Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad

$2.01 recipe / $1.00 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.75 from 24 votes
Pin RecipeJump to recipe →

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that we make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

Have you ever seen those packets of flavored tuna in the grocery store? They were on sale once and I got curious, so I bought a few. The idea was interesting, but the execution failed, IMHO. So what did I do? MAKE MY OWN. #storyofmylife I chose this Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad as my first homemade flavored tuna because the simple combination of sweet and spicy is always irresistible to me, but I can’t wait to try more flavors. There are so many ways you can eat this simple no-cook dish that I now it’s going to become my new summer staple!

P.S. It’s great for meal prep! 👏

A bowl of Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad surrounded by crackers and vegetables on a blue surface.

No Mayo?

Mayo-free tuna salads are super popular these days, so I went ahead and made this Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad mayo-free (and to make it more like the store-bought version). That being said, I did add a little mayo to one of the test batches and it was also awesome with mayo! So if you are a mayo tuna salad person, feel free to go ahead and add a few tablespoons of creamy goodness to the bowl.

How to Serve Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad

I’m loving this tuna salad as a snack with crackers or vegetables, stuffed into peppers as an appetizer, or stuffed into a wrap with some spinach and cucumbers or avocado. It’s really quite versatile! Scroll down to see photos of different ways I used my Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad.

Should I Use Tuna Packed in Oil or Water?

You can actually use either for this recipe. I had tuna packed in water, so I added a little oil to the salad mix. If you’re using tuna packed in oil, you can skip the olive oil listed in the ingredients below.

Close up view of Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad on a slice of cucumber, the bowl in the background.
Share this recipe

Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad

4.75 from 24 votes
This Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad is bold and flavorful, and has no mayonnaise! It's the perfect quick fix for summer months or your weekly meal prep.
A bowl of Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad surrounded by crackers and vegetables.
Servings 2 About 3/4 cup each
Prep 8 minutes
Cook 0 minutes
Total 8 minutes



  • Drain the tuna well, then place it in a bowl.
  • Shred the carrot using a cheese grater. Slice the green onion.
  • Add the carrot, green onion, brown sugar, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, cayenne, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to the bowl with the drained tuna.
  • Stir everything to combine, then let the mixture sit for about five minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


*Tuna packed in oil or water. If using tuna packed in oil, skip the olive oil listed in the ingredients.


Calories: 198.5kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 28.45gFat: 6.1gSodium: 789.45mgFiber: 1.55g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
Email Me This Recipe
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad stuffed mini peppers and celery sticks

Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad stuffed into celery sticks and mini sweet peppers. This would make a great party appetizer!

Tortilla filled with spinach, cucumber slices, and Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad

This is the wrap I made with spinach, cucumber slices, and the Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad. I wanted avocado as well, but all the avocados at the store were rock hard. That wrap is the sprouted grain wraps from Aldi. :)

How to Make Sweet and Spicy TUna Salad – Step by Step Photos

Ingredients for Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad in a bowl, unmixed

This tuna salad is incredibly easy to make. Drain two 5oz. cans of tuna (packed in oil or water) and add them to a bowl. Grate one carrot and slice two green onions. Add them to the bowl along with 2 tsp brown sugar, 2 tsp olive oil (skip if using tuna packed in oil), 1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper.

Mixed Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad in the bowl

Then just mix everything together. Let it sit for about 5 minutes to let the flavors kind of blend a bit.

A cucumber dipped into the sweet and spicy tuna salad bowl

Then dig in! It’s SO good on cucumber slices.

A mini sweet pepper filled with sweet and spicy tuna salad

But these cute little sweet peppers were pretty amazing with it as well. 🤤

Share this recipe

Posted in: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Leave a Comment
  1. This is (and has been) a go to for me. It is SO easy, and SO tasty. I love to eat it straight, but as indicated here, it’s AMAZING on cucumbers and mini bell peppers. Cannot recommend Enough. I was momentarily concerned when immediately mixed, but when I let it sit, all the flavors melted together delightfully.

  2. Thank you for sharing this recipe, Beth.

    So simple and quick, yet so good! I usually don’t know what to eat if I don’t plan ahead, but when I realized I had canned tuna, I remembered this recipe, and decided to give it a shot. It was delicious! I made it as a wrap, and added some celery and capers. Loved it, and will often do it whenever I have no idea what to eat.

  3. After working a nearly 9 hour shift at my active job, I was desperate for lunch when I got home. I was craving tuna. But I found I had no mayo after I had already opened a can! I remembered seeing this and happened to have most of the ingredients except the veggies. It’s still yummy without, so thank you very much for saving me from a hunger-rage induced tantrum while having to make something else. 

  4. This tuna salad was great! Just enough flavour, not too much, not too little. I made little tuna salad wraps with 7 inch tortillas and froze them. No mayo, so I can freeze it! Will make again, so easy and good. I bought a bunch of tuna on sale.

  5. Oh this is yummy. You know what though? I loved the crunchy texture and thought this was delightful on mini peppers, cucumbers and celery (but kinda gross on club crackers) #weird Mmmmm, thanks Miss Beth!!

  6. Tried this recipe tonight for a quick dinner – amazing and healthy. This will be a regular go to from now on. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  7. Delicious as always! I’d love to see your take on the lemon pepper and lemon sesame ginger flavors as well.

  8. What a great idea! I didnt much care for the tuna packets either. Cant wait to try this!

  9. This is a regular quick easy (cheap!) favorite in our household. I do take the shortcut of adding dried chives instead of fresh green onion usually and it’s still delicious. Sometimes it works well to also use one can of tuna with one can of chick peas, instead of just two cans of tuna, if you’re looking to mix things up a bit. There are so many great ways to serve this, thanks for another amazing recipe!