The classic Tuna Sandwich has been well-loved for generations, and surprisingly, there’s a bit of debate about how to make the best tuna sandwich. We all know what we like, don’t we? This version is full of fresh flavors: dill, lemon, scallion, celery, and a kick of cayenne to give your tuna mayo a boost.
Put canned tuna at the top of your Budget Grocery List to ensure you always have the makings for the best tuna sandwich. Serve this Tuna Sandwich on fresh pumpernickel bread, lettuce, and tomato for a stunning show of colors. It works well in a Lunchtime Meal Prep and is sure to top your list of Easy Dinners to Make.
Folks have either a great memory of a tuna salad sandwich, or they don’t. I grew up eating classic tuna salad stuffed in a tuna pita pocket with alfalfa sprouts. I loved it — regardless of the ribbing my classmates gave me in the lunch room.
My husband, on the other hand, did not enjoy his childhood tuna salad sandwiches. His aunt Melanie loaded them with sweet pickle relish — not his favorite. Thankfully, he loves my way Tuna Sandwich recipe, so we’re good.
The great thing is that there are so many tasty ways of making tuna salad that you’re bound to find one you love. I hope you’ll try ours!
Why Make This
It’s affordable. While many things have gone up in price, even tuna, canned tuna is still a more affordable, shelf-stable protein. This is one of the most affordable sandwich recipes you can make.
It’s delicious. This tuna salad recipe calls for flaky chunks of albacore tuna, mayo, lemon juice, and just the right seasonings for a mouth-watering sammy that you’ll want to enjoy weekly! Enjoy a sandwich on fresh bread or go for the gusto in a Tuna Melt Sandwich.
It’s quick. You can whip up this tuna salad sandwich in just minutes making it a great quick dinner to serve on busy nights.
Here’s what you’ll need to make our favorite Tuna Sandwich recipe:
canned tuna – I like to use solid white albacore tuna packed in water, but there are many varieties out there, including yellowfin tuna, and albacore packed in olive oil. Use what you prefer. If you’re not sure what you like, start with solid white in water. Once you make this, be sure to check out our other Easy Fish Recipes.
fresh lemon juice – Lemon is always a great complement to fish. If you don’t have fresh lemons, bottled lemon juice is fine. Remember you can freeze lemons.
herbs and spices – You can definitely play around with the herbs and spices you add, but we love to include, salt, dried dill, freshly ground black pepper, and ground cayenne. You can also add a bit of celery seed, if you like.
mayonnaise – Mayo makes a great binder for tuna salad. Homemade mayonnaise is easy and delicious if you want to level up this sandwich. You can also use Greek yogurt if you prefer.
onion – I love the freshness that green onion brings, but you can also use finely chopped red onion or brown onion.
celery – Chopped celery is often considered standard for adding crunch, though some people prefer chopped pickles, pickle relish, chopped cucumbers or chopped red bell pepper. Use what you have and explore some new options!
sandwich bread or rolls – To make a tuna sandwich, you’ll need bread or rolls. White or wheat sandwich bread is fine, but pumpernickel or brown bread brings stunning color! Check out our list of Best Sandwich Breads for more options. You can also serve tuna salad in lettuce wraps. Try these Niçoise salad Wraps for a fun variation.
optional – I love to layer cheese, sliced tomato, and lettuce in my tuna sandwiches. Be sure to read the comments for more ideas from our readers!
Here’s how to make this easy Tuna Sandwich recipe:
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, place the tuna. Do not break up too finely, just enough to have small chunks. You want to mix this as little and as lightly as possible.
- Squeeze the lemon juice over the fish.
- Add the mayo, onion, celery, salt, dill weed, pepper and cayenne. Toss lightly to combine, adding extra mayo if needed to bind the ingredients.
- Serve as a sandwich filling or in lettuce wraps.
- Store leftover tuna salad in an airtight container in the fridge, for up to 2 days.
To pack for lunch, consider storing the tuna salad and the bread in separate containers to avoid letting the bread get soggy.
There are so many great ways to make a tuna sandwich, there’s a good fit for everyone! Consider a classic mayo-scallion-celery combination or add a little sweet to your savory via sweet pickle relish. Some people add hard cooked eggs or shredded cheese to their tuna sandwiches as well.
Tuna sandwiches can play a part in a healthy diet, particularly if you control how much saturated fat you use (the mayo) and serve it on whole grain bread. Keep in mind that the FDA does have recommendations re: safe consumption of tuna.
Tuna as well as other meat and dairy products should be refrigerated until ready to serve. Discard any tuna salad that has been left at room temperature longer than 2 hours. Be mindful of food stored in the danger zone.
More Tuna Recipes
The Best Tuna Sandwich Recipe
- 2 5-ounce cans albacore tuna drained
- ½ lemon juiced
- 2 to 3 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 2 green onion chopped
- ½ rib celery chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- ½ teaspoon dried dill
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- pinch ground cayenne pepper
- 8 slices sandwich bread or rolls or lettuce leaves
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, place the tuna. Do not break up too finely, just enough to have small chunks. You want to mix this as little and as lightly as possible.2 5-ounce cans albacore tuna
- Squeeze the lemon juice over the fish.½ lemon
- Add mayonnaise, green onion, celery, dill weed, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Toss lightly to combine, adding extra mayo if needed to bind the ingredients.2 to 3 tablespoon mayonnaise, 2 green onion, ½ rib celery, ½ teaspoon dried dill, ¼ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, pinch ground cayenne pepper
- Serve as a sandwich filling or in lettuce wraps.8 slices sandwich bread
Nutritional values are approximate and based on ¼ the recipe. Variations: This is just one way to make tuna sandwiches. Feel free to make this your own! You can add any of the following:
- chopped pickles
- pickle relish
- chopped cucumbers
- chopped red bell pepper
- shredded cheese
- chopped hard cooked egg
This post was originally published on April 29, 2011. It has been updated for content and clarity.