Cheesy Tuna Melt Balls

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Cheesy Tuna Melt Balls are crispy on the outside and tender and cheesy on the inside. Packed with protein, they are the perfect snack or lunch box staple.

Cheesy Tuna Melt Balls are crispy on the outside and tender and cheesy on the inside. Packed with protein, they are the perfect snack or lunch box staple.

School season is right around the corner and for many it already started. As a mom of three kids packing lunch can sometimes be a hassle, especially when you try to be the cool mom and have something fun and tasty for your kids. These amazing Cheesy Tuna Melt Balls are such a fun, tasty, creative lunch option.

Every time I pack lunch for my kids, I am looking to include something nutritious and hearty, that will keep their energy level up. These Cheesy Tuna Melt Balls are my current obsession and they make the perfect snack or lunch. I like that I can cook a batch (who am I kidding, I actually cooked a double batch) and have them in the fridge for easy, messy free snacks and also ready to just add them to lunch boxes. These Tuna Melt Balls are equally loved by kids and adults, they actually make a great appetizer as well. That’s how mom wins, having a killer recipe that covers all the meals!

Cheesy tuna melt balls in a bento container

What do you need to make Cheesy Tuna Melt Balls?

This is a very easy recipe that can be made together with the kids. They will have fun mixing all the ingredients and rolling round balls. Here is what you will need:

  • Canned Tuna – I prefer and highly recommend using tuna canned in water for this recipe, not it oil. The Cheesy Tuna Melt Balls will be very greasy if you use tuna canned in oil.
  • You will need seasoning: garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.
  • Cheese – you can use your favorite cheese in this recipe. I like cheddar cheese, mozzarella, pepper jack cheese or a Mexican blend.
  • I like to add fresh parsley and lemon zest, they go very well with the tuna.
  • Bread crumbs – you need some to add to the balls and also some to roll the balls in.
  • Beaten eggs
  • Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
Cheesy Tuna Melt Balls are crispy on the outside and tender and cheesy on the inside. Packed with protein, they are the perfect snack or lunch box staple.

Tips for making the Cheesy Tuna Melt Balls Recipe:

  • This recipe is great for kids and adults, the cheesy tuna balls make for a great appetizer, snack or lunch-box staple.
  • You can also make this recipe with vegan cheese.
  • The fresh parsley and lemon zest are optional, but delicious additions.
  • To make the tuna balls spicier, you can add a few tablespoon of hot sauce or red pepper flakes.
  • The recipe can be made with vegan, soy based mayo as well.
  • If you want to get crispy tuna melt balls just like you see in this picture, make sure to follow the recipe steps and allow them to chill and dip in beaten eggs and roll again in bread crumbs before frying.
  • You can fry the balls in a sauce pan, deep skillet or fryer. If you decide to use a pan or skilled, make sure you add enough oil. Another very important step is to keep moving, rolling the balls in the hot oil.
  • If you are using a fryer, shake the basket a few times during cooking.
  • Keep in mind that the ingredients used in this recipe don’t need cooking, except the raw eggs, which cook pretty fast. When frying the balls look for crispiness and a beautiful golden color.
Cheesy Tuna Melt Balls Recipe

Cheesy Tuna Melt Balls serving suggestions:

  • Pack for lunch with fruit, veggies and a dipping sauce on the side
  • Serve with marinara sauce on the side for dipping and crunchy celery sticks
  • Serve with hot sauce or a creamy cheese sauce
  • Serve with crunchy veggies

Cheesy Tuna Melt Balls freezing instructions:

  • If you decide to freeze these tuna balls, I recommend doing so before you fry them.
  • Follow the recipe instructions, and after you chill the, roll them in beaten eggs and bread crumbs. Chill again for the crumbs to settle on the balls. Add to freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months at 0 degrees F or less.
  • You will need to thaw them before frying if using a sauce pan or skillet. Or fry directly using a fryer.
  • You can also bake them: preheat oven to 400F, place parchment paper on a baking dish, add the balls and bake for 20-30 minutes.

Other Fun Lunch Ideas

5 from 1 vote

Cheesy Tuna Melt Balls

Cheesy Tuna Melt Balls are crispy on the outside and tender and cheesy on the inside. Packed with protein, they are the perfect snack or lunch box staple.
Servings: 15 tuna balls
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes


  • 4 cans tuna in water drained
  • 1 1/4 cups bread crumbs divided
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • zest of 1 lemon optional
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayo

For Frying:

  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  • Add one cup of bread crumbs to a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Making Tuna Balls:
  • Open the cans of tuna, scoop tuna chunks into a colander and drain.
  • Add drained tuna to a large bowl.
  • Add 1/4 cup of bread crumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, lemon zest, chopped parsley, 2 beaten eggs, cheese and mayo to a large bowl. Using a spatula stir to combine all the ingredients.
  • Using a cookie scoop (I used the 2 tablespoons one), take a scoop of the tuna mixture, dump it into the prepared bowl with bread crumbs. Cover in bread crumbs, roll gently into a more perfect ball and place on a cutting board. Repeat with the remaining tuna mixture.
  • Refrigerate tuna balls for at least 1 hour before frying, otherwise they won’t hold their shape.


  • Beat 2 eggs in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Add bread crumbs to a small bowl and set aside.
  • Remove the tuna balls from the fridge, dip each ball into the beaten egg mixture and roll it in the prepared bread crumbs. Gently shape the ball to be more round. Place back on the cutting board.
  • Place a sauce pan over medium-high heat and add enough vegetable oil to it, that would almost entirely cover the balls during frying. Heat the oil to 375 degrees F. You can also use a fryer.
  • Add tuna balls to the pan with hot oil, don’t over crowd the pan, fry in batches.
  • Fry for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Use forks or chopsticks to rotate the balls multiple times during cooking to make sure the are cooking uniformly and to avoid burning them. If using a fryer, shake the basket a few times during cooking.
  • Once golden brown, remove from the hot pan to a cutting board lined with paper towels.
  • Serve warm or cold with marinara sauce or ketchup.

Last Step:

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Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 391mg | Potassium: 156mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 255IU | Vitamin C: 0.8mg | Calcium: 129mg | Iron: 1.9mg


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6 comments on “Cheesy Tuna Melt Balls”

  1. Nichole Shinkos

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. My 7 year old and myself loved them. Will be making it again for the boyfriend 😉