Tuna Salad


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Tuna salad is a light and fresh comfort food classic. Made with a few simple ingredients such as canned tuna, mayonnaise, onion and celery, it’s the perfect combination of creamy and crispy. Serve this in a sandwich, wrap it in lettuce, or stuff it in avocado halves for a healthy, throw-together lunch.

Tuna salad on a slice of bread.

You really can’t beat a classic tuna salad. As a kid, this recipe was often packed by my mom for school lunches. And as an adult, I often eat it wrapped in lettuce, sandwiched between gluten-free bread or served alongside my flaxseed crackers. I also love tuna stuffed avocados for a tasty, low carb lunch – it’s the best.

It’s incredibly easy to make with canned tuna and a few pantry staples – hooray for simple recipes! So if you’re ever stuck in a lunch rut, having this basic recipe up your sleeve will definitely come in handy.

Tuna Salad Ingredients

All you need for this recipe are a few essential ingredients.

  • Canned Tuna: I prefer wild tuna in cans with water, but any variety works.
  • Mayonnaise: This is your creamy binder. You can use store-bought or make mayonnaise at home – it’s easy!
  • Celery: For that fresh crunch with every bite.
  • Red Onion: Finely diced red onion always provides the perfect savory balance.
  • Parsley: A few tablespoons of fresh herbs really make this tuna salad recipe the best.
  • Dijon Mustard: 1/2 tablespoon
  • Salt and Pepper: to taste
Tuna salad ingredients in a mixing bowl.

How To Make Tuna Salad

To get started, you’ll need to drain your tuna. After cutting the lid with a can opener, press the lid against the tuna and tilt the can to drain all the liquid out over a sink. Remove the lid and place the tuna in a medium sized bowl.

Then, add the mayonnaise, celery, red onion, parsley, and dijon mustard to the bowl. Use a fork to mix everything together, while breaking up any large pieces of tuna. Season with salt and pepper to taste – and that’s it!

Tuna Salad Variations

Not a fan of mayonnaise or want a bolder flavor? Here’s a few suggestions to add some depth to this recipe.

  • Replace mayonnaise with regular or greek yogurt for a lighter, creamier option.
  • Use mashed up avocado if you want to exclude the mayonnaise.
  • Add broccoli rice and turn it into a broccoli tuna salad.
  • Add dried fruits such as raisins, or freshly diced apples.
  • Make it extra crunchy by tossing in diced up cucumbers or shredded cabbage.
  • Spice it up with some curry powder, other spice mixes, or chopped herbs.
  • Squeeze lemon juice as you’re mixing for a brighter flavor.
Tuna salad piled on a piece of bread.

What Goes With Tuna Salad?

While this recipe is great on its own, there’s so many creative ways to serve it.

  • Sandwich: Make it into a sandwich along with a layer of lettuce and tomatoes.
  • Wrap: Turn it into a wrap with my cassava flour tortillas.
  • Lettuce Wrap: Use butter lettuce leaves for a lighter, low-carb option.
  • Stuffed Avocado or Tomato: Stuff it into avocado or tomato halves.
  • Dip: Serve it with crackers or chips.
Tuna salad sandwich on a plate.

How Long Does Tuna Salad Last?

Tuna salad tastes the best when it’s eaten fresh, but it can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. Because this has fish and mayonnaise in it, don’t leave it sitting on the countertop for too long in room temperature.

If you want to freeze this, the answer is yes! Just place the salad in a freezer safe container and store for up to 2 months. Just note that after you’ve thawed it in the fridge, drain out the excess liquid once more. Then, give it a good mix before eating.

More Easy Salad Recipes

Tuna salad on a slice of bread with lettuce.

BEST Tuna Salad Recipe – Easy & Healthy

4.95 from 131 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


Tuna salad is a light and fresh comfort food classic. Made with a few simple ingredients it's an easy, flavorful and healthy lunch recipe. Watch the video below to see how easy it is to make!



  • 2 (5-ounce) cans tuna
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, diced
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped parsley, chives and/or other herbs
  • ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • Drain the liquid from the tuna cans. Then, add the tuna, mayonnaise, diced celery, diced red onion, herbs, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to a mixing bowl.
    Ingredients for tuna salad in a mixing bowl.
  • Stir all of the ingredients together until well combined.
  • Enjoy the tuna salad plain out of a bowl, wrapped up in lettuce, or in a sandwich.

Lisa’s Tips

  • If you’d like a creamier texture you can always add more mayonnaise.
  • My favorite tuna is albacore tuna and I always purchase Wild Planet brand.


Calories: 172kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 322mg | Potassium: 173mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 148IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: tuna salad, tuna salad recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I have made this several times for my book club and ladies’ church group, and they all seem to love this and your chicken salad and your deviled eggs. They were big hits thanks so much for posting them.5 stars

  2. This is THE BEST tuna salad recipe I’ve ever tried! I have it at lead once a week. It’s light, creamy, but also packs a little punch (I like mine with extra onions). It’s so good that I pretty much use the same ingredients for chicken salad (swapping out the tuna of course).

  3. I really love this recipe. The ingredients go so well together, and is creamy and tasty. There’s no other way to make tuna salad at home since I tried this one. Thanks for sharing!5 stars

    1. Very tasty! This will be my new go to! I’ve never put parsley in or Dijon and it really brought it to the next level!5 stars

  4. This is my tuna salad recipe. The only difference is that I use the tuna in safflower oil in a pouch and I add a little bit of dill and black pepper. Eliminate the salt. Always a big hit!5 stars

  5. I added 1/4 cup diced pecans or walnuts. Can also add 1/4 cup diced peeled apple. Delicious on lettuce leaves and sandwich sautéed with a tiny bit of butter!!

  6. This is the best tuna salad recipe I’ve ever tasted. The flavors are well balanced and it’s so easy to make. I have made it multiple times and now love to substitute grated hard boiled eggs for one of the cans of tuna. So delicious! Thank you, Lisa!5 stars

  7. First time making your tuna salad recipe! Simple to prepare, lucky to have the all the ingredients in my fridge. I did add a touch more mayo as you suggest for a creamier mix – absolutely perfect! Stuffing some in a pita as we speak! lol 😋 Thanks!5 stars

  8. Nice recipe! I didn’t have red onions on hand. I added two tablespoons of salad cubes, two chopped boiled eggs and a few dashes of paprika. My hubby said it was perfect 😇

    Goes great as a topper on Everything Bagel flavored crostinis!4 stars

  9. Normally I’m lazy with my tuna salad and just use everything but the bagel seasoning in it. This was way better! I skipped the celery since I’m not a fan and used chives and dill as the fresh herbs. I will be making my tuna this way from now on5 stars

  10. I love this salad! It is my favorite dinner option almost every night. I recommend adding a little lemon juice, a nice touch to the dressing. 100% Recommend5 stars

    1. My go to tuna salad recipe! Flavorful and perfect mixture. I like to serve it with thinly sliced cucumber and spinach on my sandwich. Thanks for sharing this recipe!5 stars

  11. Another amazing recipe by Lisa! This tuna salad offers the best of all things – not too much mayo and the perfect balance of crunch and flavor. Super easy to make and comes together quickly. My favorite tuna salad recipe, for sure!5 stars

  12. This recipe is absolutely delicious and definitely one of my new favorite dishes! Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe, I will definitely be making it again and again. Keep up the good work!5 stars