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This canned mackerel salad recipe is quick and simple to make and delicious in sandwiches or wraps. It’s a tasty alternative to tuna salad!

You may also like my Canned Salmon Salad, Sardine Salad, or this Easy Tuna Salad Recipe.

canned mackerel salad on open faced sandwiches with lettuce and tomato on a plate

Why you’ll love it

I feel like mackerel is the forgotten middle child in the canned fish family, but it’s time for it to get some of the glory, in my opinion. It’s a fantastic-tasting healthy fish that adds a flavor punch to your sandwiches! I also like how it’s another creative and easy option for a filling, inexpensive, and simple lunch.

If you’re thinking about what to make with canned mackerel, try this easy pantry meal. You already enjoy tuna salad, so chances are that you will love this recipe as well. I think it’s time for mackerel to get a little love. Try this Canned Mackerel Pasta too.

What is mackerel?

  • It’s a super tasty fish! Canned mackerel can vary a lot in taste depending on the brand. It’s got loads of omega-3s and good stuff in it. My favorite brand that I’ve tried is King Oscar. It’s milder and less “fishy” tasting than some brands. This post is not sponsored; it’s just the brand I liked best when testing this recipe!

What you’ll need

  • Mackerel – this canned fish is inexpensive and packed with nutrients
  • Mayo – I love adding mayo to salads for sandwiches since it has that classic creamy texture and a bit of tang
  • Dijon mustard – a little Dijon gives it a wonderful savory depth without actually tasting like mustard itself. Don’t leave it out!
  • Lemon juice and zest – it adds a vibrant touch
  • Celery – for that perfect crunch
  • Capers – not strictly necessary, but they just pair so well with seafood
  • Onion – we’re using red onion for more flavor and additional crunch
  • Parsley – parsley is the easiest way to instantly add freshness to any sandwich
  • Cucumber – for more crunch, but leave it out if you’re not serving this right away

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

  • I used my Microplane to zest the lemon.
  • If you don’t have a favorite cooking spoon yet, try my favorite one to mix this salad together.
  • Store the remainder of the onion in an onion saver. It keeps it fresher for longer.
a can of mackerel next to a bowl of canned mackerel salad on a marble surface

How to make canned mackerel salad

This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

  • Prep your ingredients. To a bowl, add the mackerel (drain it, and then flake it with a fork) and the rest of the dressing ingredients.
  • Gently mix together, then and adjust any quantities if needed and add salt & pepper to taste.
  • Use your favorite bread to make a sandwich, and add desired toppings.

Substitutions and variations

  • This recipe is very flexible! Feel free to add/adjust/omit ingredients as needed.
  • You could swap the capers for chopped pickles or relish.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes would go great in here if you happen to have some on hand.
  • A couple of dashes of hot sauce would make a tasty addition too if spicy is your thing! I can’t resist adding a little sriracha.

What to serve with mackerel salad sandwiches

  • All of your favorite toppings that you’d add to a tuna salad sandwich will work just as well here!
  • I like to throw in some lettuce, tomato, sprouts, or even a slice of cheddar. You can’t go wrong with pickles or potato chips on the side.
  • Craving a soup and sandwich combo? Make my light and tasty Easy Asparagus Soup or this comforting Easy Tomato Soup Recipe.

Leftovers and storage

  • Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Make sure to refrigerate it fairly soon after making it. If it’s been sitting out for any amount of time, discard it or eat it right away.
  • We don’t recommend freezing this one.
canned mackerel salad in a white bowl

Questions about this canned mackerel salad? Talk to me in the comments below! I’d love it if you left a star rating and review below if you made it.

canned mackerel salad on open faced sandwiches with lettuce and tomato on a plate
5 from 2 votes

Canned Mackerel Salad

This canned mackerel salad recipe is quick and simple to make and delicious in sandwiches or wraps. It's a tasty alternative to tuna salad!
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 2


  • 2 (4 ounce) cans mackerel drained, see note
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice + zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 stick celery chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers drained & chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons red onion or scallions chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cucumber chopped (optional, see note)
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Prep the ingredients and add them to a bowl. Gently mash/stir together. Give it a taste and adjust ingredients as needed (e.g. add more lemon juice or salt & pepper).
  • Serve in a sandwich, wrap, lettuce wraps, etc.


  • Makes about 2 sandwiches (up to 4 if you don’t fill them much). To halve the recipe, use 1 can of mackerel and halve each ingredient (it’s fine to eyeball this recipe… it’s very flexible).
  • Mackerel taste/quality can vary a lot from brand-to-brand. The best one I’ve tried is King Oscar. 
  • Skip the cucumber if you don’t plan on eating it right away (it’ll make it more watery if it sits).


Calories: 378kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 101mg, Sodium: 764mg, Potassium: 325mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 786IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 293mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Hi! Iā€™m Natasha.

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  1. Excellent recipe. I used Earth Planet mackerel. Also added some finely minced sweet pickles. I liked it without them, but wanted just a hint of sweet. Capers are a really nice addition, and think the lemon peel and parsley really help hide the fishiness.