Make Ahead

Mom's Best Tuna Macaroni Salad

October  4, 2022
4 Ratings
  • Serves 10-12
Author Notes

My mom has been making this salad every summer since I was a child. It is hands down the tastiest and cremiest tuna macaroni salad I've ever had - and always wins rave reviews from guests. Although simple, she experimented a bit before she got it right. Great with steak, burgers, chicken or just on it's own for lunch! —There'sAlwaysPie

What You'll Need
  • 16 ounces Cavatappi (corkscrew) pasta. You can also use any other large shaped pasta that will hold a chunky salad.
  • 2 stalks of celery diced small
  • 1 small sweet onion chopped
  • 5 hard boiled eggs chopped
  • 1 5 oz. can of tuna fish in water - drained
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise - I prefer Hellman's
  • 1/2 cup Miracle Whip
  • 1 squirt of mustard
  • 2 tablespoons season salt - I prefer McCormick Season All
  1. Cook pasta according to directions and then rinse with cold water.
  2. In a bowl mix together cooled pasta, tuna fish, celery, onion and egg.
  3. Mix in mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, mustard and seasoned salt. Stir well. If you taste it and it seems salty, don't worry the flavors will meld in the next step. (I'll be honest that I don't actually measure out these ingredients, but rather eyeball them. So, if it seems a little dry add a bit more mayonnaise/Miracle Whip by the tablespoon)
  4. Cover and let sit in fridge for at least 4 hours to let flavors absorb and blend. Periodically take it out and stir, if the pasta looks dry add a little more mayonnaise/Miracle Whip. Also if needs more season salt you can add a few shakes to taste.
  5. Serve cold!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • marynn
  • Sagegreen
  • There'sAlwaysPie
  • Rhonda Mier
    Rhonda Mier

8 Reviews

Rhonda M. December 12, 2015
Always wanted to try and make a pasta/macaroni type salad, but unfortunately none have ever come out well. They would be either too dry or bland. When I found this on Pinterest last night and read the ingredients I got up and made sure I had everything right away. I did and just finished making this today. It hasn't chilled 4 hours yet, but so far it is very good. A little salty like you said at first, but I am assured like you said the flavors will meld. I even held back some of the mayo mixture to add in if needed later. So happy I found this recipe.
Julie September 1, 2013
Just finished making this. I used a 12 oz. can of white tuna in water and added a can of baby peas. First taste tells me this is wonderful and will be even better after chilling for a few hours.
Kyla.Mc June 26, 2013
my mom used to make a kind of similar one... I am trying to reproduce it (she passed away before I learned how to make it). I know the ingredients but not the combination. Large pasta, tuna, whipped salad dressing (no name mayonnaise), hard boiled eggs, catalina dressing, pickle juice (not sure if it was dill or sweet but im thinking dill) and a sprinkle of paprika on top... anyone willing to explore and get back to me on quantities :P let me know
marynn November 7, 2011
OK, made this tonight because your description and photograph hit ALL the right buttons. Oh, my! I love all the more olive oil-fresh tuna-veg-cetric options out there, particularly when fresh tomatoes are awaiting on the counter, but sometimes I want tuna salad with macaroni. Period. I made this with whole wheat elbows and just enough of your perfect blend of mayo, Whip, and mustard. Perfection. Savory with a touch of sweet, and snap from the mustard. I am with Frontalgirl; this is my new default tuna salad. Thanks to you and your mother!
There'sAlwaysPie November 7, 2011
Awesome! Sometimes you have to throw healthy eating out the window and just enjoy- so glad you liked it!!
There'sAlwaysPie November 7, 2011
Awesome! Sometimes you have to throw healthy eating out the window and just enjoy- so glad you liked it!!
Frontalgirl June 30, 2011
I've been making a version of this for some time, but I love yours! I'll be doing yours from now on. Thanks!
Sagegreen June 29, 2011
Such fond memories! This makes me want some for our 4th buffet table!