Easy Tuna Salad

Learn how to make the best tuna salad! Our recipe is super easy, quick, and tastes fantastic. Perfect for salads, snacks, and tuna salad sandwiches.

Easy Tuna Salad Recipe Video

My best tuna salad recipe relies on high-quality tuna and a few simple ingredients. I love this fresh, healthy salad on a sandwich, in a wrap, or with crackers. It’s the perfect easy lunch!

I grew up eating tuna salad sandwiches (thanks, Mom!), and they’re still one of my favorites. If you’re looking for other easy and tasty salad ideas, check out my recipes for egg salad, herby chicken salad, or avocado egg salad.

Easy Tuna Salad Sandwich

Key Ingredients

  • Tuna: I use canned albacore tuna caught using sustainable pole-and-line methods and cooked right in the can. This results in the most flavorful, succulent tuna that retains its natural juices and fats. When I buy canned tuna cooked in the can, I don’t drain it. Brands that don’t cook tuna in the can cook it first and then can it, which means that much of the natural juices and healthy fats are lost. That’s why you will often see tuna canned in water or oil. When the tuna is cooked right in the can, there is no need for extra water or oil. If sustainably caught, high-quality tuna isn’t available, flaked salmon or mashed chickpeas work well as a substitute. (I love this smashed chickpea salad sandwich.)
  • Mayonnaise: I use store-bought mayonnaise or homemade mayo if I have it in the fridge, but you can use a vegan mayo or swap some of it for a drizzle of olive oil if you prefer a less creamy salad.
  • Mustard: I’m a big fan of adding Dijon mustard for a zesty kick, but it’s totally optional. If you’re unsure, make the salad without it, and then try adding a bit to see if you like it.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: I love a tiny squeeze of lemon juice to balance out the richness of the mayonnaise and cut through the fishy taste of the tuna.
  • Crunchy Things: This is where you can get creative! I love adding celery, homemade dill pickles (along with a splash of pickle juice), and scallions for extra crunch and flavor. Feel free to experiment with your favorite crunchy additions.
Tuna Salad Ingredients

Ways to Serve Homemade Tuna Salad

Tuna salad is so simple to make and can be served a variety of ways. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Make a tuna sandwich: Layer this salad with some veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce on top of your favorite bread. I love this focaccia bread for sandwiches!
  • Make a wrap using tortillas or flatbread: We have this homemade flour tortilla recipe or this super simple flatbread recipe for some inspiration.
  • Spoon on top of a larger salad: Try our Caesar salad, Greek salad, our quinoa salad or a bowl of your favorite greens and veggies.
  • Serve with crackers or slices of cucumber or zucchini.
  • Make a tuna melt: Add the salad to buttered and toasted bread, cover with cheese (I love Gruyere or white cheddar) and broil until the cheese melts.
Tuna Salad Sandwich

Easy Tuna Salad

  • PREP
  • TOTAL

For the best homemade tuna salad, we use canned Albacore tuna and a few simple ingredients. My recipe is so quick and easy. If you cannot find sustainably caught canned tuna, substitute the tuna with flaked salmon or mashed chickpeas—use about 2 cups.

Makes 4 servings

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

2 (5oz cans) sustainably-caught tuna, see tips

3 to 4 tablespoons mayonnaise, try our homemade mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, optional

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 stalk of celery, finely chopped

1 scallion, finely chopped or use 1 tablespoon chopped onion

1 to 2 dill pickles, finely chopped, try our homemade pickles

1 tablespoon dill pickle juice, optional

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

    1Drain tuna packed in water or oil. If you have tuna cooked in the can, there is no need to drain it. See tips for an explanation.

    2Place tuna in a bowl and break it up with a fork. Add three tablespoons of mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, celery, scallion, pickles, pickle juice, and a generous pinch of fresh ground black pepper. Mix well.

    3Taste and adjust with salt or another tablespoon of mayonnaise. Store in airtight, food-safe containers in the fridge for up to 5 days. We do not recommend freezing the salad.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Best tuna to buy for tuna salad: We look for the little blue logo with MSC on it (Marine Stewardship Council Certified) as well as key terms like “hand-operated pole-and-lines” or “pole and line caught.” Albacore tuna caught with trolling lines can also be a good option (be careful not to confuse trolling lines with trawling, which is very different).
  • Do I need to drain tuna cans? The answer to this depends on the brand of tuna you have in your kitchen. If you have purchased tuna cooked directly in the can, then no, you do not want to drain the tuna. If you did drain it, you would be draining all the natural juices and fats (like the omega-3 fats). Alternatively, if the can of tuna you have says something like packed in water or oil, we prefer to drain it. That tuna was most likely cooked before being canned, which means all those delicious natural juices have been lost. Most brands that cook the tuna can say it on the packaging or mention that there is no need to drain.
  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1/4 of the recipe / Calories 188 calories / Total Fat 10.4g / Saturated Fat 1.9g / Cholesterol 40.5mg / Sodium 577.3mg / Carbohydrate 1.4g / Dietary Fiber 0.5g / Total Sugars 0.7g / Protein 20.7g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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14 comments… Leave a Review
  • Mary Kahler April 11, 2024, 2:17 pm

    Love all your recipes! So excited that I found you! Thank you so very much!

    Reply
    • Adam April 11, 2024, 3:07 pm

      You are too kind! So glad you found us 🙂

      Reply
  • TIFFANY Dotson November 8, 2023, 1:00 am

    Could you recommend a brand of tuna? I would LOVE to try this recipe and our household is trying to eat cleaner and more sustainable.

    Reply
    • Joanne June 28, 2024, 5:59 pm

      Hi Tiffany, Some of my favorite brands of tuna are the Pole Caught American Tuna (which is sold in larger cans), Wild Planet. I also love a few local Pacific Northwest options like the tuna from Island Trollers on Whidbey Island (this is local to us, so we are lucky to access it).

      Reply
  • Catherine June 13, 2023, 4:05 pm

    Seriously, the best tuna salad I have ever come across. I did not change a thing, which is very rare for me. It was absolutely delicious!!! Thanks for being my “one stop” spot for great recipes.

    Reply
  • Debi May 2, 2023, 2:18 am

    Just a suggestion, try Tonnino tuna in a jar. Amazon sells it. Thank you for the recipe!

    Reply
  • Chris David April 18, 2022, 2:31 am

    Really delicious recipe. I love it yummy!!! It’s really awesome. Will surely try this.

    Reply
  • Edith September 9, 2021, 11:39 pm

    We loved your tuna salad! We had it for dinner last night as a sandwich with slices of juicy fresh tomotoes-yummy. We also had some potato-egg salad from my daughter and it made a filling and delicious summer dinner.

    Reply
  • Geneviève Roy September 5, 2021, 9:26 am

    I just saw your Bran muffin recipe and this nice Tuna Salad. It would be great if I could put them in my Pinterest folder for later use. Adding a link to share your recipes on Pinterest (or other) would be a great addition to your website. I rarely print anymore. Online is way more practical. 😉

    Reply
  • Mark July 29, 2021, 4:04 pm

    Sounds good except for the celery. Why does everyone always include celery in tuna salad recipes? A good way to ruin everything.

    Reply
    • Dreamboat Annie July 31, 2023, 10:01 am

      One of the reasons why people like celery in their tuna fish salad is bc we enjoy the crunch. I imagine that’s the same reason why people add apples and nuts to their chicken salad. My daughters don’t care for the flavor of fresh celery so if I’m making it for them I take their portion out then mix ours with celery and sometimes celery seed. We also use bread and butter pickles and its juice.
      However, it just isn’t tuna salad without at least one hard boiled egg and most likely 2! Gotta have the egg(s).

      Reply
  • Deborah Sullivan July 15, 2021, 4:37 pm

    I like to add a teaspoon of tartar sauce to tuna salad. It gives it added flavor because of dill and other spices. Try it. I love it.

    Reply
  • KAREN PILLER July 12, 2021, 9:35 pm

    How can I tell if the tuna is cooked in the tin? Does it say on tin? Sorry ? sounds pathetic, but I didn’t know there was a choice!

    Reply
    • Adam July 13, 2021, 11:23 am

      It should say on the tin. If it doesn’t a good indicator is to check if the can says the tuna was packed in oil or water. That usually means it was cooked outside of the can then the water or oil was added later.

      Reply

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