A Really Good Tuna Salad

Tested & Perfected Recipes

A classic — and the only tuna salad recipe you’ll ever need.

Sometimes you just want a really good old-school tuna salad. This is my go-to recipe. I start by draining the tuna really, really well so it’s not watery – this is important! – then I add a generous scoop of mayonnaise and lots of seasoning. From there, I stir in a spoonful of pickle relish for tangy sweetness, celery for crunch, and scallions for onion flavor. Finally, I add a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh parsley to brighten it all up.

What You’ll Need To Make Tuna Salad

ingredients for tuna salad

Step-By-Step Instructions

Begin by draining the tuna in a fine mesh strainer.patting the tuna dry

Use paper towels to pat and blot the tuna until completely dry.

tuna salad ingredients in mixing bowl

Transfer the tuna to a medium bowl and flake with a fork. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until evenly combined.

tuna salad in mixing bowl

Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Use immediately or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

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A Really Good Tuna Salad

A classic — and the only tuna salad recipe you’ll ever need.

Servings: 2 cups (enough for 4 sandwiches)
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 (5-ounce) cans chunk white tuna packed in water
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann's or Duke's
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 2 scallions, light and dark green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish, drained
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Drain the tuna in a fine mesh strainer. With the tuna in the strainer, use paper towels to pat and blot the tuna until completely dry. Transfer the tuna to a medium bowl and flake with a fork. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until evenly combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Use immediately or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 288
  • Fat: 23 g
  • Saturated fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 4 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 16 g
  • Sodium: 460 mg
  • Cholesterol: 41 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • You must be tired of hearing me say this but…. “I can’t believe how good this was”. I have been making tuna sandwiches for 50 years and did not think they could be improved upon. But I was very VERY, VERY wrong; this was delicious. Maybe it’s the lemon juice? Pickle? Whatever it is, another big hit. Yours is the only cookbook and recipe site I go to EVERY time. I can’t wait to get the new cookbook.

    Not sure how you do it, but terribly glad you DO!!!

    • — Judi on July 10, 2021
    • Reply
    • 💗

      • — Jenn on July 12, 2021
      • Reply
  • Love it! I got my son to eat tuna without complaining. Thank you for this great recipe!

    • — Maria on June 23, 2021
    • Reply
  • It is indeed the only recipe for tuna salad one ever needs! I’ve been passing it on to others (attributed of course) as well as giving it to visitors. Another success for you, Jenn.

    • — Bryan J on June 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • Really good! I subbed Trader Joe’s organic jalapeño relish for the pickle relish. I thought it added something.

    • — Ed Hurley on May 22, 2021
    • Reply
  • The tuna salad was delicious and is my go-to recipe. I loved the sweet relish as it provided a nice contrast to the other veggies.

    • — Glo on May 20, 2021
    • Reply
  • Not a fan of sweet pickle relish. Can I just leave it out or should I substitute with something else; dill?
    Thanks. DW

    • — DW on May 20, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi DW, it’s fine to omit the relish if you don’t like it. It will still be good.

      • — Jenn on May 20, 2021
      • Reply
    • I’m not a fan of sweet pickle relish either but it’s there to even out all the other flavors so you don’t even taste it! Makes all the difference. Give it a try!

      • — Kristen Berry on May 30, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Thanks for all of your fabulous recipes, including this Tuna Salad masterpiece! So, I’ve got a ton of leftover spiral ham from Easter. Can I swap shredded ham for the tuna and make ham salad (with the rest of the ingredients the same)?
    Thanks again!
    Kenny

    • — Kenny on April 6, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes! I’ve never tried this with ham, but I think it should work. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on April 6, 2021
      • Reply

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