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Tuna Salad

Creamy and oh so flavorful, this Tuna Salad recipe is the perfect thing to make for the whole family to enjoy for lunch or a quick dinner!


I think most people know how to make a very basic tuna salad. There isn’t much to it and it’s all well and good. We know it and we love it. But if you’re looking for a recipe that is steps above the usual, then this one is for you! I like the combination of mayonnaise and sour cream together that I use with this recipe. I do this with my chicken salad and it’s always a huge favorite so I apply it to tuna salad as well. Also, the combination of celery AND pickle relish really gives this taste and texture. I think these two things really set this recipe apart from other recipes. It is still super simple and quick to throw together but will be the best tuna salad sandwich you’ve ever made!

A hand holding a tuna salad sandwich.


Why did my tuna salad turn out watery?

To prevent this from happening, make sure you drain the canned tuna REALLY well. Most of the time that is all it is.

Do I have to keep my tuna chunky like you did?

Of course not. This is your tuna salad so you make it your way. Just stir the tuna more to make it finer.

How to make tuna salad with pasta?

I’ve got you covered! You can easily jazz this tuna salad up by adding some cooked pasta to the mix. If you’re looking for a recipe, try my Tuna Pasta Salad recipe.

What else can I add?

I have seen so many regional variations to tuna salad. My friends up north love to add dill to their tuna salad. I personally don’t like fresh dill a whole lot so it’s not my favorite but you can add some other fresh herbs like parsley or chives.

How to store tuna salad?

It should be stored in a covered, airtight container and stored in the refrigerator where it will keep for up to 3 days. I don’t suggest trying to freeze this recipe.

Tuna salad spilling out of a sandwich.


  • canned tuna – I always go with tuna in water. The tuna in oil can sometimes interact with the other flavors and it can also end up more oily than you would want for a tuna salad.
  • mayonnaise – you will never ever catch me using Miracle Whip but if that is your favorite then obviously feel free to use it here.
  • sour cream – the only other acceptable substitute would be plain Greek yogurt.
  • celery – I like the added crunchiness the celery gives this but if you don’t like celery than simply leave it out.
  • sweet onion – for a slightly less strong onion flavor, try using a shallot instead.
  • dill pickle relish – if you prefer you can just use one or the other: celery or pickle relish. They really do go outstanding together. Or if you don’t like dill pickle relish than maybe try a sweet pickle relish.
  • lemon juice (optional)- This really amplifies the flavor profile and just ties everything together but it is not necessary. If you are going to use it though, it needs to be fresh and not bottled. The bottled stuff can really throw off the other flavors.
  • salt and pepper – there are a lot of other flavors going on here so a simple salt and pepper seasoning works best.
Canned tuna, mayo, salt, pepper, sour cream, celery, sweet onion, lemon juice, and pepper.


In a large bowl, stir together the tuna, mayonnaise, sour cream, celery, onion, pickle relish, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. 

A large mixing bowl with tuna, mayonnaise, sour cream, celery, onion, pickle relish, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until ready to serve or use immediately.

Fresh made Tuna salad on two pieces of sandwich bread.


Close up looking at a Tuna Salad sandwich.

Tuna Salad

An easy and super delicious tuna salad recipe that is five stars above any other classic recipe. Simply the best tuna salad!
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • 15 ounces canned tuna in water, drained very well (about 3 regular sized cans)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • cup finely diced celery
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion
  • 2 Tablespoons dill pickle relish
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


  • In a large bowl, stir together 15 ounces canned tuna in water, drained very well , 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 2 Tablespoons sour cream, 1/3 cup finely diced celery, 2 Tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion, 2 Tablespoons dill pickle relish, 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
    A large mixing bowl with tuna, mayonnaise, sour cream, celery, onion, pickle relish, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until ready to serve or use immediately.
    Fresh made Tuna salad on two pieces of sandwich bread.


  • Please refer to my FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
Course: Lunch, Salad
Cuisine: American


Calories: 206kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 15g | Sodium: 431mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 1g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I have made the same tuna salad for over 50 years. It is my go to and I just assumed it was the best because that is what I have always made and people enjoy it and have asked me to make it for them over the years. Well, I have been missing out! My beloved mother would kill me for saying this were she alive but this is out of this world good. So much better! I am so happy I took a chance and tried something new. You can teach an old dog new tricks. Nothing wrong with my old recipe but this one is now the one! I took it to a church function and absolutely everyone agreed this was better than the one I have always brought.

    1. So happy to hear this Sally! Thanks so much for giving it a try! I know most people have their standard tuna salad recipes that they refuse to deviate from or try something new so I appreciate you giving this a shot! You can love your old recipe and a new recipe at the same time, right? Ha! Thank you SO very much!