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Crunchy and full of flavor – this is not your average tuna salad recipe! Fresh ingredients like jalapeño, onion, tomatoes, and celery all feature in this spicy Tuna Salad recipe!
Step-by-step photos and instructions are below!
One of my favorite things to have on hand during the week is any kind of prepped food that I can grab quickly and eat. I love opening the fridge and remember I’ve made big bowls of this salad for sandwiches, or for a quick snack with crackers.
Having a spicy tuna salad hanging out in the fridge ready is a game changer! It keeps in the refrigerator for a few days, so I make a big batch (I double this often) and have it ready for whoever needs it, whenever they need it.
We like things spiced up here in Arizona, and a classic Southwestern combo of flavors is jalapeño/tomato/onion. Add a dash of citrus, and maybe a little fresh chopped cilantro and we’re in business!!
Why this is the best Tuna Salad:
This recipe differs from a classic Tuna Salad recipe in that it cuts down on the mayo, and boosts the vegetable content (and doesn’t contain boiled egg, mustard, dill pickles or sweet pickle relish).
- It is creamy, crunchy and has a touch of spice.
- Made in less than 5 minutes
- Tuna salad is perfect making ahead (meal prep) and packing for lunches or snacks. Plan to eat it in the beginning part of the week, vs the end.
Frequently Asked Questions
Not all tuna is the same! There are so many kinds of tuna available in the grocery store – but I prefer tuna in water and SOLID (larger, firmer pieces with fewer flakes) versus chunk tuna that comes in smaller pieces.
The tuna used in this recipe is solid white albacore tuna. I buy it in bulk at my local warehouse store, which makes the price a little easier to bear!
You sure can! While I usually use canned tuna, leftover cooked tuna steak can be flaked and used in place of canned tuna.
Greek yogurt works wonders place of the mayo, but mashed avocado also does a great job!
How to serve Tuna Salad
I eat it right out of the container with a fork, but have been known to use crackers, or make tuna salad sandwiches (just put it between 2 slices of bread for fabulous easy lunches.
On top of toasted bread, with sliced cucumbers, with some crackers or over some salad greens are all great ways to eat this!
Love Tuna Melts? Place on toasted buns or bread, top with a slice of cheese and broil until melt-y.
I have included step-by-step photos and instructions, as well as tips and tricks in the post. If you’d rather skip all that, scoot right on down to the full recipe card located at the bottom of the post.
What to do with leftovers
Store leftover tuna salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Plan to eat if within 3-5 days.
Avoid leaving tuna salad at room temperature longer than an hour. If you are taking it for lunch add an icepack to your lunchbox to keep it cold. Make sure you use a sealed container to prevent leakage!
Use plain Greek yogurt in place of the mayonnaise to make healthy meal even healthier!
Add some green onions (aka scallion)to the to of your bowl before serving, as a garnish.
Add some fresh herbs (cilantro goes great in this recipe).
If you want to add a bit more flavor and heat, simply add a little sriracha. You may not need a lot, maybe half of a tablespoon.
This recipe does not do well in the freezer. Things get mushy and soggy and kind of gross. Just don’t do it.
Recipe Ingredients and Possible Substitutes
The full list of ingredients and quantities is found in the printable recipe card below.
- Canned tuna. Solid white albacore is my favorite for this. I use the tuna in water, vs tuna in oil. You will want to shred it a little into chunks. You can use any tuna instead of albacore though, whatever you have on hand works.
- Tomato. Any tomato will do, I chop up cherry tomatoes, but using roma tomatoes works just as well.
- Celery. This brings a really good crunch to the salad.
- Onion. I use red onion and vary the amount depending on what i feel like that day.
- Jalapeño. I remove the seeds from these, but if you like things super spicy. Leave them in! Thinly slice or dice these so each bite has a little kick.
- Mayonnaise. This can easily be switched out for Greek yogurt if you prefer.
- Lime juice. Optional, but goes really well with the other ingredients. Brings a delicious freshness. Lemon juice also works, but if you have neither, it’s okay to leave it out.
- Salt & pepper. To taste. I typically use about 1/2 tsp kosher salt and a pinch of pepper.
How to make Spicy Tuna Salad
Scroll for Recipe
The full list of ingredients, quantities and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.
Open the cans of tuna (I use 2 x 5oz cans) and drain. Chop the onion, celery, tomatoes and jalapeño (small dice).
Add all chopped ingredients to a large bowl, then add the mayonnaise and season with salt/pepper.
Squeeze half of a lime into the salad, and mix well.
Some of our favorite salad recipes:
- Summery White Bean Salad. Served chilled or at room temperature, this Summery White Bean Salad is great to make ahead, or to grab and go! A short prep time means you can have it on the table fast!
- Crunchy Curried Chicken Salad. A brilliant make-ahead curried chicken salad balanced with tart apples, sweet raisins, and finished with cilantro, this is one you will make over and over!
- Roasted Beet Salad with Feta & Walnuts. Made with feta and roasted walnuts, drizzled with a homemade vinaigrette. The beets are the star of the show!
- Watermelon Feta Salad. Featuring juicy watermelon, tangy feta cheese, and fresh mint makes the perfect dish for hot days! Experience the ultimate summer duo with this irresistible recipe.
- Easy Italian Salad (from Spend with Pennies)
- Chopped Asparagus Salad (from View from the Great Island)
Spicy Tuna Salad Recipe (Not your Mama’s Tuna Salad)
- Open the cans of tuna (I use 2 x 5oz cans) and drain.
- Chop the onion, celery, tomatoes and jalapeno (small dice for the jalapeno and onions!).
- Add tuna and vegetables to a large bowl, then add the mayonnaise and salt/pepper.
- Squeeze half of a lime into the salad, and mix well.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.