Tuna Macaroni Salad is a classic stapler with potluck and picnic. It is creamy and satisfying with tender macaroni, hard-boiled eggs, peas, celery and onions in a creamy, tangy sauce. This salad can easily stand as a meal on its own or serve as a hearty side dish to compliment your favorite summer dishes.
The best tuna macaroni salad
Tuna macaroni salad has been a staple of my life at church pot for as long as I can remember. It is easy to manufacture and can easily be doubled to feed an audience. It's usually one of the first things to go and my family is interested in it.
Canned tuna is cheap, but also packed with protein, making it a great option for a healthy lunch.
If you're wondering how to serve tuna macaroni salad, you can make it a summer picnic meal served with some garlic bread and a fruit salad. Or serve it up with a side dish for some grilled chicken and grilled vegetables.
What's in tuna macaroni salad?
This salad has plenty of protein so it is rich enough to enjoy it as a meal, and vegetables add a nice crunchy texture.
- Canned tuna: I like to use albacore because I think it has the best flavor. You don't get the metallic fishy taste that you can get with some kind of canned tuna.
- macaroni: This is an ingredient that we are kind of snobs on! If you can find it, get the Creamette brandy macaroni because it is best cooked and has the best flavor.
- Hard boiled eggs: Make your own on the stove or buy packaged to save time.
- veggies: peas, celery and onion cubes finely added to crunch and freshness. Frozen peas are a must (do not use can as they may be slightly mushy for this salad).
- Sauce: The sauce is made with mayo, pickle relish, mustard, salt and pepper. You can add a little hot sauce to stain it, or play with flavors like. Adding garlic powder or paprika.
How to make tuna macaroni salad
- Start by preparing your macaroni. Cook according to packing instructions in heavily salted water, then drain when pasta is al dente. The most important step is to rinse the macarons – this stops the cooking process and flushes the starch that can cause the paste to stick together. Set aside until you are ready to make tuna macaroni salad, or store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- Make the salad. Drain the canned tuna really well before mixing it with macaroni, celery, peas, hard boiled eggs and minced onions. The peas should be thawed and cooked, but cool. Peel and chop the eggs, and add them with the macaroni.
- Make the sauce by combining mayonnaise, mustard, pickle relish and salt and pepper. Taste and add more salt and pepper as desired. You can also add hot sauce or flavor with spices such as garlic powder, dill or paprika. Stir in the sauce, starting with half to make sure you don't end up with your salad more wet than you like it. Taste and adjust spices.
How do you prevent pasta salad from drying out?
Mayo is what keeps the salad moist. If you have leftover pasta salad that seems a little dry, stir in a few tablespoons of mayo. It will taste best when fresh, so try to enjoy within 2 hours after it is made.
How long is tuna macaroni salad good for?
Tuna macaroni salad should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Do not leave for more than 2 hours, otherwise harmful bacteria may begin to grow. Properly stored, your salad will last 3-5 days in the fridge.
Can You Freeze Tuna Macaroni Salad?
The finished salad cannot be preserved by freezing. However, it is possible to freeze the salad and dressing separately and have good results.
Several Potluck salad favorites
If you're looking for other potluck favorites, try our classic macaroni salad, which is the recipe this tuna mac salad comes from, or a big helping of Bacon Ranch red potato salad, Hawaiian macaroni salad, or luminous egg salad. For a unique spin on classic tuna salad, tuna salad salad breakers are a fun twist, and tuna pasta salad is also quite delicious. My friends have some great options too, such as Cashew Chicken Pasta Salad and Italian Cucumber Tomato Salad.
Tuna macaroni salad
This classic potluck staple. This tuna macaroni salad is creamy and satisfying and perfect for a simple summer meal or a hearty side dish.
Course: Dinner, Side dish
Food: American, American classic
Keywords: tuna macaroni salad
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 10-12 ounces of tuna packed in drained water
- 4 tablespoons sweet jam
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
- 1 cup frozen peas cooked and cooled
- 4 hard-boiled eggs chopped
- 1-2 tsp cooked mustard
- 1 cup mayonnaise or more as needed
- salt and pepper to taste
Cook macaroni to al dente for directions on package. Empty and rinse in a doorway and drain it well. Cool to at least room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Meanwhile, combine the tuna, celery, onion, eggs and peas in a large bowl. Season with a little salt and pepper. Stir in cooked macaroni.
In a small bowl, mix mustard, mayonnaise and jam together. Pour the dressing over the macaroni mixture and stir to coat completely. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
Store in a tightly sealed container for up to 3-5 days. If the salad seems dry, add a few tablespoons of mayonnaise to moisten.
Nutritional values are approximate and are based on 8 servings per day. Batch that is served as a meal.
Calories: 501kcal | Carbohydrates: 49 g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 25 g | Saturated fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 118 mg | Sodium: 435 mg | Potassium: 293 mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin C: 3 mg | Calcium: 44 mg | Iron: 2 mg