Our 26 Best Canned Tuna Dinner Recipes

Canned tuna is a pantry powerhouse when it comes to weeknight dinners. Not only is it budget-friendly, it's incredibly versatile, lending itself to everything from pasta to pizza, quesadillas to casseroles, and well beyond. We've rounded up our top-rated recipes to help you turn a can of tuna (or two!) into a quick and easy dinner, plus these recipes won't break the bank. 

Spicy Tuna Rice Bowl
Photo: Chef John
01 of 26

Best Tuna Casserole

a high angle view of a plate of the best tuna noodle casserole with the casserole dish sitting nearby
Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

We would be remiss if we didn't start this with one of our all-time top-rated recipes. And, with almost 1,500 5-star ratings, you can rest easy knowing that your recreating a perfect version of a childhood classic.

02 of 26

Chef John's Spaghetti al Tonno

Chef John's Spaghetti al Tonno
Photo by Chef John.

I can't explain the perfect simplicity of this dish, so I'll just let Chef John take it. "Spaghetti al tonno is one of my all-time favorite go-to pasta dishes. I love a classic meat sauce as much as the next half-Italian, but when I want something quick and easy for a weeknight meal, I reach for the tuna. What if you don't like fish? Then this is perfect. The taste and texture is really closer to a veal sauce than one made with fish."

03 of 26

Chile-Sesame Tuna Salad

With almost entirely 5-star reviews, this take on tuna salad is a community favorite. Ingredients like ginger, sesame oil, soy, chile paste, and a little honey, plus mix-ins like scallions, fresh cilantro, dried cranberries, and sesame seeds transform a typical tuna salad into something unexpected yet totally delicious! Author mimilulu suggests serving it in lettuce wraps or tucked into a pita, but I could also see this pairing perfectly with plush, Japanese-style milk bread.

04 of 26

Teriyaki Tuna Patties

This is a recipe to convert even the most adamant so-called tuna haters. Tangy teriyaki and soy sauce add big flavor to these tuna "croquettes" and a cornmeal crust makes them extra crispy, even after just a quick pan fry.

05 of 26

Easy Macaroni Tuna Casserole

close up view of Easy Macaroni Tuna Casserole in a pan

Macaroni & cheese and tuna noodle casserole come together in this easy, cheesy bake that is a surefire family favorite. It's got the best of both worlds: The cheesy noodles and crisped edges of baked mac & cheese meet the creamy sauce and crunchy breadcrumb topping of a classic tuna casserole. You're a few pantry pulls and under an hour away from a hearty, crowd-pleasing weeknight winner.

06 of 26

Tangy Tuna Black Bean Quesadillas

For a change from the usual chicken or beef, tuck some canned tuna into cheesy black bean quesadillas and you'll barely know it's in there. If these sound strange at first, you're not the only one, but they really work! "Reading the ingredients, you wouldn't think this would work, but it's wonderful and a different take on an old favorite," adds reviewer Viv Arney. Best of all, this dinner is done in under 20 minutes, making it the perfect recipe to keep in your back pocket for busy weeknights.

07 of 26

Tuna Lime Tostadas

Talk about a transformation! A few cans of tuna get kicked up a notch in these tostadas that are packed with fresh flavor and loads of texture. As many reviewers note, you can use your favorite salsa and hot sauce to adjust to your preferred spice level. Oh, it's also no-cook and done in under 10 minutes! Community member MTCHYG rates it 5 stars, writing, "I thought these were phenomenal. We used a peach chipotle salsa. It was delicious and easy!"

08 of 26

Salad Niçoise

Salad Nicoise closeup

For a satisfying dinner that still feels light and fresh (especially in warmer months) this French classic should be your go-to. Many of the ingredients can be prepped ahead of time, making dinner as easy as assembly. Some reviewers recommend taking a tip from the classic French method and marinating the green beans and potatoes in a little bit of the vinaigrette for a few hours before serving. This will up the flavor ante, ensuring each bite is full of herbaceous tang from the dressing.

09 of 26

Tuna Garden Casserole

Recipe creator John Stine set out to make a refreshed version of the classic tuna casserole that was still just as delicious and comforting. This one is just that; more colorful, packed with vegetables (hence the name), and adaptable to any veggies you have in your fridge. The recipe also calls for penne pasta, but feel free to use whatever shape you have on hand.

10 of 26

Easy Weeknight Tuna Pot Pie

Easy Weeknight Tuna Pot Pie
Erica Michelle

Tuna is not typical for pot pie, but with a filling this flavorful, your family will barely noticed the tuna. It's a thrifty take on a winter comfort classic, and it totally works, especially when you're tight on time. Store-bought shortcuts made this recipe more than doable on busy weeknights. Take a tip from one community member, who writes, "Add about ¾ block of cream cheese and thank me later".

11 of 26

Insalata di Riso (Italian Rice Salad)

Allstar and recipe author Buckwheat Queen describes this traditional Italian dish best: "Traditional cold rice salad is considered fast food in Italy, used for picnics and lunches on the go. Great for hot days when you don't want to heat up the kitchen." She also suggests adding a few drops of your favorite hot sauce or a few tablespoons of mayonnaise at the end for extra kick or richness, respectively.

12 of 26

Tasty Tuna Burgers

"Wow these were way better than expected. You'd never know these were made from canned tuna," writes TammyJune. Some reviewers suggested using two cans of tuna instead of one if you're feeding a family; this will yield bigger burger patties.

13 of 26

Tuna and Chickpea Salad

close up view of Tuna and Chickpea Salad with red onions and black olives on top of lettuce, next to crackers on a plate
France C

These days we should all be shopping our pantries to save money and reduce food waste. This tuna-chickpea salad is a nifty way to throw together a delicious, nutritious dinner without having to go to the store for ingredients. Crumbled feta and fresh parsley add lots of fresh flavor, but you could easily omit, swap in whatever cheese and fresh herbs you have on hand, or use dried herbs. Recipe creator krissy g adds, "For a meatier salad, add one more can of undrained tuna. You can also add drained, chopped artichoke hearts."

14 of 26

Spaghetti with Tuna and Capers

"This recipe is perfect in its simplicity. I made it as the recipe says, and it was delicious (and easy, fast, and inexpensive, too)," raves reviewer Tish. This Italian-inspired recipe from Allstar Kim's Cooking Now proves that sometimes simple is indeed the best.

15 of 26

Spicy Tuna Fish Cakes

close up view of a Spicy Tuna Fish Cake served with salad on a white plate

Who needs crab?! These pan-fried fish cakes are quick, easy, versatile, and almost entirely made from pantry staples. A few reviewers note that you can easily swap crushed saltines or buttery crackers if you don't have breadcrumbs on hand. Take a tip from community member Betti and pair the crispy cakes with this Lick-the-Spoon Cilantro Jalapeño Aioli for a little extra kick.

16 of 26

Spicy Tuna Rice Bowl

Speaking of spicy... Leave it Chef John to transform pantry staples into an exciting, kicked up version of a takeout favorite. "This tastes like a spoonful of sushi in every bite," gushes reviewer Iver Lien. Chef John prefers to use tuna packed in oil, but the cans of water-packed tuna can also work in a pinch!

17 of 26

Pasta With Tuna Sauce

Super simple yet satisfying, this pasta tastes shockingly fresh and light, but is made almost entirely from pantry staples. Of the recipe, Diane Stadler writes, "What a wonderful surprise! Had my doubts at first... Fast, flavorful, filling! Move over tuna noodle casserole, you have a replacement!!"

18 of 26

Avocado and Tuna Tapas

This simple, no-cook recipe elevates canned tuna into an impressive, restaurant-style dish. The biggest splurge here is avocado, but you could just as easily serve the flavorful mix in lettuce cups and simply top with a few slices of avocado to save some money.

19 of 26

Best Tuna Melt (New Jersey Diner Style)

Nothing says comfort food like a good, old-fashioned tuna melt. This recipe from COOKINGIRLLJ steals some great tips from New Jersey diners to take the standard tuna melt from good to great. Reviewer Amanda1982 writes, "The best advice in the recipe was to broil the bread both sides and then take out and top with tuna, cheese, tomatoes, etc. In the past we've always had problems with the bottom of the bread being too soft. So thank you for that hint!"

20 of 26

Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch

Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch
Denise Sakaki

If you love a tuna noodle casserole but prefer homemade to canned shortcuts, this recipe is a casserole dish of pure comfort cooking. A little more effort and a few more ingredients, and you've got a gourmet-tasting casserole to feed a crowd—the nearly 1,000 5-star ratings aren't lying.

21 of 26

Quick and Easy Tuna Casserole

mid angle, looking at a heaping spoonful of easy tuna casserole
dotdash meredith food studios

Or, if you need the quickest, easiest path to dinner on the table, this is your recipe. Just 6 ingredients (pulled almost entirely from the pantry) and made in one pot, feeding the family truly can't get easier, faster, or cheaper than this.

22 of 26

Tuna Pizza

tuna pizza on a metal sheet tray

Tuna and pizza may immediately raise some alarm bells in your head, but as one reviewer puts it, "My first thought was "eeeww," but then I realized that this is pretty much just a giant tuna melt." Pre-made crust, cream cheese, shredded mozzarella, and red onion capture all the flavors of a cheesy, comforting tuna melt, but in a larger format a.k.a. pizza. Reviewer Leslie writes, "FANTASTIC!! At first, I was a little hesitant to try this, one doesn't usually associate tuna and pizza, but it was absolutely delicious."

23 of 26

Easy Tuna Patties

close up view of tuna patties and greens, in a bowl and basket

NicoleMcMom, host of our very own Get Cookin' series, adores this recipe, calling it, "old school perfection!" A childhood classic for her (and many others), Nicole likes to serve them up with tartar sauce, a squeeze of lemon, and some fresh parsley, along with a side salad or some rice. With just 8 ingredients and more than 350 5-star ratings, it's easy to see why this recipe has become a weeknight staple for so many.

24 of 26

Italian-Style Tuna Salad

high angle looking down at a bowl of Italian-style tuna salad
dotdash meredith food studios

Italian panzanella (bread salad) meets French Niçoise salad in this refreshing dish that evokes summer nights in the Mediterranean. The recipe calls for just a handful of ingredients, so make sure to buy the best you can find—especially when it comes to the fresh tomatoes.

25 of 26

Tuna Stroganoff Casserole

One more casserole, because why not?! This one is a comfort food mashup and riff on beef stroganoff, minus the mushrooms. One reviewer declares, "This is truly the very best tuna casserole I have ever had in my entire life!!!! I served this to a friend who hadn't had a tuna casserole since he was a child and he thought it was the best he ever had too."

26 of 26

Tuna Macaroni Salad

Lunches, potlucks, picnics, barbecues, and summer dinners—there's not much this salad can't do. It's the quintessential summer pasta salad, and the addition of tuna makes it a little heartier and apt to serve for dinner. Just be warned—you may get regular requests from your family once you make this; one reviewer writes, "I am giving it 5 stars because my husband loves it and requests it at least once a month (and I have to double the quantity)."

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