Best Tuna Salad

March 17, 2020

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Tuna Salad – made in minutes with kitchen basics like canned tuna, mayo and bright lemon. It’s an easy, staple recipe!

Looking for a new twist? Try my Avocado Tuna Salad – it’s made with olive oil and no mayo, and who can resist avocado?

Tuna salad atop bread slices and lettuce leaves. Shown on a white plate with a side of potato chips.

Best Tuna Salad Recipe

I’ve been eating tuna salad as long as I can remember. Grandma made it, Mom made it and now I’m hooked and I turn to it for lunch time and time again.

Canned tuna will forever be one of those things I just truly appreciate. It’s easy to store, it’s inexpensive and it always perfect for quick recipes.

Of course canned tuna is pretty bland as is but when you add some tart fresh lemon, rich and creamy mayo, and some fresh herbs it becomes something that’s even fit for a fast dinner.

And who doesn’t love those little bits of veggies dotted through for textural contrast? It’s just simple food at it’s best!

Tuna salad in a turquoise serving bowl.

Ingredients Needed to Make Tuna Salad

  • canned solid white albacore tuna (in water)
  • mayonnaise
  • celery
  • red onion (or sub white)
  • capers or dill pickles
  • lemon juice
  • parsley (use dried if needed 1 Tbsp)
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic (add a few pinches dried if that’s what you have)
  • dijon mustard (optional)

Ingredients used to make tuna salad.

How to Make Easy Tuna Salad

  1. Chop veggies.
  2. Drain tuna well.
  3. Add tuna and vegetables to a bowl along with tuna salad dressing ingredients.
  4. Mix well. So easy!

What’s Best to Serve Tuna Salad with?

  • whole wheat or white bread slices (for a classic tuna salad sandwich)
  • pita pockets or gyro bread
  • croissants
  • bagel thins
  • tortillas (make a wrap!)
  • lettuce leaves
  • or just eat right from the bowl with some veggies on the side

Image of tuna, parsley, red onion, celery, mayonnaise, lemon juice, capers, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.

How long does Tuna Salad Keep?

I recommend eating within 3 days. Just keep it stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

How Can I Make it Healthier?

Substitute plain Greek yogurt for the mayonnaise. When I go this route I still like to use 1/4 cup Greek yogurt and 1 Tbsp mayo so I don’t lose all the richness if possible.

Tuna salad shown close up to show mix-in ingredients and texture.

Possible Variations

  • Instead of white albacore tuna use chunk light tuna, just be sure to drain well or it will end up runny. Tuna in a pouch will work fine too.
  • If you don’t have fresh lemon try a mild vinegar like white or red wine vinegar.
  • To make it extra lemony, add some lemon zest (before juicing).
  • Add minced red bell pepper or sun dried tomatoes.
  • Serve with sliced tomato or avocado.

Stack of tuna salad sandwiches.

More Simple Salad Recipes You’ll Enjoy!


Tuna salad atop bread slices and lettuce leaves. Shown on a white plate with a side of potato chips.
5 from 6 votes

Best Tuna Salad

Made in minutes with kitchen basics like canned tuna, mayo and bright lemon. It's an easy, staple recipe and makes the perfect lunch!
Servings: 3
Prep15 minutes
Ready in: 15 minutes


  • 2 (5 oz) cans solid white albacore tuna in water, well drained*
  • 1/3 cup (heaping) mayonnaise**
  • 1/3 cup minced celery
  • 3 Tbsp minced red onion, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp capers, rinsed, or 2 Tbsp minced baby dill pickles (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper (about 1/4 tsp and 1/2 tsp)


  • Add tuna, mayonnaise, celery, red onion, capers, lemon juice garlic, parsley and dijon mustard to a mixing bowl.
  • Toss ingredients together, while seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.


  • *To drain tuna I cut the can lid with the can opener then turn upside down and press down on the tuna with the lid to remove excess liquid. Chunk light tuna would work as well but be sure to drain very well, pressing out excess liquid and start with 3 Tbsp mayonnaise.
  • To make it healthier substitute 1/4 cup Greek yogurt and 1 Tbsp mayonnaise.
  • Try serving over bread slices, pita bread, croissants, bagel things, tortillas, or lettuce leaves.
Nutrition Facts
Best Tuna Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 336 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 52mg17%
Sodium 918mg40%
Potassium 282mg8%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 23g46%
Vitamin A 302IU6%
Vitamin C 6mg7%
Calcium 21mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Sorry to hear that. Salt is added to taste and I always recommend starting light, you can always add more later on but can’t remove.

  • Kayla Prestenback

    This is just like the way my mom has always made it! I love it! The only difference is that instead of capers we use relish! I’ve also recently started adding a little minced garlic.

  • Jo

    Love it! I usually wing mine with these ingredients- its going to be nice to have a guide to amounts, to keep ‘em in line every time! Perfect! Thanks

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!

  • Adrienne Williams

    Not everyone likes celery in the tuna. Also capers is not something I have on hand.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      You can omit the celery and optionally replace with a different vegetable, and capers can be omitted or replaced with pickles.

  • Karen

    This sounds really good. I can’t wait to try this! I can’t figure out where the “25 gms of fat” is coming from. All from the mayo? I usually use the Olive Oil mayo which is 1/3 less fat than reg mayo. But, is the tuna fatty? I love how this has very low carbs!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Yes most of that is coming from the mayo. You can use light mayo if preferred or go with the Greek yogurt option.

  • donna louise borum

    I’m definatley trying this tuna with olive oil. sounds great . try tomorrow.

  • Sue Taylor

    Thank you for your blog. Looking at the recipes you post has been something I look forward to each day, especially now that I have to work from home. Your recipes are amazing!! Everyone that I have tried have turned out smashingly!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed my blog and recipes! Thanks for the kind words Sue! Stay well!

  • Susan White

    I could not find the recipe or the recipe directions for the tuna salad made with avocado and olive oil. Disappointing as I am looking for one omitting mayonnaise. Please advise what I am missing. Thank you.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Click the recipe button at the top
      or scroll down the page a ways to the recipe. Enjoy!