Get ready for the best spicy Buffalo Tuna Salad. It's slightly spicy from the buffalo hot sauce, creamy from the spicy ranch dressing, and studded with fresh carrots, celery, and bell peppers. Enjoy these big bold flavors in lettuce wraps, on a sandwich, or with your favorite crackers. Make this crowd-friendly snack in only 15 minutes.Jump to Recipe
I have been raving to everyone about my new favorite tuna recipe. This is not your typical tuna salad, it's packed with big bold flavors from the buffalo hot sauce. It's my absolute favorite way to enjoy tuna.
One thing I love about this recipe is that we swapped mayonnaise for spicy ranch dressing. This came about because we didn't have any mayo on hand and I had to improvise. I'm so glad I did because buffalo and ranch go together so well and it's a great way to add creaminess and flavor. Let's get right into it.
- Why You're Going to Love Buffalo Tuna Salad
- Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- How to Make Buffalo Tuna Salad
- Ways to Enjoy Buffalo Tuna Salad
- More Delicious Additions to Buffalo Tuna Salad
- Tips For Meal-Prepping Buffalo Tuna Salad
- Storing Buffalo Tuna Salad
- Easy Buffalo Tuna Salad (High Protein & Low-Carb)
Why You're Going to Love Buffalo Tuna Salad
Protein-Packed: Flaky albacore tuna is the main ingredient and it's packed with healthy fats and a lot of protein making it a perfect light meal for those following a keto diet.
Customizable: There are a variety of ways to enjoy this buffalo tuna salad whether as a quick lunch over a bed of lettuce or on whole grain bread as a sandwich. You can use any crunchy veggies you have on hand not just the few mentioned in this recipe.
Quick and Easy Preparation: This simple tuna salad only takes 15 minutes to make. Chopping the carrots, celery, and bell pepper takes the most time. It's a great option for a snack after school, work, or even as a last-minute party idea.
Spicy Kick: This recipe puts a spicy spin on the traditional tuna salad. Don't worry about the heat too much, the creaminess from the ranch dressing cools it down a bit giving it a more mild flavor that's fitting for everyone who loves a little spice but nothing over the top.
Meal Prep Friendly: The tuna salad stays fresh for 3-4 days in the refrigerator making it the perfect meal prep idea for weekday lunches.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Canned tuna - When it comes to picking out the right tuna, it can get overwhelming because there are so many varieties out there to choose from. I recommend using a can of tuna in water instead of olive oil. We don't want the salad to be too oily. I also recommend albacore tuna because it's firm and light in flavor.
Celery - For added crunch and light flavor in the tuna.
Carrots - Adds the perfect pop of color and crunch to the salad. Try using baby carrots as a convenient option to avoid slices that are too big.
Red onion - Any onion can be used but red onion adds the perfect color. Try substituting sweet or yellow onion if you don't have red onion on hand.
Spicy ranch dressing - This is substituted in place of the mayonnaise. Want to try something new? Substitute with blue cheese dressing, creamy avocado dressing, or even Greek yogurt instead. Some recipes use cream cheese to give the tuna salad a nice creamy texture. If using, make sure it's softened before incorporating. 1.
Buffalo sauce - Choose your favorite brand! I recommend choosing a buffalo sauce because these tend to be less spicy than traditional hot sauces. Plus, buffalo hot sauce is made with garlic and butter which adds so much to the buffalo tuna salad recipe. If you're looking to add more spice add some cayenne pepper.
Paprika - Adds color and subtle flavor.
Garlic powder - Enhances the flavor even more. The longer you let the tuna salad sit, the more prominent the flavor will become. Don't add too much.
Salt and black pepper - To enhance the other ingredients on the list.
How to Make Buffalo Tuna Salad
Step 1. Place drained tuna in a medium bowl. Using a fork flake apart the tuna into smaller pieces.
Step 2. Add celery, carrots, red onion, ranch dressing, hot sauce, paprika, and garlic powder. Stir until well combined.
Step 3. Taste a little and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with the crackers of your choice or refrigerate for later.
Ways to Enjoy Buffalo Tuna Salad
This is for all my tuna salad lovers out there. The ways you can enjoy this tuna salad are endless. These ideas are great for using up leftover buffalo tuna salad on busy weeks or as an easy lunch idea.
Classic Sandwich: Spread buffalo tuna salad between slices of your favorite bread to make delicious regular sandwiches.
Buffalo Tuna Melt: Turn the salad into a delicious, warm buffalo tuna melt by making it into a sandwich with cheese. Pan fry each side with butter on warmed through and golden brown. Enjoy warm. I'm a huge fan of this idea!
Lettuce Wraps: Embrace a low-carb option by wrapping buffalo tuna salad in crisp lettuce leaves for a refreshing and light meal.Top with your favorite fresh herbs like parsley or dill for a refreshing twist.
Stuffed Avocado: Scoop out the pit of an avocado and fill it with buffalo tuna salad for a creamy and flavorful combination.
Crackers or Chips: Serve buffalo tuna salad as a dip with whole-grain crackers or gluten-free tortilla chips for a crunchy and savory snack.
Rice Bowl: Enjoy buffalo tuna salad over a bowl of brown rice or quinoa for a wholesome and filling meal.
Cucumber Boats: Hollow out cucumber halves and fill them with buffalo tuna salad for a light and low carb appetizer made with whole foods.
Quesadilla Filling: Make a spicy and cheesy quesadilla by using buffalo tuna salad as the filling. The best part about this easy dinner idea is that it takes no time at all and the buffalo flavors shine through so well!
Celery Sticks: Another yummy low-carb option is to eat with celery sticks. Use the sticks to scoop up the tuna. It's light and healthy too!
More Delicious Additions to Buffalo Tuna Salad
My new obsession is this buffalo version of tuna salad because of all the ways it can be made. Below are a few of the ways I've made this using ingredients I have on hand. I want to share these ideas with you because I encourage you to get creative with using what you already have on hand or veggies that are in season.
Green Onions: Enhance the flavor with the mild onion taste and a pop of color.
Blue Cheese Crumbles: Introduce a creamy and tangy element for a classic buffalo flavor.
Cherry Tomatoes: Provide bursts of sweetness and juicy texture.
Avocado: Creamy avocado adds richness and complements the spicy buffalo sauce.
Diced Jalapeños: Amp up the heat for those who love extra spice.
Black Beans: Add a protein and fiber boost, creating a heartier salad.
Corn Kernels: Sweet corn brings a touch of sweetness and texture.
Pickled Red Onions: Provide a tangy and vibrant addition.
Crumbled Bacon: Infuse smoky and savory notes for extra indulgence.
Tips For Meal-Prepping Buffalo Tuna Salad
- Make the buffalo tuna salad on the weekend to save time during the week.
- Place the prepared buffalo tuna salad in individual containers portioned perfectly to save time in the morning.
- If meal prepping the salad on a sandwich or a salad, store it separately from the bread and lettuce to avoid the bread getting soggy and the lettuce becoming wilted.
- Keep the salad cold until you're ready to eat it. You may want to place your lunch box in the fridge at work or pack an ice pack to ensure freshness.
Storing Buffalo Tuna Salad
To store buffalo tuna salad place in an airtight container then store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. The buffalo tuna salad will be most fresh around the 2-3 day mark then will lose its freshness afterward. Be sure to stir well before serving to redistribute all the ingredients. If you want longer storage, freeze in individual portions for up to 3 months. Be sure to thaw completely in the refrigerator before serving.
Easy Buffalo Tuna Salad (High Protein & Low-Carb)
- 2 5 oz cans tuna drained
- 1 celery stalk chopped
- 1/4 cup finely sliced carrots
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 3 tablespoons spicy ranch dressing
- 2 tablespoons buffalo hot sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place drained tuna in a medium bowl. Using a fork flake apart the tuna into smaller pieces.
- Add celery, carrots, red onion, ranch dressing, hot sauce, paprika, and garlic powder. Stir until well combined.
- Taste a little and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with the crackers of your choice or refrigerate for later.