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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.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Lunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheesy tuna melt ball recipe, cheesy tuna melt balls, tuna melt
Servings: 15 tuna balls
Calories: 205kcal
Author: Jill


  • 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.


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