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Macaroni Salad Recipe

This classic Macaroni Salad recipe is easy to make and has the best dressing! This a perfect summer side dish for BBQ’s and Potlucks. Add-on options include ham, tuna, hard boiled eggs, and more!

Be sure to try my Italian Pasta Salad recipe next!

A white bowl filled with creamy Macaroni Salad with a spoon on the side.

Macaroni Salad

When it comes to summer recipes, classic macaroni salad is a must. It’s an easy make-ahead recipe, and there are endless add-on options! (See my suggestions below for ideas!)

This is a perfect side dish recipe for BBQ’s, Potlucks, or just to have in the fridge for on-and-off snacking during the hot summer months!

About the Dressing

This dressing has the best flavor profile, with flavors that complement each other perfectly. The base of the dressing is mayo, followed by sour cream and sweet relish which adds a little tang. Apple cider vinegar gives it some zing, and Dijon mustard is a perfect flavor enhancer. Honey adds a nice offset to the acidic components, and garlic salt and pepper are the best simple seasonings to finish with.

The Veggies

The veggies used in this recipe not only add a pop of color, but they add little crunch as well. Included here are celery, bell peppers, carrots, and red onions.

Ingredients-for-Macaroni-Salad on a white surface.

How to Make It

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

  • Combine dressing ingredients and set in the fridge to chill.
  • Boil macaroni in salted water until just al dente and rinse with cold water. Drain well.
  • Combine pasta, celery, bell peppers, carrots, onions, and toss with the dressing.
  • Transfer to a clean serving dish and chill for 1-2 hours (or up to overnight), prior to serving.
  • Garnish with paprika and green onions and serve!

Add-Ons

  • Optional add-ons include: Hard boiled eggs, pepperoni, olives, peas, sharp cheddar (cubed or shredded), chopped bacon, diced ham, diced pickles, and tuna.

Pro Tips

  •  Stir the macaroni periodically as it cooks, to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot or to each other.
  • Other short pastas may be used, as well, including small shells, farfalle, and ditalini.
  • Be sure to check out my other pasta salad recipes here, and try my easy potato salad and egg salad recipes next!

Make-Ahead Method

  • This can be made 1-day ahead of time.
  • I would consider making a half portion of additional dressing, as the pasta absorbs the dressing as it sits. You can add the additional dressing prior just before serving, or right when you make it.

Storage

  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.

Macaroni Salad in a white bowl with paprika on top.

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Creamy Macaroni Salad in a white bowl with slices of carrots, celery, and onions.

Macaroni Salad Recipe

5 from 10 ratings
This classic Macaroni Salad recipe is easy to make and has the best dressing. Add-on options include ham, tuna, hard boiled eggs, and more!

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 lb. macaroni
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 Bell pepper, I use ½ green and ½ red
  • 1/2 cup carrots, julienned
  • 1/3 cup diced red onions

Dressing

  • ¾ cup Mayonnaise, I use Hellman's
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons honey, can sub sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, can sub white or red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, can sub yellow mustard
  • 3 tablespoons sweet relish
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Garnishes

  • Paprika
  • Green onions

Instructions

  • Combine dressing ingredients and set in the fridge to chill.
  • Boil macaroni in salted water until just al dente, about 7-8 minutes (verify time on package).
  • While the pasta cooks, prepare the celery, peppers, carrots, and onions.
  • Drain and rinse the macaroni with cold water until the water on the bottom of the colander comes through cold. Drain as much of the water as possible, (I lay my macaroni on a dry dish towel).
  • Add the pasta and the dressing to a large bowl. Use a silicone spatula to gently stir until evenly combined. Add vegetables and stir to combine. Transfer to a clean serving dish.
  • Cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours, or up to overnight. The pasta will absorb more of the dressing during this time. (See notes for pro tips on making this ahead of time.)
  • Garnish with green onions and paprika and serve!

Notes

Make-Ahead Method:
  • This can be made 1-day ahead of time.
  • Consider making a half portion of additional dressing, as the pasta absorbs the dressing as it sits. You can add the additional dressing prior just before serving, or right when you make it.

Add-on Options:
  • Optional add-ons include: Hard boiled eggs, pepperoni, olives, peas, sharp cheddar (cubed or shredded), chopped bacon, diced ham, diced pickles, and tuna.

Storage:
  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.

Nutritional information is an estimate and is per serving. This recipe makes 12 servings.

Nutrition

Calories: 270kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Cholesterol: 9mg, Sodium: 363mg, Potassium: 151mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1292IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 21mg, Iron: 1mg
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22 comments on “Macaroni Salad Recipe”

  1. Just made this for the second time to have with ribs for dinner tonight. Made for a BBQ last week and it was a hit. Really enjoy the dressing! Put in onion, celery and carrots. My new recipe!!

    • I am soooo thrilled to hear that Cindy!!! I love that you served it with ribs and for a BBQ, two perfect ways to put it to use! 🙂 Thank you soo much for the review!! 🙂 -Stephanie

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