Best Spicy Tuna Burger Recipe

Tuna burgers are all the rage these days, but they're easy to screw up. Here's how to do it right.

Tuna burger on bun with lettuce, tomato, and red onion
Christopher Testani

Tuna is the ultimate healthy no-brainer: It has a dense, beef-like texture and flavor but a fraction of the saturated fat, and is high in B vitamins, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids. When you’re preparing, “mince the tuna using a knife,” says Rich Vellante, executive chef of the Boston-based Legal Sea Foods restaurant group, where the tuna burger has been a menu favorite for decades.

“This consistency enables the seasonings—assertive Asian flavors work particularly well with tuna—to bloom throughout the burger, while preserving the integrity of the fish. When buying fresh tuna, ask to sniff it—it should smell like ocean air, not fish or chemicals. We recommend you serve it as they do at Legal, with lettuce, tomato, and red-pepper mayo, or make a quick aioli by spiking Greek yogurt with minced garlic and lemon or lime juice. Ripping out the centers of fluffy brioche buns axes calories while creating a juicier burger-to-bun ratio.

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Prep time

10 min.

Cook time

6 min.

  • 1 1/2 lbs fresh tuna (bluefin, yellowfin, bigeye, or albacore) finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce or other chili paste
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 scallions, minced

Mix all ingredients with your hands and form into patties about 1-inch thick. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm them up. On a hot grill, or a lightly oiled grill pan over medium-high heat, cook until hot throughout (a touch of pink in the middle is OK), about 3 minutes per side. 

Add your favorite toppings. We suggest lettuce, tomato, and a creamy sauce.