Classic Tuna salad is a quick and easy meal that’s full of incredible flavor, uses simple ingredients, and can be made ahead of time! Perfect for sandwiches, served with crackers, on a bed of lettuce or grilled as a delicious tuna melt.
Made with canned tuna, mayonnaise, red onion, celery, Parmesan cheese and other pantry ingredients. This is the only tuna salad recipe you’ll ever need! It’s our go-to for easy lunches or tuna wraps, ready in about 10-minutes.
One of the easiest and most satisfying meals that uses simple pantry ingredients. Start with my tuna salad recipe, throw in your favorite must-have ingredients. It makes meal prep a breeze and lasts refrigerated for days.
Why this recipe works
- Uses simple ingredients – Uses canned tuna, mayonnaise and simple to find ingredients readily available at most grocery stores.
- Prep ahead of time – It’s great for meal prep and quick lunches.
- Ease – Simple steps ensure the perfect tuna salad each and every time. And inexpensive meal option.
- Flavor – This recipe is the perfect combination of creamy mayonnaise with crisp onions and celery.
- Tuna – For optimum flavor, we use solid white albacore tuna in water, as opposed to tuna packed in oil.
- Mayonnaise – Real mayonnaise gives this salad the most incredible flavor and acts as a binder, helping hold everything together.
- Celery & Red onion – Finely chopped celery and onion add flavor and texture.
- Parmesan cheese – This cheese gives a nutty, salty and depth of flavor. (Note; add NO additional salt until you taste test, because Parmesan cheese is already salty!)
- Italian seasoned bread crumbs – Gives this recipe additional flavor and helps bind it together.
- Onion & garlic powder – These simple pantry spices are all you need for great flavor.
- Black pepper – Add it to taste. We love the addition of black pepper to this recipe.
How to make tuna salad
- Drain the tuna – Cut the lid with a can opener, hold the can with the lid pressed against the tuna over the sink. Tilt the can and to allow the water to drain into the sink. (or pour over cat food- they’ll enjoy the treat!)
- Chop celery & onion – Prep the celery and onion by chopping with a sharp chefs knife.
- Combine ingredients – Remove and discard the lid, place the tuna into a medium size bowl. Combine tuna, mayonnaise, celery, onion, Parmesan cheese, seasoned breadcrumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper to taste and combine with a large spoon, spatula or fork.
- Serve immediate or refrigerate – Serve immediately on slices of bread to make a sandwich, grill in a cast iron skillet to make a delicious tuna melt or scoop over salad greens with vegetables for a salad.
Recipe tips and variations
- More mix-ins – Try adding chopped hard boiled eggs, sweet pickled relish, chopped dill pickles, finely chopped fresh dill or chopped black olives into your tuna salad.
- Storage – Store leftovers in the refrigerator, covered for up to 4-5 days. I find covering with several layers of plastic wrap help keep the tuna fresh, plus prevent other items in your refrigerator from tasting like tuna.
- Lettuce wraps – It’s delicious wrapped in lettuce leaves; such as Bibb, red leaf or Romaine lettuce.
- Low carb wraps – Scoop a tablespoon onto a low carb wrap, add lettuce, tomatoes, pickled sweet peppers and your favorite toppings for a low carb lunch.
- Tuna Pasta Salad – Make a quick tuna pasta salad by adding one-pound of cooked elbow macaroni or bowtie pasta, one small package frozen peas (partially thawed) and few tablespoons of ranch dressing.
While we prefer classic mayonnaise for tuna salad, you can also use low-fat mayo, Miracle Whip or plain Greek yogurt. Even try a combination of mayonnaise and sour cream for a more tangy flavor.
Why does deli tuna salad taste better? If you let it sit refrigerated overnight, the flavors have time to blend together. The mayo and seasonings absorb individual components, creating a very flavorful tuna salad.
Other quick and easy recipes
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- 4 (5-ounce) cans tuna, packed in water (drained)
- ¼ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½-3/4 cup mayonnaise (adjust as needed)
- 2-3 ribs celery, finely diced
- 3 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ground black pepper (to taste)
- Using a can opener, carefully open the cans of tuna. Hold the can with the lid over the sink. Tilt the can and press the lid to allow the water in the can to drain.
- In a medium bowl, combine tuna, mayonnaise, celery, onion, Parmesan cheese, seasoned breadcrumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper to taste and combine with a large spoon or a fork.
- Stir all of the ingredients together until thoroughly combined.
- Taste the seasonings and adjust to your liking. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate or serve immediately.
Serving Tuna Salad
- Spoon a tablespoon or two onto slices of bread to make a sandwich. Or serve with crackers for a snack or serve on top of salad greens with fresh cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, sliced peppers and other vegetables for a healthy meal.
I find covering with several layers of plastic wrap help keep the tuna fresh, plus prevent other items in your refrigerator from tasting like tuna. You can also use a Pyrex container with plastic lid for easy storage.
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