Here’s my classic tuna sandwich. Tuna in oil, not water. Juice from the pickle jar adds tang – oh, and let’s use the pickles too! Dijon for flavour, dill for lovely herbiness, celery for crunch and green onion for freshness. Spread onto your favourite bread and enjoy!
Only homemade tuna sandwiches
One of my dark food secrets is that I’m actually a picky eater. The list of things I don’t want to eat is actually pretty long. Which is why I have to cook.
Case in point – tuna sandwich. There’s just no way I’d ever get one from a food court sandwich shop let alone a pre-packaged one from a servo (that’s a gas service station, for all you non-Aussies out there!). Eewww, bet the bread is soggy, the filling is just nothing but mayo-greasy sloppy with cheap tuna that’s just horridly fishy.
Maybe there are great tuna sandwiches out there. But why risk it when you can eat a sure thing at home, adding zing and freshness to transform fish out of a can into a sandwich filling so good you’ll want to use it as a dip for dunking? (Oh yes I do!)
What you need for Tuna Sandwich Filling
Here’s what I put in my tuna sandwich filling.
Tuna in oil will make tastier sandwiches than tuna in water. Olive oil is better than just plain oil. But if tuna in water is all you’ve got, don’t hesitate to plough forward!
Canned tuna types – As with most things in life, not all canned tuna is created equal. Better quality tuna and responsibility fished tuna is pricier. 🙂
Whole-egg mayo has a smoother flavour than ordinary, non-whole-egg mayo which is typically more vinegary and some brands are overly sweeter to my taste. I only stock whole-egg mayo (Hellmans and S&W are my favourite) and Kewpie (also an excellent choice!)
Pickles – We are using both the pickle and the juice from the jar for the tang and free extra flavour in the tuna mixture. So the pickle type matters! I use your everyday standard dill pickles. Not sweet pickles, not sweet gherkins, not cornichons, not sour pickles, not spicy pickles!
(Just jesting with the sternest, you can use any pickles you want here. :))
Green onion – For freshness. Substitute with eschallots (US: shallots) ie the baby onions, or 1/4 cup red onion finely minced.
Celery – For much needed crunch, else the filling is just mush. Finely minced so it melds in.
Dill – For herby freshness. My favourite with tuna, though basil and parsley would make great alternatives.
Also: bread of choice (not going to lie. Everyday sandwich bread is my favourite!). And lettuce. For extra perky freshness and soggy-bread-protection.
How to make tuna sandwiches
This is going straight to my “for experienced cooks only” section: Dump everything in a bowl and mix. Don’t be intimidated! I’ll hold your hand through the whole process – I’ve even made a recipe video for you! 😂
Tuna filling – Drain the oil from the tuna then put it in a bowl with all the other Filling ingredients. Use a wooden spoon to mix assertively, breaking up the tuna into almost like a paste. Bashing up the celery and pickles to soften the edges and squeeze out a little juices into the filling is encouraged.
Make sandwich – Butter the bread, top with 2 slices of lettuce then tuna sandwich filling. Use as much or as little as you want. Clamp the other slide of bread on then cut and eat! See note below the photo for making ahead.
Matters of Tuna Sandwich
And a few final words on the humble Tuna Sandwich:
Shelf life – The filling itself will keep for 3 days in a normal container or 5 days in a super airtight container (I have these insanely airtight Glasslock containers that extend food life because it’s like vac-packing).
Sandwich shelf life – To minimise bread sogginess, butter the bread and use a layer of lettuce on each slice to act as a protection barrier. Sometimes I’ll double up, for extra protection. If you do that, your sandwich will be good for a day!
Number of sandwiches – This recipe makes a generous amount for 4 sandwiches using everyday sandwich bread. You can make more if using smaller bread rolls.
Scale the recipe – To make more or less, or to scale a recipe to the tuna can size you have, click / tap on the servings and slide. Handy! 🙂
As a side note, JB made mayonnaise using the oil we drained from the tuna. Trés cheffy thing to do, awesome tuna flavour, but it makes far more than you need for a single batch of this recipe and I’m not quite sure what to do with the leftover mayo other than make more tuna sandwiches, which means opening more cans of tuna and more leftover oil! 😂 So we didn’t use the homemade tuna mayo in this recipe. But drop a comment below if you want the recipe and JB will jot it down and we’ll pop it in the notes of the recipe card. – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Tuna sandwich filling:
- 425g/ 15 oz canned tuna in oil , drained (Note 1)
- 3/4 cup whole egg mayonnaise or Kewpie (Note 2)
- 3/4 cup finely diced celery (1 stalk, cut in 4 lengthways, then finely diced)
- 5 tbsp finely chopped dill pickle (Note 3)
- 2 tbsp liquid from pickle jar (Note 3)
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp finely chopped dill (or parsley or basil)
- 1/3 cup finely sliced green onion , ~2 stems (Note 4)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 8 pieces butter lettuce (2 per sandwich)
- Salted butter , for spreading
- 8 slices bread or 4 rolls (Note 5)
- Filling – Put all the Tuna Filling ingredients in a bowl. Mix well using a wooden spoon, breaking up the tuna so the filling becomes fairly smooth. The pickles and celery will take a beating too which is encouraged -> flavour melding!
- Sandwich – Divide Tuna Filling between 4 sandwiches (or more/less depending on bread size). I butter the bread and use 2 pieces of lettuce per sandwich. Enjoy!
My canned tuna recipes!
It’s amazing what you can make with a humble can of tuna….
Life of Dozer
What to do when there’s loud jack hammering coming from construction next door and you have to record a video voice-over? Hide in the storage room. With Dozer, of course. 😂