Tuna Macaroni Salad can be made in less than 15 minutes! It’s a versatile recipe meaning if you don’t want to make macaroni salad with tuna you can swap in chicken or even leave the protein out. Great for potlucks, keep it chilled as it’s a cold tuna macaroni salad with mayo.
I grew up eating this recipe so often that whenever my mom made pasta I knew she was making macaroni tuna salad. Make it, and you can bring it tomorrow to your a party too! We love it the next day, and this is one of our favorite tuna pasta salad recipes, everyone loves it!
Growing up I remember running to the kitchen with my mother to make Tuna Macaroni Salad Recipe for the holidays. We loved just to eat this regularly too; it was a family tradition to make together. I’m so excited that my daughter and I make it together too.
The Original SNAP’N STRAIN by Kitchen Gizmo, No-hands No-Fuss Clip-On Strainer. Fits all Pot Sizes.
When we’re making pasta, I love using a strainer that doesn’t need much effort to use.
I want an effortless strainer, and this one is my go-to strainer for pasta, it’s even great for vegetables and potatoes.
My sink is never empty (such is life!) so it’s not so easy to just plop the strainer into the sink when you’re mid-recipe and have a cutting board, utensils and your kid’s cereal bowl in there.
What to do? I love using a snap-on strainer so that I can strain the pasta with one hand, or even potatoes!
When you make this, you could enjoy it right away, but we prefer to enjoy our tuna macaroni salad cold.
If you wanted to make this a healthy tuna macaroni salad you could use healthy food swaps like avocado and yogurt, but to stay true to tradition we shared my mom’s way, but we did use organic mayonnaise! 🙂 Not much has changed, aside from us purchasing canned tuna with less mercury. We also make sure our canned tuna is wild caught.
Since our family loves tuna so much having less mercury is a big deal. Now if you’ve read about what foods are off-limits during pregnancy canned tuna and pregnancy don’t usually go together, but if you have to have it, you can find it with less from several brands now.
Tuna Macaroni Salad Ingredients
- elbow macaroni
- green pepper
- salt + pepper to taste
We like to keep our tuna macaroni salad pretty simple and just the way my mom made it. She used white onions, but I like to use red onions for color. If the red onions are too strong for you sweet onions (sweet Vidalia onions) make a great alternative or even some sliced scallions. This is my mother’s tuna macaroni salad recipe and I haven’t changed anything aside from the red onion, it reminds me of her so much and it’s really the best tuna macaroni salad I’ve ever eaten.
How do you make tuna macaroni salad?
- First, start by boiling your desired amount of pasta.
- While the pasta is cooking you can chop up the pepper, celery, and onion.
- Mix the pasta, chopped veggies, mayo, and salt and pepper in a large bowl until combined.
There you have it! Super simple, right? 🙂
How do you make tuna pasta with mayo?
Mayo REALLY makes this salad. It’s the binder and it’s the flavor too! We prefer real mayo for our tuna macaroni salad. You can use other binders like yogurt, sour cream, but mayo is our choice. You can add as much or as little mayo as you like, you can always add, but you can’t take out like my grandma said. So if you like a creamy tuna macaroni salad just add more mayo. We just mix it in with our pasta salad ingredients and then place it right into the refrigerator. Since this pasta salad has mayo it’s important to keep it chilled.
Mercury in Tuna
Does tuna have mercury? Why does tuna have mercury? Here’s a great article from Chris Kesser that eased my fears.
I found myself asking these questions when I became pregnant and my doctor told to not eat tuna or a few other fish as they contain high levels of mercury.
Safe catch tuna is said to have the LOWEST mercury levels of any tuna brand. They thoroughly test every tuna and ensure it’s levels are the lowest and safest for children and women during pregnancy.
This means you can enjoy your tuna without worrying about consuming too much mercury. Many brands that you find on the store shelves have extremely high levels of mercury, and many people don’t even realize it. The more you know, the better you do, right? 🙂
This isn’t to say that other tuna is bad, it’s just that you need to limit yourself with brands that have more mercury. Chunk light will have less mercury than solid.
My favorite way is to eat tuna is tuna and macaroni salad. I was missing it for sure while pregnant, but now I know there are better options for myself and my family.
VIDEO ON HOW TO MAKE TUNA MACARONI SALAD
Cold Tuna Macaroni Salad
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- 2 cups cooked elbow macaroni
- 1 5 oz can tuna , drained, fork mashed
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 1/2 cup green pepper , chopped
- 1/2 cup red onion , chopped
- 1/2 cup celery , chopped
- pepper to taste
- Place all of the ingredients into a large bowl.
- Mix together all of the ingredients until well combined.
- Salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate until serving.
The nutritional information is automatically calculated and can vary based ingredients and products used. If the nutrition numbers are important for you we recommend calculating them yourself.
LOVE Pasta Salad Recipes or just plain old Pasta Recipes? Here’s a few more!
Tri Colored Pasta Salad Recipe
Bowties with Parsley Garlic Butter Sauce
Easy Vegetarian Penne Pasta Recipe
Spicy Garlic Tomato Marinara Penne Pasta
This is such a simple macaroni salad that everyone enjoys! You could even leave the tuna out and put in more veggies for a vegetarian pasta salad. We hope you enjoyed this easy recipe 🙂
I am hosting Mini Chef Mondays along with 4 fabulous bloggers, find out more about the Mini Chef Mondays Team!Join our facebook group to find even more recipes and share your own recipes!
Be sure to check out each of their Mini Chef posts as well!
- Homemade Chocolate Chip Banana Bread // Finding Zest
- Healthy Easy Strawberry Cobbler Recipe // Eating Richly
- Chocolate Raspberry Chia Pudding // Vegging at the Shore
- Homemade Chocolate Candy // My Mini Adventurer
I know this might sound like a dumb question; but it doesn’t say if you are suppose to drain the tuna or not.
Ack! Yes, we do drain our tuna! Thanks for catching, I just updated. That being said, my mother would sometimes leave it in. 🙂 If you want it a little more watery you could skip draining.
Looks so good
thanks, Linda! 🙂
What size can tuna.
We use a 5oz standard size tuna can for this recipe. 🙂
This is perfect for spring cookouts! We are lucky our weather is typically mild enough to be outside much of the year.
Such a great recipe, and I love how easy/quick it is to whip up!
This is one of my husband’s favorites, and I love that you can easily change it up with a different meat! Will totally be trying this recipe soon 😀
I can’t believe I never thought to combine tuna salad with macaroni salad. SO good!
It’s our absolute favorite! My mom made it all the time growing up, it was her dish to bring to parites 😀
Love cold tuna or chicken salad, but I use miracle whip instead of the mayo. At the very most, I will go with half mayo, and half salad dressing. Love frozen peas, chopped tomato, and black olives too.
I sometimes water the mayo down to make it less 🙂 Love the peas, tomato, and black olive additions – yum!
Mom always made cold tuna and noodles growing up with miracle whip, tuna, can drained corn, and a bit of dill weed. Would eat on it for days! My family doesn’t like tuna 😭 so I modified to canned chicken or sometimes leftover grilled.
Aww, I’m sure it’s delicious with chicken too! I actually make it with chickpea “tuna” which is vegan and it’s still delicious!!
I’ve loved this recipe for years so it’s definitely a keeper! The only thing I do
differently is substitute chopped dill pickles for the green peppers. Enjoy!
Oooh I have to try adding pickles, yum!! 🙂
This sounds delish! Growing up, our Cold Tuna Noodle Casserole was very similar – just swap Miracle Whip for the mayo, hard boiled eggs for the peppers and voila!
Omg! Thank you so much for posting this! I was starting to think my family were the only ones not putting cheese, eggs, and pickles in their Mac salad!
I love this salad and I always have the ingredients in the house. The only thing I’d change is 1/2 Tsp of salt and pepper each.
Ahh, you’re so welcome!! 😀 Thank you for not making me feel alone either, haha. Peas are another one I don’t add to this salad. 😮