Classic Tuna Macaroni Salad

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This Classic Tuna Macaroni Salad is an easy-to-prepare side dish perfect with sandwiches. A quick summer salad recipe for picnics!

I couldn’t let the summer go by without sharing our favorite Classic Tuna Macaroni Salad. Although I love our potato salad recipe like none other, there are times when I need a quick side dish. I love this recipe because there’s no peeling & chopping potatoes. There’s no dressing to mix. This is just a simple 5 ingredient salad that your family will love.

This tuna macaroni salad is another of our favorite comforting side dishes that you’ll be excited about sharing with your family and friends.

macaroni salad in a pan with spoon

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Only 5 basic ingredients. And they are pantry staples that you can keep on hand.
  • Simple flavor that even kids will love.
  • Feeds a crowd.
  • Can be mixed up in about 20 minutes.

What do you put in macaroni salad?

We like our macaroni salad with elbow macaroni, tuna, peas, hard boiled egg, and Miracle Whip (or mayonnaise). That’s it!

You can, of course, add in other ingredients such as celery, cucumber, onion and green pepper.  You can even add in a little bit of spices if you’d like…ground mustard, cajun seasoning, a spicy pepper.  Go ahead and add in what you’d like to.

How to Make Tuna Macaroni Salad

I like to keep hard boiled eggs on hand in the fridge, but if you need to make some quickly, your Instant Pot will be your best friend. Here’s how to make hard boiled eggs in the IP.

  • Prepare the macaroni noodles according to the package directions. Rinse with cold water and drain well. 
  • While the pasta is cooking, prepare the other ingredients so you can quickly add them once the pasta is cooled off. Add in the diced hard boiled eggs, tuna, peas and mayonnaise. Mix well.
  • Store in the fridge until serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.
a pan of macaroni salad with hard boiled eggs

How do you prevent macaroni salad from drying out?

Make sure that the pasta is well drained before adding the mayonnaise. And cook it perfectly…not underdone and not mushy. You can also toss the macaroni with a tablespoon of oil. This will help keep the pasta from absorbing the mayonnaise.

closeup of tuna macaroni salad on a serving spoon
closeup of tuna macaroni salad on a serving spoon

Classic Tuna Macaroni Salad

4.52 from 45 votes
This is our family's simple & classic macaroni salad recipe that we love serving at picnics!
Servings 15
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 4 large hard boiled eggs diced
  • 10 ounces white albacore tuna fish drained
  • 15 ounces frozen peas defrosted
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise or Miracle Whip if you prefer
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Prepare the macaroni noodles according to the package directions. Rinse with cold water and drain well. 
  • Add in the diced hard boiled eggs, tuna, peas and mayonnaise. Mix well.
  • Store in the fridge until serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Optional add-ins: mustard, celery, onion, cucumber. You can add in just about anything you'd like!



The calories shown are based on the recipe serving about 15, with 1 serving being 1/15 of the salad. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**


Calories: 289kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 233mg | Potassium: 177mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 305IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 289
Keyword picnic salad, summer salad recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you freeze macaroni salad?

Mayonnaise does not freeze well, so it is best if you do not freeze this salad.

How long does macaroni salad last?

It is best to eat the salad within 3-4 days.

Is macaroni salad healthy?

Not exactly, but you could use a gluten free elbow macaroni and a light mayonnaise if you’d like.

How much macaroni salad should I plan per person?

I like to plan for about ½ cup of salad per person.

Is this the same as Amish macaroni salad?

Amish macaroni salad is very sweet. It has sugar in it and the recipe we use regularly does not. Amish macaroni salad also often has red bell pepper in it. This recipe will not taste the same as what you probably think of as Amish macaroni salad.

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5 years ago

5 stars
I ALSO ADD PIMENTO AND GREEN PEPPERS TO MINE — IF YOU LIKE GREEN PEPPERS It IS SO TASTY AND WONDERFUL — I SKIP THE PEAS AS MY MOTHER DIDN’T ADD THEM AND I DON’T LIKE THEM EITHER AND I ONLY USE miracle whip i love the spark it gives it and i hate cheese in it. a very personal salad do it your way NUM

Becky Cole
3 years ago

5 stars
I just made this but substituted some leftover chicken breast I made in the crockpot yesterday. I did Mayo, plus chopped celery and yellow onions with the canned peas. I sprinkled a little bit of chicken bouillion with my salt and pepper. So good!!!!!!

Jamie @ Love Bakes Good Cakes
8 years ago

I haven’t had this is years! I had forgotten about this dish! Pinned so we can have it soon!

Keith Butts
1 year ago

I love your recipe, but when people post a recipe for things like elbow macaroni and it says 2 cups, is that cooked or uncooked ?

4 years ago

5 stars
Is this a very “creamy” dish?……I prefer to have a thicker type ……which mayonaise is best to use…or is Miracle Whip a better choice for me??…..

5 years ago

5 stars
Delicious salad! Only change I made was adding cubed cheddar cheese! I loved how creamy the eggs made it!!

8 years ago

I’ve always made my macaroni salad this way,for about 25 yrs every one loves it and requests me to make it for different functions..simply love it

8 years ago

Looks delicious….and I actually love the idea of adding in a bunch of extra veggies!

Suzanne McElligott
1 year ago

Hi July” I like this macaroni salad as it s not only pasta with mayonnaise you add in tuna and also vegetables it s one way of getting the children to eat nutritiously food like the tuna and also the eggs by sneaking these food in the salad.

Denise Hargrove
3 years ago

5 stars
Great recipe! I made it for a picnic and had to make myself stop eating it so I would have some to take to the picnic! I added onions and shredded carrots!

5 years ago

Sounds good but I hate peas!

8 years ago

5 stars
Great recipe however I prefer a bit less peas. I added an extra cup of noodles and still could’ve used only 3/4 can of peas and been plenty. I omitted the eggs as the peas have same texture and added a tablespoon of pickle juice and a tablespoon of dill pickle relish. It was excellent!

Joy @ Yesterfood
8 years ago

I LOVE this wonderful classic! Perfect for a picnic or summer lunch! Pinned and scheduled to shared on FB today! 🙂

3 years ago

I make this using large shell macaroni. I add a little sour cream, mustard, chopped pimento and cubed cheese. I also substitute frozen corn for the peas.
I’m glad to see that other people use Miracle Whip!