A classic tuna salad recipe is an easy lunch and can be made ahead of time for meals throughout the week.

This recipe combines flaky canned tuna with celery, onions, dill pickles, and mayonnaise. I sometimes sneak potato chips right into my sandwich… anyone else?!

plated Classic Tuna Salad

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!

Ingredients for Tuna Salad

This tuna salad recipe is simple, but of course, you can jazz it up however you’d like!

Tuna – I prefer water-packed albacore tuna because it’s lighter but oil packed works just as well. Canned salmon works in this recipe too.

Dressing – This tuna salad has an easy mayonnaise-based dressing. Lemon juice and a bit of Dijon mustard are added for some tang.

Add-Ins – Diced celery, chopped dill pickles (or sweet relish if you prefer), and sliced green onion add flavor and crunch. The dill pickle can be replaced with sweet pickle relish.

Variations – Swap up the mix-ins with fresh herbs (like flat-leaf parsley or dill), diced red bell pepper or red onion, or even a chopped hard-boiled egg. Add a pinch of your favorite spice mix if you’d like!

tuna , mayonnaise , onion , celery , pickles , lemon juice , dijon mustard and salt and pepper in a bowl to make Tuna Salad with labels

How to Make Tuna Salad

Tuna salad is so easy and requires very little prep.

  1. Drain flaked tuna and place it into a medium bowl. Use a fork to gently separate the pieces.
  2. Add the mix-ins per the recipe below.
  3. Gently fold in the mayo and seasonings, and enjoy!

Serving Suggestion

I like to serve tuna salad sandwiches with lettuce and tomato on whole wheat bread or a darker loaf like rye. It’s also delicious on croissants like a shrimp salad!

Lighten It Up a Little

If you’d like to cut some of the calories, replace some of the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt. It will have a slightly more tangy flavor but still, just as tasty!

Tuna Salad mixed in a bowl with bread next to it

Serving Suggestions

We love how easy tuna is to add to recipes like tuna casseroles but did you know there are lots of great ways to repurpose tuna salad?

  • Stir in pasta to make a tuna macaroni salad.
  • Cut the carbs and make it a lettuce wrap! Fill lettuce leaves with the mixture or even just top a bed of romaine lettuce.
  • Spoon it on a cracker with cheese or fill a wrap with tuna salad and fresh veggies.

How Long Does Tuna Salad Last?

If it doesn’t get eaten up first because it IS that good, tuna fish salad will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. Because it has fish and mayonnaise in it, be careful to not leave it out on the counter for too long.

Make a tuna fish sandwich and put the tuna salad back in the fridge in an airtight container to keep it as fresh as possible!

More Light Lunches

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

plated Classic Tuna Salad
4.96 from 132 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Easy Tuna Salad

This easy tuna salad recipe is a quick lunch time fix on a sandwich or bed of lettuce.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 12 ounces white flaked tuna in water well drained
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 dill pickles, finely chopped or 2 tablespoons sweet relish
  • 1 rib celery finely diced
  • 1 green onion thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard or prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Drain the tuna well.
  • In a medium bowl, combine drained tuna, mayonnaise, dill pickles or relish, celery, green onion, Dijon, and lemon juice. Gently toss them together. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  • Use to top a salad, in sandwiches, or to add to pasta salads.


Tuna salad can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 days. 
Serve tuna salad as a sandwich, over lettuce, or as a wrap in a tortilla.
4.96 from 132 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 369 | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 19g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 738mg | Potassium: 232mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 211IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 2mg

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

Course Fish, Lunch, Snack
Cuisine American
Classic Tuna Salad with a title
Classic Tuna Salad in a bowl with writing
Classic Tuna Salad sandwich with writing
Classic Tuna Salad with dill pickles and celery with a title


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About the author

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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Recipe Rating


  1. 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!

  2. 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

    1. I buy whatever looks the tastiest at the time Joe! Feel free to use your favorite variety!

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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!!

  6. 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

  7. 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

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

  9. A slice of Swiss Cheese and iceberg lettuce completes a great sandwich on crusty rye bread for us.

  10. 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. You can certainly leave it out if you’d prefer. I’m sharing the recipe the way I make it! Enjoy! :)

    2. 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

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

    4. Hi Angelina, I brush a marinade of dijon mustard, honey, and cracked pepper on salmon fillets and cook on the grill and the adition of dijon mustard to this salmon marinade is absolutely delicious !!