Classic & creamy Tuna Pasta Salad is a go-to recipe in warm weather. Loaded with tuna, noodles, onion, and peas, it is a flavorful and easy way to please a crowd! Be sure to try my Greek Salad if you love cold pasta salad!
Tuna Pasta Salad
Tuna Pasta Salad is full of flavor, texture, and easy ingredients. For a spring picnic or a light dinner side dish, make a big batch of this and watch it disappear! It is a staple at outdoor barbeques. I make it when I head to graduations, summer parties, or any outdoor potluck. Does that stop me from making this recipe on a random Tuesday? Nope. I love this stuff. My mouth is watering just talking about it!
Tuna Pasta Ingredients
- Tuna – I prefer canned tuna packed in water. It’s easy, inexpensive, and subtle in flavor.
- Mayonnaise – I know there are some die-hard Miracle Whip fans out there, but our preference is mayonnaise. Feel free to make homemade mayonnaise to really take it up a notch!
- Pasta – I’m obsessed with Gemelli pasta here, but you can use your favorite. Most folks make it macaroni. If you’re really feeling ambitious you can make your own homemade shaped pasta!
- Peas – Not going to lie, this is my least favorite part of the salad. I just can’t stand canned peas. However, I am overruled 6-1 in this house, so always include it. You could use fresh peas, but you may need to increase the amount (as well as the amounts of the other ingredients) as the flavor of fresh peas is more subtle and sweet.
Can You Make Tuna Pasta Salad Ahead of Time?
Apparently, this is a hot topic, but my answer is yes. I happen to think that the flavor improves the next day. However, the pasta may soak up some of the moisture meaning it is less creamy. You can always add a bit more mayo just before serving.
How to Store Tuna Pasta Salad
If you are able to store it in an airtight container, it will last several days in the refrigerator. Again, you may want to add a little mayo or milk to get back to the creamy texture, but often we enjoy it as is.
More Pasta Dishes
Tuna Pasta Salad
- 1 pound (16 ounces) Gemelli pasta
- 2 cans (5 ounces each) tuna in water, drained well
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 1 can (15 ounces) sweet peas, well-drained
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the Gemelli pasta noodles according to package directions (about 8-10 minutes). Drain and rinse with cool water.
- Add the cooled noodles to a large mixing bowl and add in the tuna, red onion, peas, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Gently stir to combine all the ingredients, mixing well.
- Cover and place the salad in the fridge to cool for at least an hour to allow the flavors to mix.
Did you make this recipe?
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My mother-in-law made this salad over 50 years ago only she just made it with macaroni, tuna and mayo. I added onion along the way but never heard of it with peas. MIL was from NYC and I’ve spent my life on the West Coast. Would thawed frozen peas work? I don’t think I’ve ever bought canned peas.
Have made this for years. NEVER with canned peas!! Always frozen thawed under cold water. Also add celery, a little garlic.
Grew up eating this minus the peas, while I love peas ( not canned) I don’t think I would like in this salad. We do use sweet pickles and celery seed. So good!!!
Thanks for all the info. Your family is truly blessed
I don’t like onions so what can I use
My mom made this all the time. I make it now much like the featured recipe, only I add a little diced celery, hard boiled eggs, frozen peas never canned.
When I make this salad I use frozen peas thawed out. Much better than canned peas
We add chunks of velvets. Yum!
(I don’t like canned peas either.) Thank you for sharing!
Plus chopped celery and some shredded, chopped and fresh dried zuchinni.
Love your recipes and all, but it won’t let me subscribe, “404, that page not
found”. tried twice. please can you sign me up?
“I am homesteader” is the one I am wanting to subscribe to,
love love all you do!
The reason to don’t like the peas is because your using canned. Never! Ever! Use canned, never! Frozen or fresh taste a1000%better.
My mom made this often when I was growing up and I still make it today! It’s my favorite tuna salad!