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An Easy Tuna Cake Recipe Even the Fussiest Eaters Will Love

Vanessa is a mum to two toddlers that are pretty fussy at the best of times. I can't let them eat sausages or cereal every night!


Easy Tuna Cakes

I have two toddlers. One who eats and tries things, and one who would rather eat cereal for dinner than try a vegetable.

This recipe is a winner for both my kids and even my vege-phobe hubby who only eats a few selective veggies. This recipe is super quick and will leave enough for one or two leftovers for snacks the next day. They even taste great cold.

I think it's important that even the fussiest kids (or any fussy person actually) get exposed to actual pieces of vegetable they can see from time to time, which is why I chose to leave the corn whole. My mantra is:

"If you don't like it, pick it out."

You can swap out any vegetables in this recipe for other things. I have chosen zucchini, carrot, and corn because carrots are sweet and zucchini is almost flavorless. Corn can be swapped for peas—I chose corn because I like it and also because, no one apart from myself, likes peas.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

25 min

25 min

50 min

Serves 2 children and 2 adults plus leftovers


  • 500g tin of tuna, drained—I like Serina tuna but you can use anything you like
  • Half a medium zucchini or carrot, skin on or off—up to you
  • Half a small onion
  • 3 dessert spoons plain flour or fine flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Your herbs of choice, Recommended are: parsley, mixed herbs or corriander
  • 1 large egg
  • Quarter cup tasty cheese
  • 100g tin of corn kernels


  1. Grab a small onion, chop it up rough but on the small side—it's being added to the potatoes for flavor so rough chop is fine.
  2. Peel three potatoes and cut into rough cubes (this will be mashed so it doesn't have to look pretty.)
  3. Grab a pot of water—enough for 3 potatoes and set the temperature to boil. Add a desert spoon of salt to the water. The water doesn't have to be boiling so add the potatoes and onion to the water.
  4. Once the water is boiling, turn it down to a simmer and cook untill soft. Test the potatoes are soft by using a fork—if the fork goes in really easy, they are cooked enough.
  5. Drain the potatoes and onion and place in a bowl to cool.
  6. While the potatoes are cooling, finely chop (or grate) carrot and/or zucchini plus cheese. Put some oil in a frying pan and cook the grated vegetables until soft. Do not use a high heat—you only want to soften them so they aren't hard pieces in the tuna cakes. Add this to the bowl with the cooling potatoes.
  7. Add your herbs and a little bit of fine black pepper and a grind of salt. I like to use 1 Tsp of mixed herbs, however, if I have coriander in the fridge I will use two pinches of that. Parsley is also good.
  8. Add flour, cheese, tuna and egg.
  9. Grab a masher or fork or whatever utensil you like to mash with and mash the mixture. This is where you can choose how you like it—my kids are impossible so I mash it as smooth as I can. Don't use a food processor on potatoes—the starch in potatoes turns it into glue.
  10. Add the corn last as you don't really want to mash this. It doesn't hurt if you mash it though. If you all hate corn, use peas.

Cooking Instructions

  • Heat some oil in a medium or large fry-pan. You can use any oil you like, however, if you are using herbs other than coriander, I would avoid coconut oil as it won't taste nice with that flavor.
  • Test the oil is hot by placing the end of a wooden spoon into the oil. If you don't have one of those, drop in a tiny bit of the mix. If it bubbles, it's hot enough. If it immediately goes dark, it's too hot, turn it down. Pretend you are cooking pancakes.

The Patties

I make these in a few different ways. Whichever is easiest for you is the way you can go. My smallest toddler likes finger food and really enjoys the Quenelle.


Please see video tutorial if you don't know how to make one.


I like to use an egg ring to get an even thickness as well as uniform shapes.


You could use an ice-cream scoop and squash it down a bit with the spatula.

You could also just spoon the mixture into the frying pan in dollops.

Do A Tester Tuna Cake

Mine is breaking apart!

If you find you turn the first one and it breaks apart, add more flour—say a dessert spoon and re-mix. Alternatively, you can coat them in breadcrumbs or mix a handful of breadcrumbs into the mixture.

  • Give each tuna cake a gentle turn from time to time until it's a golden brown color.
Small hands trying to grab the finished product while I take the final photos! Proves how good they are.

Small hands trying to grab the finished product while I take the final photos! Proves how good they are.

When you have toddlers, you need simple recipes that don't take long.


How to Make a Quenelle: Video Courtesy YouTube - Good Housekeeping UK