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Tuna Salad: the best-ever recipe for the versatile classic salad

Total time: 10 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 4 people
By Cookist

Whether you pop it in a sandwich, spread it over a slice of sourdough, smear it over crackers or mix it with your favorite salad greens, there's nothing like homemade tuna salad. Packed with protein, tuna salad is a tasty, easy-to-make recipe that tastes great and will keep you full for hours.

A little creamy thanks to mayonnaise, a little crunchy thanks to chopped shallots and celery, classic tuna salad has it all. It's fresh, feels light on the palate, yet won't leave you hungry. Tuna salad is a great make-ahead recipe for all the meal preppers out there, and it's quick enough to whip up that even the busiest home cook can make it in no time flat.

Classic tuna salad is super simple to customize, which means you can adapt it to go with just about anything!

Tuna Salad Ingredients

Canned tuna in water is the most important ingredient for your tuna salad. Use good-quality canned tuna.

Mayonnaise helps give the tuna salad flavor while preventing the tuna from drying out.

Celery and shallots add a bit of crunchy texture, while lemon juice adds a nice brightness which really complements the fish and cuts through the richness of the mayo.

Finally, you'll need a dash of salt and pepper to season the salad and tie all the flavors together.

How to Make Tuna Salad

All you need to do to make a classic tuna salad at home is to put the drained tuna in a bowl and mix it with the rest of the ingredients. Now it's ready to go into a sandwich, eaten with pita, or enjoyed straight out of the bowl!


Tips for Making the Best Tuna Salad

Use regular canned tuna in water. Tuna packed in oil tends to be too oily to make salads, especially if you add mayonnaise or olive oil.

Make sure you drain your tin of tuna well before mixing up the salad. If you don't, it can wind up watery.

You can make tuna salad up to a few days in advance.

Tuna Salad Variations

For extra tanginess, add pickle relish to your tuna salad.

Tuna salad is naturally healthy, but you can make it healthier by using low-fat mayo or swapping out the mayonnaise for Greek yogurt, or even a drizzle of olive oil.

Add extra veggies for more crunch. Try chopped green onions, cabbage, sliced fennel, cucumbers, or tomatoes.

Apples are delicious as well if prefer something a little sweeter.

You can use other types of canned fish to make this salad. Salmon is delicious, and flaked smoked fish like salmon or trout works well, too. 

Sliced hard-boiled eggs give your tuna salad an extra serving of protein, which is great for anyone on a low-carb diet.

How to Serve Classic Tuna Salad

While tuna salad tastes great on its own, there are plenty of tasty ways to enjoy it. Serve it in a sandwich, on toast, or in a wrap.

Use it to stuff baked potatoes, avocados, or sweet potatoes, or serve it with crackers, flatbread, pita, or celery sticks.

You can also mix it with your favorite salad greens for a nutritious, low-carb dish.


How to Store Tuna Salad

Cover and keep your tuna salad in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Can You Freeze Tuna Salad?

Absolutely! Tuna salad can be placed into freezer-safe bags and frozen for up to 3 months. For best results, freeze the tuna salad in smaller batches rather than in bulk so you can have tuna salad whenever you like.

More Recipes You'll Like

tuna in water, drained
2 5-ounce cans
2 to 4 tbsp
celery, finely diced
1 stalk
red onion, finely diced
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 to 2 tbsp
kosher salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste


Place the drained tuna into a bowl.

Add red onion.

Stir in celery and season with salt, and pepper.

Squeeze in the lemon until you get 1 to 2 tablespoons of juice.

Pour in mayonnaise.

Stir to combine, breaking apart any large chunks of tuna.

Taste the tuna salad. Adjust the flavors as needed. Serve and enjoy!


You can make tuna salad in advance and store it for later use or use it immediately.

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