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Best Ever Tuna Salad Sandwich

Best Ever Tuna Salad Sandwich

What makes the best ever tuna sandwich? It's all in the combination of ingredients—the best tuna you can find, cottage cheese and mayo, and good use of fresh dill, parsley, and more.

Photography Credit:Elise Bauer

My parents started making tuna salad sandwiches this way years ago and, as far as I’m concerned, theirs is the best and only way to make a tuna fish sandwich.

In addition to tuna, it has red onions, celery, capers, lemon juice, parsley, mayo, and the kicker? Cottage cheese. You might think that cottage cheese is a weird thing to add to tuna salad, but believe me, it really works!

Best Canned Tuna for Tuna Salad

To make the best tuna salad sandwich, it helps to start with high quality canned tuna. We prefer tuna that is packed in extra virgin olive oil, because the oil intensifies the flavor of the tuna.

Both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have excellent canned tuna packed in olive oil that work perfectly for this tuna salad. The brands we most often use are Wild Planet Albacore Solid Wild Tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Genova Yellowfin Tuna in Olive Oil.

If you don’t like the oil that the tuna is packed in, you can always drain it, and add back a tablespoon or so of your own high quality extra virgin olive oil.

If all you have is tuna packed in water, drain it, and add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to it. Finding the best canned tuna for your taste may require a bit of experimentation with brands.

Doubling This Recipe

This recipe makes enough tuna salad for 1 large sandwich or 2 smaller sandwiches. You can easily double the recipe. Any leftover tuna salad will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.


  • English Muffin Tuna Melts
  • Pan Bagnat (French Tuna Sandwich)
  • Tuna Burgers with Dill Olive Mayo
  • Tarragon Tuna Melt
  • Avocado Tuna Salad

Best Ever Tuna Salad Sandwich Recipe

If you are using canned tuna packed in water, drain it and add in 1 tablespoon of good quality extra virgin olive oil.

If you are using canned tuna packed in olive oil, you can use as is, without draining it. Or, if you don't like the oil the tuna is packed in, you can drain it, and add back in 2 teaspoons of your favorite extra virgin olive oil.


  • 1 (5 or 6-ounce) can tuna fish
  • 1/3 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • A pinch or two of dill
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 slices bread, lightly toasted
  • Lettuce and sliced tomatoes (optional)


1 Mix: In a medium bowl, mix all of the ingredients until combined.

2 Serve: Serve tuna salad on toast, either open faced, or in a regular sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes. For a low carb option, serve on sliced lettuce.

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A Really Good Tuna Salad

Sometimes you just want a really good old-school tuna salad. This is my go-to recipe. I start by draining the tuna really, really well so it’s not watery – this is important! – then I add a generous scoop of mayonnaise and lots of seasoning. From there, I stir in a spoonful of pickle relish for tangy sweetness, celery for crunch, and scallions for onion flavor. Finally, I add a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh parsley to brighten it all up.

3. Tuna fish salad sandwich A Healthy Life For Me

Best Tuna Fish Salad Sandwiches
from Tuna fish salad sandwich A Healthy Life For Me
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The really fantastic thing about this recipe is that it deals with basically any type of type of fish or seafood. The original recipe required halibut, which I enjoy yet is really difficult to get right here in Florida. I have utilized tilapia, mahi mahi, salmon, flounder, cod, & shrimp with this recipe, as well as they have all ended up wonderful. Another very easy fish recipe that has actually come to be a family members favorite during the warmer months is this Fish Taco recipe.

What to serve with tuna salad sandwich?

Serve this on bread for an amazing sandwich. You can toast the bread if you prefer or eat it plain. We have used sandwich bread, subs, croissants and even rolls.

It is also great served over lettuce and you can add any other salad toppings you love. You can use a lettuce wrap for more low carb options as well.

We like to keep it simple and serve easy but delicious sides with tuna salad. It goes great with pasta salad. We love this Greek Pasta Salad.

This Quick & Easy Cucumber Tomato Salad Recipe is also another yummy side dish. You might also like this Easy Tropical Fruit Salad and you are set.

Oh and we also really love Garlic Ranch Pretzels. This is definitely a kid favorite.

Add a few pickle spears and you are ready to enjoy.

The Best Tuna Salad Recipe Ever

You can play around with the amounts and ingredients, but this is the basic recipe I follow. And it’s delicious!

First, drain your tuna. I prefer to use white albacore, but use any type of tuna you prefer.

Add your mayo. I enlisted my 11-year-old son to help me make this today. Teaching my kids how to cook is a priority. It helps with listening to directions and strengthening little hands (all three of my kids have low muscle tone and weak hands).

Add your mustard – I prefer to use spicy brown, but if you want to try a different mustard, like dijon, that will work also.

Don’t forget the paprika – it gives it a little kick up that is needed.

Serve with or without bread. Link to my youtube video –

So, how do you like to make your tuna salad? Do you have any secret ingredients that you add? I’d love to hear your ideas! The Best Tuna Salad Recipe Ever

Ingredients for the best tuna salad sandwich

You’ll only need a few veggies on hand to make a tuna salad sandwich: the rest are pantry ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Canned tuna: Use either water-packed or oil packed: we prefer water packed here since you’re mixing it with lots of flavorings.
  • Greek yogurt + mayo combination: The key to the creamiest, best tuna salad! It tastes savory and creamy, but using some Greek yogurt helps to keep it less calorie-laden and rich. It’s just perfect. Or swap these out for avocado (see below).
  • Celery, red onion & dill pickles: A good tuna salad must have pickles! After extensive testing, we found it was the key to bringing in a tangy and lightly sweet element.
  • Lemon juice & Dijon mustard: Both are essential to making this taste like deli-style tuna salad.

  • 1 medium red onion (about 8 ounces 225g), cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) red wine vinegar
  • 4 (5-ounce 140g) cans oil-packed tuna, drained
  • 1 cup (240ml) mayonnaise, plus more as needed
  • 2 stalks celery (about 6 ounces 170g total), cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 ounce (about 10 stalks) flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems, minced (about 1/4 packed cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3g) Asian fish sauce or very finely minced oil-packed anchovy fillets (about 2 small fillets)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 slices sandwich bread, very lightly toasted
  • Romaine lettuce leaves, torn, for garnish

In a small bowl, combine onion and vinegar (vinegar should just cover onion add more if it does not) and let stand 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine tuna and mayonnaise and mix very well with a spoon until tuna is reduced to very small shreds.

Drain onion well, then add to tuna along with celery, parsley, and fish sauce or anchovy. Mix until well incorporated, then season with salt and pepper. Add more mayo, 1 tablespoon at a time, if desired.

Spoon tuna salad onto 4 bread slices, top with lettuce leaves, then close sandwiches. Serve right away.

To me, classic tuna salad has to include tuna, mayo, celery, onions, salt and pepper. Our basic version includes all of it with so many options for you to pick from.

Truth be told, there is no right way to make tuna salad. You need to include anything and everything you want in your Subway tuna salad recipe! Really.

You are only limited by your imagination!

Here are some other suggestions you might want to consider when making your version of Subway tuna salad.

  • Peas, either fresh or frozen, add color and crunch.
  • Celery rib or ribs, diced, add crunch.
  • Cucumber, diced or sliced on top of or underneath the tuna.
  • Eggs, hard boiled and chopped, add a little extra protein and texture.
  • Pickles, sweet, dill or mustard pickles (my husbands favorite), chopped fine, add some crunch and a lot of flavor. Relish also works well in a pinch!
  • Apples, sweet or tart, diced, is delicious in a tuna salad.
  • Tomatoes diced, without the pulp, add color and flavor to an otherwise boring tuna salad! You can also place tomato slices on top of the egg salad when serving.
  • Alfalfa sprouts are so tasty on top of your tuna salad sandwich!
  • Cooked pasta is also a delightful change. Your tuna salad becomes a tuna pasta salad. What a terrific side dish!

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  • 2 cans Chunk Tuna fish – 5 oz/can (water-packed, drained)
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 3 pieces eggs (boiled, chopped)
  • 2 tbsp onion (minced)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (from ½ halve of lemon)
  • 2 tbsp pickle relish (optional)
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp adobo seasoning (or other savory spices)
  • 1 rib celery [diced small (optional)]

1 After opening the tuna, drain it using a mesh strainer to drain the liquid while chopping onions or celery (optional) and then squeeze off the extra liquid using a spoon.

2 Then toss the lemon in first and allow the lemon to penetrate into the drained tuna. Add the mayonnaise, chopped eggs, celery (if using), shallot, pickle relish (if using), the seasoning to the tuna fish.

3 Mix all ingredients to combine, breaking up any large chunks of tuna fish as you go. Add more mayo if you’d like smoother, creamier tuna salad. Taste and add more of any of the ingredients to taste.

4 Serve on bread or croissant with lettuce leaves or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
If you’re feeling indulgent, add some pastrami or bacon (this is optional).