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Tea Room Tuna Salad Recipe

This dish is perfect for people who love tuna fish sandwiches but want a more grown-up recipe.

This dish is perfect for people who love tuna fish sandwiches but want a more grown-up recipe.

Tuna Fish Recipe for Adults

Growing up, tuna fish sandwiches were a summertime lunch staple. It was pretty plain, too. Usually, it involved a can of tuna, some Miracle Whip, mustard, sweet relish, and two slices of white bread. That's it.

As I have grown older and tasted many different tuna salads, though, I have found a new favorite.

We have a wonderful tea room in town that serves some of the most scrumptious sandwiches, salads, wraps, soups, and desserts. It's called Spring Creek Tea Room, and it has been an inspiration to many who live in the area. The lady who owns the place is up at 2:00 a.m. fixing and baking recipes so everything is fresh.

Each day brings a different selection. Her tuna salad is there every day, though. You can order it as a sandwich, wrap, or salad—and it is delicious.

I will not be the first one to try to copy this lady’s recipes.

I have, of course, turned it into my own recipe because I like to add and mix in optional ingredients.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

45 min

2 hours

2 hours 45 min

6 to 8 people

Gather your ingredients.

Gather your ingredients.


  • 1 (12-ounce) can tuna in water, drained
  • 6 to 7 boiled eggs, thinly sliced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white or yellow sweet onion, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 20 to 30 seedless red grapes, quartered
  • 1 cup hamburger dill pickles, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup English walnuts, chopped
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil mayonnaise
  • Pickle juice, to taste and texture
The water is boiling over the tops of the eggs that were left uncovered.

The water is boiling over the tops of the eggs that were left uncovered.

How to Boil an Egg

For this recipe, I boiled seven eggs—but it's the same technique, whether it's seven eggs or just one.

  1. Use a medium-sized pot (smaller pot for fewer eggs).
  2. Place eggs in the pot.
  3. Pour water over eggs so only about a quarter size is left uncovered.
  4. Boil on medium-high heat for 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. Run cold water over the hot eggs.
  6. Crack the large end.
  7. Peeling is easier while the egg is still hot.
Chopped onion, English walnuts, Granny Smith apple, dill pickles, and quartered grapes

Chopped onion, English walnuts, Granny Smith apple, dill pickles, and quartered grapes


  1. Put eggs on to boil. Please refer to the blue side capsule for a description of how to boil eggs.
  2. Gather all other ingredients.
  3. Open the tuna and press the lid down and drain the tuna water into the sink with the hot water running (you don’t want grease build-up). After dumping the tuna into the bowl, take a fork and separate the chunks. This will help make a creamier spread or dip.
  4. Taking a peeled onion, use a paring knife and cut in a “tick-tac-toe” fashion down through approximately half the onion. Take the knife and thinly slice from the side to create small pieces of onion. Then, mix the onion with the tuna.
  5. Wash and core the apple. You can do this by using an apple core utensil or by simply quartering the apple with a knife and slicing the core out. When using the quartered method, slice the quarters into quarters. Thinly chop the apple into the mixture and stir thoroughly.
  6. Wash the grapes then quarter them into the mixture. Stir them in thoroughly.
  7. Taking 7 or 8 pickle slice, chop them up into the mixture and stir thoroughly. Repeat to taste.
  8. Wash and remove leaves from the celery stalk. Thinly chop the stalk into the mixture and stir thoroughly.
  9. Peel and thinly slice boiled eggs. Chop with fork as you stir thoroughly.
  10. Pour the English Walnuts into a nut chopper. Press and chop to desired size. If you do not have a nut chopper, use a knife to chop the nuts. Mix and stir thoroughly.
  11. Now that all ingredients are evenly distributed throughout, add mayonnaise and fold into the mixture until all ingredients are coated. You may want to do this a tablespoon at a time until it is the right creamy consistency.
  12. Add pickle juice to taste and for texture. It will make it creamier.
  13. Place in refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Serving Ideas

This recipe is large enough to be served as a main dish. You could put it on bread or toast, or you could serve it with a variety of crackers. I prefer Wheat Thins and Triscuits because they are strong crackers that will not break if you are using the tuna salad as a dip.

You could also serve it on a bed of lettuce with tomatoes on the side. I would not recommend adding the tomatoes to the tuna salad because they will become mushy with a twangy taste.

Optional Ingredients

  • You can substitute olive oil mayonnaise with regular mayonnaise or Miracle Whip.
  • If you do not like a tart Granny Smith apple, you could use a Red or Yellow Delicious apple, which has a sweeter flavor.
  • Rather than a sweet onion, you may want a stouter red onion, which would add more color.
  • I like the red seedless grapes for the color, but the white seedless grapes are just as good.
  • You may prefer pecans or black walnuts to English walnuts.
  • Some do not like dill pickles and would rather have sweet pickles or sweet relish.

The choices are many. Make it to your tastes and enjoy.

Rate Tea Room Tuna Salad

© 2012 Susan Holland