The Absolute Best Type Of Canned Tuna For Macaroni Salad

tuna macaroni salad in bowl
tuna macaroni salad in bowl - Kritchai7752/Shutterstock

Anyone who's ever been to a cookout or potluck has most likely experienced the joy of macaroni salad. In addition to macaroni, traditional recipes often include ingredients like mayonnaise, bell peppers, celery, red onions, and assorted seasonings like garlic and onion powder. Tuna is a common addition to the recipe, as illustrated by this macaroni salad with tuna and bacon recipe. But you should select your tinned fish carefully for the best dish possible.

In this case, it's best to seek out canned tuna that's packed in water as opposed to oil. Keep in mind that oil-packed varieties have a heavier texture, which can make your macaroni salad a bit heavy when combined with mayo. Depending on the type of oil used for packing, the tuna may overpower the other flavors in the dish. On the other hand, water-packed canned tuna has a more buoyant texture and will allow the rest of the flavors to come through beautifully.

Read more: 12 Canned Foods You Should Avoid At The Grocery Store

Other Canned Tuna Characteristics To Consider

canned tuna in bowl
canned tuna in bowl - Amarita/Getty Images

Upon perusing cans of tuna to determine whether they're packed in water or oil, you'll probably notice other descriptions on the label. Much like the liquid the canned fish is packed in, the type of tuna you choose can also have a major impact on your macaroni salad. For example, the distinction between white and light tunas is worth keeping in mind. White tuna is similar in texture to chicken and dials back the flavor one might expect from canned fish. Conversely, light tuna offers a bolder flavor yet softer texture.

Canned tuna also comes in chunks or solid pieces, and each option can have an impact on the texture of macaroni salad. Naturally, chunk tuna is made up of individual pieces, while solid varieties offer larger filets. With macaroni salad recipes, chunk tuna may be the way to go, as you'll only end up breaking down the filets to incorporate them with other ingredients. As for the white vs. light conundrum, it depends on your flavor preferences. Choose white for a milder flavor, or opt for light if you want the taste of the tuna to shine through your other ingredients.

Tips For Incorporating Tuna Into Macaroni Salad

canned tuna with fork
canned tuna with fork - Rightone/Getty Images

Food must be canned with liquid to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, which is why all canned tuna is either packed in water or oil. Unlike oil, water doesn't add a strong flavor to food, so it's best to drain tuna before incorporating the fish into your recipe. The added water is likely to have a poor effect on your macaroni salad by potentially creating a runny texture. And because the water lacks a significant flavor, it will dilute the flavor of other ingredients used in the recipe.

One of the great things about macaroni salad is the versatility of the recipe. However, certain ingredients are bound to pair well with tuna. Ingredients like lemon juice and pickle relish can add some bright acidity to the dish, while cheddar cheese can boost the savory component (much like this sheet pan tuna melt recipe that also uses cheddar as a key ingredient). You can also include some hardboiled eggs to boost the flavor while also making the dish lovely to look at. With these tips, your macaroni tuna salad is sure to have people talking.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.