Tuna Pasta Salad + Video

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My tuna pasta salad dressing is so creamy and tangy, with plenty of lemon and fresh dill. Take a stab at this zesty tuna salad with noodles!

Creamy tuna pasta salad is one of those dishes that everyone has a recipe for — and most of them taste pretty much the same.

Now’s your chance to blow everyone away with this new and improved creamy tuna macaroni salad!

The secret? A mayo and sour cream dressing flavored with lemon, celery salt, fresh dill, and a pinch of pepper and sugar. It’s so simple, but so spectacular!

Tuna Pasta Salad in clear bowl with a fork

Tuna Pasta Salad

While noodles and canned fish are the stars of the show, grape tomatoes, dill pickles, and red onions add pops of flavor and some truly succulent bites.

There’s nothing I love more than a quick, easy casserole or bake to make meal prep a breeze. Try out my baked ziti, taco lasagna, or broccoli casserole recipes for a delicious dinner for any day of the week.

tuna pasta salad ingredients

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Perfect for picnic prep. This recipe is fantastic for cooking in large quantities and preparing the day before. That way it’s ready to just grab and go! It’s a summertime barbecue favorite. Plus, I think it’s even better once it’s had a day to sit in all of the seasonings.
  • Al dente is the way to go. The last thing you want is super mushy noodles! I recommend following the package directions for cooking al dente — tender, but just a bit firm.
  • Try a different noodle! If cellentani (sometimes labeled cavatappi) is hard to find, you can use rotini, bowtie, or macaroni instead.
  • Keep it chilled. In my opinion, this casserole is at its best when chilled for at least an hour. And it’s not only a flavor thing — with both dairy and seafood in the mix, you’ll wan to avoid letting it coming to room temperature. To help it stay cool while serving, use ice packs or place the serving dish in a larger container filled with ice
tuna salad with noodles ingredients in a bowl

What You’ll Need For This Recipe

  • 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 dressing in a bowl

Tuna Pasta Salad FAQ

What should I serve with tuna pasta salad?

All of your favorite barbecue goodies go great with this dish! Hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob… really, any meal that would benefit from a bright, zesty side is a good match.

Personally? I like to just enjoy this creamy casserole on its own for a light lunch! Spoon onto bread, a sub roll, or wrap if you’d like, or enjoy it as it is with some veggies on the side.

tuna salad with noodles dressing poured over top

How long do leftovers last in the refrigerator?

Leftover tuna mac (if you even have any left!) is good in the fridge for up to 4 days, but not any longer.

I would not recommend freezing this dish. Besides, it’s so easy and quick to make that you really have no need to!

What can I add to tuna salad with noodles?

There are so many options to choose from! Extra veggies like thawed peas, red bell pepper, avocado, or cucumber would be delicious. For something extra creamy, try cubes of cheddar or Colby Jack.

tuna pasta salad finished in a bowl

Enjoy!

With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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Other Pasta Salad Recipes

Hawaiian Tortellini Pasta Salad

Antipasto Pasta Salad

Greek Tortellini Pasta Salad

Southern Macaroni Salad

Tuna Pasta Salad in glass bowl wide photo

fork in bowl of tuna pasta salad

Tuna Pasta Salad

Donna Elick
Tuna pasta salad is an easy side or potluck dish that comes together in a snap using simple pantry staples. Make this tuna mac for dinner tonight!
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Method Mixed, Stovetop
Servings 8

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cellentani pasta, uncooked
  • 10 ounces 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

Dressing

  • 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

Garnish

  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Cook cellentani pasta according to the directions on the package (about 10-11 minutes, or until al dente). Drain and rinse under cold water.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add all dressing ingredients. Stir to combine.
  • In a large bowl, add cooked pasta, drained tuna, grape tomatoes, dill pickles, onion, and dressing mixture. Toss to coat.
  • 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.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 200cal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 650mg | Sugar: 2g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Tuna Pasta Salad closeup

Originally published April 2021, updated and republished March 2022

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One Comment

  1. This looks absolutely delicious!!
    There is nothing quite as refreshing and satisfying as a cold pasta salad to complement a grilled burger.
    BRAVO on your recipe, can't wait to try it!

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