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 133 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Easy Tuna Salad

This easy tuna salad is refreshing and satisfying, made with tender chunks of tuna, crisp celery, tangy pickles, and creamy mayonnaise.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
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  • 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, 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 133 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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Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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4.96 from 133 votes (103 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. This recipe wasn’t for me. Too many crunchy bits and too much sour for my liking. However, the mayonnaise ratio was perfect.

  2. Howdy,
    I often change up what I mix into a Tuna Salad Sandwich; touch of garlic powder, freshly ground pepper, sea salt, Ripple Plain Potato Chips, pinch of mildest Horse Radish, freshly squeezed lemon juice, Cross & Blackwell red seafood sauce. Golden Oktober German White Wine, etc.

  3. Perfect,,,,but I like sweet pickles. Sometimes I add both! Old family recipe,,and we love it. Been doing this for years. (like50 + years) :) Want a salad,,,you can do that too,,,just add noodles and hard boiled egg. Did that did weekend. Try sprinkling some McCormick Salad Supreme on top!