17 Canned Tuna Recipes That Aren't Just Tuna Melts or Casseroles

one-pan creamy tuna pasta
Photo: Armando Rafael

It's time to take canned tuna seriously and use this pantry-friendly protein for more than tuna salad sandwiches. We always keep a few cans on hand so we can make our favorite canned tuna recipes—which include everything from quick weeknight pastas to rice bowls, tuna patties, and Mediterranean-inspired salads. Our recipe collection includes new ideas as well as twists on comfort food classics like the tuna melt and tuna noodle casserole.

It's not that we don't love tuna salad—we do, but we like to mix it up and enjoy mayo-free versions and other twists in a sandwich or over greens. The takeaway? Canned tuna is a versatile, healthy ingredient you should keep in your kitchen—and use to make all of these recipes, of course.

01 of 17

Tuna, Tomato, and White-Bean Salad

Tuna, Tomato, and White-Bean Salad
Linda Xiao

Here's a colorful, quick, and easy salad for dinner. It's also a low-cook option; you only need to turn on the stove for simmering them potatoes and cooking the green beans.

02 of 17

No-Cook Tomato-Tuna Sauce with Spaghetti

spaghetti and no-cook tomato-tuna sauce topped with basil leaves
Con Poulos

This is the easiest, most delicious pasta recipe. We think it rivals our famed One-Pan Pasta for flavor and ease—and it beats it on protein thanks to the canned tuna (which also gives the sauce a briny flavor).

03 of 17

No-Mayo Mediterranean Tuna Salad

no-mayo mediterranean tuna salad served with salad greens
Johnny Miller

Mix it up—your tuna salad, that is. This mayo-free version features a punchy lemon-caper vinaigrette. We serve it with a crisp green salad and crackers.

04 of 17

Tuna Cakes with Arugula-Tomato Salad

tuna cakes with arugula-tomato salad
Chris Simpson

There's more to canned tuna than tuna salad and pasta dishes. Though we love both those options, when we want to switch things up, we turn to these tuna cakes. Tuna is amped up with Dijonnaise, lemon juice, and diced pickles. Grated carrot adds moisture and nutrition—and the patties are coated in panko before they're pan fried until golden and crispy on the outside (but remain soft within).

05 of 17

Spaghetti with Tuna and Caper Sauce

Alpha Smoot

This fast pantry dinner partners canned tuna with garlic, capers, lemon zest, and red-pepper flakes. Dinner is on the table in 30 minutes.

06 of 17

Tuna Salad Hand Rolls

Tuna-Salad Hand Rolls recipe
Lennart Weibull

Making sushi at home is not as hard as you think, especially when you try making handrolls. Start by doctoring up a can of tuna with mayonnaise, lemon, and cilantro—think spicy tuna with the spice on the side. Then add rice and crunchy seasoned carrots and cucumber for the perfect balance of flavor and texture. Serve with your favorite condiments such as soy and hot chili sauce.

07 of 17

Open-Face Tuna Melt

open face tuna melt

This diner classic makes a quick, comforting meal. Pickles add a briny bite to the tuna. Put it on top of your favorite toast and finish it with any melty cheese that you have on hand—cheddar, Monterey jack, or mozzarella are all good. For a Mediterranean spin, try this recipe with tomatoes and kalamata olives instead of pickles.

08 of 17

Easy Tuna Rice Bowl

sushi grain bowl
Armando Rafael

This easy tuna and rice bowl is a fun way to bring the poke trend into your kitchen. Top steamed rice with canned tuna, cucumber, hard-boiled egg, edamame, and nori for a balanced meal that's ready in 10 minutes. A drizzle of soy sauce dressing brings it all together.

09 of 17

Pasta with Peperonata Tuna and Olives

spaghetti peperonata with tuna and olives
Lennart Weibull

An unexpected combination of flavors delights in this bright, easy pasta. Bell peppers are cooked until tender and jammy to create a sauce. Canned tuna adds protein and golden raisins, Kalamata olives, and Parmesan cheese bring sweetness and salty contrasts.

10 of 17

Tuna Salad in Avocado Halves


Skip the bread! There's no better way to have tuna salad than stuffed into a creamy avocado. It's filling and totally delicious.

11 of 17

Tuna Noodle Casserole with Cauliflower

Linda Pugliese

Here's a modern update on a family favorite that we think you'll really like. When making our new take on the tuna casserole, swap in long swirls of pappardelle to replace the usual short egg noodles. We also think you'll love how cauliflower, a decidedly unexpected addition, pairs with the creamy sauce.

12 of 17

Tangy Tuna Salad

Andrew Purcell

There are so many ways to prepare tuna salad, and everyone has their favorite, but we think this is (another) method you shouldn't miss. Apple and yogurt add a tang that sets this recipe apart from the rest. Serve it sandwiched between bread or over a bed of fresh salad greens.

13 of 17

Tuna-Bean Panzanella

Johnny Miller

Who doesn't love a recipe that you can whip up with ingredients you already have on hand? Use leftover bread and open up a can of tuna and another can of beans. A bit of pickle juice adds immense flavor, while a small amount of basil, or any herb you have at the ready, adds a burst of freshness.

14 of 17

Tuna Salad Nicoise


A classic French salad, the Niçoise combines tuna, hard-boiled egg, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, olives, and sometimes lettuce. Enjoy it for dinner and use any leftovers in a sandwich the next day. This recipe skips the green beans and calls for roasting the potatoes and tomatoes for extra flavor. After that, it's just a matter of whisking up a lemon vinaigrette and assembling the remaining ingredients.

15 of 17

Lemony Orzo with Tuna

Johnny Miller

Perfect as a side dish or the main attraction, this lemony orzo and canned tuna salad mixes in raisins, scallions, lemon, and mint for a lively play on savory and sweet. Enjoy it warm or make it ahead of time and eat it cold.

16 of 17

Chickpea and Tuna Dip

Con Poulos

This might just be hummus 2.0. Combining tuna with chickpeas makes a chunky dip that's just right for all your favorite crudités or crunchy chips.

17 of 17

One-Pan Creamy Tuna Pasta

one-pan creamy tuna pasta
Armando Rafael

Our one-pan tuna pasta recipe is quick and satisfying. Cooking the pasta with the rest of the dish creates a creamy sauce. Fresh asparagus and arugula are added just before serving to make a balanced meal.

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