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When schedules get busy, meal prep recipes save me so much time — like this simple, easy tuna salad recipe! It’s a great alternative to your usual lunchtime sandwich, and takes just minutes to put together. It’s a lot like my egg tuna salad (minus the egg) and my avocado tuna salad (except the creamy base uses mayo instead of avocado like my shrimp salad). Toss in tangy pickles, and you get the best tuna salad ever!
Why This Is The Best Tuna Salad Recipe
- Balanced savory flavors
- Creamy, crunchy textures
- Simple, common ingredients — and not too many of them!
- Made in one bowl
- Ready in 10 minutes
- Perfect for a quick lunch, barbecues, or an easy snack
Tuna Salad Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains what to put in tuna salad, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Mayonnaise – I make my own homemade mayonnaise when I have time, but use store-bought when I’m in a rush. Either works! Greek yogurt would also make a fine substitute for a healthy tuna salad recipe.
- Lemon Juice – Fresh tastes best, but bottled lemon juice works as well. I don’t include the lemon zest, but you can add it if you want a more intense flavor.
- Dijon Mustard – You could also use regular yellow mustard.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
- Canned Tuna – You’ll need 3 5-ounce cans — use any kind you like. Many people prefer solid albacore for its texture, but I like to use a mix of chunk light and solid white albacore canned tuna — it’s the perfect balance of price and texture. I use the kind canned in water, but you could also use olive oil-packed tuna and use a little less mayo. Be sure to drain before using.
- Celery – The crunchy texture provides a nice contrast to the creaminess of the tuna fish salad. You can also add in ¼ cup shredded carrot or chopped bell pepper for additional crunch, though it’s less traditional.
- Red Onion – Adds color, flavor, and crunch. Use white onion for a similar flavor, yellow onion for a sweeter flavor, or shallots or green onions for a milder flavor.
- Dill Pickles – I used finely chopped dill pickles, but you could use sweet pickle relish in this recipe for tuna salad. Just look out for added sugar, starch, or corn syrup on the label.
- Fresh Parsley – Although optional, it adds a pop of color and a little flavor. Use it for garnish or mix it into the salad. You can also substitute 2 tablespoons of other fresh herbs, such as fresh chives or fresh dill.
How To Make Tuna Salad
This section shows how to make a tuna salad, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Make the dressing. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mayo, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper, until smooth. (I like to make the dressing right in the larger bowl for less dishes to wash, but you can also make the dressing in a medium bowl and then pour over the salad instead.)
- Add the tuna salad ingredients. Add tuna, celery, onion, pickles, and parsley (if using). Fold gently until well coated.
- Season. Adjust salt and pepper to taste if needed. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate.
Store this salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It’s perfect for meal prep!
How Long Is Tuna Salad Good For?
Classic tuna salad will last up to 5 days in the fridge, but is best within 3 days.
Can You Freeze Tuna Salad?
No, freezing tuna salad recipes is not recommended, because the mayo-based dressing will weep and separate after thawing. If you really want to, you can freeze the salad without the dressing. Thaw overnight, then add the dressing.
Ways To Serve Tuna Salad Recipes
Nobody would judge you if you wanted to eat this easy tuna salad right out of the bowl! 😉 But if you want something a little more more filling, try these ideas:
- Tuna Salad Sandwich – Slather it between two slices of bread for a quick and easy sandwich. I love it on top of fluffy cloud bread!
- Tuna Melt – Butter one side of a bread, then top the unbuttered side of one of them with tuna salad, sliced tomatoes, and sliced cheese. Top with another bread slice, buttered side up (or skip for an open faced tuna melt). Bake or pan fry until the cheese melts.
- Crackers – If you’re not into sandwiches, you can simply eat it like a dip with crackers. For lighter options, try buttery almond flour crackers or crunchy flax seed crackers.
- Filling – Stuff this tuna salad recipe inside avocado halves (like a stuffed avocado), hollowed out cucumbers (like a cucumber sub), or a halved red bell pepper (like a bell pepper sandwich).
- Lettuce Wraps – Serve it inside iceberg, romaine, Boston, or any other kind of lettuce leaves that are big enough to wrap. Check out my guide on how to make lettuce wraps for tips and tricks. Or simply serve on a bed of lettuce!
More Hearty Salad Recipes
Want more easy lunch ideas? Try some of my other hearty salad recipes perfect for meal prep:
Best Tuna Salad Recipe
Tuna Salad Recipe (Easy, 10 Minutes!)
Make the best tuna salad recipe in just 10 minutes: Creamy, crunchy, and full of flavor, with simple ingredients and the best dressing!
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper until smooth.
Add the tuna, celery, onion, pickles, and parsley (if using). Fold gently until well coated.
Adjust salt and pepper to taste if needed.
Serve right away or refrigerate until ready to eat.
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Serving size: 1 cup
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