Deli-Style Tuna Fish Salad Sandwich

Deli-Style Tuna Fish Salad Sandwich |

I have put canned tuna to the test to make the ultimate deli-style tuna fish salad sandwich.

I love tuna fish sandwiches. I could eat one everyday. When I was pregnant with my twins I craved tuna, big time! Unfortunately, I was limited to having them once a week, but I knew exactly when I could have another tuna sandwich and I made sure I got it.

Sandwiches also seem to taste better when someone else makes it for you. Sounds silly, but I’m sure you are nodding your head. For me,  I always love when Mr. Mother Thyme makes me a tuna sandwich. When it comes to tuna, it can definitely be hit or miss. Through my years of consuming countless tuna salad sandwiches, I have had my fair share of bad experiences with them.  Nothing is worse when you are craving a tuna sandwich, and are disappointed when the outcome is too fishy,  yuck.

Deli-Style Tuna Fish Salad Sandwich |

Choosing your tuna is quite important. I put three cans of tuna to the test. Your regular run of the mill inexpensive can of tuna packed in water, a medium priced albacore and a prime albacore.  Each range in price as low as roughly 99 cents up to about $2.50 a can for the prime albacore. After testing each kind and making the identical recipe with each the prime albacore tuna wins hands down. The taste and texture of a prime albacore is worth the price tag. I will admit I used to use the inexpensive can of tuna gracing the market shelves. And even with the 99 cent can of tuna you can still get a rather good outcome if you rinse it well, but to get the ultimate tuna sandwich invest in a good can of tuna.  Trust me, once you use a prime or middle grade albacore your eyes will be open to an amazing tuna sandwich.

My second secret or not so secret tip for creating the perfect tuna fish salad sandwich is rather simple, drain, rinse, repeat three times.  Whether you are using an inexpensive can of tuna or my recommendation of solid white albacore giving is a proper drain and rinse will help significantly in the outcome. If you are like me, I used to use the top of the can to drain the tuna.  Sure, I would really press hard to get all the water out but once I thought I had it drained well enough I added it to the bowl. Take a extra few minutes and rinse it in a strainer or colander really, really good. I like to give it an initial rinse and press out any excess water. I do it several times making sure you drain it well and press out any water. You want dry tuna as a bone going into the bowl.

Once you have thoroughly drained and rinsed your tuna it’s ready to be mixed up and made into one delicious bowl of tuna. This part is really no secret, expect having the proper ratio of tuna to mayonnaise. Too much mayonnaise weighs it down and to little makes it dry. Toss in celery, onion and the way my mother always makes it with, a touch of sweet relish. This my friends is the perfect tuna fish salad that will not disappoint.

Deli-Style Tuna Fish Salad Sandwich |

Deli-Style Tuna Fish Salad Sandwich |

Drain and rinse albacore. Dry and place in medium size bowl. 

Deli-Style Tuna Fish Salad Sandwich |

Dice your veggies. 

Deli-Style Tuna Fish Salad Sandwich |

Deli-Style Tuna Fish Salad Sandwich |

Add in mayonnaise and sweet relish. 

Deli-Style Tuna Fish Salad Sandwich |

Give it a stir and enjoy! 


Deli-Style Tuna Fish Salad Sandwich

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1-2 servings


  • 5 ounce can good quality solid white albacore, packed in water
  • 3 tablespoons celery, diced
  • 3 tablespoons yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoon regular or light mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sweet relish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sandwich bread, rolls or croissants for serving
  • Lettuce, tomato and alfalfa sprouts for serving


  1. Drain albacore in a strainer or colander. Rinse well with water, drain and repeat two more times.
  2. Drain thoroughly until dry. Place in a medium bowl.
  3. Add in celery, onion, mayonnaise and relish and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Top on bread with lettuce, tomato and alfalfa sprouts or top on a salad.

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  1. I’ve always loved tuna, but recently experienced tuna with onions for the first time (I know, I’m a late bloomer!) and WOW! I love to throw on some medium heat banana peppers, too. Yum! I’ll have to try the relish – haven’t done that either. …and funny, as much as I love tuna, I completely lost the craving when pregnant with my twins. It took a good year after they were born for my craving to come back.

    1. I love your idea of adding in some banana peppers. You’ll love the addition of relish. It adds such a nice flavor without being overwhelming. I know a lot of women who lost their craving for tuna when they were pregnant too so it always was funny to me how much I craved it. 🙂

  2. mmmmmm this looks absolutely freaking delicious. Great for the Lenten season. Reminds me of the tuna sandwiches that I used to eat in my school cafeteria when I was younger…they were super delish! I love the combination of relish and celery…and the use of just a tad bit of mayo is genius! Love it!

  3. I completely agree, rinsing and draining is the most important step! (Sometimes I make grilled tuna cakes to serve over salad, and it’s so much easier to form the patties if the tuna is dry.) Love that you added sweet relish, that’s always a must for me too! 🙂

  4. We make tuna salad a lot around here, but I always just use the top of the can to press out what I can. Thank you for the tip to rinse and drain in a colander. I will definitely do that next time!!!

  5. I always loved tuna on sandwiches but I always get that fishy smell when done. This disappoints me. Good thing you have served the right way in order to get rid of that smell through rinsing 3 times. I first thought it would affect the flavor but the spices I guess will work well. The view of tomatoes and lettuce just entices me. I’m starting on a healthy diet and this is one that I should include on my list.

  6. I am embarrassed to admit that I have never rinsed my tuna before. Just as you said – I used one side of the can to drain the water out and I thought I was done! I can’t wait to see the difference rinsing will make.

    For my husband (a spice guy) I always add a hint of Srircha and banana peppers. For me I think a squeeze of lemon for some citrus flavor.

    xo Jackie

  7. this is my exact recipe.. but I always add 1 tsp of celery salt and 1 dash of sugar 🙂 let it set over night.. great for 4th of July 🙂 along with egg salad.. put the crackers out 🙂

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