Quick and Easy Canned Tuna Fish Tacos

Quick tuna taco recipe

The Spruce 

  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Yield: 4 Tacos (4 Servings)

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.

Ingredients

  • 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 (8-ounce) can of tuna (well drained)
  • 4 corn tortillas (hard or soft)​

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for quick tuna taco
    The Spruce 
  2. Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, cream, and lemon or lime juice.

    Whisk mayo and sour cream
    The Spruce
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the onions and cilantro. Set this garnish and the cream sauce aside for the moment.

    In a separate bowl, mix together onion and cilantro
    The Spruce 
  4. Heat oil in a small pan and sauté the tuna, stirring often, until tuna is heated through and very slightly browned. Take the pan off the heat.

    Heat oil in small pan and saute tuna
    The Spruce 
  5. If using soft tortillas, heat a griddle over high heat and place them on it. Heat the tortillas, turning once or twice in the process, until they are very hot. For hard taco shells, place them on a baking sheet and heat until crispy.

    Heat tacos
    The Spruce
  6. Place 1/4 of the tuna mixture onto each tortilla, then top each with some of the onion-cilantro mix, and a drizzle of cream sauce.

    Put tuna mixture on each taco
    The Spruce
  7. Serve tacos immediately. Offer Mexican table sauce, bottled hot sauce, or other condiments of your choice.

Recipe Variations

  • 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.
  • Sauté 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. Sauté 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 well chopped up and stirred in, as well.
  • Sauté 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?