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The Best Tuna Salad Recipe


In this post I am sharing The Best Tuna Salad recipe. 

We love our mayonnaise based salads in the South, there is no denying it. One in particular, old fashioned tuna salad.

Tuna salad is delicious on a sandwich, as a cracker spread, mixed with noodles or stuffed into tomatoes. You just can’t beat it!

I’ve made a lot of this salad in my lifetime, I’ve eaten a lot of this salad in my lifetime and at some point I came up with the perfect recipe. There is just enough spice, flavor and texture to make this tuna salad the BEST.

If you think about it in advance and can make this tasty lunch salad the day before, I think it just gets better once all of those delicious flavors mingle together overnight in the refrigerator. 

I proudly serve this tuna salad at any gathering if the occasion calls for it. It’s perfect for luncheons. This recipe easily serves a crown depending on how it is served…or just double up on the recipe.

Incredible delicious tuna salad with egg on fresh baked bread

More recipes you might enjoy:

Southern Tuna Salad with Macaroni

Seafood Pasta Salad or

Classic Egg Salad

How Do You Make the Best Tuna Salad?

To make your salad with canned tuna, it all starts with quality ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need…and don’t worry about grabbing a pen and paper, I’ve got a printable recipe card further down in the post: A tiny bit of butter, a shallot, celery, canned tuna, boiled eggs, salt, black pepper, Old Bay Seasoning and Mayonnaise (preferably Dukes).

Personally, I do not care for raw celery. Taking the few minutes to saute the celery and shallot really makes this recipe a bit more special. It takes the raw edge off but the vegetables still offer that bit of crunch and texture to the recipe. 

Diced celery and shallots on a cutting board

Old Bay Makes it Better

Step 1: Drain the tuna! Drain it really well! Let it drain some more. Seriously, you want it well drained.

I open up my cans of tuna before I begin anything else and throw it in a mesh colander to drain while I work on everything else. That way by the time I get ready for it, it has drained so that the finished salad is not a liquidy mess. 

Step 2: Finely dice the shallot and celery then add to a small skillet with a small pat of butter and saute over medium heat 4 to 5 minutes until the vegetables just begin to tender but are still crunchy.

How to make delicious tuna salad recipe

Step 3: Dice up a couple of hard boiled eggs and add them to a mixing bowl. Next, add that really drained well tuna then the sautéed vegetables. Lightly mix everything together.

Next, season the tuna mixture with some salt, cracked black pepper and a bit of Old Bay seasoning. Lightly stir everything together once more to distribute the seasonings. Lastly, add in the creamy mayonnaise and stir to mix everything together.

Mixing tuna salad for the best taste

There we have a beautiful tuna salad with egg. I realize that some folks think of boiled eggs as just a filler in recipes and I guess that is true but I really like the texture it adds to tuna salad. 

Honestly, Southerners love to throw boiled eggs into all sorts of recipes and I’m no exception. You’ll find a boiled egg in my giblet gravy during the holidays to the cornbread dressing. 

We add the additional ingredients to tuna salad to give it interest, flavor and different textures that are interesting when chewing. It’s more yummy that way, trust me. A really, really, really basic tuna salad with just tuna and mayo is kind of a mushy bore. 

Delicious Sandwich Spread

Perfect tuna salad sandwich

On this particular day, I’m using my tuna salad to make sandwiches for lunch. Fresh country sourdough bread slices, crispy lettuce, ripe tomato, a slice of white American cheese and a generous helping of tuna salad….served with a pickle spear of course. Delicious!

 Printable Recipe

Yield: 1.25 lbs Tuna Salad

The Best Tuna Salad

Southern Old Bay Tuna Salad with Duke's Mayonnaise on a glass salad plate with dill pickle spears

A delicious old fashioned tuna salad recipe with egg that is perfect on salads, crackers or sandwiches

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Additional Time 6 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1/2 tbs Butter
  • 1 Shallot, finely diced
  • 1/4 c Celery, finely diced
  • 20 oz Canned Tuna Fish, well drained
  • 2 Hard Boiled Eggs, diced
  • 1/2 tsp Salt, or to taste
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/2 c Mayonnaise


  1. Add the butter to a small skillet then add the shallot and celery and saute over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the boiled eggs, drained tuna, and sauteed vegetables.
  3. Next, season with salt, pepper and Old Bay.
  4. Lightly mix together then add mayonnaise and stir until it's incorporated with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Chill until ready to serve.


Draining the tuna well is key to a great tuna salad.

Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

I use a mix of chunk light tuna and chunk white tuna, packed in water. You'll want to avoid the tuna packed in oil for this recipe.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1/2 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 405

The Best Tuna Salad Recipe

See this recipe shared at Meal Plan Monday and Weekend Potluck

Thank you for stopping by! I am so glad that you did. I know that you will love my tasty version of tuna salad so I hope that you try it soon.

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Meet Julia

Author of Julia's Simply Southern

Sharing is Caring

Barbara Miller

Friday 26th of May 2023

Your recipe showed up in my feed on facebook. I think of this recipe every time I see a can of tuna. I gotta go make some.

patricia box

Monday 10th of May 2021


Julia Jordan

Tuesday 11th of May 2021

Thank you so much for letting me know how much y'all enjoyed the salmon croquettes. It makes me so happy that you did. ~Julia


Monday 26th of August 2019

I made this yesterday for lunch and it was a hit!! Definitely going to be making this more often! Great recipe! Thank you!

Julia Jordan

Monday 26th of August 2019

Thank you so much for sharing! I am so glad that you enjoyed this recipe.

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