Croquettes are one of the most popular appetizers in Spain. Check out our Spanish tuna croquettes recipe to learn how to prepare croquetas de atún.
Bored with the same seafood dishes each week? Are you looking for a quick and tasty Spanish appetizer? Mix it up with a super tasty recipe!
Croquettes is one appetizer that you can find on the menu of almost every tapas bar in Spain. Croquetas de Atún or Tuna Cakes are a delicious way to sneak in some healthy fish into your diet.
It is a classic that you can actually prepare with almost any ingredient. So, instead of tuna, you could choose cheese, fish, ham, or any vegetable.
What is Croquetas de Atún
These Tuna Croquettes are a Spanish delicacy made with fresh or canned tuna, eggs, and spices such as black pepper and parsley that are rolled in breadcrumbs and fried to make a delicious treat.
You can enjoy these when you want to eat something light and that does not take time to cook, you can make them for dinner or a quick lunch!
A Spanish staple and delicious comfort food, these croquettes are a great bite. It makes an easy appetizer or an excellent side dish for any meal!
You can eat them plain, but if you want to add some more flavors or make a meal out of them then it is possible.
Why do people like croquetas? For me, there are 3 reasons: the flavor, the texture, and the smell. You just can not stop eating them!
Here you will learn to make a fantastic recipe and cook them in different ways: fried, baked or air fried.
The first option to cook them is frying, which is the most traditional way of preparing croquettes. If you don’t have too much time I recommend the air fryer, or if you are looking for a way to cut calories and oil I recommend making baked croquetas where the crust will be soft and moist.
Savor every little bite, enjoying the excellent taste of a creamy tuna sauce surrounded by a golden bread crumb crust.
Tips to prepare Tuna Croquettes
1. Let the mixture rest in the fridge for at least four hours (better overnight) as otherwise, it will be more difficult to form the croquettes.
2. You can swap out tuna with almost any other ingredient, like, for example, ham, cheese, chicken, or spinach.
3. Don’t fry the croquettes for too long as they will get very hard.
4. Since they are fried for a few minutes on each side, it’s not necessary to fry them in a lot of oil. The oil can be added little by little, as needed.
5. Drain the croquettes de atún on paper towels.
Did you know you can prepare and store tuna croquettes for later?
Place your croquettes uncooked on a tray after preparing the batter. After you put them in the freezer for about four hours, you can pack them for long-term storage.
Keep them between layers of wax or parchment paper in a freezer bag or plastic container.
Whenever you feel like preparing a quick meal you can defrost them in the fridge or on the kitchen counter.
You will love these delicious Spanish Tuna Croquettes because of how easy they are! You only need a few ingredients that are very simple and inexpensive.
There are countless ways to prepare this delicious dish, so here is a quick rundown of the key components you need in order to make them the most traditional way!
- The Tuna: The most important thing is the tuna. White albacore is often used, but any canned tuna you can find can be a great substitution. You can use tuna canned in water or oil. Just remember not to leave too much liquid and remove all the bones if you are using fresh tuna!
- Bread Crumbs: You can use either seasoned or plain bread crumbs. I think this makes this dish so versatile. It’s very adaptable. Panko will work beautifully as well.
- Black pepper and Kosher salt are the essentials, and the rest of the spices are up to you!
- Eggs: This is essential! Use one large or two medium-sized eggs to glue everything together!
- Potatoes: This one is optional, but if you would like to add some carbs to the mix, there are some recipes that include potatoes as well! I recommend two medium-sized potatoes or a large russet potato. Choose whatever is available to you.
So, here are the basics! Prepare your kitchen gear, get creative, and let’s start cooking!
How to prepare Spanish Tuna Croquettes
There are many varieties of croquetas and they are served in many different ways.
Although potatoes are also commonly used when making this dish, in my version of authentic Spanish Tuna Croquetas I’ve used only tuna because it’s healthier and it can be made into a delicious dish you will love!
If you prefer to keep your Tuna Croquettes 100% authentic then try my authentic Spanish croquetas de atún recipe!
1. Add extra virgin olive oil and salted butter to a large skillet and heat up until the butter is melted.
2. Finely dice a medium-sized white or yellow onion and add. Stir frequently until the onions start coloring.
3. Add five tablespoons of flour and frequently stir until the mixture has a golden color.
4. Add one and a half cups of whole milk and stir until there are no lumps left.
5. Add the tuna, pepper, nutmeg, and sea salt.
6. Mix everything well until the mixture becomes really thick.
7. Pour the dough into a large bowl and let it cool down to room temperature. Afterward, cover the bowl with plastic wrap directly on the dough and store it in the fridge for at least four hours, or even better, overnight!
8. Once the croquette dough is cold, start forming the croquettes and cover them one by one in flour, then eggs, and then bread crumbs.
9. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a skillet and start frying the croquettes. Don’t forget to turn them around so that they get evenly brown on all sides. That should take around five minutes.
10. Remove the croquettes from the pan and drain them on paper towels.
Tip: Serve your croquetas de atún with homemade Aioli!
Enjoy a hearty meal packed with protein without having to spend all day in the kitchen!
Cooking Spanish Tuna Croquettes in the Air Fryer
If you are looking for a healthy alternative to the real fried version of this recipe then this option is for you!
Once you have formed your shapes from the batter, set the croquetas inside the air fryer leaving some space in between them so the hot air can run through them.
Set the air fryer temperature at 400°F, and air fry for 2 minutes on each side or until the croquettes turn a golden brown color.
Oven Baking Spanish Tuna Croquettes
The last option takes a little more time to prepare, but if you are not in a rush, I promise you the result will be so satisfying!
Plus, if you want to cut down on oil and calories, baking these little cakes will be a perfect choice!
Pre-heat your oven at 400°F or 180°C. Transfer the croquettes to a tray that can be placed in the oven. If you wish to skip the oil (and you probably do! ), use parchment paper instead.
Spread cooking spray on both sides of the croquetas, then set them in the pan and bake for 10 minutes on each side or until they become golden brown. This will make them incredibly crispy and will enhance the flavor!
You might as well take a moment to learn about some of the best ways to serve these delicious bites, in order to get the most enjoyment from them!
To enhance the rich flavors in the traditional recipe, try pairing these options with it!
- Tuna and fresh veggies compliment each other. Try pairing it with a salad and rice.
- In combination with Calabacitas or Espagueti Verde.
- The combination of mayo and tuna makes this a delicious duo.
- Place them next to a good lettuce salad for some refreshment!
- Serve your croquetas de atún with homemade Aioli!
More Spanish Tapas Recipes
If you like Spanish Tapas, you should also have a look at these easy recipes:
1. Ensalada Russa (Spanish Potato Salad) – Ensalada Rusa is popular in many countries and is also well-known as Russian Potato Salad or Oliver Salad.
2. Delicious Berenjenas Fritas con Miel (Spanish crispy fried eggplant with honey) – The honey gives the dish a sweet taste and makes it a great starter or tapas.
3. Chorizo al vino Tinto (Chorizo in Red Wine Sauce) – Spain is famous for its chorizos, so it is no wonder that there are many different recipes on how to prepare chorizo.
4. Tinto de Verano (Spanish Summer Wine) – The translation (Spanish Summer Wine) best encapsulates this Spanish drink: a thirst-quenching alcoholic beverage perfect for drinking on a hot summer day.
Let me know in the comments how you liked the recipe and tag @spanishfoodguide when you share a photo on Instagram!
- 2.1 ounces or 60 grams salted butter
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium white or yellow onion (finely diced)
- 5 tbsp flour
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- 7 oz or 190 grams canned tuna in oil
- 1/4 tsp fine ground pepper
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- Breadcrumps & flour
- 2 eggs
- Heat up extra virgin olive oil and salted butter in a large skillet.
- Once the butter is melted, add a finely diced, medium sized white or yellow onion. Stir frequently until the onions start coloring.
- Add five tablespoons of flour and stir frequently until the mixture has a golden color.
- Add one and a half cups of whole milk and stir to work out the lumps
- Add tuna, pepper, nutmeg and sea salt.
- Mix everything well until the mixture becomes really thick.
- Pour the dough into a large bowl and let it cool down to room temperature. Afterward, cover the bowl with plastic wrap directly on the dough and store it in the fridge for at least four hours, or even better overnight!
- Once the croquette dough is cold start forming the croquettes and cover them one by one in flour, then eggs, and then bread crumbs.
- Heat up extra virgin olive oil in a skillet and start frying the croquettes. Don’t forget to turn them around so that they get evenly brown on all sides. That should take around five minutes.
- Remove the croquettes from the pan and drain them on paper towels.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 474Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 141mgSodium: 655mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 24g
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate.