Air Fryer Tuna Patties Recipe

You’ll be amazed how these simple pantry ingredients can transform into this delicious dish.

I use textured vegetable Protein because it’s gluten free and Keto friendly. This dish is low in calories and packed with flavor.

In under 30 minutes you can make delicious Tuna Burgers or have protein packed patties.

Dill and Lemon are a powerhouse of brightness with the smoky pimento aioli. This recipe will be sure to become a family favorite and delicious anytime of the year.

This recipe is made in under 25 minutes without the mess and full of flavor! 

Prep Time: 10 MINUTES

Cook time:  12 MINUTES

Total time: 22 MINUTES

Yield: 6 Servings

What You’ll Need

  • 1 (12oz) can of Tuna in water
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ cup TVP (textured vegetable protein)
  • 4T Mayonnaise + ½ cup
  • 2T Lemon juice
  • 1t Dijon Mustard
  • ½ Onion 
  • 1 stalk Celery
  • 1/2t Onion powder
  • 1 t Coriander powder
  • 1/2t Garlic Powder
  • 1 t Dill (dried)
  • 1/2t Salt + Pepper 
  • Nonstick Cooking Spray
  • Pimentos
  • Sriracha
  • Smoked Paprika or (Ancho Chile Powder)

Ingredient Notes


For this recipe I used Wild Planet sustainable Skip Jack Tuna in water. Remember the higher quality of tuna used will improve the taste and flavor. 

You can use any type of Tuna for this recipe, just make sure that it is packed in water not oil. Tuna in oil can make the patty too oily and it’s healthier in water.

Strain and remove the water. Remember the higher quality of tuna used will improve the taste and flavor. 


You’ll want to get a feel for this recipe and if you think one or two eggs work better for you. The dryness of your tuna can depend on if you need one or two. 

TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)

This is a great substitution for breadcrumbs. If you are trying to be gluten free or just want a healthier option, this ingredient is your answer.

This is found at most health food stores. I believe Bob’s Red Mill makes the one I’m using. You also can use regular breadcrumbs or Panko breadcrumbs for this recipe. 

Spray Oil

I use Primal Kitchen’s Avocado oil spray. Any nonstick spray will work. I like the avocado oil, because it can reach a cooking temperature of 500°F and is a healthier option.

Be careful with other options like coconut and sesame that can impart their flavor onto your foods.  We spray the patties and basket to avoid sticking and give a crispy shell.


The bright flavor of lemon really compliments this dish. The juice in the patties and zest in the sauce make for an excellent ingredient.

We use zest in the sauce, so the brightness imparts flavor, but the juice doesn’t water it down. I wouldn’t suggest substituting with any other citrus. 


I always suggest trying a recipe then adding your own preference of flavors, however this is a great starting point. In my opinion, perfect. Coriander gives a nice floral and mild flavor and great addition.

The dill is beneficial for imparting a pop of flavor and pairs great with the tuna. The smoked paprika/ancho chile powder imparts smokiness and depth to the sauce. 

Celery & Onion

I like the freshness and texture this brings to the dish along with the flavor.

How To Make It

Step 1: Gather your Ingredients

Gather the ingredients for the recipe. 

Step 2: Cut the Vegetables

Cut into a small dice the half onion and stalk of celery.

Step 3: Measure your Ingredients

Measure your spices in a bowl. In another bowl add the tuna, egg, TVP, mayo, dijon, lemon juice, celery & onion. Drain the tuna before adding.

Step 4: Combine the Mixture 

Add the spices to the tuna and combine all ingredients.  Use a spoon to fold everything together.

It is optional at this stage to add your mixture to the fridge for 5-10 minutes to firm up. If you have the extra time, I recommend this step.

It helps firm up the patties and the nonstick process.  This amount of time is not added to the cooking time. 

Step 5: Shape the Patties

I like to use a large ice cream scoop for this. If you are using the scoop, it will perfectly produce 3 even patties.  Place them on a plate and gently pat down and form a patty with your hands. 

Step 6: Spray the Oil

Spray the nonstick cooking spray on the basket of the air fryer and the patty. There’s no need to flip them during the cooking process. 

Step 7: Cook the Patties

Cook the patties at 375°F for 12 minutes. The basket holds the 3 patties perfect. Be sure not to overcrowd the basket.

I use a slotted spatula to carefully transfer. You’ll want to adjust your time a couple minutes up or down depending how crisp you prefer the outside. 

Step 8: Make the Sauce

While your patties are cooking, you’re going to prepare the sauce.

In a blender combine 1 jar of pimentos (strained), ½ cup mayonnaise, 3-4 zests of lemon, ½ t Sriracha, ½ t smoked paprika. Blend until all ingredients have combined.

Step 9: Remove the Patties

Check the patties to make sure the outside is the desired crispness. Use a slotted spatula to remove the patties. 

Step 10: Plate and Serve

Serve this as a tuna burger or on a bed or arugula. 

Alternative Ingredients or Substitutions: 

Can I Change the Tuna?

You could substitute canned chicken or crab for this recipe. The flavors accompany all.

Do You Have to Use TVP?

Breadcrumbs or panko can be substituted. I use TVP, because it is gluten free and a healthier option. 

How Do I Make Enough for a Group?

You can double the recipe and make smaller patties to serve as an appetizer for guests. 

Can This Recipe Be Made Ahead of Time?

You can make this recipe up to a day before and store the filling in the refrigerator. The sauce lasts for 7 days in the refrigerator and is a great condiment. I slather this sauce on sandwiches and wraps. 

This recipe is quick and cost effective. You can literally come through the door and have dinner ready in less than 30 minutes. Once cooked the patties store for 3 days in the fridge. 

Once you shape the patties you can individually wrap them in airtight cling film or parchment paper and Ziplock bag for up to 3 months. When ready to cook, defrost and proceed with the cooking instructions.

Garnish Ideas:

Parsley, Cilantro, Lemon Wedges, pickles, Green Onions or Chives

What to Serve with this Dish

  • Made into a tuna burger
  • Arugula
  • Salad Greens

Tips and Tricks

  • Make sure to break up the tuna so it is evenly distributed throughout the patty.
  • Use a slotted spatula to transfer the patties. 
  • No need to flip the patties. Flipping just increases the chances of breaking.
  • You may need to add one more egg or extra breadcrumb if you use tuna in oil. 

Cooking Times By Air Fryer

Model Cooking TimeTemperature
Ninja Foodi12375°F
Phillips Airfryer XXL (HD9630)10375°F
Nuwave Bravo XL Grill11375°F
Power XL 2&3 Qt Vortex11375°F
Breville Smart Oven10375°F

You may need to adjust the time to a couple of minutes with your preference on the crispy outside. The patties reheat in the air fryer at 365°F for 5 minutes.

Air Fryer Tuna Patties

Air Fryer Tuna Patties

Yield: 3
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

This is a great low calorie and protein packed dinner. Easily make Tuna Burgers or tuna cakes in a little over twenty minutes. 


  • 1 12 oz can of tuna (in water)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup TVP or breadcrumbs
  • 4T Mayonnaise
  • 2T Lemon Juice
  • 1t Dijon Mustard 
  • ½ onion (diced)
  • 1 stalk of celery (diced)
  • ½ t Onion Powder
  • 1/2t Garlic Powder
  • 1t Coriander 
  • 1t dried dill
  • ½ t salt and pepper
  • 1 jar Pimentos (strained)
  • ½ cup mayo
  • 4-5 zests lemon
  • 1/2t Sriracha
  • 1/2t Smoked Paprika


    How To Make the Sauce

    In a blender combine the strained pimentos. Discarding the liquid. Add the mayonnaise, lemon zest, Sriracha and Smoked Paprika. Blend until smooth.

    *Serve on the side or drizzle over 

    *Pimento Sauce is fantastic as a condiment. Use on sandwiches, wraps and vegetables. 

  1. Gather your ingredients for the recipe
  2. Dice your vegetables (small dice)
  3. Measure your ingredients. Measure spices in one bowl and the rest of the ingredients in a larger bowl.
  4. Combine the ingredients by adding the spice mixture to the tuna mixture. Gently fold together.
  5. Shape the patties using a large ice cream scoop and gently form into patties with your hands.
  6. Spray the oil on the patties and the air fryer to prevent sticking.
  7. Cook the patties at 375°F for 12 minutes.
  8. In a blender combine the pimento sauce ingredients and blend until smooth.
  9. Remove the patties and check for crispness. 
  10. Plate and serve. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 692Total Fat: 47gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 38gCholesterol: 133mgSodium: 1155mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 8gSugar: 8gProtein: 41g
Skip to Recipe