This Simple Tuna Salad recipe is an underrated classic! It’s light, easy to make, and great for a quick meal. Plus, it’s versatile—serve it as a sandwich, on top of a salad, or in a wrap for instant lunch satisfaction.
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What’s not to love about this recipe? Tuna salad comes together with just a few basic pantry staples, including canned tuna, mayo, and lemon juice. I also like to throw in some pickle relish for extra flavor. Tuna is a great healthy choice, as it’s a good source of B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and selenium.
As mentioned, tuna salad is so versatile. I love it tucked into a filling sandwich or placed atop fresh lettuce leaves for a hearty salad. You could also serve it on toasted bread or slices of fresh baguette for a light yet appealing appetizer. Or split an avocado in half and fill it with tuna salad for the perfect blend of creamy textures. Tuna melts are delicious too!
Classic Tuna Salad Recipe
Tuna is a classic lunchtime staple. It’s one of those items that you may never think to make but are really glad when you do. It’s light, filling, easy to personalize, and affordable. And it comes together in less than 30 minutes, making it a great choice on days when you need a last-minute meal.
My tuna salad recipe includes a secret ingredient that really elevates the traditional recipe. It may sound strange at first, but after one bite you’ll agree with me that it’s essential to all tuna salads! What’s the secret ingredient? A chopped hard-boiled egg! The hard-boiled egg gives the salad more body and adds a very subtle flavor. It also adds more protein, meaning that you’ll stay full longer.
The best part about this tuna salad recipe is that you can personalize it. Drizzle in hot sauce, add vinegar for tang, or stir in a dollop of honey mustard. You can also add veggies like carrots or celery for more texture. Since the base of tuna is relatively plain, it’s easy to come up with many options.
Ingredients for Simple Tuna Salad
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Canned tuna – One 12 ounce can.
- Lemon juice – This balances the flavors and adds acid.
- Mayonnaise – Use your favorite brand here.
- Hard-boiled egg – Try hard boiling an egg in the instant pot!
- Pickled relish – For a nice tang.
- Celery – Adds a nice crunch to the tuna, but you can leave it out if you’re not a fan.
- Salt and pepper – Season with salt and pepper to taste.
How to Make Simple Tuna Salad
- Prepare the tuna: Open the can of tuna and drain out the excess water. Add the tuna to a large bowl, then add in the remaining ingredients. Mix until fully combined
- Chill the salad: Place the bowl of tuna in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. This will help bind all of the ingredients together.
- Serve the salad: Serve the tuna on your favorite bread, on top of a salad, with crackers, or in a wrap.
Want to make tuna salad in advance? Great idea! You can make the salad, place it in an airtight container, and keep it in the fridge so you have it ready to go.
How To Store Tuna Salad
Store tuna salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can serve the salad cold, straight from the fridge. We don’t recommend freezing this recipe.
- Tuna melt. This simple tuna salad recipe lends itself to being turned into another classic sandwich, a tuna melt. Try my Classic Tuna Melt recipe.
- With quinoa. Substitute this tuna salad for the canned tuna in my Spicy Tuna Quinoa Stacks recipe.
- In salad. Serve simple tuna salad on top of lettuce or baby spinach, or add it to my Summer Cobb Salad!
Most things are great mixed in with canned tuna! Mix it into pasta, add veggies, or even potato chips!
According to the USDA, properly stored tuna salad in the fridge at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, is good for 3 to 5 days.
Not everyone loves mayonnaise, and luckily it is very easy to swap out when making tuna salad. Try a smashed avocado, Greek yogurt, hummus, or anything with a similar texture to help bind the salad.
Tuna Salad Sandwich
- 1 12 ounce can of tuna
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 hardboiled eggs chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons pickle relish
- ¼ cup celery chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Open the can tuna and drain water from the can.
- In a large bowl, placed drained tuna. Add in all remaining ingredients and mix together.
- Chill the bowl with the tuna in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- When done chilling, serve the tuna. Serve on your favorite bread, wraps, lettuce wraps, with crackers, or on top of a salad.