonnaise, vinegar, pickles, and celery in a classic tuna salad recipe. Cream cheese supplies the creaminess of mayonnaise and a hint of the tanginess of vinegar and pickles while also providing a hefty, thick texture that'll soak up any excess briny water from the tuna. Plus, cream cheese and fish are a classic pairing as evidenced by a cream cheese and lox bagel, crab dip, and Philadelphia sushi rolls.

Blending cream cheese with a can of drained tuna will revive the tuna's umami richness with a tangy, cheesy complement. You can even add cream cheese to a tuna salad recipe to thicken it and add an extra layer of savoriness and acidity. A cream cheese enhancement will effectively turn tuna salad into a dip to enjoy with a bag of salty potato chips. By the same token, you can blend cream cheese with a bit of mayonnaise to thin it out without detracting from its taste and creaminess.

Flavor pairings for tuna and cream cheese

While cream cheese and canned tuna make a well-rounded pairing, you can make major flavor and texture upgrades with all sorts of ingredients and techniques. To successfully blend cream cheese and canned tuna, you need your whipped cheese to be at room temperature. However, even soft cream cheese is mighty thick. Mayonnaise will help thin cream cheese as we mentioned above, but Greek yogurt, sour cream, or even a spoonful of milk will also diminish its thickness without diluting its tanginess.

Furthermore, using a mechanical or hand whisk to whip cream cheese and mayo or yogurt will result in an ultra-creamy and fluffy foundation for canned tuna. This technique creates a lighter textured yummy dip to enjoy with crudites or use as a bagel or sandwich spread.

You can add spices, herbs, aromatics, and vegetables for even more flavor and texture. Chopped celery, bell peppers, pickles, and garlic bring crunch along with spice and extra tang to a cream cheese and canned tuna dish. Dill, parsley, capers, olives, and scallions are bright, aromatic, earthy, and umami garnishes to add to the mix.

You can also bypass fresh produce for canned ingredients for effortless upgrades. Canned green chilies, sun-dried tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, canned corn, and canned peas and carrots are all great options for simple augmentations. Another clever way to add flavor without adding ingredients is to use flavored cream cheese, whether it's chive and onions, garlic and herb, or garden veggie.