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How to Make Tuna Macaroni Salad – Authentic Tuna Macaroni Salad (Recipe Guide)

How to Make Tuna Macaroni Salad – Authentic Tuna Macaroni Salad (Recipe Guide)

Our full recipe guide on how to make Tuna Macaroni Salad is one of the most popular dishes in the world.

Tuna macaroni salad is a classic dish that combines the richness of tuna with the comfort of pasta, all wrapped up in a creamy dressing.

Here’s an authentic recipe that’s simple to make and perfect for any occasion, from picnics to potlucks.


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How to Make Tuna Macaroni Salad

Tuna Macaroni Salad Recipe Ingredients

How to Make Tuna Macaroni Salad – Authentic Tuna Macaroni Salad (Recipe Guide)

1 1/2 cups dry elbow macaroni
1 can (12 oz) tuna, drained and flaked
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Paprika (for garnish, optional)
Fresh parsley

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Step By Step How to Make Tuna Macaroni Salad

Cook the Pasta

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside to cool.

How to Make Tuna Macaroni Salad – Authentic Tuna Macaroni Salad (Recipe Guide)

Prepare the Tuna Mixture

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flaked tuna, chopped celery, red onion, and sweet pickle relish. If using, add the chopped hard-boiled eggs.

Make the Dressing

In a separate small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice. Whisk until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Add the cooled macaroni to the tuna mixture. Pour the dressing over the top and stir gently until all the ingredients are well coated.

How to Make Tuna Macaroni Salad – Authentic Tuna Macaroni Salad (Recipe Guide)


Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. This allows the flavors to meld together nicely.


Before serving, give the salad a gentle stir and adjust seasoning if necessary. Sprinkle with paprika and chopped parsley for garnish.

How to Make Tuna Macaroni Salad – Authentic Tuna Macaroni Salad (Recipe Guide)

Tips To Make Tuna Macaroni Salad

Elbow macaroni is traditional, but you can use other small pasta shapes like shells or bow ties. Feel free to add other ingredients like chopped bell peppers, cucumbers, or capers according to your taste.

Adjust the amount of mayonnaise according to how creamy you like your salad. You can also use a combination of mayonnaise and Greek yogurt for a lighter version.

How Many Calories Has A Tuna Macaroni Salad

Elbow Macaroni (1 1/2 cups dry): Typically, 1 cup of cooked elbow macaroni has about 200 calories, so 1 1/2 cups dry, which makes about 3 cups cooked, would be approximately 600 calories.
Tuna (12 oz can): A 12-ounce can of tuna in water, drained, has about 330 calories.
Celery (1 cup chopped): About 16 calories.
Red Onion (1/2 cup chopped): Approximately 32 calories.
Sweet Pickle Relish (1/2 cup): Roughly 200 calories.
Hard-Boiled Eggs (2 eggs): About 140 calories per egg, totaling 280 calories.
Mayonnaise (1 cup): About 1440 calories.
Dijon Mustard (2 tablespoons): Roughly 30 calories.
Lemon Juice (1 tablespoon): Around 4 calories.
Total Caloric Content Calculation:
Macaroni: 600 calories
Tuna: 330 calories
Celery: 16 calories
Onion: 32 calories
Relish: 200 calories
Eggs: 280 calories
Mayonnaise: 1440 calories
Mustard: 30 calories
Lemon Juice: 4 calories
A full tuna macaroni salad is around 2932 calories and if you serve for 6 people, each serving would be around 488 calories.

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