Friday, April 30, 2021

Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad

Tuna pasta salad combines salty, sweet, and tangy flavors into one creamy dish! Enjoy this by itself for lunch or as an easy side for dinner.

A combination of fresh tomatoes, fresh dill, red onions, and pickles makes this creamy tuna pasta salad so delicious and full of flavor.

This makes enough for a crowd and can be made in advance, so it’s perfect for potlucks, picnics, and other events.

Need something for the cooler months? Try this casserole recipe instead! The flavors are more comforting, but it’s just as creamy and can feed a large group.

Tuna pasta salad in a clear bowl

Tuna Pasta Salad - Helpful Tips and Tricks

  • Use different noodles. Cellentani, sometimes labeled cavatappi, may be hard to find at your local store. In that case, feel free to replace it with rotini, farfalle, or macaroni instead.
  • Need to make this in advance? I would recommend making it the night before you plan to serve it for best results. Leftovers will last about 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator, but I wouldn’t recommend freezing this for later.
  • Keep it chilled. If this will be out on the table for guests to serve themselves, I recommend using ice packs or setting it inside a larger bowl filled with ice. Give it a good stir every so often to keep the temperature even throughout.
Tuna pasta salad ingredients

Serving Suggestions

This is great on its own for lunch with some cut vegetables or grapes on the side. You could also have this as a sandwich on sliced bread, a roll, in a pita, or wrapped in a tortilla.

Pair this with all of your favorite cookout foods like burgers, hot dogs, and even fried chicken. Or, keep it simple with some juicy corn on the cob.

Not a fan of this pasta salad recipe? I’ve got plenty more to choose from, and every one of them comes together just as easily.

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Large Pot and Strainer for the noodles
  • Mixing Bowls - I like to have a variety of sizes on hand, and this set has them all.
  • Can Opener - It seems like a no-brainer, but a good can opener can save your hands and a lot of frustration as well!
Tuna pasta salad recipe dressing

FAQ - Common Recipe Questions

Should creamy tuna pasta salad be served cold?

Absolutely, without a doubt. Because it contains both fish and mayonnaise, don’t leave it out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.

Why do I need to chill this for an hour before serving?

You can certainly serve it right away if you’d like, but letting it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour really helps to bring out all of the delicious flavors.

Be sure to cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or a lid so it doesn’t absorb additional smells or flavors from surrounding food in the fridge.

Tuna pasta salad ingredients in a bowl

What can I add to this tuna pasta salad recipe?

There are so many great options to choose from! I included red onion, tomato, and pickles for a bold punch of flavor, but you could include other vegetables as well.

Some popular choices include thawed peas, red bell pepper, avocado, or cucumber. Even small cubes of cheddar cheese would taste great.


With love from our simple kitchen to yours.

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Tuna pasta salad with a bowl in the bowl

Yield: 8
Author: Donna Elick
Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad

Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad

Tuna pasta salad combines salty, sweet, and tangy flavors into one creamy dish! Enjoy this by itself for lunch or as an easy side for dinner.
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 10 MinTotal time: 25 Min


  • 1 (1 pound) box cellentani pasta, uncooked
  • 2 (5 ounce) cans tuna in water, drained
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup baby dill pickles, diced (about 3 baby dill pickles)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill
  • chopped fresh dill
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Cook cellentani pasta according to the directions on the package (about 10-11 minutes, or until al dente). Drain and rinse under cold water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add all dressing ingredients. Stir to combine.
  3. In a large bowl, add cooked pasta, drained tuna, grape tomatoes, dill pickles, onion, and dressing mixture. Toss to coat.
  4. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for one hour. Garnish with chopped fresh dill and serve cold. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

Tuna pasta salad

Originally published April 2021

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