The Only Type Of Canned Tuna You Should Add To Macaroni Salad

Macaroni, veggies, eggs, acidity, and spices — what's not to love about a classic macaroni salad? As The Country Cook explains, this comforting dish brings back nostalgic memories for some and yields a large quantity for the whole family. And while it's quick and easy to make, there are a few tricks to make it even better.

First, Wonder How To suggests the use of red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. This should be added to the pasta before you add your veggies, seasonings, etc. Think of it as a way to flavor the noodles and add some acidic contrast to the vinaigrette or mayonnaise dressing (both of which tend to taste rich).

Another tip comes from Serious Eats: They recommend whole milk, dijon mustard, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and sour cream for a boost of depth, as well as celery, shallots, and scallions for an element of textural contrast.

Speaking of additions, canned tuna is a popular choice for a reason. It's a staple in tuna salad recipes for sandwiches, so it's no surprise that it pairs well with the creaminess and flavors of macaroni salad. But sometimes, it can be difficult to choose which type of canned tuna to use, especially when it comes to water or oil-packed choices.

Water-packed wins

As Chicken of the Sea explains, oil-packed tuna contains either olive oil or vegetable oil while its water-packed cousin is packed with, you guessed it, water. They also mention that oil-packed tuna has a richer flavor compared to the lightness of water-packed tuna, so one may wonder, why not go for the more flavorful one?

The use of oily tuna affects several aspects of the salad, namely its consistency and texture, via The Country Cook, but also its flavor, via Jo Cooks (It's likely that the excess oil from the tuna may make the macaroni salad more oily in taste and in mouthfeel).

In terms of what type of water-packed tuna to use, Yellow Bliss Road recommends albacore since it doesn't taste as metallic as other options. Chicken of the Sea adds to this by stating that albacore is known for its meatiness, though it has a mild flavor profile compared to skipjack and yellowfin, which have richer flavors.

So next time a weeknight meal calls for some tuna macaroni salad, reach for the water-packed kind for better flavors and textures.