Deli-Style Tuna Salad

Tuna salad is probably one of those things that you don’t necessarily need a recipe for. You can keep it simple (as I sometimes do) by adding some mayo and sweet relish to a can of tuna. The end. That being said, not all tuna salads are created equal. This deli-style tuna salad is my copycat version of what you can get at our local version of Whole Foods, which is called MaMa Jean’s. It’s SOOO good! Not your average tuna salad.

What I love about this deli-style tuna salad recipe is it’s flavorful, has the right amount of crunch, and is colorful. But there isn’t any one ingredient that necessarily overpowers the rest, it’s a good mix.

Of course this goes well in a tuna salad sandwich, but I also love it all on its own or with crackers or cucumber slices. I love this deli-style tuna salad the day it’s made, but it keeps well for a couple days in the refrigerator too. After two days, the onion flavor will begin to intensify some, so I recommend consuming it before then just for taste reasons (it won’t necessarily go bad that quickly).

For real, try this tuna salad recipe—it’s a favorite workday lunch of mine or give my Easy Chicken Salad with Grapes a try. Enjoy! xo. Emma

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5 from 5 votes

Deli-Style Tuna Salad

A flavorful, crunchy tuna salad recipe
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword sandwiches, tuna salad
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Author Emma Chapman


  • 12 ounces canned tuna drained
  • ¼ cup mayo
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon honey
  • ¼ cup sharp cheddar shredded
  • ¼ cup peas
  • ¼ cup carrots shredded
  • ¼ cup red onion finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon cayenne


  • Drain the liquid from the tuna can and add the tun to a medium size mixing bowl. Shred any large chunks with a fork.
  • Shred the cheese and carrots. Add to the mixing bowl along with the peas and onion.
  • Stir in the mayo, apple cider vinegar, and honey.
  • Stir in the salt and cayenne. Taste and add more salt if needed.


I prefer to use solid white tuna in water, but you can use any variety of canned tuna that you prefer. 
Less is more with the red onion, so the 1/4 cup can be a scant 1/4 cup or even 3 tablespoons. I typically use about 1/4 of a red onion when preparing this. 
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman.
  • 5 stars
    I have to admit that I never usually go for tuna salad but this post inspired me to give it a go. I’m hooked!
    When my husband ate the portion I was saving for my lunch the next day, I had to have a serious word to him 😉
    Thank you x

  • I imagine she just used either canned or thawed frozen peas, same as if you were making tuna noodle casserole.

    • 5 stars
      I used frozen, thawed peas. You could use fresh / steamed. I would avoid canned as I think the texture may turn out too mushy (but this is more my opinion / preference).

  • I like tuna…But I won’t touch Mayo…are there any substitutions? or am I not ever going to be able to eat tuna salad or egg salad ever again? I think I am not the only one who feels this way although I know that mayo is “classic” deli style!

    • Yoghurt or sour cream could maybe work, they just wouldn’t be as ‘creamy’?

      • 5 stars
        Miracle whip or Veganaise would be the best substitutes. Yogurt or sour cream might be too tart, and yes not as creamy (probably very thick and possibly pasty).

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