When someone hands me a big bag of super-fresh Tuna that was in the ocean just hours before, my mind starts racing with new ways to prepare it. A slight excess of Tuna is never a bad problem to have and I wanted to try something different and had just seen a recipe from Hank Shaw for Tuna Meatballs that looked so delicious and would serve as my inspiration. I’ve been on a bit of a tomato sauce kick lately, which works perfectly with this dish.

Tuna Meatballs | SaltPepperSkillet.com

The tuna meatballs that we made were pretty large and two were plenty for an entrée size portion. You could make them bite-size for a perfect appetizer at your next party. They came out wonderfully and I was really surprised how similar the texture is to a traditional meatball. Nice and crispy on the outside and delicate on the inside.

If you like meatballs, then crispy salmon cakes will be right up your alley. 

Tuna Meatballs | SaltPepperSkillet.com
Tuna Meatballs | SaltPepperSkillet.com
Tuna Meatballs | SaltPepperSkillet.com

Sicilian Tuna Meatballs

These Tuna Meatballs are nice and crispy on the outside and delicate on the inside. They pair perfectly with a bright tomato sauce and pasta.
4.50 from 4 votes
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Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6


  • 2 pounds tuna cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup onion minced fine
  • 1/2 cup italian parsley chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt + freshly ground pepper
  • canola oil for frying
  • flour for dusting
  • your favorite tomato sauce


  • Working in three batches; place the tuna, pine nuts, parsley and onions in a food processor and pulse about 8 to 10 times to combine, but not puree. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the eggs, breadcrumbs, salt + pepper and lemon zest. Gently mix with your hands to combine well.
  • Use an ice cream scoop to portion the meatballs, then form with your hands and place on a parchment lined sheet pan. You should get about 20 to 25 meatballs, depending on the size of your scoop.
  • Dust the meatballs with the flour in a shallow dish, then place them back on the sheet pan.
  • Heat 1/2″ canola oil in a frying pan until it is 350 degrees. Fry 6-8 meatballs at a time until browned on each side and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Place on a paper towel lined sheet pan to drain off any excess oil.
  • Heat the tomato sauce in a separate pan and stew the meatballs for about 5 minutes to warm through.
  • Serve with pasta and tomato sauce.


Recipe inspired by Hank Shaw @ Hunter Angler Gardener Cook
4.50 from 4 votes (1 rating without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    These are delicious, I may be prejudiced but I love Sicily and the wonderful meals I had there. And of course tuna! I have never seen it prepared this way, or thought of making tuna into a meatball. I will be sharing this with friends next time I make it. Thanks again