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!

Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad in a bowl

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.
ingredients in a bowl to make Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 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.
  • Variations:
    • 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.

got tuna?

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!

  1. Cook Pasta: Boil the pasta in a large pot of water and make the dressing (per the recipe below).
  2. Mix Dressing: Combine the dressing ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. 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.

top view of Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad in a glass bowl

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 in a bowl
4.98 from 69 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad

This creamy salad combines pasta & tuna to create the perfect light lunch or side to supper! With the addition of pickles, cheese, and peas it is sure to be a hit!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Equipment

Ingredients  

  • 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)

Dressing

  • cup mayonnaise
  • cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

Nutrition Information does not include optional ingredients.
4.98 from 69 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Nutrition Information

Calories: 431 | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 406mg | Potassium: 237mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 600IU | Vitamin C: 8.7mg | Calcium: 175mg | Iron: 1.5mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. 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!5 stars

    1. 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!

  2. 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.

    1. So happy you enjoyed this recipe, Ed! Small elbow macaroni would work great in this recipe, thanks for sharing.

  3. 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!5 stars