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Air Fryer Buffalo Tuna Cakes

These buffalo tuna cakes transform packaged or canned tuna into cheesy, crispy cakes with 17 grams of protein, 11 grams of carbs, and 170 calories each. They come together in about 20 minutes and reheat great for a meal prep snack.

It’s a super easy recipe so I’ll cover a few ingredient substitutions and drop a few options for dips below. And you’ll find a printable recipe card at the bottom of the post. 

buffalo tuna cakes on plates with ranch greek yogurt dip

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Step 1: Mix tuna with breadcrumbs, shredded cheese, spices, buffalo or hot sauce, and an egg. 

tuna, breadcrumbs, parmesan, cheddar, buffalo sauce, spices, and an egg in a mixing bowl

The recipe calls for two packs of albacore white tuna for a total of 5.2 ounces. If you have a 5-ounce can of tuna in water, that should work just fine. 

As for the cheese, I would keep the parmesan in at all costs. But you could swap the cheddar for another soft cheese like monterey jack or mozzarella. 

For the buffalo sauce, I used Frank’s RedHot like in my buffalo chicken mac and cheese and pressure cooker buffalo chicken. I’m sure you could use any hot sauce you have on hand, though. 

And finally, if you need a gluten free or lower carb substitute for breadcrumbs, you could use crushed pork rinds or store bought gluten free breadcrumbs. 

Step 2: Form the tuna cakes.

tuna cakes mixture in 4 pieces before forming and air frying

You can eyeball this step but for perfectly even tuna cakes, weigh each piece out. The entire batch should weigh around 350 grams for a total of four 88-gram tuna cakes. 

If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, I bet you could use a large spoon or scoop to make each ball and flatten them with a rubber spatula before transferring to the air fryer. Though they are really easy to handle and form by hand! 

Step 3: Air fry (or bake) at 400ºF for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. 

tuna cakes in the Ninja Foodi air fryer basket before cooking

I used my trust 6.5-quart Ninja Foodi for air frying. Different air fryers may require minor time/temp adjustments. I always recommend starting on the lower end of a time range and checking on them to avoid burning. You can extend as needed. 

If you don’t have an air fryer, I’ve found my oven comes pretty close for most air fried recipes in terms of temp and time guidelines. I’d throw your tuna cakes on a baking sheet and start with the 400ºF for 10-12 and extend if necessary. 

When I Dip You Dip We Dip

air fried buffalo tuna cake on a plate with Greek yogurt dip on top

I made a few different dips when testing this recipe. All of them used fat free Greek yogurt as a base.

The easiest dip is just a simple yogurt + buffalo sauce mixture. I’d use a 4:1 Greek yogurt to buffalo sauce ratio (1/4 C yogurt to 1 tablespoon sauce should do it). You can always add more sauce. I also have a buffalo ranch dip in my buffalo ground chicken bites recipe.

To add a bit of freshness via the dip, you could play around with a tablespoon or two of lemon juice, a pinch of lemon zest, parsley flakes, and a pinch of salt and black pepper. 

And depending on who you ask, blue cheese is always a safe bet when pairing with buffalo. I didn’t make a blue cheese dip, but you can find light blue cheese dressings in most stores these days. 

Okay, that should cover ingredient swaps and notes for dips. If you have any additional questions, leave a comment below the recipe card. Enjoy! 

air fried buffalo tuna cake on a plate with Greek yogurt dip on top

Air Fryer Buffalo Tuna Cakes

Yield: 4 Tuna Cakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

A 20-minute recipe for cheesy, crispy buffalo tuna patties.


  • 2 packets (2.6 oz each) Low Sodium Albacore White Tuna in Water*
  • 1/4 C (60g) Breadcrumbs
  • 1 oz (28g) Freshly Shredded Parmesan
  • 1 oz (28g) Freshly Shredded Cheddar
  • 1 large Egg
  • 2 Tbsp (30g) Buffalo Sauce (or hot sauce)
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder


  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Split the mixture into four 88-gram pieces. Use your hands to form patties with each piece and place in an air fryer** basket.
  3. Air fry at 400ºF for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.


*If you're using canned tuna with more water than the packets, you'll want to drain the cans before adding the tuna.

**I used a 6.5-quart Ninja Foodi for air frying.

Each tuna cake has 4 WW SmartPoints (blue plan).

Nutrition facts are for tuna cakes only, no dip.

For Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauces

Mix 1/4 C (56g) fat free Greek yogurt with one of the following:

  • 1 Tbsp (15g) buffalo sauce
  • 1 Tbsp (15g) buffalo sauce + 1 Tbsp (15g) light mayo + 1/2 tsp ranch seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp (15g) lemon juice + pinch of lemon zest, black pepper, and salt
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Tuna Cakes Serving Size: 1 Tuna Cake
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 170Total Fat: 6gCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 17g

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Katy K

Saturday 17th of April 2021

These are so quick and so good! The Jalapeño greek yogurt sauce is my favorite to dip them into.


Wednesday 14th of April 2021

Man, I don't even like tuna, but my cheap butt loves these. Super, super easy to throw together. I've never tried to freeze them, but they'd probably be okay? Honestly, I just leave the "dough" in the fridge for the week and make patties as needed. FYI, these things get CRISPY!

The ranch/mayo/hot sauce dip is probably the best imo.

Mason Woodruff

Wednesday 14th of April 2021

Happy to hear from a fellow tuna hater that found these tasty. That's me for sure. I think others have frozen these with success, but I like your idea of keeping the "dough" on hand to make them fresh. Thanks for the idea!


Tuesday 13th of April 2021

An interesting combo of something i would not have thought of myself but it works so well together. It’s hard to transform tuna but this was such a good lunch idea. I did not have them as leftovers so i can speak on how they taste the next day or reheating, but i would do a quick pan fry in some olive oil if so!

Adrienne Prevost

Tuesday 13th of April 2021

These tuna cakes were absolutely amazing! I grab the ingredients every week to prep a few for a few meals throughout the week!!


Monday 12th of April 2021

Is the buffalo sauce too spicy for kids, ages 4 and 8, who don't care for spicy? Recipe sounds wonderful.

Mason Woodruff

Tuesday 13th of April 2021

They're not overly spicy to me, but I've been accused of having a spice tolerance before. Some lemon juice and/or dip helps cool them down if needed.

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