Baked Tuna Meatballs


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Baked tuna meatballs are a healthy seafood spin on your average meatballs. They’re easy to make with a few cans of tuna fish and perfect for a low-carb snack or topped on zucchini noodles for a full meal.

Tuna meatballs on a plate with tzatziki sauce and micro greens.

Think of tuna meatballs as tuna patties in ball form. These savory bites are a blend of canned tuna fish, fresh vegetables, and savory herbs. They’re light in flavor (so perfect for picky eaters), but just as juicy, tender and filling as your typical meatball.

Better yet, did I mention they’re super easy to make? All you need to do is mix a few ingredients, roll them into balls, and bake in the oven until lightly golden. And since they’re bite-sized, they make for the perfect healthy snack or delicious addition to a salad or bed of greens.

Tuna Meatballs Recipe Video

Want to see how I make this recipe? Watch the video below!

Who Needs Beef When You Have Tuna?

There’s no doubt tuna gives beef a run for its money when it comes to meatballs. And with the addition of garlic, herbs, and spinach, the flavors in these are pretty irresistible. To break it down, you’ll need…

  • Olive Oil – Just a little to sauté some of the vegetables.
  • Garlic – A couple of minced garlic cloves for savory goodness.
  • Onion – We’ll sauté the onion so it’s mellow and not pungent.
  • Spinach – A few cups of sneaky spinach boost this recipe
  • Tuna – You can use canned tuna or fresh, cooked and cooled.
  • Almond Flour – Just a little helps to bind these meatballs together.
  • Eggs – Our liquid binder that works with the almond flour and other ingredients.
  • Mayonnaise – Just a tablespoon keeps these meatballs incredibly moist.
  • Lemon Juice – A splash of fresh lemon juice always pairs well with tuna.
  • Fresh Parsley & Dill – You can use a variety of chopped herbs, but these are my favorite.
  • Salt and Pepper – Because everything is better properly seasoned.

Tuna meatballs ingredients in a bowl and in balls on a baking sheet.

How To Bake Tuna Meatballs

Baking these meatballs keeps them healthy and low in oil. But before we start baking, we’ll need to quickly sauté the vegetables. Here’s the process:

  1. Sauté. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and give the diced onion and minced garlic a quick saute. Then add the chopped spinach and stir for 1-2 minutes, or until it’s slightly wilted.
  2. Let the spinach cool. Transfer the onion spinach mixture to a bowl to let it cool (this is important!). You can also pop it in the fridge for a bit.
  3. Prep. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Add ingredients. Drain your canned tuna and place it in a large bowl in with the cooled vegetables, almond flour, eggs, mayonnaise, lemon juice, herbs, salt and pepper. 
  5. Get mixing. Dig in with your hands and mix everything together while breaking up large chunks of tuna. Remember: the finer the mixture, the easier it will stick together.
  6. Make the balls. Use a medium-sized cookie scoop to scoop the mixture and mold it into a ball. Then, place the balls in an even layer on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake. For about 20-25 minutes. Until they’re a beautiful golden brown.
  8. Serve. You can eat these right away or let them cool before storing away.

Tuna meatballs that have been cooked on a baking tray.

A Few Tips

Here’s a few tips to get the perfect meatballs.

  • If your balls are too soft. Depending on the brand of canned tuna you use, your tuna may be more moist (even after draining). If so, just add a couple tablespoons of almond flour or coconut flour (which is highly absorbent). Or reduce the lemon juice by 1/2 tablespoon in the future.
  • Want to cook on the stovetop? No problem. Place the first batch of meatballs in the pan with a little oil. Cook the meatballs for 2-3 minutes on one side, then rotate them, so that all sides are browned. This should take about 15 minutes. Then when the first batch is done, remove to a plate and start the next batch.

A plate of tuna meatballs garnished with tzatziki and micro greens with one half eaten .

The Perfect Meal Prep Recipe

For those who love to meal prep on a Sunday night, you’re in luck. These tuna meatballs are great for storing in the fridge for 3-4 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to eat, simply microwave them for a minute or so!

Fun Ways To Serve Tuna Meatballs

While these are the perfect bite sized snack or lunch idea, don’t stop there. Serve them as an appetizer or dress them up for a fancy dinner. Here’s a few fun ideas to get you started.

  • Appetizer: Serve these balls on a plate with a spread of homemade tzatziki, vegan tzatziki or marinara sauce.
  • Snack: Microwave a few for a quick high protein snack that will tide you over between meals.
  • Lunch: Make a salad and place a few on a bed of fresh greens or zucchini noodles.
  • Dinner: Serve these alongside roasted vegetables such as broccoli or sautéed greens like swiss chard and cabbage.

Close up photo of tuna meatballs on a plate, with one half eaten.

More Savory Bites

Need savory appetizers or quick snacks for the week? Here’s a few favorites that will work for just about anything.

Baked Tuna Meatballs

4.98 from 47 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


Baked tuna meatballs are a healthy, seafood spin on meatballs! They're paleo, low-carb and keto-friendly as well. Watch the video above to see how I make them!



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 5-ounce cans tuna, or one pound cooked tuna
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. Add the diced onion and minced garlic and saute for a minute. Then add the chopped baby spinach and saute for another 1-2 minutes or until the spinach is wilted.
  • Transfer the onion spinach mixture to a bowl and let it cool. You can place the bowl in the fridge to speed this up.
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Drain the cans of tuna and add the tuna to a mixing bowl along with the cooled vegetables, almond flour, eggs, mayonnaise, lemon juice, parsley, dill, salt and pepper.
  • Use your hands to dig in and mix everything together, breaking up any large chunks of tuna. The finer the mixture, the easier it will stick together.
  • Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop out evenly sized amounts of mixture. Use your fingers to mold this into a ball, then place it on a parchment lined baking tray.
  • Bake the tuna meatballs for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Lisa's Tips

  • The recipe makes 20 tuna meatballs.
  • For picky eaters when it comes to seafood, this recipe is more mild in flavor than my salmon patties, so give it a try!
  • If your meatballs are too soft you can add a little more almond flour or coconut flour (which is highly absorbent).
  • This is the cookie scoop I use and love.


Serving: 4meatballs | Calories: 243kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 443mg | Potassium: 361mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1388IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked tuna meatballs, seafood meatballs, tuna meatballs
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Really nice recipe Lisa! I don’t usually like tuna so this made me want to eat it! Question: Can I air fry these and if so at what temp/for how long? I found that they got a bit soft the next day and I like them crispy.5 stars

  2. Hi Lisa,
    I have made this fabulous recipe (Tuna Meatballs) many many times and I have discovered two things that work better for me.
    First I not longer use my metal scooper and my hands to make the balls … Yesterday I used a small plastic ice cream scooper and it was perfect. (no hand forming the balls needed)
    And, I realised that the tops of the balls were getting quite golden brown, but the bottoms were not , so I turned down the oven a bit and turned them over. They came out perfect.
    I made 23 balls and froze about half.
    Thank you,
    Lisa R.5 stars

    1. I’m glad you were able to tweak this recipe to your liking and cook the perfect batch of tuna meatballs, Lisa!

  3. I admit, I was skeptical, but these are great! I adjusted a little for what I had on the house and used panko instead of almond flour and basil instead of Dill. I will definitely be making this again5 stars

    1. Thanks for giving them a try, Amber! I’m happy to hear you loved them. And they’re definitely flexible to tweak as you did. Enjoy!

  4. I’ve never even been a huge fan of tuna, but I absolutely LOVE this recipe! These last beautifully in the freezer and are great on salads/wraps/rice bowls. There have even been times when I’ve been so lazy I’ve skipped the sautéed spinach step and these still came out great. Thank you for this recipe!5 stars

    1. Glad these tuna meatballs have shed a new light on tuna for you, Amanda! They are such a versatile ingredient to have.

  5. Paleo way of eating or not, these are a solid and delicious recipe. I have made them twice now and cannot believe I haven’t made them more. I love every recipe that you post. Thank you5 stars

  6. Hello Lisa. The video appears to show you using tuna packed in water. Would tuna packed in olive oil work or would it be too oily? Thanks!

  7. I loved these!!! Very tasty!!! I did not have the spinach on hand and so I used grated and drained Zucchini with a dash of Sirracha sauce in with the veggies.

    Thank you…..even a bachelor can make this :)5 stars

  8. I am experimenting with a low oxalate diet and am avoiding or limiting foods with high oxalates. Any suggestions in what to substitute the almond flour with?  I am also eliminating the spinach that is called for in the recipe. These look yummy, can’t wait to try! 

  9. I love these tuna meatballs! They are so good for healthy snacks and also light meals. I love how easy they are to put together and get on the table for a real treat for the family. Thank you Lisa!

  10. Oh super yum!  I truly recommend this.  Yes it makes a difference to use fresh dill.

    My sauce I used was mayo, dijon mustard, lemon and dill.

    For sure I will be making more, and especially love the “any time” concept. 5 stars

  11. Hi Lisa
    Can I substitute beat tops for the spinach in your tuna balls?
    Thank you,
    Lisa, in Spain 

  12. This looks rly good. When I can afford green produce I’ll make it (I think the spinach is an integral part). I love tzakiki and I love zoodles!

  13. This looks amazing and I would love to make it. Any recommendations to sub the mayonnaise for a more natural product? Without having to make an entire portion your very yummy recipe.

    1. Hi Allen – you can view the video if you turn off your ad blocker. Also, you can always find the full recipe (ingredients + steps) towards the bottom of the post in the recipe card :)

  14. Intially wasn’t very excited at the thought of tuna meatballs. I was pleasantly surprised. I will be keeping these in the fridge for when hunger strikes. Amazing!5 stars

  15. These were a quick favorite as an appetizer. Needed to modify it this time as spinach and almonds/almond flour are ultra high oxalate foods and not to be consumed for certain kidney stone formers. I upped the parsley, used whole wheat flour, and added 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce for bite. Just as “addictive”. Great recipe and easily modified!5 stars

  16. I have not made these yet but was wondering if you could alternatively make these into patties and cook in fry pan.

  17. I’ve made these with tzatziki for dipping, but tonight I had them over zoodles with Parmesan. Perfect light summer dinner, and such a unique recipe! Can’t wait for December to get the cookbook 😃

    1. These meatballs with zoodles are the best! Glad you loved it and can’t wait for you to get your copy of the book Liz :)

  18. This is a fabulous alternative to tuna salad! Served with Trader Joe’s Avocado Tatziki with blackened zucchini, fresh lemon and parsley. I ended up adding extra almond flour.5 stars

    1. It’s best to use spinach as zucchini holds a lot of water and may soften your meatballs as they cook.

  19. I haven’t tried this without eggs yet, but if you find a substitute – please let me know how it turns out!

  20. Quite possibly the most delicious food I’ve had in awhile. Never knew something so simple would be this delightful.5 stars

  21. You show these meatballs with a white sauce but make no reference to it. What is it called and what is the recipe? 

    1. I mentioned the sauces you can pair with the tuna meatballs in the post! But, I’m mainly using my homemade tzatziki sauce. You can find the recipe on my website.

  22. I made these for dinner tonight and they were indeed delicious! I sent the recipe to one of my friends abs told her these were a must make. Thank you so much! 5 stars