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.
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.
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