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!

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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.

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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.

Ingredients

  • 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)

Method

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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187 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Tanya

    Looking at the ingredients, I knew I had to try this! The interesting combination of ingredients was delicious! I do like relish and diced dill pickles in mine for a bit of sweetness and crunch, absolutely perfect!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Mick

    Fantastic!! I love tuna but was really bored with every day tuna salad and was looking for something to up the flavor. First time I made had everything but the capers and knew I would miss that flavor. Have since bought capers and have followed this to the T and it is soooo good! So glad I found this recipe. Need to try it with tuna packed in oil (have been adding extra virgin olive oil and use mayonnaise with olive oil). Never liked it as a kid, but maybe time to try again. Thanks!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Corey

    Do you use small or large curd cottage cheese, and is it the thicker consistency, or the kind with more liquid?
    Thanks! I am making this tomorrow.

    Show Replies (1)
  4. TK

    This recipe has become my go-to recipe for tuna salad. It is so delicious and so much better than the plain tuna salad I grew up eating. It takes a little more effort to make, but it’s worth it. The fresh parsley and capers make it taste so fresh! The only thing I change is that I use lime juice instead of lemon, simply due to personal preference. My husband says I’m obsessed and teases me because I eat 3 of them at a time! Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing. This has become a family recipe for us.

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Rhiannon

    I’ve made this three times now and we love it more each time.

    xxxxxyyyyy

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