This classic tuna pasta salad is perfect to have in the fridge all summer long! It’s great for lunch, as a side for dinner, or as a perfect addition to picnics or BBQs.
Why you’ll love this tuna pasta salad
- This tuna pasta salad has been my Summer go-to salad for years. What sets it apart from the masses is the delicious dressing, that has so much more flavour than mayo alone!
- I love that it makes a big batch, so it sticks around in the fridge a bit, to grab and eat or for summer entertaining, when you need a big bowl.
- This is a hearty and filling salad, with the addition of tuna and egg, so it’s perfect for a lunch or as part of a salad plate, for dinner. I also have some variations to share, if you’d like to change it up a bit. Scroll down for those!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Tuna – I generally use the flaked tuna packed in water, but you can use any canned tuna you like.
Pasta – I love to use rotini (corkscrew) pasta for this pasta salad, as it has lots of surface area to grab the dressing and tuna pieces. Fusilli works well, as does penne and small shells.
Mayonnaise – I have to confess, I don’t use real mayonnaise when I make this particular salad. I find it a little heavy for Summer salads, to be honest. I always use salad dressing, aka Miracle Whip™ I love the tangy flavour and I find it lighter tasting. You can use whichever, as it will work fine with both.
Hard Boiled Eggs – adding egg to this tuna pasta salad is optional, but it is a lovely addition to this salad. Simply hard boil, chop and stir in.
Variation to Try
Add a bit of shredded green cabbage to the bowl, to add a bit of vegetable to the mix.
Be sure to taste your salad after it has chilled and add additional salt and pepper, if needed.
Making ahead and storing
Making this salad ahead is required, as you’ll want to give it at least a couple of hours in the fridge, to chill.
Store this salad in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container. Tuna Pasta Salad will keep well in the refrigerator for 4-5 days! If it becomes a little dry, simply drizzle a tiny bit of milk over it and stir. That’s all it usually takes to loosen it up.
Get the Recipe: Tuna Pasta Salad
- 12 oz. rotini pasta, (or any short pasta) about 4 cups
- 6 oz. (170 g) canned tuna packed in water, drained and flaked
- 1 rib celery, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup red onion, finely diced
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise or salad dressing, *see Note 1
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons ketchup
- 3 Tablespoons sour cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon white vinegar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook pasta to al dente. Drain well, then rinse with cold water until cooled.
- While pasta is cooking, prepare the celery, red onion and hard-boiled eggs, if using. Mix the dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients and mixing well.
- Place the rinsed, cooled pasta into a large bowl. Add the tuna, celery, red onion, eggs and dressing and stir well to combine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours before eating. *Taste before serving and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
- Refrigerate well-covered. Will keep 3-4 days in the fridge. If salad thickens as it sits, add a splash of milk to the bowl and stir in to loosen.
- I actually prefer jarred salad dressing (aka Miracle Whip) with this salad, as I love the tangy flavour and lighter taste. You can use any mayonnaise or salad dressing you prefer here.
More Classic Summer Salad Recipes to Love!
Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!