Tuna Macaroni Salad – Spend With Pennies

Tuna Macaroni Salad – Spend With Pennies

Make an easy, protein packed summer dish with this tuna macaroni salad recipe.

Make this macaroni salad with tuna, two kinds of pickles, celery, onions, elbow macaroni and a creamy Dijon dill dressing.

Tuna Macaroni Salad with pickles

We have partnered with Chicken of the Sea to bring you this recipe.

  • This recipe turns a traditional macaroni salad from a side into a protein-packed lunch.
  • The dressing provides the perfect balance of sweet and tangy flavors.
  • This recipe packs lots of fresh, crunchy, dilly flavor.
  • It’s delicious and nutritious as an entree salad.
onion , sweet pickles , macaroni , dressing , tuna , celery , dill , dill pickles , red pepper , salt and pepper with labels to make Tuna Macaroni Salad

Ingredients for Tuna Macaroni Salad

Tuna: You can use either light or solid white tuna. Light tuna has smaller, flakier pieces, while solid white albacore has larger chunks and a milder flavor. Always choose tuna packed in water and drain it well.

Pasta: I love this with macaroni noodles but you can use other small sized pasta shapes that have ridges or are tubular so the dressing can cling to it. Try shells, ditalini, or mini penne.

Dressing: Mayonnaise and sour cream create the base for this recipe. You can replace sour cream with plain Greek yogurt if you’d like. Dijon and pickle juice add flavor, you can replace the pickle juice with fresh lemon juice if you’d like.

Pickles: I love a combination of both sweet and dill pickles in this recipe, but you can use just one or the other.

Celery & Onion: Crisp celery, white or red onion, and bell peppers add texture, crunch, and flavor. For a milder onion flavor, try thinly sliced green onion.


  • Light mayo and reduced fat products do work in this recipe but the dressing won’t be as thick.
  • Whole wheat, gluten-free, or plant-based pasta choices will work equally well in this recipe.
  • Sliced radishes, chopped sundried tomatoes, peas, small diced cheddar cheese, chopped hard-boiled eggs, and bacon bits are great additions to a macaroni salad. Use sweet pickle relish or a dill pickle relish.

How to Make Tuna Macaroni Salad

Fresh and creamy tuna macaroni salad is an easy picnic and potluck favorite!

  1. Cook elbows per package directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients (recipe below).
  3. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss with dressing.
  4. Refrigerate to chill for at least an hour before serving.

Garnish with sliced pickles or chopped fresh parsley or dill.

I’m absolutely obsessed with this chopper, it makes food prep so much faster and easier. In this recipe, it’s great for chopping onions, pickles, and bell peppers. I use it ALL of the time.

taking a spoonfull of Tuna Macaroni Salad

Storing Leftovers

  • You can make tuna macaroni salad up to a day ahead to allow the flavors to blend.
  • This macaroni salad can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Pasta salads do not thaw well, so freezing them is not recommended.

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taking a spoonfull of Tuna Macaroni Salad

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Tuna Macaroni Salad

Tuna macaroni salad is a quick and creamy salad perfect as a side or meal!

Prep Time 20 minutes

Cook Time 15 minutes

Chill Time 1 hour

Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes

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  • In a large pot, cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Rinse under cold water to stop the pasta cooking and drain well.

  • In a small bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, relish, pickle juice, dijon mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.

  • To a large bowl, add cold pasta, tuna, celery, sweet pickles, dill pickles, red pepper, onion and dill. Top with dressing and gently toss to combine.

  • Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

  • Store leftovers in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Stir gently prior to serving.

Calories: 139 | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Trans Fat: 0.002g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 493mg | Potassium: 158mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 248IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Lunch, Salad, Seafood, Side Dish
Cuisine American
easy Tuna Macaroni Salad on a plate with a spoon and a title
Tuna Macaroni Salad with dill and dijon dressing with writing
Tuna Macaroni Salad with sweet pickles on top and a title
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