Tuna Croquettes

These irresistibly crispy bites transform a grazing board into a hearty supper; a drizzle of honey takes them over the top. Begin frying these breaded croquettes immediately after removing them from the freezer to help them hold their shape. To accompany the croquettes, sommelier Fahara Zamorano recommends Etna Rosso, a multifaceted wine with red fruits and floral, herbaceous notes. "It can match the most intricate of spreads," says Zamorano.

Tuna Croquettes
Photo: Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Christine Keely
Active Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 50 mins


  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling hands

  • ¼ cup finely chopped yellow onion

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour (about 3 1/4 ounces), divided

  • 1 ¾ cups whole milk, warmed

  • 1 (6.7-ounce) jar oil-packed tuna, drained and crumbled (about 1 cup)

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish

  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest plus 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • Neutral cooking oil (such as vegetable oil), for frying

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • 1.50 cups panko

  • Lemon wedges, olive tapenade, crackers, cheeses, honey, dried figs, and nuts, for serving


  1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic; sprinkle 1/2 cup flour over mixture. Reduce heat to low; cook, whisking constantly, until flour is lightly toasted and garlic is golden, about 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until sauce is smooth and very thick and begins to pull away from sides of pan, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in tuna, parsley, lemon zest and juice, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; let cool 10 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until cooled and slightly firm, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.

  2. Lightly oil hands with olive oil. Roll chilled tuna mixture between your hands into 24 (1 1/2-inch) balls; place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze croquettes, uncovered, until firm, about 25 minutes. Pour neutral oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches into a large Dutch oven; heat over medium-high until oil reaches 325°F. Place beaten eggs, panko, and remaining 1/4 cup flour in 3 separate wide, shallow bowls. Stir remaining 1 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper into panko.

  3. Dredge each croquette in flour. Dip in egg; allow excess egg to drip off. Dip in panko, and turn to coat. Place coated croquettes on large plates. Once all are breaded, immediately begin frying.

  4. Working in 2 batches and returning oil to 325°F between batches, fry croquettes, turning occasionally using a slotted spoon or spider, until deep golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

  5. Arrange croquettes on a platter or serving board; garnish with additional parsley. Squeeze lemon wedges over croquettes as desired. Serve immediately with tapenade, crackers, cheeses, honey, dried figs, and nuts.

Make Ahead

Breaded croquettes may be frozen in an airtight container up to 1 week.


Midweight, elegant Sicilian red: 2017 Tornatore Etna Rosso.

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