Macaroni Salad Recipe

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This classic creamy Macaroni Salad Recipe will be your go-to! It’s filled with easy to find ingredients such as celery, onion, and red pepper all dressed in a creamy mayo dressing. It’s the perfect side dish to take to any potluck or get together.

Close up of Macaroni Salad in a bowl with a spoon.

I don’t know about you guys, but I am not a fan of store bought macaroni salad. It always leaves a weird aftertaste in my mouth. So, I have decided it is time I start making my own, and trust me after you have made homemade macaroni salad there is no going back to the tub stuff.

Why You Will Love This Macaroni Salad Recipe

  • Uses easy to find staple ingredients
  • No weird aftertaste
  • You can adjust the ingredients to suit your tastes
  • Great make ahead side dish
  • It’s free from preservatives and hard to pronounce ingredients

Ingredients all laid out to make macaroni salad.

Ingredient List

PASTA: Any type of small pasta will work for this recipe but for the classic macaroni salad go with elbow pasta.
VEGGIES: I like to use celery, bell pepper, onion, and pickles. Feel free to leave out anything you don’t like.

EGGS: I know this is a controversial ingredient but my family and I love the addition.
DRESSING: Mayo (please no miracle whip!!), sour cream, vinegar, garlic powder, mustard, and sugar.

Four pictures showing the steps to make this cool and creamy salad.

How-To Make Macaroni Salad:

PASTA: Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and rinse in cold water until the pasta is cool to the touch.

PREP THE ADD-INS: Prep all the veggies and eggs by dicing them in a small dice. This helps to distribute them through the salad better which also flavors the salad better.

DRESSING: Combine the mayo, sour cream, vinegar, mustard, sugar, and garlic powder and mix well. Pour over the macaroni and veggies and stir well. Chill in the refrigerator overnight for the best taste.

FAQs

WHY IS MY MACARONI SALAD DRY?

Cooking the pasta properly will help with this the best. Cook according to package directions until al dente. After the salad sits it will absorb some of the dressing so adding a little milk, sour cream, or mayo just before serving will help make it creamy again.

HOW TO STORE MACARONI SALAD?

Macaroni salad should be stored covered in the refrigerator. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It is not recommended to leave macaroni salad out in the heat for very long.

Overhead view of macaroni salad in a bowl garnished with black pepper and parsley.

Tips and Suggestions

  • Use any small pasta if you don’t have elbows on hand. Small shells, ditalini, or mini penne are other great options.
  • Dicing the vegetables small ensures they flavor the salad well and are evenly distributed.
  • This salad is perfect for making ahead of time as it gives the salad more time for the flavors to develop.
  • If your salad is a little dry mix in a little milk, sour cream, or mayo before serving.
  • Other options add-ins: bacon, cheddar, shredded carrots, peas, ham, olives, fresh parsley, sweet pickles

More Delicious Sides

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Macaroni Salad Recipe
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Chill Time:
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 25 mins
 

This classic creamy Macaroni Salad Recipe will be your go-to! It's filled with easy to find ingredients such as celery, onion, and red pepper all dressed in a creamy mayo dressing. It's the perfect side dish to take to any potluck or get together.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: classic macaroni salad, creamy macaroni salad, easy macaroni salad
Servings: 6 (1 cup servings)
Calories: 451 kcal
Author: Malinda Linnebur
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces (227g) elbow pasta
  • 1 large green onion, diced
  • ¼ cup (30g) diced celery
  • ¼ cup (40g) diced dill pickle
  • ¼ cup (35g) diced bell pepper
  • 1 large hard boiled egg, chopped
DRESSING:
  • 1 cup (225g) mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup (70g) sour cream
  • 1 tablepoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Prepare macaroni noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse immediately with cold water, then drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil and stir to coat.

  2. Combine dressing ingredients in medium sized bowl. Add cooked pasta, and all remaining ingredients and stir well to combine.

  3. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour before serving.

Recipe Notes
  1. STORAGE: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  2. Use any small pasta if you don’t have elbows on hand. Small shells, ditalini, or mini penne are other great options.
  3. Dicing the vegetables small ensures they flavor the salad well and are evenly distributed.
  4. This salad is perfect for making ahead of time as it gives the salad more time for the flavors to develop.
  5. If you salad is a little dry mix in a little milk, sour cream, or mayo before serving.
  6. Other options add-ins: bacon, cheddar, shredded carrots, peas, ham, olives, fresh parsley, sweet pickles
Nutrition Facts
Macaroni Salad Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 451 Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Fat 33g51%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Trans Fat 0.1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 18g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 53mg18%
Sodium 751mg33%
Potassium 185mg5%
Carbohydrates 31g10%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 271IU5%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 39mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate.

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