Best Ever Tuna Salad Sandwich

SandwichQuick and EasyCanned TunaTuna Salad

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.

How to make tuna salad sandwich

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.


Updated July 31, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe.

Best Ever Tuna Salad Sandwich Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 1 to 2 sandwiches, depending on the size of the sandwich

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
  • Pinch 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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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146 Comments / Reviews

No ImageBest Ever Tuna Salad Sandwich

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Rob

    A dribble of balsamic vinegar is nice in tuna salad.

  2. Sherrie

    Truly is the Best Ever…Amazing flavor. All of the ingredients really compliment the end result. Did not have capers, so I added diced kalamata olives and a pinch of tarragon. Even my picky eater who claims that tuna is icky…devoured her sandwich! Thank you for sharing.


  3. Magoo

    Dang this is good!!! I made it with ricotta once and it was ok, but the cottage cheese puts it over the top. I didn’t have a red onion, but the sweet onion was fine. I used fresh parsley from my aerogarden – don’t skip the parsley! This is a keeper.


  4. Naomi

    I made this three times so far, tripled the recipe the last two times, and it’s very good. My jars of capers have an unfortunate habit of falling down in the fridge, leaking brine and getting moldy, so instead I use pickled hot pepper or finely chopped pickled green beans. I soak the chopped onion in lemon juice for 10 minutes (a trick I learned from your recipe, Mexican Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Corn, and Tomatoes, which is also amazing!) Thank you very much for sharing your great recipes!


    Show Replies (1)
  5. Manomes

    I would have never thought of putting cottage cheese in tuna salad, but it’s a great addition. Not only does it taste great, it stretches a can of tuna! I didn’t have any capers, so added a tap. of pickle relish. Saved the recipe, and will be my go to for tuna salad.


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