Tuna Pasta Salad is a quick and easy dish that can act as a side or a main meal. Full of flavor and fresh veggies, this recipe is great for a lovely lunch or simple springtime picnic! The best part? It’s SO easy to make.

tuna pasta salad in a spoon

Tuna Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is one of those base recipes that can forever be reimagined with new flavors and ingredients so you have a completely different dish each time. Tuna Pasta Salad is one of those fresh takes! This particular version is filled with tuna, freshly chopped veggies like green peppers, red onions, parsley, and celery. Combined with perfectly cooked pasta and a homemade dressing that is tangy and savory, you’ll love every last bite. Prep your vegetables and dressing while the pasta cooks and this whole process is ready in about 20 minutes. The Tuna Pasta Salad will need to chill in the fridge which makes it great to make the night before or clears the kitchen for the rest of your recipes. Super simple, super tasty!

I seriously can’t get enough of unique pasta salad recipes. Impress everyone at the next BBQ with my Amazing Olive Pasta Salad or this classic Cold Spaghetti Salad!

Can This Pasta Salad Be Made Without Mayonnaise?

Not everyone is a fan of mayo and some prefer a dressing that’s a little lighter. Instead of mayo swap for Greek yogurt. You can also cut out the sour cream for yogurt and still include a smaller amount of mayonnaise. Make sure to get the original flavored Greek yogurt or a lower fat version.

How To Make Tuna Pasta Salad

Prepare the pasta. Cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the package. You’ll want to drain and rinse it with cold water once it reaches an al dente consistency. Set aside.
Combine the dressing. Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic and onion powder, salt, and black pepper. Stir until fully combined. Set aside.
Prep your veggies. Chop the celery, red onion, green bell pepper, and fresh parsley.
Mix it all up. In a large bowl (make it easy and use the one you plan to serve this in for less clean up later), add the chopped veggies, cooked pasta, drained tuna, and dressing. Break up the larger chunks of tuna and stir until everything is nice and coated.
Let it chill. Cover the Tuna Pasta Salad and refrigerate it for at least an hour before serving. This allows all the flavors a chance to really meld together. When ready to serve, give the pasta salad one more good stir and add a dash of salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy.

ingredients for tuna pasta salad in a bowl

Storing Tuna Pasta Salad

You can store leftover Tuna Pasta Salad in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. You can even make this dish ahead of time when preparing for a party.

Ingredients Notes for Tuna Pasta Salad

Noodles – You can use any kind of short noodle you like, macaroni and small shells tend to be the go to. However, make sure you rinse the pasta in cold water to stop the cooking process. Overcooked noodles, once they sit in the dressing, can become mushy.
Tuna – Drain as much water from the tuna as possible to ensure the best flavor. You can also substitute canned salmon for a twist. For even more protein add chopped hard-boiled eggs.
Veggies – To add some more crunch, try adding grated carrots and chopped cucumbers to the mix.
Herbs – If you don’t have fresh parsley, try a different fresh herb like dill or chives for some extra flavor.

bowl of pasta salad with tuna



5 from 3 votes

Tuna Pasta Salad

Tuna Pasta Salad is a quick and easy dish that can act as a side or a main meal. Full of flavor and fresh veggies, this recipe is great for a lovely lunch or simple springtime picnic! The best part? It’s SO easy to make.
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 10 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 6


  • 8 Ounces Elbow Macaroni noodles uncooked
  • 2 5-ounce Cans Tuna, drained
  • 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 Cup Sour Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Celery chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Red Onion diced
  • 1/2 Cup Green Bell Pepper chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley chopped


  • Cook the macaroni according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper until well combined.
  • In a large bowl, add the cooked macaroni, drained tuna, chopped celery, red onion, bell pepper, and fresh parsley to the bowl and mix, breaking up the big pieces of tuna. Add the dressing. Stir until everything is evenly coated with the dressing.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate the salad for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Before serving, give the salad a quick stir and add additional salt and black pepper to taste.



NOTE: Use any type of short cut pasta you have if you don't have macaroni.  You can also use a full pound of pasta, and double all of the other ingredients to make a larger batch for a crowd.
NOTE:  You can swap out the red onion for green onion and swap out the green bell pepper for any other color to your preferences.


Calories: 370kcal

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Like this? Rate & review this recipe below!

Hey! Nice to meet you! I'm Nichole!

Welcome to The Salty Marshmallow! I'm a mom, animal lover, photographer, & kitchen mess-maker. Here you will find the result of my decades-long passion for chasing the best flavors in the kitchen, all meant to be cooked by regular people with busy lives just like you and me.

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  1. 5 stars
    LOVE this recipe! And so did the rest of the family. Will definitely make again but will add cubed cheese and frozen peas to make it even better!