Cheesy Tuna Melt Cakes have a crunchy exterior that leads to soft potato, corn and tuna cake with a warm melted cheese center. A delicious appetizer, serve simply with a light and fresh lemon, mayonnaise sauce.
A cheesy tuna melt cake cut open with the melted cheese oozing out
I am a huge fan of good salmon cakes. But instead of making salmon cakes, I wanted to do something a little different. These cheesy tuna melt cakes were inspired by my husbands favorite sandwich, the tuna melt. But instead of the cheese being on the outside, the cheese is stuffed into the cakes for a melty cheesy center.

What cheese is best?

A good white, melting cheese is best. One that will stand up to the flavor of the tuna.  I like havarti, white cheddar, gruyere, provolone.

How to make the Cheesy Tuna Melt Cakes

The cakes start with mashed potatoes. They are mixed with a good quality, sustainable canned tuna. The zest and juice of a lemon are added for delicious freshness along with yellow mustard, a good quality mayonnaise, corn for sweetness and fresh chopped chives for just a hint of onion flavor.
Now, here comes the best part, the cheese filling. Form the cakes into a flat round, add a cube of cheese and push it into the center. Re-form the patties so the cheese is well covered into 3 inch diameter by 1 inch high cakes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set their shape.
How to get the cheese into the center of the cheesy tuna melt cake
The cakes are coated egg and  panko breadcrumbs, which is the best choice because we want them as crispy as possible. They are then shallow fried to a perfect golden brown.

Tuna cakes fresh out of the fryer garnished with fresh lemon wedges


You might say these are similar to tuna croquettes, just gussied up with potato, corn and melted cheese.

The cakes are garnished with a very easy lemon mayonnaise; made simply with fresh lemon juice and mayonnaise mixed together that is a fresh tasting ‘sauce’ which complements the cakes perfectly.


A cheesy tuna melt cake on a pewter plate garnished with chives and lemon


Take a look at that oozing cheese below.  Is there anything better when you get through the crispy, cake and the cheese starts to melt on the plate? I’m drooling over here!



A cheesy tuna melt cake cut open with the melted cheese oozing out


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Yield: 6

Cheesy Tuna Melt Cakes

A cheesy tuna melt cake with a fork

A crunchy exterior that leads to soft potato and tuna with a warm melted cheese center, these havarti tuna melt cakes are inspired by the classic tuna melt sandwich. 

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 5 medium russet or gold potatoes
  • 6 ounces sustainable tuna in water, drained
  • Juice and zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup canned or frozen corn
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1 inch cubes Castello light havarti cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


  1. Using a fork, pierce the skin of the [adjustable]5[/adjustable] potatoes all over.
  2. Microwave each potato for 2 minutes, turn and microwave for 2 minutes until the skins start to wrinkle and the potatoes are soft. Set aside and allow to cool.
  3. To a large mixing bowl add the potato and mash until smooth. Add the tuna and mix well. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice, mustard, mayonnaise, green onions, corn, salt and pepper.
  4. Take 3/4 cup of mix and form into a flat round. Make a deep well in the center of the cakes and place a cube of cheese.
  5. Re-form the patties so the cheese is well covered into 3 inch diameter by 1 inch high cakes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the cakes to set.
  6. Add the egg and panko to shallow bowls. Dip the patties into the egg, then into the panko.
  7. Add oil to a cast iron skillet and heat over medium heat until it starts to ripple. Add the patties and cook for 2 minutes each side.
  8. Add the the mayonnaise and lemon to a small mixing bowl and mix well. Drizzle over the finished cakes.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 847Total Fat 72gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 60gCholesterol 65mgSodium 1004mgCarbohydrates 39gFiber 3gSugar 13gProtein 14g
Tuna pita pockets