| | |

Tuna Macaroni Salad

Hey there, fellow foodies! Today, I’m excited to share with you one of my all-time favorite recipes: Tuna Macaroni Salad. This classic dish holds a special place in my heart, as it’s a nostalgic reminder of family gatherings and summer picnics. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to make and oh-so-delicious! With tender elbow macaroni, savory canned tuna, crunchy veggies, and a creamy dressing, this tuna macaroni salad recipe is a true crowd-pleaser that’s perfect for any occasion.

Tuna Macaroni Salad

But before we dive into the recipe, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane and explore the history of tuna macaroni salad. While the exact origins of this dish are unclear, it’s believed to have originated in the mid-20th century as a convenient and budget-friendly meal option. During this time, canned tuna became widely available and was often used to stretch meals and add protein to salads and casseroles. Tuna macaroni salad quickly gained popularity as a hearty and satisfying dish that could be enjoyed year-round.

tuna macaroni salad

Now, let’s talk about how to make this delicious tuna macaroni salad. It starts with cooking up a batch of elbow macaroni until tender, then cooling it down with a rinse of cold water. Meanwhile, we’ll whip up a creamy dressing using mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, lemon juice, and a blend of seasonings. Once the dressing is ready, we’ll toss it with the cooked pasta, canned tuna, chopped hard-boiled eggs, and thawed peas. The result? A flavor-packed salad that’s creamy, tangy, and oh-so-satisfying. Trust me, once you try this tuna macaroni salad, you’ll be hooked!

tuna macaroni salad

What Will You Love About This Recipe

There are so many reasons to love this Tuna Macaroni Salad recipe! First and foremost, it’s incredibly delicious. The combination of tender macaroni, flavorful canned tuna, crunchy veggies, and creamy dressing creates a symphony of flavors and textures that’s simply irresistible. Each bite is bursting with savory goodness, making it a satisfying and comforting dish that’s perfect for lunch, dinner, or any time you’re craving something tasty.

Another reason to love this recipe is its versatility. It’s a great way to use up pantry staples like canned tuna and pasta, and you can easily customize it with your favorite add-ins and seasonings. Whether you prefer extra veggies, a bit of heat from hot sauce or diced jalapenos, or a sprinkle of fresh herbs for added freshness, the possibilities are endless. Plus, you can adjust the ingredients to suit your dietary preferences or any allergies you may have, making it a flexible and adaptable dish for everyone to enjoy.

Lastly, this Tuna Macaroni Salad is perfect for meal prep and make-ahead meals. It’s great for batch cooking and can be stored in the refrigerator for several days, allowing the flavors to meld together and develop even more. It’s a convenient option for busy weeknights or on-the-go lunches, and it’s always a hit at potlucks, picnics, and gatherings. So whether you’re cooking for yourself or feeding a crowd, this Tuna Macaroni Salad is sure to be a favorite recipe that you’ll turn to again and again!

tuna macaroni salad

How to Make

Step 1: Start by cooking your pasta as directed on the back of the box. I always add salt to the water to help add flavor to the pasta. 

Step 2: While your pasta is cooking, open the tuna cans. Make sure to drain off excess liquid. Also, add your eggs in water to make hard boiled eggs. 

Step 3: Now in a bowl mix up your mayo and other dressing ingredients. Full directions are below. Once well  mixed stir in the tuna. 

Step 4: Drain cooked pasta and run under cold water to cool down. Once drained place in your serving bowl. Pour your tuna mixture into your pour pasta and stir well. 

Step 5: Add in your thawed peas.

Step 6: Carefully mix in your chopped eggs. When your salad is finished and all mixed up store in the fridge until ready to serve up your Tuna salad. 

tuna macaroni salad

Tips & Tricks

  • Cook the pasta just right: Be sure to cook the elbow macaroni until it’s al dente, or slightly firm to the bite. Overcooking can result in mushy pasta, which can affect the texture of the salad.
  • Cool the pasta completely: After cooking the macaroni, be sure to rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool it down quickly. This helps prevent the pasta from becoming too soft and sticky, and it also ensures that the salad stays chilled and refreshing.
  • Use quality ingredients: Opt for high-quality canned tuna packed in water for the best flavor and texture. Similarly, use fresh or frozen peas, and ripe eggs for the best results.
  • Customize the dressing: Feel free to adjust the dressing to suit your taste preferences. You can add more or less mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, lemon juice, and seasonings according to your liking.
  • Let the flavors meld: After mixing all the ingredients together, let the Tuna Macaroni Salad chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and develop, resulting in a more flavorful and cohesive dish.
  • Serve with a twist: Get creative with your serving options! Try serving the Tuna Macaroni Salad in lettuce cups, stuffed into pita pockets, or alongside a fresh green salad for a complete meal.
tuna macaroni salad

FAQs about cheesecloth

Yes, you can use different types of pasta for this recipe, such as penne, rotini, or bowtie pasta. Just be sure to cook it according to the package instructions and rinse it under cold water before adding it to the salad.

Yes, you can substitute Greek yogurt for mayonnaise to make a lighter version of the dressing. Just keep in mind that Greek yogurt may alter the flavor slightly, so you may need to adjust the seasonings accordingly.

: Leftover Tuna Macaroni Salad will typically last for 3-5 days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. However, it’s best to consume it within 2-3 days for the best flavor and texture.

Can I Do This Without Tuna

If you want to skip the tuna go ahead and replace like shrimp, chicken or make it plain like a classic pasta salad. 

tuna macaroni salad

Check out these recipes:

tuna macaroni salad
Tuna macaroni salad

Tuna Macaroni Salad

Tuna macaroni salad is one of my favorite cold salads! This tuna macaroni salad is loaded with rich flavorful tuna, hard boiled eggs, pasta in a creamy homemade dressing. 


  • 1 LB Elbow Macaroni, cooked
  • 2 5 OZ Cans of Tuna, in water, drained
  • 4 Hard Boiled Eggs, chopped
  • 1 Cup Frozen Peas, thawed
  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Cup Sweet Pickle Relish Juice
  • 3/4 TSP Onion Salt
  • 3/4 TSP Celery Seed
  • 3/4 TSP Pepper
  • 1 TBSP Lemon Juice


  1. Cook macaroni, run cold water over it to cool.
  2. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, relish, salt, celery seed, pepper, & lemon juice. Whisk to combine well.
  3. Add in tuna.
  4. Add cooled pasta to a serving bowl.
  5. Pour mayonnaise mixture over the pasta. Mix well to make sure all of the pasta is coated.
  6. Add in the thawed peas. Mix to combine.
  7. Add in chopped eggs. Stir gently to combine.
  8. Put in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours before serving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 226Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 313mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 9g

Hey there, I’m Melissa

Meet Melissa, the creative mind behind Sparkles to Sprinkles, where imagination thrives and joy abounds. A proud Jersey girl who fell in love with a New York boy, Melissa is a dedicated mom to four boys and a few fur babies. Her journey into blogging began when she chose to stay home and nurture her children. Formerly a workaholic, Melissa found solace and passion in blogging, inspired by her mother-in-law’s culinary prowess. Through family recipes and cooking classes, Melissa honed her skills, often attending with her son Michael, who shares her love for cooking. Her blog showcases diverse recipes, from beloved family classics to global cuisines, featuring her expertise with kitchen appliances like the Instant Pot and air fryer. Join Melissa on her culinary journey, where tried-and-true favorites meet exciting new discoveries!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

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