Classic Tuna Salad

Here are the keys to making the very best tuna salad you’ll have! It’s an easy lunch or dinner on a lettuce wrap, sandwich, or with crackers.

Tuna salad

You can totally wing tuna salad, stirring together a bit of this and that from your pantry. But do you want to make the best tuna salad? This one is it. It’s perfectly creamy, bright and tangy, and so irresistible you can’t stop eating it. One bite in, you’ll declare it “the best!” too. (Promise.) Alex and I eat mostly plant based recipes, but we’re big seafood fans. And a tuna salad sandwich is such an inexpensive and easy lunch or dinner, it’s part of our healthy recipe repertoire. Here all the secrets to making the very best tuna fish salad…ever.

What’s in the best tuna salad?

Clarification: what’s in our best tuna salad? Here are all the ingredients we found to be 100% necessary to make a premium, classic tuna fish salad:

  • Tuna: either water packed or oil packed work
  • Veggies: celery, red onion, and dill pickles are all a must!
  • Creamy sauce: both Greek yogurt and mayo work in combo to make a seriously creamy salad
  • Flavor: Lemon, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper
  • Secret ingredient: Parmesan cheese: just 1 tablespoon makes the flavor pop!

Mix it all together, and bam! You’ve got that classic lunch recipe, mastered.

Tuna salad

Mayo & Greek yogurt work together

We didn’t want our tuna salad to be too mayo-y (you know the type). So our secret to using less mayo? Use Greek yogurt too. Greek yogurt helps to make the salad ultra creamy while keeping the calories low. It also keeps it from being so rich that it feels uncomfortable after you eat it. Mayo and Greek yogurt work perfectly together: we also use this trick in our Healthy Ranch Dressing to keep the calories low.

Parmesan makes it shine!

Now, we know what you’re thinking. Parmesan cheese isn’t a classic tuna salad ingredient. And it’s totally optional! But if you add just a touch, it gives it an even more savory, delicious and irresistible flavor. If you don’t have it on-hand, don’t go out and buy it especially! But if you have a container of shredded Parm on hand (which we often do), add a sprinkle and experience the magic.

Ways to serve tuna salad (including gluten-free)

There are obviously lots of ways to serve tuna salad. But there are some creative ways you might not have thought of. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Sandwich: Who doesn’t love it in sandwich from? Try No Knead Bread, Artisan Bread, or Homemade Bread for the bread.
  • Wrap: Roll it up in a tortilla or spinach wrap.
  • Lettuce Wrap: Serve it rolled up into butter lettuce leaves.
  • Crackers: Serve with crackers: these Homemade Almond Crackers are a great gluten-free option.
  • Croissants: Make it fancy and serve it on a croissant. This works as a nice brunch, bridal shower, or baby shower option.
  • In an Avocado: Stuff an avocado with tuna salad and you’ve got a tasty gluten-free lunch.
  • Over Greens: Serve it as a salad itself! Add some sliced tomatoes or other veggies for color.
Tuna salad with egg
Add hard boiled egg for even more protein & flavor!

Tuna salad variations

There are so many ways to change up tuna salad! Again, you probably have lots of ideas of your own. But here are some ideas on mix-ins you could add:

  • Chopped hard boiled egg. Go to our Tuna Salad with Egg.
  • Curry powder: Start with 1/2 teaspoon and add more to taste.
  • Chopped avocado: Add chopped avocado to this recipe OR try our Avocado Tuna Salad that substitutes avocado for the mayo.
  • Chopped herbs: Basil or chives would add great flavor.
  • Diced apple or raisins: If you like sweet and savory, add a bit of fruit.

This tuna salad recipe is…

Pescatarian and gluten-free.

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Tuna salad

Classic Tuna Salad (The Best Recipe!)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (13 votes, average: 4.54 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Here are the keys to making the very best tuna salad you’ll have! It’s an easy lunch or dinner on a lettuce wrap, sandwich, or with crackers.



  • 1 5-ounce can white meat tuna
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickles
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice 
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese (optional but recommended)


  1. Drain the tuna. Place it in a bowl and use a fork to break apart any large clumps.
  2. Finely chop the celery, red onion, and dill pickles.
  3. Mix together the tuna and vegetables with the remaining ingredients. Eat immediately or store for up to 5 days.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Tuna salad

More tuna recipes

There are many types of tuna outside of canned, like sushi-grade ahi tuna! Here are a few recipes that use either type:

  • Nicoise Salad This French main dish salad is legendary! It makes a stunning lunch or dinner with canned tuna, hard boiled eggs and lots of colorful veggies.
  • Maki Sushi Recipe Maki sushi is a sushi roll with the seaweed on the outside: and they couldn’t be more fun to make! This version uses canned tuna.
  • 5-Minute Seared Ahi Tuna Seared ahi tuna is a super quick, nutritious and filling 5-minute recipe; serve with leftover veggies and rice.
  • Poke Bowl Recipe Here’s how to make a poke bowl! This classic recipe stars ahi tuna marinaded in a flavorful poke sauce, rice, and lots of veggie topping ideas.
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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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