Tuna Macaroni Salad: classic with real mayonnaise, chopped celery, onions and packed with tuna. Perfect for picnics + BBQ’s from Memorial to Labor Day.
There are a few summer menu must-haves at our house, Potato Salad being one and Tuna Macaroni Salad being the other. I don’t know why, but I only make them from Memorial to Labor Day.
Tuna Macaroni Salad is as simple as summertime is supposed to be (think childhood) and the flavor just may take you back to that time.
This was one of my first newly married recipes and like Potato Salad I can almost make with my eyes closed. Make it a couple of times and it’ll be the same for you. I’m still holding out hope my family will learn to love peas like I do and when that happens, I’ll be adding them by the fistful, but until then. . .
Maybe this Tuna Macaroni Salad will remind you of your mom or grandma’s or one you’ve had at a picnic ~ that one only has a little left at the bottom of a large bowl.
It’s a classic that’s been around a while but worth sharing. It’s delicious, inexpensive to make and feeds a crowd and if you’re away from family right now, it just may remind you of home.
A word about tuna. I make my Tuna Macaroni Salad with tuna packed in water but if you usually buy the kind in oil, you can use that instead.
I like tricolor rotini because of the color it adds but I’ve made it many times with elbow macaroni, too.
Tuna Macaroni Salad Ingredients:
- Red onion
- Hard boiled eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped celery tops (optional garnish)
It’s packed with tuna because although there are worse things than searching for tuna in Tuna Macaroni Salad, at the moment, I can’t think of any. It makes a great side or even lunch ’cause why not? We eat pasta as a meal all the time, right?
Tuna Macaroni Salad Instructions:
Cook the pasta according to package directions and when the pasta cools add it to a large bowl along with the tuna, celery, onion, dill, pasta and mayonnaise.
Blend thoroughly then taste and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour before serving. That’s all it takes to get to this ⇓
Tip #1: Initially it may seem like there’s too much mayo but once it’s refrigerated, the mayo is absorbed.
Tip #2: I like to refrigerate the pasta in the mixing bowl first. Before serving, I transfer the Tuna Macaroni Salad to a serving bowl and garnish with chopped celery tops (leaves).
Do you throw away celery tops? Here are a few uses for them.
- Chop and use as garnish.
- Chop and add the leaves to soups or stews.
- Use them in recipes you want celery flavor without the texture.
Tuna Macaroni Salad is old school, like Tupperware parties held in people’s homes and it serves a crowd for practically pennies.
You can add extra vegetables like bell peppers or radishes (or peas!) if you’d like, but this simple version is what my family loves. I think yours will, too. Enjoy!
Tuna Macaroni Salad
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ¼ cup diced red onion
- 3 - 5 ounce cans of tuna , drained
- 1 ¼ cups dry pasta (cooked to al dente)
- 3 hardboiled eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoons dill (dry or fresh)
- 1 ¼ cups mayonnaise
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped celery tops (optional garnish)
- Cook the pasta according to package directions then drain and rinse in cold water.
- In a large bowl, combine the tuna, celery, onion, dill, pasta and mayonnaise. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Cover and refrigerate at least an hour before serving. (Optional) Garnish with chopped celery tops/leaves.