This Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad recipe is one of our favorite versions of a classic tuna salad!
Flaky tuna, tender pasta, a bit of cheese, and a handful of peas are tossed in a simple creamy dressing with a touch of dill.
This pasta salad recipe is a warm-weather go-to for quick meals or even potlucks!
A Favorite Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe
- This pasta salad is both quick and simple to make.
- It uses everyday ingredients you likely have on hand.
- Can be made ahead of time making it perfect for a picnic, BBQ potluck, or even for an easy dinner.
- Add your own favorite veggies, cheeses, herbs and seasonings.
- Tuna – Choose tuna that is packed in water so it doesn’t make the rest of the salad oily and drain it well. Solid or chunk white albacore tuna will have bigger pieces and a bit of a milder flavor while light tuna has smaller pieces.
- Pasta – Use a medium shape pasta like rotini or shells so the ridges grab the dressing!
- Add-Ins – Celery, green onions, baby peas, and cheddar cheese add texture and flavor to this salad. Try red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, or parsley if you’d like.
An Easy Dressing
Just a handful of ingredients are needed for this dressing.
- Mayonnaise is the creamy base for this recipe.
- Sour cream adds tang (use Greek yogurt to lighten it up a little bit).
- Sweet relish, dill, and vinegar add sweetness and flavor.
- Swap sweet pickle relish for chopped dill pickles.
- Add fresh dill in place of dried.
- Add a spoonful of Dijon, a bit of smoked paprika, or a dash of cayenne pepper if you’d like.
Here are some of our favorite ways to doctor up a can of tuna for a great meal!
How to Make Tuna Pasta Salad
Making a pasta salad isn’t hard! With a little prep work and three easy steps, you can have this salad ready in 30 mins!
- Cook Pasta: Boil the pasta in a large pot of water and make the dressing (per the recipe below).
- Mix Dressing: Combine the dressing ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Combine& Refrigerate: Add the cold pasta and remaining ingredients to the bowl and gently toss to combine. Refrigerate for one hour.
Whether making in advance or making fresh to eat, keep it chilled until you are ready to serve.
Keep it Creamy
As pasta salad sits, the pasta will soak in the dressing. This is great because it flavors the salad throughout (and it’s why refrigerating is recommended before serving).
Ensure you dress the salad generously so it’s nice and creamy as the dressing is absorbed.
Serving, Storage, and Leftovers
When serving it outdoors, put the salad in a bowl on a small tray or plate of ice to keep it cold. Stir frequently to keep it all chilled throughout!
Keep tuna pasta salad in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-4 days making it great for lunches.
More Delicious Pasta Salads
Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad
- 3 cups rotini pasta measured dry
- 6 ounces canned tuna drained
- ½ cup celery diced
- 3 green onions sliced
- ¾ cup baby peas defrosted and drained
- 1 cup cheddar cheese diced (optional)
- ⅔ cup mayonnaise
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- salt & pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon dried dill
- Combine all dressing ingredients and set aside.
- Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Rinse under cold water to stop cooking.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
- Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
© SpendWithPennies.com. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited. Please view my photo use policy here.
Like our recipes?
Follow us on Pinterest!
This has become one of my favorite summer dishes! So light and perfect. The only thing I add is a small jar of marinated artichokes. And I serve it over a bed of lettuce. This is pure Yum!
can you omit the pickle relish? If so, just add all the other ingredients for the dressing?
You can leave it out or swap it for chopped dill pickles and then follow the directions as written. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out Betty!
Made this for the 1st for my husband, and daughter instead of using it for a get together, decided it would a great lunch dish. My daughter asked to try some prior to putting some into a container for her lunch. Her response mom I thoroughly love this, it’s so good. Instead of celery I used red peppers, I didn’t use cheese as it was already really creamy. It is absolutely delicious. It well be on my rotation of recipes when needing something easy & quick. Thank you
So good! My Bf and I loved it! I chose this recipe to use leftover chicken. I also replaced the sour cream with Miracle Whip and the green onion with regular because it’s what I had on hand. I will definitely be making this again. With chicken but also the recommended tuna, etc.
Another one of your delicious recipes added to the rotation. Thank you!
Your version sounds delicious Lori! Thank you for sharing!
We don’t like mayo
What can I swap it with please?
Hi Elaine, I have only tried the recipe as written but you should be able to swap for greek yogurt. It will be slightly less creamy and will have a little more tang but should still be delicious! If you try it, let us know how it turns out!
This is an excellent tuna salad. I love tuna salad and I’m sure this is the best I’ve had. The only thing I would change ( and this is for me personally ) is the pasta. I would use small elbow macaroni so there’s not so much absorption. I’m retired and my wife still works. So I do most of the cooking.
Since there’s only the two of us, a lot of times we’ll eat left overs. When I made this salad it was pretty dry the next day, so I had to add more mayo, but it was still great.
I’ve only been cooking for about three years and have had my share of disasters. Thanks to your recipes I’m getting better all the time.
So happy you enjoyed this recipe, Ed! Small elbow macaroni would work great in this recipe, thanks for sharing.
How many cups of elbow macaroni would you use?
I made this tuna pasta recipe yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised how good it was.
I’ve been shying away from tuna for the past few years but wanted to try a recipe with the white albacore tuna in it. This recipe has the right combination of ingredients that makes the tuna taste so mild, and with the right amount of crunch. I will definitely make this again!