Martha Stewart’s Favorite Tuna Salad Has the Most Clever 1-Ingredient Upgrade (I Can’t Stop Making It!)

published Mar 20, 2024
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

If there’s one thing you’ll always find in my pantry, it’s canned tuna — always (always!) oil-packed. Seriously, it’s more of a sure thing than brown sugar. Aside from making a tuna melt, I don’t often cook with it. Sometimes I’ll mix it with mayo, soy sauce, and sesame oil; plop it on top of a bowl of rice; and sprinkle on furikake. But usually I fix myself a good ol’ tuna sandwich. 

My go-to used to be mayo (duh), a squeeze of lemon, some hot sauce, and chopped pickles. But leave it to Martha to show me an even better way. Two years ago, we pitted four famous tuna salad recipes against each other and Martha Stewart’s recipe won by a half point. Her secret: chopped apples. 

What Makes Martha’s Tuna Salad So Good 

Chopped apples add a touch of sweetness that freshens up the mayo and goes surprisingly well with the tuna. It also adds a juicy crispness that I love. Martha adds basil too, which is a lovely summery touch, but I rarely have it (it turns so quickly!) and never make a special trip to the store to get it. Apples, on the other hand, are always in my crisper drawer, regardless of the season. (I have a 2- and 4-year-old.)

Tips for Making Better Tuna Salad

  1. Add more mayo. I agree with our original review of Martha’s tuna salad; there’s not enough mayo! You truly don’t need a recipe to make tuna salad, but if you are going to follow her recipe, definitely add more mayo. 
  2. Use oil-packed tuna. If you only have the kind in water, that’s totally fine. Use it! But next time at the store, go for the one that comes drenched in olive oil instead. It’s 10x more flavorful. 
  3. You can skip the celery. (Another thing I rarely have!) Finely diced red onions would be great, as would chopped pepperoncini.
  4. Add potato chips. If you’re making a sandwich, the pro move is to add a layer of crispy potato chips. It’s one of life’s greatest pleasures.