Tuna Macaroni Salad Recipe

IMAGE Patrick Martires

Ditch the chicken for this easier-to-make version of your favorite macaroni salad!

Tuna may be dubbed the "chicken of the sea" but this versatile fish is taking over as the star of this macaroni salad recipe. You can pan-fry fresh tuna for this macaroni salad, but if you just want a quick fix, using canned tuna makes this salad no less delicious. 

Tips To Make Tuna Macaroni Salad

  • 1 Use tuna chunks, not flakes. Even if you pan-fry or bake fresh tuna from the market, we suggest that you chop them into chunks that are no smaller than an inch. This is because cooked tuna is very flaky, and as you mix it with the rest of the ingredients, it will naturally get broken up into smaller pieces. The texture is just as important as flavor, so making sure you have nice chunks of tuna after mixing is key to making this tuna macaroni salad stand out.
  • 2 Don't overcook your macaroni. Your macaroni pasta comes with package instructions, and if you want to cook them just until they're firm or al dente, you should set a timer for the correct duration. If you like it on the softer side, you can extend the cooking time by 2 to 3 minutes. Once it's cooked, you can cool it down quickly with an ice bath or running water. 
  • 3 Make it one day ahead. Most Pinoy ulam recipes just taste better the day after they're made, and this tuna macaroni salad is no different. It's also best served cold, so keeping it in the refrigerator overnight (or at least three hours, if you are excited) will let the flavors mix and marinate better.
  • 4 Save the basil puree. It's easier to do a large batch of basil puree, and it's not just because groceries sell them in big bunches. You don't need a lot for this tuna macaroni salad, but basil puree freezes well. You can store it in ice cube trays and simply melt these little flavor bombs once you need them!
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Prep Time
25 mins 
Cooking Time
Ready In
1 hr 
American, Filipino
Cooking Method

Tuna Macaroni Salad Ingredients

How to make Tuna Macaroni Salad

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