Tuna macaroni salad holds a special place in my heart. It reminds me of big summertime cookouts and family reunions in Elberton. In my mind, I can see my funny aunt Adrienne smiling her pretty, infectious smile while whipping up her always requested tuna macaroni salad. It’s just not a cookout without Aunt Adri’s tuna macaroni salad!

cold tuna macaroni salad 4

I’m surprised to hear a lot of folks have never had tuna macaroni salad before.  Maybe it’s more of a southern thing because I grew up on this stuff. I didn’t like it as a child though (the whole tuna thing, ick) but as I got older I fell in love. It’s made with elbow macaroni pasta, tuna, mayonnaise (Dukes), hard-boiled eggs, relish, diced veggies and seasoned to perfection. What you end up with is a creamy, cool tuna pasta salad that belongs right next to the potato salad.

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Tuna macaroni salad is pretty doggone addictive as well. I find myself dipping into it whenever I go into the kitchen, a spoonful here, a spoonful there. I prefer it plain as a side dish next to grilled meats, but you can eat it with crackers, rolled in lettuce, or even as a sandwich topped with fresh tomatoes (which is what my husband does)

cold tuna macaroni salad

It comes together really easy and honestly there’s no correct recipe as far as measurements. Everybody makes it different and that’s the beauty of it. It’s one of those pasta salads that you just taste as you go, adding in as much or as little ingredient as you like.

Watch me make this tuna macaroni salad from start to finish!!

cold tuna macaroni salad

Get the Recipe: Tuna Macaroni Salad

4.60 from 37 ratings
Southern cold macaroni tuna salad. Perfect for cookouts!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Refrigerate: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 8 people


  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely diced mixture of celery, green bell pepper, and onion (see note)
  • 1/4 cup dill relish
  • 2 tablespoons sweet relish
  • 2 6 oz cans tuna, drained
  • 1 1/2 cup mayonnaise, I used Dukes
  • black pepper, Old Bay, seasoning salt to taste
  • parsely, paprika, garnish


  • Cook pasta according to package and rinse with cold water when done. Drain & set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add cold pasta, chopped eggs, celery, bell pepper, and onion mixture.
  • Toss to combine.
  • Add in dill relish, sweet relish and tuna.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Stir in mayonnaise.
  • Season to taste with black pepper, Old Bay and seasoning salt (if needed)
  • Spread into a casserole dish.
  • Garnish with paprika and parsley flakes.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.



VEGETABLE MIXTURE: For the finely diced vegetable you can use a mixture of onion, celery, bell peppers or even carrots. (whatever you like here!) You can even use just one of them.
ADD MORE MAYO: If you find your salad isn't as creamy the next day feel free to add in more mayo.
Cuisine: American, southern
Course: pasta salad, Side Dish
Author: Divas Can Cook
Tried this recipe?Mention @divascancook on Instagram or tag #divascancook.