Mexican Tuna Salad (ensalada de atun)

This Mexican tuna salad (ensalada de atun) can be made in only 10 minutes! It is fresh, creamy, tangy, and perfect as an appetizer or easy lunch any day of the week.

Mexican tuna salad (ensalada de atun) served in a turquoise bowl with some saltines on the side.

About The Recipe

Mexican tuna salad (known in Spanish as Ensalada de atún) is a simple and delicious salad made with canned tuna, mayonnaise, and vegetables.

The recipe varies from family to family, but there’s always an ingredient that’s never missing: Pickled jalapeños. This simple addition brings to this salad so much flavor!

The Mexican version of the popular tuna salad is something worth trying, the recipe is really quick and easy to throw together and we think you will love it because it is also…

  • Fresh
  • Tangy
  • Creamy
  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to make
Mexican tuna salad served on tostadas.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Is quick and easy. You just need to chop a few fresh veggies, open a few cans, throw them all together in a bowl and toss them with mayo and cream. Easy peasy!
  • Perfect to take away. Is a wonderful meal that is easy to bring to potlucks, lunch at work, or picnics.
  • Can be made ahead. It makes the perfect prep meal for busy days.
  • Use simple ingredients. Not need special ingredients that are hard to find.
  • It’s highly customizable. Is one of those recipes that are perfect to “clean your fridge”, you can add other vegetables, use water canned tuna, add other ingredients, etc.

The Ingredients Needed

  • Canned tuna. You can choose what type of canned tuna to add. I will always go with packed tuna in olive oil as that’s the one we prefer, but if you want to cut off on calories you can add also tuna in water.
  • Fresh vegetables. Red onion, fresh tomatoes, and lettuce.
  • Canned vegetables. You can use a can of mixed vegetables (carrots, potatoes, corn, peas), or you can also boil some frozen vegetables.
  • Mayonnaise. Use any type of mayonnaise you prefer.
  • Cream. Mexican crema is what I used, but you can substitute it with sour cream or even greek yogurt as a healthier option.
  • Jalapeno peppers. It wouldn’t be an authentic ensalada de atún without pickled jalapeno peppers, those are very easy to find in many countries, look on Amazon or Mexican stores.
  • Jalapeno Brine. I highly recommend using the juice from pickled jalapenos as an ingredient. It has tons of flavor but is by far less spicy than the peppers.
Ingredients for Mexican tuna salad in bowls on a marble countertop.

Related article: Tuna in oil vs Tuna in water. By live

How To Make Mexican Tuna Salad Recipe

  • Prepare your fresh vegetables by washing them and cutting them.
  • Place lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a can of mixed veggies in a medium bowl.
  • Drain well the canned tuna and add it to the bowl with veggies.
  • Add Mexican crema, mayonnaise, and chopped pickled jalapeños.
Vegetables and tuna on a bowl, and dressing ingredients on small bowls on the side to make Mexican tuna salad.
  • Add about 1/4 cup of the brine from pickled jalapeños, believe me, you don’t wanna skip this ingredient!
  • Add a pinch of salt and toss everything for one or two minutes to coat nicely all ingredients.
  • Taste the salad and adjust the salt if needed (remember that tuna has salt already).
  • Serve your ensalada de atun as suggested below or store it for later (read more below).
Mexican tuna salad  already made in a bowl.

How To Serve

In Mexico, is very common to see this easy tuna salad served in the following ways:

  • On tostada shells. Those crunchy corn tortillas can be found at any Mexican store or also on Amazon, my favorite brand is Tostadas Charras and you can even buy the baked version and save some calories.
  • With crackers. Salty crackers (saltines), also known as galletas saladas; are another option to serve Mexican tuna salad.
  • In a sandwich. My favorite way of eating this dish, but you might want to make it and eat it straight away, as the bread can get soggy if you prepare the sandwich ahead.
  • As a dip. Scoop it up with totopos (tortilla chips), rice crackers, toasted bread, or for a low-carb option, with crunchy vegetables.
  • Lettuce wraps. You can use crispy romaine lettuce leaves to make some wraps, which is a healthy option for eating this dish.
Mexican tuna salad stuffed in a sandwich.

Recipe Variations

  • Make it creamier. Add 1 avocado cut into cubes for creaminess.
  • Make it crunchier. Add crunchy bits of diced bell pepper, cucumber, or celery.
  • Fresh and tangy. Lime juice, cilantro, and a bit of mustard add freshness and tanginess to this delicious Mexican tuna salad.
  • Add fruit. Add diced apples or grapes for a sweet touch.

How To Store

Mexican tuna salad leftovers last up to 4 days nicely stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. We recommend the use of glass containers as those preserve best the flavors and freshness in food.

If you want to make it ahead you can also toss everything, but the lettuce, and keep it in the fridge. Lettuce can be stored in a separate glass container for several days.

When you will be ready to eat it, add the salad to a bowl, mix in the chopped lettuce, and enjoy.

This salad is really perfect for bringing to gatherings, and office lunch. And since it stays fresh for a couple of hours outside the fridge, makes also a nice take-away for road trips and picnics.

Ensalada de atún (Mexican tuna salad) in a turquoise bowl.

More Mexican salads to try

  • Salpicon – This healthy salad is made with shredded beef and vegetables, so fresh, low-carb, and naturally gluten-free.
  • Coditos Salad – The Mexican version of macaroni salad with a fun tangy and sweet touch from pineapple.
  • Cactus Salad – A traditional and authentic Mexican recipe made with pickled nopales, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.
  • Curtido – This Mexican cabbage salad is perfect to top on crispy tacos, tostadas, or as a side for grilled meats.
Mexican tuna salad recipe.

Mexican Tuna Salad (ensalada de atun)

author Maricruz
This Mexican tuna salad is perfect to serve for a quick lunch, or as an easy appetizer any day of the week. The creamy and soft textures combine perfectly with crunchy bits of lettuce and onions.
prep 10 minutes
total 10 minutes


  • 1 -7 oz can tuna (drained)
  • 1 ½ cup iceberg lettuce (chopped)
  • ½ cup tomatoes (diced)
  • ¼ cup onions (chopped)
  • 1 -8oz can mixed vegetables
  • cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Mexican crema (or sour cream)
  • ¼ cup pickled jalapeños (chopped)
  • ¼ cup brine from pickled jalapeños
  • salt


  • Place lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and mixed veggies in a medium bowl.
  • Drain well the tuna and add it to the bowl.
  • Add Mexican crema, mayonnaise, pickled jalapeños, and brine.
  • Toss everything for 1-2 minutes.
  • Adjust salt to taste and serve on tostadas, saltine crackers, or stuffed in a sandwich.


The recipe yields 2 complete servings for lunch or dinner. If you make this salad as an appetizer it can serve up to 4 people.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 460kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 820mg | Potassium: 687mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 11947IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 172mg | Iron: 3mg
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What is ensalada de atún?

Ensalada de atún is the Mexican version of the popular tuna salad everybody knows.

What can I use instead of mayonnaise?

You can use greek yogurt or sugar-free plain yogurt. Cashew cream is also another good option.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, but this is only for the salad. If you don’t want to consume gluten make sure you serve it also with gluten-free products.

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Recipe Rating

One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Mexican tuna salad is one of my favorite recipes for summer, thanks Mari for sharing the recipe! I love your blog and love how you explain things so easy and sometimes the story behind a dish. Now, go to make some tuna salad for lunch :)