A good ole Tuna Salad recipe is something to rejoice over, y’all. This tuna salad recipe is a family favorite and one that hits the spot. It’s full of pantry staple goodness and packs mega flavor. You’ll find a touch of heat from jalapeños with shallot, celery, dijon mustard, capers, sweet relish, and fresh dill to name a few. It’s absolutely deeelicious to enjoy with crackers or in a variety of other tasty ways!

tuna salad in a small white bowl with wooden spoon

How many of you love tuna salad tho?! I’m not gonna lie, it wasn’t until I was a fully grown adult until I really let myself enjoy the magic of it. Real talk, I always associated tuna salad with poor man’s food, ha! Although, I think that immature mentality just stemmed from my youngin’ days because it was typically a go-to after school snack. Fast forward to today, it’s one of my favorites and such an underrated, nostalgic snack or lunch bite. So happy to be sharing this one!

The Best Tuna Salad Recipe 🙌🏾

And yes, I do say THE BEST with a little pep in my words because this tuna salad recipe is so very delicious and that’s that. Them’s the facts, idc idc 😤. But listen, if you enjoy yourself a good tuna salad moment, you’ve gotta try this one. This recipe has meaty tuna, a touch of heat, some nice crunch, and plenty of flavorrrr. There’s a beautiful contrast in flavor with some savory, salty, briny, and sweet notes going on. It’s easy to make, so fresh + light, and wildly good!

⇢ Just like my potato salad recipe, this one is full of lip-smacking goodness that’ll make you holla! We love having this tuna salad prepped in the fridge for quick and easy lunches and/or snack breaks throughout the week! ♡

tuna salad in large white bowl with linen on the side

BBR Tuna Salad Recipe Highlights 😍

Here’s some main highlights about this swoon-worthy tuna salad recipe, y’all:

  1. Easy & fresh…Tuna salad whips up so easily, yes, but we love when it’s fresh and homemade. It just hits better and also tastes boatloads better, argue with someone else. All jokes aside, the recipe ingredient list is fresh and light, and you likely already have the goods in your fridge/pantry.
  2. A MEGATRON of flavor…Non-flavorful tuna salad just makes me sad, oof. Rest assured that that is not what is going on here, friends. This tuna salad recipe has a nice blend of flavors/textures that sing like a gospel choir. Trust when I say that they’re truly hitting the way you would want it to hit.
  3. Make-ahead & Meal-prep goals…Like I said earlier, tuna salad is clutch to have on deck for curing that mid-day snack/lunch situation. It’s perfect to have alongside some crackers, fruit, or make a nice lil’ sandwich, yesss.
ingredients for tuna salad laid out on beige surface

What You’ll Need For This Recipe

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Canned tuna: I use yellowfin tuna for my tuna salad. It’s considered a wild-caught, sustainable type of tuna. Additionally, I do recommend using canned tuna that’s packed in olive oil for a better taste/texture.
  • Jalapeño: Adds a touch of heat to the mix.
  • Shallot: The sweet delicate bite from a shallot is so nice.
  • Celery: For some nice crunch and additional texture.
  • Mayonnaise: This staple ingredient delivers lush, tangy creaminess to a proper tuna salad recipe in my humble opinion. It’s a truly unmatched binder, but an alternative would be plain yogurt if you have an aversion to mayo.
  • Dijon mustard: Delivers tangy, well-rounded flavor, dijon forever!
  • Capers: A pop of salty, briny capers is just chef’s kiss here.
  • Sweet relish: This condiment adds a sweet yet tangy flavor, adding a bit of zest, crunch, and crispiness to the tuna salad.
  • Garlic: Gotta have that garlic on deck, yummm.
  • Fresh dill: A nice, herbaceous pop of flavor, delish. >> Not a fan of dill? It’s all good, use chopped chives or thinly sliced scallions (green onion) instead.
  • Lemon zest & lemon juice: Bright + zippy notes of lemon, you already know.
ingredients for tuna salad in bowl with linen on the side

How To Make Homemade Tuna Salad:

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

  1. In a bowl, combine the drained tuna, diced jalapeño, shallot, celery, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, capers, sweet relish, garlic, fresh chopped dill, lemon zest + lemon juice, and salt/pepper- to taste. Stir the mixture well to thoroughly combine. Taste and adjust with more salt/pepper, as desired.
  2. Cover the bowl and transfer to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This gives the tuna salad a chance for the flavors to enhance and settle. 
  3. Serve tuna salad as-is alongside crackers of choice and/or fresh fruit or make a tuna melt sandwich. Enjoy!

Bring all ingredients together and mix…how easy is that? However, the magic is in letting the tuna salad sit for the flavors to marinate. All the ingredients hang out and get to know one another which yields a flavor-packed toons salad! 👅

tuna salad mixed together in bowl with silver spoon on the side

Tuna Salad Variations & Customizations

Here’s some ways to make this tuna salad recipe your own:

  • Not a fan of mayo? No biggie, replace the mayonnaise with your favorite plain yogurt (Greek yogurt recommended) as a 1:1 alternative.
  • Additional mix-ins. Toss in some nuts like chopped pecans or walnuts for a nutty flavor. Cranberries or fresh chopped apples would add a refreshing fruity vibe. Keep in mind that if you add in additional mix-ins, you might need to adjust the mayo/binder to accommodate!
  • Seasonings. If you like some spice, try seasoning the tuna salad with some curry powder, sumac, or paprika (or any other spice blends you love).

Is Tuna Salad Healthy?

Yes! Tuna itself is packed with protein and heart-healthy omega 3s making it a nutrient-rich food. And tuna salad, it’s most definitely a feel-good snack you can enjoy without feeling that dreaded ick after a heavy meal. Yay!

Leftovers & Storing Tuna Salad

Place the tuna salad inside of an airtight container and keep stored in the fridge. Psst, I love these deli containers for nearly everything! Because this recipe is fish + mayonnaise-based, it needs to be kept in the refrigerator/chilled at all times for proper food safety. It will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Pairings & What Goes With Tuna Salad

  • Make a tuna melt! Our go-to favorite way where it’s spread onto a thick slice of buttered sourdough and topped with cheddar cheese and jalapeño slices, served up open-faced style…sooo damn good! 😛
  • Traditional sandwich– Make it into a sandwich with lettuce and tomato and/or other sandwich fixins, plain and simple, yum.
  • Assemble a wrap– Just as the above but put together using tortillas.
  • Enjoy with salad– Gather your fave greens and make a salad with it!
  • Stuff it– Tuna salad is great stuffed in a bell pepper or avocado or pasta shells.
  • Dip…dip it real good– Serve this tuna salad as a good ole dip on a tray/platter with an assortment of crackers, cheese, and fruit/veggies. This option hits for snacking munchies or whenever you’re entertaining!
tuna salad in small bowl with cheese, crackers, and fruit on platter

This Tuna Salad recipe is so scrumptious, I just know you’ll enjoy it, peeps! One of my fave lunch snacks, ever. Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe creations, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

Don’t miss these other wickedly-good yums:

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tuna salad in a small white bowl with wooden spoon

The BEST Tuna Salad You’ll Ever Eat

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Lunch
  • Cuisine: American
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Description

A good ole Tuna Salad recipe is something to rejoice over, y’all. This tuna salad recipe is a family favorite and one that hits the spot. It’s full of pantry staple goodness and packs mega flavor. You’ll find a touch of heat from jalapeños with shallot, celery, dijon mustard, capers, sweet relish, and fresh dill to name a few. It’s absolutely deeelicious to enjoy with crackers or in a variety of other tasty ways!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 (5-ounce) cans yellowfin tuna, drained (canned tuna packed in olive oil is recommended)
  • 1 small jalapeno, deseeded & finely diced
  • 1 medium shallot, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, green part only, finely diced
  • ⅓ cup full-fat mayonnaise (can sub plain yogurt)
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon sweet relish
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Fresh lemon juice, from ½ of zested lemon
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the drained tuna, diced jalapeño, shallot, celery, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, capers, sweet relish, garlic, fresh chopped dill, lemon zest + lemon juice, and salt/pepper- to taste. Stir the mixture well to thoroughly combine. Give the tuna salad a taste test and adjust with more salt/pepper, as desired.
  2. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes. This gives the tuna salad a chance for the flavors to enhance and settle. 
  3. Serve tuna salad as-is alongside crackers of choice and/or fresh fruit or make a tuna melt sandwich. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Storing tuna salad: Place the tuna salad inside of an airtight container and keep stored in the fridge. Because this recipe is fish + mayonnaise-based, it needs to be kept in the refrigerator/chilled at all times for proper food safety. It will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  2. For best recipe success, please read the blog post & notes in its entirety with video tutorial before beginning.