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Easy Delicious Tuna Salad Recipe

This delicious Tuna Salad recipe is a perfect meal! Very flavorful and packed with essential nutrients, this salad is sure to become a favorite in your household.

A bowl filled with creamy, freshly made tuna salad, garnished with finely chopped parsley.

The Perfect Tuna Salad: A Recipe You’ll Love

There is something truly delightful about a well-made tuna salad – it’s hearty, flexible, and easy to whip up.

You’ll love how simple it is to put this recipe together, and with its versatility, you can enjoy it as a sandwich, wrap, or over a bed of lettuce. I especially love this salad because it can be eaten as a classic breakfast or light, comforting lunch. 

Tuna salad is seriously amazing! All the flavors and textures work together so well, it’s totally a standout dish. You wouldn’t expect it from something so simple, but the combination of ingredients just hits differently. The touch of fresh lemon juice and parsley also contribute to the salad’s lightness and freshness.

The Basic Ingredients

First things first, it’s all about the main ingredient—tuna. Tuna is not just delicious, it’s also packed with lean protein and important nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids. It’s a healthy choice that’s incredibly versatile. For our salad, we’re using canned tuna, making it a breeze to prepare.

But it’s not all about the tuna; the supporting ingredients are just as important. The crisp, fresh bite of celery, the sweet tang of pickles, the sharpness of red onion, and the creaminess of mayonnaise.

Don’t underestimate tuna salad – it’s not just suitable for picnics or packed’s not just suitable for picnics or packed lunches. This dish can easily be served for a casual dinner on a regular weekday, or when entertaining a few guests. Its beauty lies in its simplicity.

Want a healthier twist? Consider: Light mayo, Greek yogurt, or a mix of both as a healthier creamy base
Tuna packed in water instead of oil, additional veggies to sneak in those greens

If you are like me and you prefer simple salad recipes just like this Tuna salad, then you are at the right place. Egg salad, Potato salad, Salmon salad are examples of simple salad recipes you’d love. 

Creamy tuna salad served over a slice of whole grain bread.

Variations To Try:

One of the wonderful things about this salad recipe is how easily you can tweak it to your tastes.

  1. An alternative to mayo that is just as delightful is mashed avocado.
  2. To enhance the taste, you may want to add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard or a pinch of red pepper flakes to the dressing.
  3. For added variety and crunch, consider including chopped cucumber or capers as additional ingredients in the salad.
  4. Another way to add variety to your tuna salad is by including eggs. It’s similar to egg salad and offers a great source of protein.
  5. To add some variety and nutrients to your tuna salad, consider including fruits such as apples, raisins, or cranberries. Additionally, nuts like almonds, pecans, or walnuts make great additions to your salad.

Ingredients to make Tuna Salad

  • Tuna-This salad recipe calls for canned tuna, packed in water for a lighter flavor. However, you may opt for tuna packed in oil if you prefer a richer taste. Alternatively, cooked fresh tuna can also be used.
  • Mayonnaise: Mayonnaise contributes to the creaminess that distinguishes tuna salad. It binds the ingredients together and offers a silky, smooth texture. Traditional mayonnaise is usually used, but lighter options like yogurt or low-fat mayo can be substituted for a healthier alternative.
  • Celery: Fresh celery gives the salad a nice crunch. It also generates a refreshing, slightly sweet earthy taste.
  • Red Onion and Bell peppers: Adding diced red onions lends a sharp and bell peppers adds a slightly sweet flavor and crunch.
  • Dill Pickles or Pickle Relish: Dill pickles or relish introduce a tang that cuts through the richness of the salad. The distinctive dill flavor enhances the overall taste of the salad.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

How to make tuna salad

  • Drain canned tuna and flake into small pieces.
  • Add the veggies and the dressing ingredients.
  • Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • Season with salt and pepper and mix.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Chill and serve

What can I serve with Tuna salad? 

Tuna salad can be enjoyed in a variety of ways and with different meals. Whatever way you decide to enjoy your salad boils down to your taste and preferences. 

  • Lettuce wraps: Wrap your Tuna salad in lettuce or serve over lettuce wraps for some delicious crunch and satisfaction. 
  • Deviled Eggs: This is a wonderful appetizer to pair with Tuna salad. Pairing deviled eggs. It creates a good balance of flavors and textures. 
  • Easy and Delicious Vegetable Couscous: Not only is this pairing healthy and delicious, it also serves as a light meal to enjoy for lunch. 
  • Grilled or Roasted vegetables: Pair with your tuna salad roasted red bell peppers, zucchini, squash, red onion and broccoli florets. This is nutrient overload. 
  • Crackers or Potato chips: Nothing beats the crunch of crackers or potato chips with tuna salad. 

What is the highest temperature allowed for cold-holding tuna salad

According to the guidelines set forth by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the highest temperature allowed for cold-holding tuna salad is 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below. This is because temperatures above this can promote the growth of harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. 

To avoid any risks, it’s important to keep your tuna salad at this temperature or colder. If tuna salad has been sitting at temperatures above 41 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours, it should be immediately discarded. Additionally, be sure to check if the salad has gone bad – change in odor, taste, and appearance are ways to know.

Creamy tuna salad served over lettuce leaves

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I freeze tuna salad?

It’s not recommended to freeze tuna salad because the mayo can separate and become watery when thawed. The texture and flavor will be less than ideal, so it’s best to make only as much as you plan on eating within a few days.

How long is tuna salad good for? 

Tuna salad is good for 3 to 5 days so ensure to eat within this time for optimal freshness and good quality. Proper storage of tuna salad is crucial to ensure its safety and quality.

How can I make tuna salad healthier?

To make a healthier version, consider:

  • using canned tuna packed in water instead of oil
  • opting for light or low-fat mayo
  • replacing mayo with Greek yogurt or a mix of yogurt and mayo
  • adding more veggies (like diced bell peppers, grated carrots, or chopped spinach)

Can I use fresh tuna instead of canned?

You can use fresh tuna, but it’s important to cook the tuna first (by grilling, baking, or searing) and then flaking it into smaller pieces before mixing it with the other salad ingredients.

Should you rinse canned tuna?

The decision to rinse or not rinse is a matter of personal preference. Some prefer to rinse tuna to remove any excess sodium, while others opt to keep the natural flavor.

If you do decide to rinse, draining the tuna well afterward is crucial to remove any excess liquid. This results in a drier tuna that is perfect for use in salads or sandwiches.

Keep in mind that rinsing canned tuna is not necessary for safety purposes, as canned tuna is safe to consume straight out of the can. Ultimately, it’s up to your taste preferences to determine whether or not to rinse your canned tuna.

How to store Tuna Salad

It’s important to keep it at a cool temperature of 41°F degrees Fahrenheit or below to avoid the growth of harmful bacteria. The coldest part of your refrigerator is the best place to store your tuna salad. You should also use an airtight container to prevent exposure to air and help maintain freshness. For optimal quality, aim to consume your tuna salad within 3 to 5 days of preparing it.

Other Simple Salad recipes you’d love

A bowl filled with creamy, freshly made tuna salad, garnished with finely chopped parsley.

Delicious Tuna Salad Recipe

This delicious Tuna Salad recipe is a perfect meal! Bursting with flavor and packed with essential nutrients, this salad is sure to become a favorite in your household.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 206.8kcal


  • 2 cans 5 oz each tuna in water, drained and flaked
  • ¼ cup red onion finely chopped
  • ¼ cup celery chopped
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickles or pickle relish chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • tablespoons lemon juice juice from about half of a lemon
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • optional: lettuce leaves, slices of bread, or tortillas for serving


  • Drain the canned tuna and transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Use a fork to flake the tuna into small pieces.
  • Add the chopped red onion, celery, bell pepper, dill pickles, and parsley to the bowl.
  • Add the mayonnaise, dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper to the bowl. Use a fork to mix everything until well incorporated.
  • Give your tuna salad a taste and add a pinch more salt or a squeeze more lemon juice if needed.
  • Cover the bowl and allow the tuna salad to chill in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to let the flavors meld together.
  • Serve the creamy tuna salad in sandwiches, over a bed of crisp greens, as a dip for crackers, or with veggie sticks for a delightful snack!


  • For extra flavor, consider adding a teaspoon of Dijon mustard or a pinch of red pepper flakes to the dressing.
  • You can also add other ingredients such as chopped cucumber, or capers to the salad for more variety


Calories: 206.8kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.8g | Protein: 0.8g | Fat: 21.6g | Saturated Fat: 3.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12.7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 11.8mg | Sodium: 259.3mg | Potassium: 95.9mg | Fiber: 0.8g | Sugar: 1.4g | Vitamin A: 669.4IU | Vitamin C: 20.2mg | Calcium: 18.5mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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