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
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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!

Ingredients for Tuna Pasta Salad

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.
How to Make Tuna Pasta Salad

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.

Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe

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.

Easy Tuna Pasta Salad

More Pasta Dishes

4.50 from 2 votes

Tuna Pasta Salad

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 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.


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Reader Comments

  1. 5 stars
    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.

  2. Have made this for years. NEVER with canned peas!! Always frozen thawed under cold water. Also add celery, a little garlic.

  3. 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!!!

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

    “natasha” 🙂

  6. The reason to don’t like the peas is because your using canned. Never! Ever! Use canned, never! Frozen or fresh taste a1000%better.

  7. My mom made this often when I was growing up and I still make it today! It’s my favorite tuna salad!

4.50 from 2 votes

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