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Toni’s Tuna Salad

This tuna salad has the perfect ratios of tuna to egg, relish to onion.

A classic recipe, passed on to me from my darling grandmother, Toni.

Fun Fact: Tuna salad was my very first blog post on April 7, 2011!

A classic tuna salad recipe

My grandmother makes the BEST sandwiches. Seriously. She picks each slide of bread up, gracefully balancing each slice in her left hand, and lovingly adding Duke’s mayonnaise to each slice. Every corner is coated. This is not a quick process! And it makes all the difference! She makes pork sandwiches using my uncle’s smoked pork loin, crisp lettuce, long pickles and honey mustard. And, these sandwiches are simply amazing. All her sandwiches are!

Y’all. This tuna salad is something else.

Simple ingredients combined to make the best tuna salad you will ever taste.

I have hovered over her for YEARS trying to make this the way she does…. Yet, mine never turns out as well. I think it’s because she made it… and because Papa sits right there and “tests” whether there are enough onions, relish, celery, etc. He’s all about proper ratios.

She will make this at the beginning of the week and eat on it throughout the week. When we vacation, she’ll bring her extra large Tupperware tub filled with it. And every time, Papa is amazed that we eat it all. ? We catch ourselves reaching into the fridge with a spoon just to grab a bite. <— THIS IS TUNA SALAD I’M TALKING ABOUT, Y’ALL. It’s that good.

Crisp celery and sweet onions, creamy eggs, and sweet relish are stirred together with tuna to make a classic tuna salad recipe your great grandmother would be proud of.

Toni uses simple ingredients. As with most things in life, simple is better.

The Dukes and Mount Olive Relish are must haves. No substitutes. Seriously. And the onions, have to be sweet. Preferably, Vidalia, because, she’s a Georgia girl, and they don’t use anything but.

Mt. Olive Sweet Relish & Duke's Mayo are must haves for a classic tuna salad recipe.

Now, this recipe… I don’t really have exact measurements….. I’ve tried for you… Think of this like egg salad with tuna in it?? But, if you *have* to measure, just come on by the house, I’ll fix you a sandwich!

Want to serve a full sandwich dinner? Check out these 21+ Sandwich Recipes! And! Learn how to set up your own DIY Sandwich Bar for a great party idea!

Make sure you know How Long Tuna Salad Lasts for any leftovers—let’s all be food-safe!

Toni’s Tuna Salad

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toni's southern tuna salad

Toni’s Tuna Salad

5 from 5 reviews
  • Author: Ashley @ Sweetpea Lifestyle
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Total Time: 15


A classic tuna salad recipe.


  • 4 cans white tuna in water, drained well. (mash this up in the bottom of your bowl. This is Papa’s #1 job)
  • 12 stalks of celery, finely diced
  • 8 hard boiled eggs, peeled, and finely diced {You could run these over your box grater}
  • 1 small Vidalia onion, finely diced {I like to grate my onion — be sure to use that onion juice!}
  • 2+ tablespoons Duke’s mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup Mount Olive Sweet Relish
  • Squeeze of one lemon <—- secret ingredient!
  • salt & pepper, to taste


  1. Mix everything up in a large bowl. Let it sit, covered, in the fridge for a few hours. Best served between two pieces of whole wheat bread, slathered corner to corner in Duke’s.


  • Serving Size: 8
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Out of this world tuna salad, great for church potlucks or a picnic in the park

Save this Pinterest graphic to your favorite board, or share on Facebook so you can find it easily!

Toni's Tuna Salad Recipe for Southern Tuna Salad



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  1. This sounds so good. I never thought of adding lemon juice! Your grandma is absolutely right about making sure the bread is covered well with mayonnaise. My husband always says my sandwiches taste better than his and I think that’s part of it – attention to details.

    And now I want a tuna sandwich – ha!

    I followed you here from Miz Helen’s “Full Plate Thursday” linky. I hope you’ll pop in for a visit one day. Bring some of that tuna and I’ll make you an ice cold glass of my grandma’s iced tea to go with it. Virtual, of course.

    1. Thank you, Deanna! I would love to have a virtual glass of tea with you! Heading over to Life with Dee now!

  2. I could imagine a grandma and dad in the kitchen doing the tuna salad – ahh, grandmothers make the best of everything. Do you think our grandchildren will think that way, too? 😀 This tuna salad sounds incredible – I haven’t thought of adding lemon to my tuna salad. I guess I will try that next time. Thanks for sharing this simple, yet awesome recipe. I hope you are having fun at Fiesta Friday #159! 🙂

    1. It *really* is the secret ingredient! And the even more secret of the secret?? FAKE LEMON JUICE! Like, this kind from the squeezie thing!! I would watch her use hers, and then when I would try to replicate, I would use a real lemon…. I don’t now if it makes that much difference, but the times I use the fake business (Not often… because I don’t buy that!), it tastes just like hers!

  3. My mother used to make tuna salad like this, same ingredients. And, it was absolutely yummy. I think the relish is one of the secrets, and the hard boiled eggs. My mouth is watering. Duke’s must be a local brand, we have Hellmans.

  4. Looks great! My husband and son LOVE eating tuna salad sandwiches, and relish is always a must. Thanks for sharing:) #HomeMattersParty

  5. This is how I make my tuna salad too! I haven’t tried Dukes before. I’ll have to try it next time I make tuna salad. #HomeMattersParty

  6. Mount Olive, NC and the Mount Olive Pickle plant is right outside of my hometown of Goldsboro, NC. I prefer their pickles and pickle relish over any other brand so you had me on board for this recipe the minute you mentioned them. Thanks for sharing. #HomeMattersParty

  7. Tuna salad is one of those comfort foods. Look so simple and very easy to prepare, but feels like such a treat with every bite. 🙂

  8. This was my go to lunch when I was pregnant – I totally craved tuna sandwiches!! This recipe brings back fond memories!

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