This Tuna Pate with Cream Cheese and Chives is a quick and easy recipe that can be enjoyed as a healthy snack or party appetizer. Scoop it up with veggie crudités or spread over crackers. All you need is six simple ingredients.
This dip has it all! There’s plenty of flavor from the tuna. And even though we’re using fish from a can, it feels indulgent and a little bit fancy pants. It’s creamy but light, herby, slightly spicy, a little garlicky, and has a fresh lemon zing.
All you have to do is mix the ingredients together in a food processor – or by hand if you want a chunkier paté. And that’s it. It’s ready. Perfect for last-minute party prep or a quick lunch that’s loaded with protein and healthy fats.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Quick and easy. It only needs 5 minutes of hands-on time! Then it’s off to the fridge to chill.
- Party food. Serve on tortillas, crusty bread, crackers, or with crudités for a crowd-pleasing appetizer.
- Make ahead. This is a great recipe to make the day before. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge, and then it’s ready to go when your guests arrive.
- Can of Tuna: I’m using tuna fish from a can. Specifically Skipjack tuna that’s been sustainably sourced.
- Cream Cheese: To keep this paté light, I’ve opted for a low-fat cream cheese. It’s rich enough to add a luscious creaminess but not too heavy that it’ll overpower the tuna flavor.
- Lemon Juice: Best friends with fish, lemon brightens the paté.
- Garlic: Makes the paté more interesting and flavorful.
- Hot Sauce: For a touch of spice.
- Fresh Chives: For a subtle onion flavor.
- Sea Salt Flakes and Black Pepper: Make the flavors pop!
These visual step-by-step instructions provide a quick overview of the recipe. You can find the recipe card with the full list of ingredients and detailed instructions at the bottom of this post. ⇩
STEP 1: Add the drained tuna chunks, softened low-fat cream cheese, minced garlic, tangy lemon juice, black pepper, salt, and hot sauce into the bowl of a food processor.
STEP 2: Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times to ensure everything is well combined.
STEP 3: Add the chopped chives and pulse a few times in the food processor to incorporate them into the mixture.
STEP 4: Scoop the Tuna Pate into a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the paté to firm up. To serve, top with extra chopped chives or fresh parsley. Enjoy!
Good-quality tuna. Start with high-quality canned tuna in spring water. Drain it well to remove excess liquid for the best texture.
Soften the cheese. Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature, or microwave it in short bursts to soften it. This makes it easier to blend with the tuna.
Chop the garlic. Before adding to the food processor, mince or at least roughly chop the garlic into small pieces so you don’t end up with unpleasant garlic chunks in your tuna paté.
Use a food processor. The best tool to achieve a smooth and creamy texture. If you don’t have one, you can use a blender, but be cautious not to over-blend, as it will make the paté too thin. Or, mix the ingredients with a fork for a chunky, more rustic texture.
Chill. The paté needs to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. This not only firms up the paté but allows the flavors to meld and develop.
- Tuna in Spring Water: Canned tuna in brine is also great. Or substitute with canned salmon or canned chicken if preferred.
- Low-Fat Cream Cheese: Sub with full fat cream cheese or crème fraîche.
- Fresh Lemon Juice: Bottled lemon juice is okay, but fresh lemon juice will provide the best flavor.
- Garlic Clove: If you’re not a fan of garlic or prefer a milder flavor, you can omit the garlic altogether. Alternatively, you can use a dash of garlic powder or roasted garlic for a sweeter and less pungent flavor.
- Hot Sauce: Use your favorite chili sauce or a dash of cayenne pepper, chili powder, or red pepper flakes for some heat.
- Fresh Chives: A little onion powder is a good way to add onion flavor without chives. Alternatively, finely chopped spring onion (scallion) or a small piece of finely chopped red onion are both great options but will give you a stronger oniony flavor. For a more herby paté, try adding some other fresh herbs like dill or parsley.
- Dairy-Free: For a dairy-free option, consider using a dairy-free/ vegan cream cheese.
Tuna is an incredibly nutritious real food ingredient. It’s rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. [Source] It’s Loaded with essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium, and iodine.
The fact that it’s low in calories and high in protein food can help you feel satisfied with fewer calories, which is incredibly helpful for maintaining a healthy weight and losing weight if that’s a goal. [Source]
Tuna Pate is a delicious spread that can be served in various delicious ways.
- It’s a fantastic appetizer. Simply present on a serving plate with an assortment of whole-grain crackers, toasted baguette slices, pita chips, or crusty bread slices for a crowd-pleasing party snack. For a lower-carb or keto version, serve the paté with an array of fresh vegetables like celery sticks, cucumber sticks, carrots, and bell peppers for a satisfying crunch and plenty of flavor variation.
- It makes a delicious light lunch or dinner. Generously load your tuna spread on whole-grain crusty bread or in a wrap, layer it with crisp lettuce, and add slices of ripe tomato. Or, make a delicious tuna salad by loading the paté onto some fresh, crisp salad leaves. Add some extra protein and include some hard-boiled eggs, Nicoise style.
Refrigerate: Place leftover tuna paté in an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Always check for freshness!
Not Suitable for Freezing: Cream cheese-based dips like this one do not freeze well. The texture can become grainy when thawed. It’s best to enjoy it fresh from the refrigerator.
The basic ingredients of this Tuna Pate including tuna, cream cheese, chives, and lemon juice, are naturally gluten-free. However, check the labels of the ingredients you use, as some brands of hot sauce, for example, may contain additives or flavorings that could include gluten.
Yes, it can be a wholesome addition to your diet when served with fresh vegetable sticks for added nutrition. It provides the nutritional advantages of tuna, such as heart-healthy omega-3s and protein, while the accompanying vegetables offer fiber, vitamins, and minerals for a balanced meal or snack.
It depends. When choosing a tuna brand, consider factors like sustainability, whether the tuna is responsibly sourced, the type of tuna (e.g., albacore, skipjack), and your personal taste preferences. Reading product labels for information on catch methods (“pole-and-line caught,” “dolphin-friendly,”), mercury levels, and sustainability certifications (such as MSC – Marine Stewardship Council) can help you make an informed choice that aligns with your values and dietary needs.
Tuna and salmon, while both nutritious fish, differ in taste, texture, and appearance. Tuna tends to have a milder, less fishy flavor and a firmer, meatier texture. In contrast, salmon is known for its rich, slightly oily taste and flakier texture. Nutritionally, both provide protein, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids, with salmon typically offering higher levels of omega-3s.
Looking for more appetizer recipes? Try these next time…
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Easy Tuna Pate Recipe with Cream Cheese and Chives
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- Garlic Press
- Herb Scissors, or a chopping board and a sharp knife
- 10½ ounces (300 grams) canned tuna flakes, drained
- 4½ ounces (125 grams) low-fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- ½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
- ¼ teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste, sugar-free
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, snipped
- Prepare: Gather and prepare your ingredients.
- Blend: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the drained tuna, softened low fat cream cheese, minced garlic, fresh lemon juice, black pepper, salt, and hot sauce. Blend until smooth and creamy. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times to ensure everything is well combined.
- Chives: Add in the chopped fresh chives and pulse a few times in the food processor to incorporate them into the mixture.
- Taste Test: Taste the mixture and adjust the salt, lemon juice, and hot sauce to your liking. Keep in mind that the flavors will continue to meld as it chills.
- Chill: Transfer the paté to a small bowl. For best results, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the paté to firm up.
- Serve: Serve the paté with whole-grain crackers or a variety of vegetable sticks such as carrot sticks, cucumber slices, or bell pepper strips. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information (Per Serving)
Nutrition Disclaimer: Nutritional information is estimated using an online nutrition calculator. For accuracy, we recommend you calculate using the exact ingredients and brands you used.