Classic Tuna Salad


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A classic tuna salad recipe is one of my go-to easy lunches. Flaky tuna is mixed with crisp celery, onions, dill pickles, and a creamy mayo dressing.

Perfect for tuna salad sandwiches or creamy tuna melts with some coleslaw on the side!  Whip up a salad or sandwiches or even scoop it into half an avocado for a fancy (and low carb) dish!

Tuna Salad sandwiches in a tray with lettuce and a white napkin

How to Make Tuna Salad

Tuna is a great protein that requires very little prep making it the perfect addition to tuna casserolestuna macaroni salads or even just to top a bed of lettuce! Because it’s so easy to make, tuna fish is a great lunch recipe!

  1. TUNA
    Drain a can of flaked tuna in water. Albacore tuna has the freshest flavor, any brand will do as long as it’s packed in water. Put the tuna into a bowl and use a fork to gently separate the pieces.
  2. ADD-INS
    Add diced celery, chopped dill pickles (or sweet relish if you prefer).Sliced green onion and mix well. These all add great flavor and crunch, you can add in your own favorite including sweet dill pickles or diced cucumber!
  3. DRESSING
    Gently fold in the mayonnaise, the Dijon, and lemon juice. Add a little salt and pepper to taste and keep chilled!

If you’ve got fresh herbs on hand, add them in! Don’t be afraid to add a dash of your favorite spice mix. I like to serve tuna salad sandwiches on whole wheat bread or a darker loaf like rye. It’s also delicious on croissants like shrimp salad!

Calorie Cutting Tip: If you’d like to cut some of the calories, replace some of the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt.

Tuna Salad ingredients in a bowl

How Long Does Tuna Salad Last?

If it doesn’t get eaten up first because it really IS that good, tuna fish salad will keep in the fridge for a few days. Because it has fish and mayonnaise in it, be careful to not leave it out on the counter for too long.

Make that tuna fish sandwich and put the tuna salad back in the fridge in an airtight container to keep it as fresh as possible! The best tuna salad is fresh and safe to eat!

To Freeze

Tuna salad can be frozen, but may need to be drained after it is thawed out. Celery & pickles will lose some of their crunch so you might like to add a bit extra upon defrosting.

Tuna Salad mixed in a bowl with bread next to it

More Easy Salads

Did you love this Tuna Salad recipe? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

Tuna Salad sandwiches in a tray
4.84 from 31 votes
Review Recipe

Tuna Salad

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
Course Fish, Lunch, Snack
Cuisine American
This easy tuna salad recipe is perfect in tuna salad sandwiches or next to some coleslaw!

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces white flaked tuna in water, drained
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 dill pickles finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery finely diced
  • 1 green onion sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dijon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste

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Instructions

  • Drain the tuna well.
  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
  • Use to top a salad, in sandwiches or to add to pasta salads.

Recipe Notes

Tuna salad will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. 
Stir and add some salt & pepper to refresh flavors. 

Nutrition Information

Calories: 366, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 48mg, Sodium: 783mg, Potassium: 208mg, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 210IU, Vitamin C: 1.7mg, Calcium: 35mg, Iron: 1.6mg
Keyword best tuna salad recipe, how to make tuna salad, tuna salad, tuna salad sandwiches
top view of Tuna Salad Sandwiches with writing
Tuna Salad sandwiches on a plate with writing
top view of Tuna Salad sandwiches on a plate with writing

 

Tuna Salad sandwiches on a plate with a title
ingredients and a plated Tuna Salad sandwich and a title

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Holly

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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Comments

  1. curious why you mentioned Mayonnaise as a problem ingredient when leaving the tuna salad out. Mayonnaise by nature is acidic and actually helps prevent the growth of bacteria in the tuna salad. It is a misconception that mayo is to blame if left out in a room temperature. You perpetuate the myth when you accuse mayo of being a problem. I quote: Commercially produced mayonnaise, does not need to be refrigerated, according to the report. Food scientists find it’s because mayo undergoes strict testing and “its acidic nature slows the growth of the bacteria associated with food-borne illnesses,” according to NPD Group.

  2. I like to put the drained tuna in my small food processor. It does a great job of making the tuna easy to mix with the other ingredients plus giving it a light and airy texture. I also use sweet pickles in my tuna salad instead of dill, but this is just a matter of taste. I add diced green onion or diced red onion and chopped boiled egg (I also chop this in my small food processor).4 stars

  3. Holy, I never really enjoyed tuna and chicken sandwiches until I came across your recipes, and I love them now, thank you for opening my eyes to good flavors and delicious sandwiches.

    1. Sorry to hear that Joy, this recipe is a popular one among readers! Did you add the full ¾ cups of mayonnaise? That should prevent it from being dry.

  4. Hello!

    This is terrific thanks!

    I have two questions:

    How much is one serving size about?

    Is the nutrition information ( calories and such) the total batch or one serving size?

    1. Hi Terry, a serving is about 1/2 cup for this recipe and the nutrition information is per serving. Hope you enjoy it!

  5. I didn’t add pepper or salt, but it was soooOOooo good! I also used toasted potato bread.
    New lunch favorite. Thank you.5 stars

  6. Perfect, as usual, another recipe worthy of 10 stars. I however use tuna in oil, and info for viewers, if you use tuna packed in oil, drain it really well, like in a strainer and reduce the mayo to 1/2 cup.

    I used Japanese Kewpie mayo and was out of pickles so I chopped some capers, perfect and did not distract from the intent of the recipe. I made sandwiches on plain bread, with a layer of lettuce.

    Thank you for a great recipe, Holly :)5 stars

  7. Chopped apple is also an excellent addition to tuna salad…not to big or small. I usually chop the apple and gently toss it with a little lemon juice to keep it from turning brown. I also use sweet relish a just a tiny bit of grated onion… sometimes with and sometime without the dijon mustard.

  8. Yum! Tuna salad is always a favourite for us, especially for picnics and boating, and I love your addition of pickles.5 stars

    1. So glad you loved the pickles Colleen! We did too! Next time you’re taking tuna salad on a picnic and boating can we come too!!

  9. I haven’t had a good tuna salad in so long that I actually forgot there were pickles in a classic version. Definitely making this next week for lunches!5 stars

  10. I’ve made a lot of varieties of chicken salad but I always stick with a classic tuna salad recipe. Now I’m craving tuna salad!5 stars

  11. I haven’t made tuna salad in a while. Your recipe is simple and it sounds delicious. Adding it to our menu. :)5 stars

  12. We’ve always loved a good Tuna Salad – be it in a sandwich or in lettuce cups. Once again, WHY the mustard? Don’t get me wrong, I love mustard, but seafood and mustard are not compatible. Mustard definitely has it’s place, since it’s a very tasty condiment, but NOT in any type of dish which contains seafood. Is the use of mustard in (almost) all cold salad recipes a southern tradition? (I ask this with the utmost respect).

    1. I’ve always added mustard to my tuna salad, as well, but I usually use yellow mustard. It adds a bit of tang, and it makes it a bit less sweet. Also, mustard contains tumeric, which is a great antioxidant, so even healthier. It still tastes great without it, so make it how you like it. Definitely do not omit the pickles and celery though. They give it the crunch needed.5 stars

    2. Mustard is great on fish! Love it in tuna salad and its wonderful on fried catfish ! And it is a southern thing !