This totally loaded tuna macaroni salad recipe is the perfect side dish for any barbecue! It’s easy to throw together and a great to bring to a potluck or served year round with hamburgers. Take a peek at the secret ingredient that we add to make it over the top delicious!
When it warms up and becomes BBQ season I’m ready to throw together some delicious side dishes like this tuna macaroni salad recipe. Now you can simplify it all you want but we like ours totally loaded up with ingredients. It’s just Ahhhhhhmazing!! (originally published 5/16, affiliate links present)
Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad with Tuna
The perfect cold pasta salad to serve along side burgers or sandwiches at a barbecue during the summertime or have it for lunch too (I’ve done that). If you love tuna as much as we do you will love this recipe!
I know….I’d love a bowl right now with nothing else (and yes it has become my lunch if we ever have leftovers).
- Whether you make it as a side dish or a meal all in itself it’s an amazing tuna macaroni salad recipe.
We have taken this to friends’ houses when we’ve been invited over for a potluck and everyone thinks it is amazing.
Honestly it is something I just came up with using ingredients I really liked and I had in my house already and it made for a great side dish for the BBQ we had today.
Tuna Macaroni Salad
- Tuna – I like in water, chunk tuna is the only way to go
- Bowtie or macaroni noodles
- Hard boiled eggs – here’s an easy way to make Instant Pot hard boiled eggs
- or easier, make no peel eggs in the oven
- Black olives
Pickles – you MUST add these, the secret ingredient to making it the best tuna salad (best to cut whole pickles in larger chunks than using relish)
It’s actually really easy to throw together and typically I have all the ingredients at home which makes it even easier. When it comes to side dishes I don’t want to have to go to the store or try to find some unusual ingredient.
- I’m a Mom and busy so let’s keep things easy shall we. 😉 Of course you can add even more items or omit those you don’t like but here is how you make this totally loaded tuna pasta salad recipe.
Tuna Pasta Salad
- First bring a large pot to a boil with a little salt. Cook macaroni noodles until they are al dente.
- you can use elbow macaroni or any other small noodles like you see here
- Drain and rinse them with cold water using a collander, set aside
- In a large bowl combine all of your ingredients including all the diced items you love like
- sweet relish, dill pickle relish, or dice sweet pickles for larger chunks which is my preference
- diced red onions
- black pepper
- we love diced hard boiled eggs
- some like a squeeze of yellow mustard
- Gently fold in your noodles so they’re coated and it’s serving time
I actually prefer to cover and cool it in the fridge for at least an hour beforehand and then sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper just before serving
Macaroni and Tuna Salad
Any way you mix it up, tuna macaroni salad is a classic dish everyone loves. Everyone says it’s super delicious (even those who typically don’t care for fish)! Want it from fresh? Try our tuna steak air fryer recipe too.
The more ingredients the better if you ask me! If you love our totally loaded tuna pasta salad recipe here you will love our easy baked brie recipe too.
- Both are great recipes for a BBQ or when you have guests over!
If you’re having a potluck or you need other barbecue side dish recipes here are a few more:
- Broccoli salad makes a great addition to get togethers, this bacon pasta salad is pretty amazing too.
- Seafood salad is something different to bring to a potluck
- Easy cole slaw recipe – there’s a Hawaiian version too
- Creamy pasta salad is a bit different without the tuna for the non meat lovers
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Totally loaded tuna pasta salad
- Boil noodles and drain when they are cooked (slightly al dente).
- Run cool water over noodles to cool them down. Dice your 3 hard boiled eggs, 1-2 dill pickles, olives and flake your tuna. Add your ingredients to your noodles and gently toss.
- Add your mayonnaise and fold into tuna pasta mixture. Add 1-2 tbsp. dill pickle juice (depending on how “dilly” you want it).
- Refrigerate for 1-2 hrs and serve. Keeps well for a day or two after too and makes for a great lunch!!