Classic Tuna Salad

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A classic tuna salad recipe is one of my go-to easy lunches during the warmer summer months. 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! 

With just a few basic ingredients probably already in the fridge and pantry, you can whip up a salad or sandwiches or even scoop it into half an avocado for a fancy (and low carb) dish!

A serving dish full of tuna salad sandwiches wrapped in parchment paper with lettuce.

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 separate the pieces.
  2. ADD INS: Add diced celery, chopped dill pickles, the 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. If you’d like to cut some of the calories, replace some of the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt. Add a little salt and pepper to taste and keep and serve cold! 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!

A clear mixing bowl with tuna salad ingredients ready to be mixed.

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!

Can You Freeze Tuna Salad?

Tuna salad, tuna pasta salad, even tuna macaroni salad can be frozen, but may need to be drained after it is thawed out. Pasta freezes well, but you made need to correct it with freshly cooked pasta or extra chopped celery and onions to restore the crunch from the celery and pickles.

A clear mixing bowl full of tuna salad with fresh bread in the background.

More Easy Salads

5 from 10 votes
Review Recipe

Tuna Salad

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
Course Lunch, Snack
Cuisine American
This easy tuna salad recipe is one of my go-to easy lunches during the warmer summer months. It's perfect in tuna salad sandwiches or next to some coleslaw!


  • 12 oz white flaked tuna in water drained
  • 1 stalk celery finely diced
  • 2 dill pickles finely chopped
  • 1 green onion sliced
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dijon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste

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  1. Drain the tuna well.

  2. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.

  3. Use to top a salad, in sandwiches or to add to pasta salads.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 366, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 48mg, Sodium: 783mg, Potassium: 208mg, Carbohydrates: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Protein: 17g, Vitamin A: 210%, Vitamin C: 1.7%, Calcium: 35%, Iron: 1.6%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword tuna salad, tuna salad sandwiches
This fresh and easy tuna salad sandwich recipe is one of our go to lunch recipes. It's so easy and makes a great kid friendly lunch! #spendwithpennies #tuna #tunasalad #tunasaladsandwiches #sandwiches #easytunasalad
This fresh and easy tuna salad sandwich recipe is one of our go to lunch recipes. It's so easy and makes a great kid friendly lunch! #spendwithpennies #tuna #tunasalad #tunasaladsandwiches #sandwiches #easytunasalad

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

  2. 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 :)

  3. 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.

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

    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!!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

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

  8. 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.