Best-Ever Tuna Salad

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Folks, we can honestly say, lunch never tasted so good!

Our Best-Ever Chicken Salad is our most popular recipe on the blog, and when you try it, we think you’ll understand why. We have worked on this tuna recipe for many iterations, and we’re certain it rivals our chicken salad. We think you’ll agree. Even picky eaters love it! And it is so easy to prepare!

A straight-on view of a white circular platter filled with dinner rolls that have been cut in half and filled tuna salad on a layer of green leaf lettuce.

How To Make Tuna Salad

There’s a lot to love about this dish. It’s easy, it is scrumptious, but you can also easily adapt it your own tastes!

There’s really very little prep work, too!


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The Ingredients You Will Need

As mentioned, we’ve tweaked this recipe over and over until we found what we think is the perfect combination of flavors. But, you can add or subtract any ingredients to fit your tastes and likes!

Here’s What You’ll Need to Have on Hand

Tuna – Canned tuna is perfectly fine. Go with quality, though. We love skipjack tuna. It’s deeply flavorful, loaded with nutrients, and low in mercury.
Red onion – Chopped.
Apple cider vinegar – For briefly pickling the onion. Not 100% necessary, but it mellows the onion nicely.
Dried fruit – We highly recommend dried cranberries. So good!
Celery – Finely diced.
Capers – Drained. They are salty and briny and match wonderfully against the slightly sweet cranberries.
Dill – Fresh. This herb is key to this salad. We recommend using fresh dill, but dried can be used in a pinch. Just go with a teaspoon.
Parsley – Fresh is best.
MayonnaiseHomemade is wonderful, but good quality store-bought is just fine.
Dijon mustard – Another key ingredient for this salad.
Lemon juice – From the juice of 1 lemon. Brightens the salad wonderfully.
Seasonings – Kosher salt and pepper is all you need.

An overhead view of a bowl filled with small piles of chopped tuna, celery, dried cranberries, chopped onion, capers, and fresh herbs.

Tips for Making the Best-Ever Tuna Salad

Use Quality Canned Tuna – We like going with top-notch tuna that is packed in water, rather than oil. Our favorite brand is Wild Planet.

Go with Fresh Herbs – We can’t stress this enough. The fresh dill and parsley are what set this tuna salad apart from other recipes.

Let the Flavors Meld – Once you’ve mixed the salad together, you can serve it immediately, but, we find that if you allow the salad to chill in the fridge for at least an hour, the flavors meld together. It’s amazing served the next day!

EXPERT TIP: The dressing can be made up to several days in advance. Once you’ve prepped all of the dry ingredients, simply pour in the dressing and mix to coat.

A person pouring a mayonnaise and Dijon mustard dressing from a glass bowl into a ceramic bowl filled with chopped tuna, vegetables, and dried cranberries.

How To Serve

This tuna salad is ideal for serving at a special occasion, such as a bridal or baby shower, potluck at the church, or just a lovely brunch with dear friends.

We often will double (or triple) the recipe and place it in a nice serving bowl. Be sure to have slider buns or dinner rolls so folks can build a sandwich.

Or, for a beautiful presentation, make the sandwiches before guests arrive and place on a large platter or cutting board. We add a layer of green leaf lettuce on the bottom of each sandwich.

You can also serve this wrapped in leaves of lettuce. Carb free, beautiful, and so delicious!

An overhead view of a ceramic bowl filled with homemade tuna salad with a wooden inserted in the side of the salad.

Other Classic Mayo-Based Salads to Try

We love this tuna salad so much, but these other salads are really wonderful, too. Give them a try! We’re pretty sure you’ll be happy that you did!

Best-Ever Chicken Salad
Curry Chicken Salad
Grilled Chicken Salad
Best-Ever Egg Salad
Fresh Lobster Salad
Chinese Chicken Salad with Mandarin
Tzatziki Cucumber Salad

These are all classic in their own right, but, in the meantime, isn’t this calling your name?

A close up view of a roll that has been split in half and stuffed with homemade tuna salad.

This has become one of our most popular recipes on the blog.

And can we tell you, this salad makes an amazing Tuna Melt that is one for the record books.

We have family members who do not like any kind of seafood at all, but always go back for seconds for this dish. It’s really that delicious!

Every single bite is a true taste sensation.

A close-up view of a dinner roll filled with tuna salad that has a bite taken out of it.

Ready to make the best tuna sandwich this side of the Atlantic Ocean? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A straight-on view of a white circular platter filled with dinner rolls that have been cut in half and filled tuna salad on a layer of green leaf lettuce.

Best-Ever Tuna Salad

This is one of the most popular recipes on the blog. It's easy, beautiful, and the flavors work perfectly together. The slight sweetness of the cranberries matched against the salty, briny capers is perfect! We highly recommend using fresh dill. It really makes a big difference. You can easily double (or triple) the recipe if feeding a group.
5 from 32 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Lunch / Dinner, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to make tuna salad, Lunch, Tuna
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 405kcal


  • ½ cup red onion finely chopped
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 5 oz. can albacore tuna in water we love Wild Planet, drained
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 celery ribs chopped
  • ¼ cup capers drained
  • 2 tbsp dill fresh, chopped
  • 1 tbsp parsley fresh, chopped
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 large lemon the juice from
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt start with 1/2 teaspoon, then add more, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • Place the red onions in a small bowl and cover with apple cider vinegar. Set aside for 15 minutes, and then drain.
    ½ cup red onion, ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • In a large bowl, add the drained tuna, pickled onions, cranberries, celery, capers, dill and parsley.
    2 5 oz. can albacore tuna in water, ½ cup dried cranberries, 2 celery ribs, ¼ cup capers, 2 tbsp dill, 1 tbsp parsley
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper (add the salt in 1/2 teaspoon increments, to taste).
    ¾ cup mayonnaise, 1 large lemon, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp Kosher salt, Freshly ground black pepper
  • Add the mayo mixture to the tuna mixture, and using a large wooden spoon, stir the salad to fully incorporate all ingredients.
  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hours before serving. (Can be prepared 24 hours in advance of serving).
  • Serve on a bed of greens or as sandwiches.


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. 
The dressing can be made up to 3 days in advance. You can assemble the salad up to 24 hours in advance. Give the salad a good stirring before serving. 
Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 to 7 days. It can be frozen for up to 2 months. 


Calories: 405kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 905mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 123IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in April 2018, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in August 2023!


  • 5 stars
    I have made this recipe a number of times. It was always a hit. The capers, marinated red onions and dried cranberries take this recipe to a new level. Keep sharing your recipes.

    • Hi Dwight! We can’t even begin to tell you how much this means to us! We are so so happy you enjoy this tuna salad recipe and our others, too! Thank you so so much for sharing and for the awesome review! That means the world to us! Please stay in touch! Kris & Wesley

  • OMG, I am saving this. I usually like to add grapes and walnuts, but the grapes contribute a lot of water when leftovers are stored.

    COLD tuna salad on a hot day – unbeatable!

    • Nancy!! We really think you’ll love this version! And we agree…cold tuna salad on a hot day is such a treat! Let us know if you make the salad and what you think! xoxo

  • 5 stars
    This is sooo incredible!! I make it regularly & everyone raves. Thanks for such an amazing, easy, fresh & healthy recipe!!

    • Hi Melanie! That is so wonderful! We are thrilled you are having such great success with the tuna salad recipe and thank you SO MUCH for sharing and for the GREAT review! That means so much to us!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

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