9 Ways to Take Canned Tuna to the Next Level

March  6, 2018

Hey, you. Yeah, you, that tuna can sitting in the shadows at the back of the pantry. I see you. Yes, I know you’re there. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about you.

Tuna cans are mighty pantry staples, they last what seems like forever, and with a can opener and a bit of elbow grease become instantly available. Eat them alone (no judgment!) or gussy them up. Because with a little attention, a tiny can of tuna can travel a long way. Freshen them up with greens or toss them with grains, bake them into pastas, or, my personal favorite, pile tuna high on toast for an open—or closed—sandwich.

With Toast

With Greens

With Grains

Are you a fan of the tuna can? Tell us how you tuna in the comments below.

Join the Conversation

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Dee
  • Terry
  • Bob
  • Leslie VB
    Leslie VB
  • inpatskitchen
Valerio Farris

Written by: Valerio Farris

Former staff writer at Food52. Current anchovy eater.


Dee March 12, 2018
I had a tuna/tomato sauced pasta at Eataly in Chicago that I really loved. My riff on it is to make a marinara sauce and then add some minced anchovy, capers, parsley, preserved lemon and canned tuna. Simmer for 5-8 minutes. Serve over curly pasta such as fusilli. It’s a “pantry meal” made with stuff I have on hand.
Terry March 11, 2018
I guess I was hoping for some general tips on how to make tuna not taste like a can of sawdust - without using a ton of mayo, that is. I do keep canned tuna on hand though, and a couple of these look interesting so maybe I'll make some new discoveries. But my husband may revolt if I serve him anything that looks like I started with a "cream-of" soup.
Bob March 11, 2018
I fish for Yellow Fin tuna every year and have the fillets vacuum sealed and flash frozen. I home can the tuna I have left before I head out to fish for more. Spring water, chile flakes and a touch of salt are all I add to the jars before pressure cooking. You can always put oil in the tuna after you open the jar.
Leslie V. March 11, 2018
When I home can Albacore Tuna, I use olive oil and a few Jalapeno peppers in the jars. It is truly amazing. Not hot at all, just brings out the best of the tuna in any dish i use it in. Our friend that commercial fishes Tuna, has it metal canned and always uses Olive Oil
inpatskitchen March 8, 2018
I'm so surprised (and disappointed) that no one at Food52 has discovered this gem:
One of the best tuna recipes around!!!
boulangere March 8, 2018
Mmmwaaaah! I love you, @inpatskitchen! Thank you kindly.
Ann S. March 11, 2018
Oh, thank you for this! A) it sounds delicious! And B) how nicely written :)
HalfPint March 8, 2018
There's a wonderful recipe from "100 Ways to Be Pasta" for a curry tuna spaghetti. It's my favorite use for canned tuna.
Leslie V. May 19, 2018
Link or recipe, please.
Ally March 8, 2018
Tuna, rice and frozen peas. Mix it up with some type of pre-made spicy Asian sauce (I see you 2year old jar at the back of the fridge) and voilà! Tasty!
Cory B. March 7, 2018
This reminded me that I DEFINITELY forgot about all the cans of tuna in the back of my pantry!!! whoops :)
Chris March 7, 2018
i pretty much never get tired of 'plain' old tuna salad, whether on crackers or in a sandwich or over a salad. i change up the flavors depending how i'm feeling about condiments that day. boiled eggs, capers, various relishes and mustards in combination with each other are just enough variety for me. lettuce wraps have been winning out lately, that crisp crunch gets me every time.
aegan March 7, 2018
I started making tuna tostadas in college, and would get disapproving looks at the mention of the name, but anyone who's tried them liked the combination of flavors. Tuna, mayonnaise, and peas atop a corn tostada shell. Crunchy, smooth, savory and sweet, and delicious!
70&holding March 7, 2018
What is it, about Tuna mayo and peas? I love the combo!!! Anyone else??raf
X March 11, 2018
I make tuna tostadas too but I mix chopped onion, cilantro, fresh jalapenos, and tomatoes into the tuna along with some lime juice and sometimes a teaspoon or 2 of olive oil. I serve it with sliced avocado and radishes if I have any on hand.
70&holding March 6, 2018
How do I enjoy tuna...let me count the ways!! Tuna Mac salad, Tuna Salad Sammies, Warm tuna leftover rice/noodles roast red peppers peas mayonnaise, top with Panko fave Grated Cheese, under broiler this lightly crisp. Saffron rice tuna roast red peppers green olives asparagus fire roasted tomatoes. the possibilities are endless!!!!raf