Quick and Easy Tuna Tacos (With Canned Fish)

Tuna taco
Bob Berg/Getty Images
  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Yield: 4 Tacos (4 Servings)
Ratings (20)

Since taco refers more to a way of serving something (wrapped in a warm tortilla) than to specific ingredients, tacos can be made from almost any type of food—meat, beans, vegetables, or (as in this case) canned tuna fish.

This is a great recipe for a busy day, because you probably already have a can of fish in your cupboard, and you can have these tuna tacos hot and ready to eat in just 10 minutes. Make the basic rendition first, then branch out next time with one of the variations listed below the recipe.

What You'll Need

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon (or lime juice, preferably fresh-squeezed)
  • 1/4 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 can (8 ounces /226 grams) of tuna (well drained)
  • 4 corn tortillas (homemade or purchased)​

How to Make It

  1. Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, cream, and lemon or lime juice.

    Stir together the onions and cilantro. Set this garnish and the cream sauce aside for the moment.

  2. Heat oil in a small pan and sautee the tuna, stirring often, until tuna is heated through and very slightly browned. Take pan off the heat.

  3. Heat a griddle over high heat and place the tortillas on it. Heat the tortillas, turning once or twice in the process, until they are very hot.

  1. Place ¼ of the tuna mixture onto each tortilla, then top each with some of the onion/cilantro mix and a drizzle of cream sauce.

    Serve tacos immediately. Offer the Mexican table sauce, bottled hot sauce, or other condiments of your choice.

Variations on Tuna Tacos

This simple recipe can be prepared a thousand different ways. Here are a few suggestions to get your own creative juices flowing with ideas:

  • Substitute any other canned fish for the tuna. Try canned salmon, mackerel, or sardines.

  • Make your tuna tacos more like fried fish tacos by topping them with some shredded lettuce or cabbage, or with a fresh slaw mixture. (Make sure slaw is well-drained if it contains dressing.)

  • Omit the cream sauce and top your tacos with guacamole or avocado salsa, plus a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

  • Sautee some finely diced garlic and tomatoes in the oil before adding the tuna.

  • As with most Mexican foods, this recipe can always be amped up with some chile. Sautee some fresh diced jalapeño or serrano chile in the oil before adding the tuna, or add some chopped canned chipotle pepper (or just the adobo liquid from the can). If you have leftover rajas or some spicy pickled carrots, those are good chopped up and stirred in, as well.

  • Sautee some vegetables in the oil before you add the tuna. Try diced bell pepper or celery, or shredded carrots. Frozen mixed veggies (the kind with peas, carrots, and corn kernels) also work well here. Another option: leftover diced cooked vegetables such as green beans, asparagus or nopales.

  • Turn this same sautéed mixture with toppings into something different by presenting it on tostadas or totopos instead of tortillas, or use it as a filling for tortas, sandwiches, or wraps. How about a nice Mexican tuna melt?

Edited by Robin Grose