The original French word marmite is a metal pot with lid. This French word marmite or the Spanish equivalent marmita gives name to the dish in the East and Central Coast of Cantabria while the Cantabrian word sorropotún is used in the West Coast. Marmitako in Basque language means 'from the pot'.
Today it is a popular dish, in part due to the increasing popularity of Basque cuisine, and in part because it is one of the best-known ways to prepare tuna, a fish that is now widely prized for its nutritional value. There are also varieties of marmitako that substitute salmon for tuna.