9 Easy And Delicious Canned Tuna Recipes

When you see canned tuna in the back of the pantry, your mind probably goes to classic tuna salad piled on a sandwich or dipped with crackers. Or maybe the first dish that pops into your head is the baked tuna casserole that many of us ate during childhood. Both are delicious options, especially considering how canned tuna can be a cost-efficient way to get a healthy dose of protein and nutrients. Not to mention, the tinned fish is shelf stable and can last unopened for up to five years.

As delicious as the most obvious dishes can be, there are plenty of ways to transform canned tuna into an elevated meal. Now, you'll have to decide if you prefer tuna packed in water or oil, but once you've got that down, Tasting Table has nine delicious (and easy) original recipes that highlight canned tuna. And yes, there are tuna salads and casseroles, plus more innovative dishes. Before you get started, consider our ranking of the best tuna brands to pull off the tastiest meal if you don't have a few cans in the kitchen already.

Dilly Tuna Casserole

We certainly couldn't start a canned tuna recipe round up without tuna casserole because it's a classic American meal. Recipe developer Michelle McGlinn puts a spin on this recipe with fresh dill fronds for anise-like flavor and crispy fried onions to add crunch. For this recipe, use two cans of tuna in water, drained, to make up the base along with condensed cream of celery soup, peas, and egg noodles. It makes at least four servings, and only takes 30 minutes from can to table, so it should make a dependable addition to your weekly meal rotation.

Recipe: Dilly Tuna Casserole

Simple Yet Refined Tuna Sandwich

A bite of a tuna sandwich is quite comforting, and you don't have to head to your local diner to eat one thanks to this recipe created by Taylor Murray. It's simple but elevated with Dijon mustard, lemon juice, chives, parsley, and dill for layers of herby flavor. Add arugula to the sandwich for a leafy, peppery touch. Murray recommends sourdough bread, which is the ideal hearty vessel for the tuna salad, but you can use your go-to bread or even wraps to make it lighter. If a tuna melt is more your forte, add a slice of sharp cheddar to each sandwich before heating.

Recipe: Simple Yet Refined Tuna Sandwich

Spruced Up Tuna Salad

Do you need another tuna salad recipe? Yes, at least this one. It obviously has mainstay ingredients like canned tuna, mayonnaise, and Dijon mustard — but the rest of the recipe switches things up. There's cucumber for crunch, red onion to add zest, red pepper, and grated carrot. It only takes 10 minutes to pull together four servings, and it's easy to double when you need to feed a crowd or prep for a week of meals. Serve it with crackers, on lettuce wraps, piled onto bread, or stuffed in a pita pocket.

Recipe: Spruced Up Tuna Salad

Dill Tuna Patties and Cucumber Cream Sauce

One of the more unique recipes here is for dill tuna patties with cucumber cream sauce. They're similar to salmon cakes, and the recipe combines canned tuna with several ingredients like shallot, mayonnaise, and binders like an egg and breadcrumbs. You'll form eight patties, chill them in the fridge, then fry them in a pan for a few minutes on each side. Meanwhile, a creamy cucumber sauce with fresh lemon juice and dill finishes off the meal. To save time, use store-bought tzatziki or tartar sauce instead. Turn the patties into a complete meal with salad or grains, or make a flavorful sandwich on burger buns.

Recipe: Dill Tuna Patties and Cucumber Cream Sauce

Zippy Tuna Pasta Salad

Sometimes pasta salad is a bit of an afterthought served as a side with a plethora of other dishes at a cookout or casual dinner party. However, this zippy tuna pasta salad from recipe developer Jennine Rye can work as a complete meal — one that you'll want to make over and over. In this pasta salad, Rye uses fusilli so the homemade dressing and other ingredients cling onto every bite. There's an herby essence from fresh dill and basil, mild sweetness from canned corn, and crème fraîche for a tangy touch. You'll also make toasted paprika breadcrumbs to finish off the dish with a delightful crunch.

Recipe: Zippy Tuna Pasta Salad

Pan-Seared Tuna Burger

Forget about beef and chicken burgers, because these tuna burgers are packed with enough flavor and bulk to satisfy any craving. You'll use three cans of tuna with soy sauce for a touch of umami, cilantro, black pepper, garlic, breadcrumbs, and eggs to make four patties. A homemade cucumber sauce (similar to tzatziki) offers a fresh and herby condiment to finish off each tuna burger. Buns are suggested, of course, along with sliced red onion for a kick and alfalfa sprouts for a dose of greens.

Recipe: Pan-Seared Tuna Burger

Roasted Sweet Potato & Tuna Salad

This salad is one of our more refreshing recipes involving canned tuna, and it uses the drained fish pretty much right out of the tin. The other main stars of the dish are sweet potatoes, which are roasted with olive oil, salt, and black pepper. They'll top a bed of greens along with ripe avocado for creaminess (and more nutrients), red onion, dried cranberries for tart sweetness, and toasted pecans that offer a nutty crunch. Finish with a homemade salad dressing. Sure, this one will take over an hour to pull together, but the salad is packed with flavor and nutrients, and it certainly works as a complete meal.

Recipe: Roasted Sweet Potato & Tuna Salad

Simple Apple Tuna Salad

Yes, we have another tuna salad recipe for your consideration — and this version developed by Taylor Murray is a bit different. It has the usual chopped celery and red onion, but the chopped apples are what make it stand out with fruity, tart sweetness and a soft crunch in each bite. Murray suggests using Gala apples but other tart apples like Granny Smith or McIntosh work just as well. There's also a splash of apple cider vinegar for an acidic punch. And you can add a mix of apple varieties, grapes for more fruitiness, and walnuts or pecans for crunch. Serve it atop a salad, inside lettuce wraps, or smeared on bread.

Recipe: Simple Apple Tuna Salad

Tuna Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce wraps have been mentioned before, so here's an actual lettuce wrap recipe to satisfy any potential craving. This tuna salad is a classic rendition with the likes of mayo, celery, red onion, pickle relish, and a few other ingredients like capers for salty bursts of flavor. After you assemble the salad, pile it high on crispy butter lettuce leaves and garnish with whatever you want like alfalfa sprouts, sliced avocado, extra red onion, or a dash of hot sauce for heat. Best of all, it'll be on the table in 10 minutes for an effortless lunch or light dinner. Hungry yet? 

Recipe: Tuna Lettuce Wraps