Traditional Tuna Salad Recipe

Tuna salad is easily one of the most ubiquitous sandwich fillings around. It's both quick and simple to prepare, and it makes use of some fridge and pantry staples. Not to mention, the creamy salad has a pleasant textural contrast, thanks to some crunchy ingredients. As well, tuna is high in protein, and has a number of health benefits due to its high vitamin and mineral content (via Verywell Fit).

Recipe developer Christina Musgrave of Tasting with Tina shares, "I love how easy this classic tuna salad is," and adds, "It comes together in just a few minutes with minimal ingredients." While you might be familiar with tuna salad sandwiches from your school lunches once upon a time, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this nourishing dish. Whether you're looking for a convenient lunch, or want something light and fresh for a summertime dinner, this traditional tuna salad is sure to satisfy your needs.

Gather the ingredients for this traditional tuna salad

A humble can of tuna is the foundation for this salad; choose an option in water, and drain it before you begin. As well, you'll need ½ cup of mayonnaise, 2 celery stalks, ¼ red onion, 1 tablespoon each of Dijon mustard and lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and black pepper.

Place all the ingredients in a bowl

Start by dicing the celery and red onion. Musgrave notes, "I think the finer you dice the celery and onion, the better the tuna salad is." She points out that "Being able to get all of the ingredients in one bite is the best!" Next, add the tuna, mayonnaise, diced celery and onion, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a large bowl.

Mix the ingredients, and refrigerate

With a spatula or big spoon, mix all of the components together, until you get a creamy and fairly homogenous mixture. Once everything is properly combined, cover the bowl, and refrigerate the tuna salad for about 1 hour, so the flavors can set in.

Serve this tuna salad chilled

Serve this traditional tuna salad as a sandwich filling, in a green salad, or solo. Musgrave raves, "I love this on a sandwich with fresh bread," and adds that it makes an excellent tuna melt.

If you have any leftovers, store them in a sealed container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days maximum.

Traditional Tuna Salad Recipe
5 from 31 ratings
Egg salad may be the superior protein salad, but this classic tuna salad recipe is a flavorful lunch and dinner recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
bowl of tuna salad
Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • 1 12-ounce can white tuna in water, drained
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • ¼ red onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  1. Combine the tuna, mayonnaise, celery, onion, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl, until it forms a homogenous mixture.
  2. Refrigerate the salad for 1 hour. Serve this tuna salad on its own, in a sandwich, or with greens.
Calories per Serving 189
Total Fat 15.5 g
Saturated Fat 2.3 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 27.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 1.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
Total Sugars 0.5 g
Sodium 290.7 mg
Protein 11.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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