Ultimate Guide to Japanese Tuna Salad Sandwich: Ingredients & Recipe

Imagine biting into a sandwich that’s not just any ordinary lunch fare but a delightful blend of flavors that transports you straight to Japan. The Japanese tuna salad sandwich, or tsuna sando as it’s affectionately called in Japan, offers a unique twist on the familiar tuna salad sandwich you know and love. This version elevates the simple ingredients to a whole new level with additions like soy sauce and a touch of wasabi.


Here’s what you’ll need to create your mouthwatering Japanese tuna salad sandwich, known as Tsuna Sando. Each ingredient is chosen to enhance the rich, umami flavors typical of Japanese cuisine.

Tuna Salad Mixture

  • 1 can (5 oz) of solid white tuna in water, drained well
  • 2 tablespoons of Japanese mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of wasabi paste (adjust more or less depending on your spice preference)
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped scallion
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • Salt to taste, if needed

Bread Selection

  • 4 slices of soft white bread, crusts removed
  • Butter, for spreading
  • Thinly sliced cucumber
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Additional wasabi paste, for serving (optional)

Equipment Needed

To craft the perfect Japanese tuna salad sandwich, you need several key pieces of kitchen equipment that will make preparation smooth and efficient. Ensure you have the following items ready:

  • Mixing Bowl: This is essential for combining your tuna with the Japanese mayonnaise, soy sauce, wasabi paste, and other seasonings. A medium-sized bowl should suffice.
  • Whisk or Fork: You’ll use this to mix the ingredients thoroughly, ensuring the flavors meld beautifully.
  • Sharp Knife: A sharp knife is necessary for finely chopping the scallions and cutting the cucumber into thin slices. Precision in cutting provides not only aesthetic appeal but also even distribution of flavors.
  • Cutting Board: Choose a sturdy board for safety and ease when slicing your ingredients.
  • Measuring Spoons: Accurate measurements are vital in balancing the rich flavors of the sandwich, so have a set of measuring spoons ready to measure the soy sauce, sesame oil, and wasabi paste.
  • Toaster or Sandwich Press: To achieve that lightly toasted soft white bread, a toaster or a sandwich press is a must-have to bring crispness that compliments the creamy filling.
  • Butter Knife or Spreader: This will be used to spread the tuna mixture evenly across the slices of bread, ensuring every bite is as good as the last.

With these tools in hand, you’re set to assemble a delightful Japanese tuna salad sandwich that’s both traditional and tailored to your taste.

Prep Time

Before you dive into constructing your delightful Japanese tuna salad sandwich, you’ll need to know how to efficiently prepare the components. Get ready to bring this dish to life!

Bread Preparation

Start by selecting your preferred type of bread; traditionally, soft, thick slices of white bread are used to keep the sandwich light and airy. Trim off the crusts for a seamless eating experience. Toast the bread slices lightly to add a subtle crunch without detracting from the soft texture of the filling. Your bread is now ready to be laden with the delicious tuna salad.

Tuna Salad Preparation

Begin by draining the solid white tuna thoroughly to keep the salad from becoming too wet. In a large mixing bowl, combine the drained tuna, a generous dollop of Japanese mayonnaise, finely chopped scallions, and a dash of soy sauce and wasabi. Mix these ingredients well until the tuna is evenly coated and the salad takes on a creamy consistency. Taste and adjust the seasonings according to your preference—adding more wasabi for a kick or soy sauce for a deeper umami flavor. Your tuna salad is now prepped and ready to spread on the freshly toasted bread.

Assembly Instructions

Now that your ingredients are prepped and the equipment is set, let’s get to the fun part – assembling your Japanese tuna salad sandwich.

Spooning the Tuna Salad

Begin by taking your lightly toasted slices of white bread. Use a spoon to generously spread the creamy tuna salad evenly over one slice of the bread. Ensure the mixture is distributed well, reaching all the way to the edges, to maximize flavor in every bite.

Adding Toppings

After spreading the tuna salad, you can add a layer of thinly sliced cucumbers for a crisp, fresh texture. Place the cucumber slices evenly over the tuna salad. Next, if you like a bit of sharpness and additional color, add a few slices of radish. These toppings not only complement the flavors but also add a delightful crunch and visual appeal to your sandwich. Once toppings are in place, gently cover with the second slice of bread, press down lightly to secure the fillings, and your tsuna sando is ready to be enjoyed. Feel free to cut the sandwich diagonally into halves or quarters for an authentic presentation and easier eating.

Serving Suggestions

Explore how best to enjoy your Japanese tuna salad sandwich to enhance its delightful flavors and textures.

Serving Temperature

Serve your tsuna sando chilled or at room temperature. This ensures that the flavors of the wasabi and soy sauce are at their peak, providing a refreshing and exhilarating taste experience. Chilling the sandwich for about an hour before serving can help merge the flavors beautifully, but if you’re in a hurry, room temperature works perfectly as well.


Pair your Japanese tuna salad sandwich with a side of lightly salted, crispy potato chips or a small salad of mixed greens to complement the creamy texture of the tuna filling. For a more traditional approach, consider serving it with a side of pickled vegetables like radishes or cucumbers, which will add a delightful crunch and vinegary punch. These sides help balance the rich mayonnaise and robust flavors of the sandwich, making your meal satisfyingly complete.


So there you have it! You’re all set to whip up your own Japanese tuna salad sandwich. Whether you’re looking for a quick lunch or a unique addition to your meal rotation this sandwich is sure to delight. Don’t forget to enjoy it chilled or at room temperature to really bring out the flavors. Pair it with your favorite side like crispy potato chips or fresh pickled veggies for a truly satisfying experience. Here’s to a delicious dive into the flavorful world of tsuna sando! Enjoy every bite.

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