Home > Salads > Pasta Salads > Macaroni Salad Macaroni Salad June 29, 2023 | 2 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. Looking for a delicious and satisfying Macaroni Salad that packs a punch of flavor? Look no further! Our special recipe is the perfect combination of tender pasta, crisp veggies, and a robustly flavored dressing that will leave your taste buds tingling. Or if you’re looking for a protein-rich salad, give our Tuna Macaroni Salad a try. Next, try some of our other favorite summer pasta salads like this Greek Pasta Salad, Italian Pasta Salad, or Taco Pasta Salad. The Best Macaroni Salad Recipe! Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is a simple and delicious dish made with cooked pasta, grated carrot and onion, diced celery and sliced green onion. Then it’s combined with a signature sweet-tangy-creamy dressing. It’s easy to make and perfect as a side dish to any meal. This salad is a staple in Hawaiian cuisine and it’s known for its balance of sweet, tangy and creamy flavors that are paired perfectly with the pasta, vegetables and dressing. But what sets this pasta salad apart from all the rest? For starters, we’ve included plenty of dressing to ensure that every bite of pasta and veggies is perfectly coated and never dry. Plus, our unique dressing recipe includes a blend of savory spices and tangy ingredients that will elevate your Macaroni Salad game to new heights. So whether you’re looking to impress your guests at a summer barbecue or just want to make a tasty lunch for yourself, Macaroni Salad is sure to delight. So give it a try and see for yourself why it’s the best Macaroni Salad you’ve ever tasted! Macaroni Salad Tips Cook pasta al dente: Overcooked pasta can become mushy and unappealing in a salad. To avoid this, be sure to cook the pasta al dente, which means it should be firm and slightly undercooked–the opposite of soggy. Chill it: Once the salad is made, it’s best to chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. This will help the flavors meld together and keep the pasta from becoming too soft. Salt the pasta water: To make the perfect Macaroni Salad, don’t forget to salt the pasta water. Use 1 tablespoon of salt for every 4 quarts of rapidly boiling water, and make sure the water tastes as salty as sea water. This will add flavor and help the pasta cook evenly, resulting in pasta with a nice firm texture for your salad. Good-quality mayo: Make sure to use a high-quality mayonnaise. It makes such a difference in the final taste of the salad! Low-quality mayo can be too sweet or too sour and affect the final flavor balance. How To Make Macaroni Salad A quick overview of making this salad: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain pasta and let it cool. While pasta is cooling, mix dressing ingredients together. Combine the cooled pasta, veggies, and dressing. Toss everything together and enjoy! What To Serve With Macaroni Salad Macaroni Salad is a versatile side dish that complements a variety of main dishes. Some popular options include: Grilled meats: Macaroni salad is a classic side dish for grilled meats like burgers, hot dogs, ribs, steak and chicken. Seafood: It’s also a great pairing for seafood dishes such as grilled fish, shrimp, or crab cakes. Sandwiches: This salad can be served alongside sandwiches like a pulled BBQ pork sandwich or a BBQ Chicken Sandwich. Salads: It makes a great component in a larger salad when mixed with greens, other veggies, and protein. As a standalone: Macaroni salad can be served as a standalone dish for a quick and easy lunch or dinner. Toss in some tuna for added protein! With other side dishes: If you’re serving a whole BBQ spread, consider serving this salad with a Potato Salad, Creamy Fruit Salad, grilled corn on the cob (or Elote), Baked Beans, and a good chip dip (this Cowboy Caviar). QUICK TIP You can serve Macaroni Salad cold or at room temperature, making it perfect for picnics, potlucks, and other outdoor gatherings. You can prepare it in advance and chill it till serving time. VARIATIONS Different Macaroni Salad Recipes Macaroni Salad is a versatile dish that can be made with a variety of ingredients to suit different tastes and preferences. Here are a few variations you can try: Ranch-style: Use a creamy ranch dressing to give your salad a milder flavor and a creamy texture. You could also include some chopped herbs, diced tomatoes, cucumbers or bacon. Mediterranean-style: Add some Mediterranean flavors to your Macaroni Salad by tossing with this Greek Salad Dressing. Replace the veggies with kalamata olives, feta cheese, and diced cherry tomatoes. Mexican-style: Give a bit of a kick to Macaroni Salad by using the dressing on this Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad. Replace the veggies with diced sweet peppers, jalapeños, black beans, and cilantro. Tuna or chicken: Add some protein by adding canned tuna or chicken. Cheese-based: Add in some cheese like blue cheese, or feta for extra creaminess and flavor. Fruit-based: Add some sweetness and color by incorporating fresh fruit like grapes, apple, pineapple, or strawberries. These are just a few ideas, and you can always get creative and experiment with different ingredients to create your own unique Macaroni Salad. STORAGE Storage Macaroni Salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days. To store it properly, here are a few tips: Transfer the salad to an airtight container, or cover the bowl or dish with plastic wrap. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the salad to prevent air from getting in and forming a skin on top. To serve, remove the salad from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving. This will help to restore the texture and flavor of the pasta. Toss well before serving. It is generally recommended to consume the salad within 3-4 days of preparing it, as the pasta will start to lose its texture and the ingredients might not be as fresh. We like this salad best days one and two. Can You Freeze Macaroni Salad? Freezing can affect the salad’s texture and taste, so it’s not recommended. The pasta may become mushy and the mayo-based dressing may separate upon thawing. But if you’re determined, here’s the best way: Pack cooled salad in airtight containers, label it with the date and freeze. Salad should be consumed within 3-4 months; thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, check texture, flavor, and taste before consuming. More Delicious Salad Recipes: Teriyaki Chicken Salad with bowtie pasta Grapefruit Salad with a balsamic vinaigrette Pasta Salad with a zesty Italian vinaigrette Orzo Pasta Salad with a lemon vinaigrette Chicken Pasta Salad with a citrus vinaigrette FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Macaroni Salad 5 from 2 votes - Review this recipe Looking for a delicious and satisfying Macaroni Salad that packs a punch of flavor? Look no further! Our special recipe is the perfect combination of tender pasta, crisp veggies, and a robustly flavored dressing that will leave your taste buds tingling. SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Macaroni Salad 5 from 2 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Looking for a delicious and satisfying Macaroni Salad that packs a punch of flavor? Look no further! Our special recipe is the perfect combination of tender pasta, crisp veggies, and a robustly flavored dressing that will leave your taste buds tingling. Course Salad, Side Dish Cuisine American, Vegetarian Keyword Macaroni Salad, Macaroni Salad recipe Prep Time 15 minutes minutes Cook Time 9 minutes minutes Total Time 24 minutes minutes Servings 6 -8 (as a side) Chelsea Lords Calories 514kcal Author Chelsea Lords Cost $7.82 Ingredients▢ 3 cups (13 oz.) elbow pasta or similar pasta variety (Note 1)▢ Fine sea salt & pepper▢ 1-1/2 cups finely diced celery (3 large stalks)▢ 1 large red bell pepper, finely diced▢ 3/4 cup finely sliced green onions (1 bunch)▢ 1-1/2 cups grated carrots (3 carrots)Dressing▢ 3/4 cup good mayo (like Best Foods/Hellmans)▢ 3/4 cup sour cream▢ 1-1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar▢ 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard▢ 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon white sugar▢ 1-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder▢ 1/8 teaspoon celery seed, optionalUS - Metric USMetric InstructionsCOOK MACARONI: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add salt-- about 1 tablespoon for every 4 quarts of water. Then add the pasta to the pot and cook according to the package directions (for the lowest time indicated). Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and then let it cool. Toss it a few times as it is cooling to keep it from sticking together. While pasta is cooking and cooling, prepare veggies: finely dice celery, pepper, and green onions. Peel and then grate the carrots (on the large holes of the grater). DRESSING: Meanwhile, combine the dressing ingredients. Season to taste. (We add 1 tsp salt and 3/4 tsp pepper.) ASSEMBLE: Once the pasta is cooled, put it in a large mixing bowl. Add in the prepared veggies (carrots, celery, onion, and pepper). Pour the dressing over the all ingredients and toss everything together. ADJUST: Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, adding more salt, sugar, vinegar or mayo as needed until flavors sing.CHILL: Let the salad chill for at least 20-30 minutes before serving. Serve at room temperature, tossing again before serving. Salad is still delicious for the next couple of days; just toss well before serving. Video Recipe NotesNote 1: Macaroni: Don't use the entire package here-- it will be too much pasta for the amount of veggies and dressing. Three cups is perfect! Nutrition FactsCalories: 514kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 267mg | Potassium: 428mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 5706IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 2mg We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed. DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! 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