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Mexican tuna cakes, or tortitas de atun, are quick, easy, and delicious. Made with canned tuna, these tuna patties come together in about 20 minutes. |

Mexican Tuna Cakes (Tortitas de Atun)

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5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Sam Hu | Ahead of Thyme
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3-4 servings


Mexican tuna cakes, or tortitas de atun, are quick, easy, and delicious. Made with canned tuna, these tuna patties come together in about 20 minutes. 


  • 2 (5 oz.) cans tuna, drained
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, grated or finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (for pan-frying)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (optional, for serving)
  • fresh cilantro, chopped (optional, for serving)
  • lime, wedged (optional, for serving)

For breading:

  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 egg, beaten (optional, for a thicker coating)


  1. In a large mixing bowl, add canned tuna, breadcrumbs, eggs, onions, cilantro, carrots, lemon juice, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir well until evenly combined.
  2. Take 1/4 cup of the tuna mixture at a time and firmly roll into patties, about 8-9 patties. Set aside.
  3. In a shallow plate, make the breading by whisking together breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese until combined.
  4. Dip both sides of each patty into the breadcrumb mixture to coat and gently press breadcrumbs into the patties to adhere as much as possible. (If you want a thicker breading, prepare a shallow plate for beaten egg and dip patties in the egg and evenly coat, and then coat completely with the breadcrumb mixture. Shake off any excess breadcrumbs).
  5. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes until the hot oil sizzles. Gently add the breaded tuna cakes in the skillet and pan fry until nicely browned, about 4-5 minutes on each side. You can likely fit 4-5 tuna cakes at a time. Remove from pan and let rest for 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining tuna cakes.
  6. Serve with a side of mayonnaise, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro, and lime wedges, if desired.


How to store: Tortitas de atun are best served hot and fresh. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Let them cool completely before placing them in the container to avoid condensation and soggy tuna cakes.

How to reheat: Mexican tuna cakes are best reheated in the oven at 350F for 8-10 minutes until warmed all the way through. You can also reheat them in the microwave in 20 second increments until warmed through.

How to make your own aioli: These Mexican tuna cakes taste best when served with mayonnaise or aioli (a mix of mayonnaise and other ingredients). You can easily make your own aioli by mixing in your favorite sauce, like barbecue, ketchup, or hot sauce, with some mayo!

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Pan fry
  • Cuisine: Mexican