Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad

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This Tuna Pasta Salad is the perfect meal or side dish for summer. It’s made with perfectly cooked pasta, sweet corn, bell pepper, onion, dill, and tender tuna all tossed in a creamy and flavorful dressing. 

Close up view of pasta salad with fresh parsley.

Easy Cold Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe

Summer means it’s time for all of the best pasta salads. And this tuna pasta salad recipe is one of our all time favorites! It’s perfect for picnics, BBQs, potlucks, or just for an easy, fresh, and light meal any day of the week. 

It’s packed with good-for-you, flavorful, simple ingredients and comes together in about 45 minutes! Most of that time is completely hands-off.

How to Make Pasta Salad with Tuna

This tasty and creamy tuna pasta salad comes together with just 15 minutes of hands-on time! Perfect when you’re prepping a summer picnic or bbq.

Scroll to the recipe card below for ingredient amounts and full instructions.

  1. In a bowl, combine all of the dressing ingredients. Set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cooked pasta, tuna, corn, bell pepper, onion, and dill. Drizzle the dressing over top, toss to coat, then cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.
Bowl of dressing for pasta salad.
Tuna, noodles, peppers, onions and corn in a bowl.

Tips and Notes

  • Chop everything small. We want there to be a little bit of every flavor in each bite. Chop all your mix-ins small and uniform in size for the perfect flavor and texture balance.
  • Use a short pasta. My favorite pasta shapes to use are rotini or fusilli because their texture really allows for the dressing to adhere to the pasta. Other options include farfalle, penne, or any other short pasta shape. 
  • Salt the past water. This really adds so much to the flavor of the finished pasta salad. 
  • Cook the noodles al dente. A firmer texture helps them hold up better in the creamy dressing. 
  • Rinse the pasta after cooking. Rinsing the cooked pasta with a little bit of cold water helps remove excess starch so the noodles stay separate in the salad. Without rinsing, the pasta can become gummy.
  • Chill for 30 minutes before serving. Letting the pasta salad sit in the fridge for just a little bit gives the dressing time to really soak into everything so all of those flavors blend together nicely.
Blue plate filled with pasta salad.


  • Add other mix-ins. Add in chopped celery for a crunchier texture, kalamata olives, crumbled feta, diced cucumber, shredded carrots, frozen peas, chopped hard-boiled egg, you name it.
  • Use another protein. Try swapping the tuna out for cooked and shredded chicken or add in a handful of cooked and crumbled bacon. 
  • Make it vegetarian. Swap the tuna out for your favorite plant-based substitute or add in cooked white beans, chickpeas, or cannellini beans. 
  • Lighten it up. Lighten your pasta salad up by swapping some or all of the mayonnaise out for plain Greek yogurt. 

How to Store

Leftover cold tuna pasta salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. I do not recommend freezing it. The texture won’t hold up when thawed.

Keep in mind that as the pasta salad sits, the noodles will soak up some of the dressing. To serve again, you can whip up a little bit of extra dressing to moisten it or stir in a splash of milk, mayo, or sour cream just to make it creamy again.

For this recipe, I definitely recommend using tuna canned in water. Tuna canned in oil can result in an overly oily pasta salad. 

For the freshest flavor and the best texture, water is better!

Yes! While pasta salad is delicious served immediately (or after it chills in the fridge for 30 minutes), it’s also the perfect make-ahead dish. It just gets better as it sits! 

I love to make it ahead of time and let it chill overnight in the fridge so the flavors have ample time to really come together. 

While pasta salad is incredibly versatile, it is a classic addition to any summer meal, BBQ, or potluck! Here are a few of our favorite pairing ideas for summer:

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Close up view of a blue bowl holding tuna salad.

Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad

5 from 1 vote
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Author: Kimberly
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings


Creamy Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • 8 ounces short pasta, cooked to al dente according to package directions
  • 8 ounces tuna, drained
  • 1 cup golden sweet corn, canned, drained
  • ½ bell pepper, diced (any variety)
  • ½ purple onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons dill, finely chopped
  • Fresh dill, fresh, for garnish


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, paprika, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. 
    1 cup mayonnaise
    ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
    ½ teaspoon garlic powder
    ½ teaspoon paprika
    1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    Salt and pepper
  • In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, tuna, corn, bell pepper, onion, and fresh dill. Drizzle with the dressing, and toss to coat. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.
    8 ounces short pasta
    8 ounces tuna
    1 cup golden sweet corn
    ½ bell pepper
    ½ purple onion
    2 tablespoons dill
  • Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Garnish with more fresh dill and enjoy!
  • See post for storage options.

Suggested Equipment


*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 cups of pasta salad. Actual calories will vary.
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.
*Photos courtesy of Julia Loya from The Yummy Bowl.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 328mg | Potassium: 257mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 517IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg
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