Tuna Macaroni Salad


Almost every other Friday growing up my mother would serve the family this tuna macaroni salad. With six kids she loved this standard; it was easy to make, filling, relatively inexpensive, and best, we all gobbled it up.

Tuna Macaroni Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 quart water
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion, including green onion greens
  • 1 cup chopped red, orange, or yellow bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 (5 oz) cans of tuna, packed in olive oil (do not drain), or if you get tuna packed in water, drain the water out and add 2-3 Tbsp olive oil.
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4-1/3 a head of lettuce (preferably iceberg lettuce), sliced first and roughly chopped into 2 inch long strips
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (we use sweet Hungarian)
  • Fresh ground pepper


1 In a saucepan, add 1 cup of elbow macaroni to 1 quart of boiling water with an added teaspoon of salt. Cook at a rolling boil uncovered for about 10 minutes until the macaroni is just a little more cooked than al dente. When ready, remove from heat, drain and rinse with cold water.

2 While the macaroni is cooking, assemble the other ingredients. In a large bowl mix the green onion, bell peppers, parsley, tuna, celery and lemon. Add the cooked and drained macaroni. Fold in the mayonnaise until well mixed. Add the paprika. Add fresh ground pepper to taste. At this point you can make ahead and chill.

3 When ready to serve, gently fold in the lettuce. The salad does not make good leftovers as the lettuce will eventually get soggy.

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Tuna Macaroni Salad

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Showing 4 of 16 Comments

  • Kenny Schrader

    Just made it yesterday….sub the lettuce with un-cooked shredded carrots and red beets.

  • Sarah

    I tried this recipe tonight and loved it. I am fond of tuna but haven’t done much apart from tuna salad sandwiches and tuna casserole so this was a delightful change. I might try using more green onion and paprika next time, but don’t want to ruin it.
    I found your website only recently and the few recipes I have used were great. Thank you for taking the time and sharing :)

  • Diannaount

    I made this salad today (only I cut the recipe down by half b/c I only had 1 can of Tuna on hand), and ‘Boy oh Boy’ was it Delish!! So Delish that I was unable to save some for my Husband :-/…He’ll try it the next time around ;-)

  • Gretchen

    Thank you for posting this recipe. I have been feeling a little homesick and this recipe reminds me of my big family gatherings. Summer memories in a bowl.

  • Joe Blow

    This is a great recipe. I cut the mayo and it was still good. Highly recommended!

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