The Best Tuna Salad

Best Tuna Salad Recipe
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I never get tired of a good tuna salad recipe, and this one is the finest out of the hundreds I’ve tried. Serve on bread, crackers, a bed of greens, or as a delightful tuna melt when grilled.

Making tuna salad at home is one of the easiest and most gratifying dinners you can make using cupboard materials, no matter how you mix it.

Start with my recipe and enjoy it as is, or customize it with your own. It takes only a few minutes to prepare and is always handy when hunger strikes.

Recipe ingredients

Notes about the ingredients

Tuna: I prefer tuna packed in water that is labeled as dolphin-safe. I generally buy cans, but you may instead use packets. Alternatively, oil-packed tuna can be used instead (feel free to decrease the amount of mayonnaise if you do). To remove the oil from oil-packed tuna, place it in a fine-mesh sieve, rinse with cold water quickly, then press with a spatula to absorb all of the liquid.

Mayonnaise: There is a lot of mayonnaise in this dish. If you want, start with 14 cups and add more to the taste.

If you like, you can use dill relish or minced dill pickles instead of sweet pickle relish.

Tuna salad instructions

  • Toss the drained tuna into a mixing dish. Combine the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl: mayonnaise, celery, onion, pickle relish, garlic, and lemon juice. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tuna melt instructions

  1. Over medium-high heat, heat a skillet. Meanwhile, butter two slices of bread, one on each side. A white or wheat bread with a lot of toastable surface area appeals to me.
  2. In the skillet, place one slice of bread and a thick coating of tuna fish salad. Top with a slice of American cheese and a second slice of buttered bread (butter-side up).
  3. Flip the tuna melt carefully when the bottom bread is golden brown. Cook until the second side is golden brown. Take it out and eat it!

Recipe tips and variations

Yield: This recipe makes approximately 4 cups of tuna salad, which is enough for 6 sandwiches (2/3 cup per sandwich).

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Mayo-free: Make the dressing with plain yogurt or whipped silken tofu instead of mayonnaise. Lemon vinaigrette (14 olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 14 teaspoon Dijon mustard, fresh herbs like dill, parsley, or chives, and salt and pepper to taste) can also be added.

More mix-ins: Add a tiny amount of diced apple (a Granny Smith apple would be ideal), a handful of frozen peas, or a couple of chopped hard-boiled eggs to your tuna salad for more flavor.

Lettuce wraps: Wrapped in lettuce leaves or stacked on a bed of lettuce, tuna salad is delectable.

Tuna pasta salad: Add cooked macaroni, rotini, or your other favorite tiny pasta to make a delectable tuna pasta salad.

Stuffed tomatoes: Make an old-fashioned, super-delicious lunch entrée by hollowing out juicy tomatoes and filling them with tuna salad.

Salad with Ahi Tuna: Is the Ahi tuna at the fish market looking fantastic, or do you have any leftover ahi tuna from yesterday night’s dinner? Spend a little more and create tuna salad. In this recipe, cook it all the way through and then flake it up.

 

The Best Tuna Salad

I never get weary of a good tuna salad recipe, and this one is the finest out of the hundreds I’ve tried. Serve on bread, crackers, a bed of greens, or as a delightful tuna melt when grilled.

Ingredients

  • 4 (5 ounces) cans tuna packed in water drained (see note 1)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise or less to taste (see note 2)
  • 1/3 cup celery finely chopped (about 1 rib)
  • 2 tablespoons red onion minced, about 2 small slices
  • 2 tablespoon sweet pickle relish (see note 3)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  1. Combine tuna, mayonnaise, celery, onion, relish, lemon juice, and garlic in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Salt and pepper to taste (I use 12 teaspoons salt and 14 teaspoon pepper). Serve right away or chill until ready to serve.

Notes about Tuna Salad

Tuna: I prefer tuna packed in water that is labeled as dolphin-safe. I generally buy cans, but you may instead use packets. Alternatively, oil-packed tuna can be used instead (feel free to decrease the amount of mayonnaise if you do). To remove the oil from oil-packed tuna, place it in a fine-mesh sieve, rinse with cold water quickly, then press with a spatula to absorb all of the liquid.

Mayonnaise: There is a lot of mayonnaise in this dish. If you want, start with 14 cups and add more to the taste.

sweet pickle relish: If you like, you can use dill relish or minced dill pickles instead of sweet pickle relish.

Yield: This recipe has approximately 4 cups of tuna salad, which is enough for 6 sandwiches (2/3 cup per sandwich).

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Mayo-free: Make the dressing with plain yogurt or whipped silken tofu instead of mayonnaise. Lemon vinaigrette (14 olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 14 teaspoon Dijon mustard, fresh herbs like dill, parsley, or chives, and salt and pepper to taste) can also be added.

More add-ons: Toss your tuna salad with a tiny amount of diced apple (a Granny Smith apple would be ideal), a handful of frozen peas, or a couple of chopped hard-boiled eggs.

Lettuce wraps: Wrapped in lettuce leaves or stacked on a bed of lettuce, tuna salad is delectable.

Tuna pasta salad: Add cooked macaroni, rotini, or your other favorite tiny pasta to make a delectable tuna pasta salad.

Stuffed tomatoes: Make an old-fashioned, super-delicious lunch entrée by hollowing out juicy tomatoes and filling them with tuna salad.

Salad with Ahi Tuna: Is the Ahi tuna at the fish market looking fantastic, or do you have any leftover ahi tuna from yesterday night’s dinner? Spend a little more and create tuna salad. In this recipe, cook it all the way through and then flake it up.

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