This Macaroni Salad Recipe will become a go-to favorite side dish for any occasion! Made with elbow macaroni, fresh vegetables like celery and carrots in a creamy dressing, it easily comes together.
My love for Macaroni Salad began as a child. There was nothing I loved more than family BBQ’s where my Aunt made the Macaroni Salad. Do you have any memories like this that revolve around a loved one’s recipe?
In my humble opinion, there is no store bought Macaroni Salad that would ever compare to the homemade version. This really is my favorite macaroni salad and the only macaroni salad recipe I ever make.
You will be amazed at how simple it is to make your own homemade Macaroni Salad recipe! A cold pasta salad is an easy side dish for your next picnic. This classic side dish is the perfect summer side dish for a summer bbq! This great side dish is perfect to serve at a picnic or tailgate too.
This easy Macaroni Salad recipe is the perfect make ahead option too, since it needs some time to marinate to let the flavors meld together.
How to Make This Classic Macaroni Salad Recipe
Be sure to scroll down to get the printable recipe card with the full simple ingredients that you can pick up right at your local grocery store.
Macaroni Salad Ingredients
- dry elbow macaroni
- diced carrot
- red peppers (or swap out for green pepper or yellow bell peppers)
- green onions or red onion
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- sour cream
- apple cider vinegar (can use white or red wine vinegar)
- white sugar
- yellow or dijon mustard
- sweet pickle relish or finely chopped sweet pickles or dill pickles
- garlic powder
- Kosher Salt and black pepper, to taste
The best part about this easy pasta salad is that it really does not take a long time to make the perfect side dish! It really just takes the time that pasta cooks.
Cook pasta according to package directions until it reaches al dente in a large pot. Rinse your cooked pasta with cold water to stop the cooking process or let your hot pasta come to room temperature. Soft noodles will not hold the tangy flavors of the dressing well.
In a small bowl mix together the dressing ingredients. This is a good recipe to taste and adjust to your personal preferences. You can add just a pinch of sugar or a couple of teaspoons sugar instead.
Spoon the dressing over the cooked macaroni in a large bowl, stir well to coat,. Mix in the chopped vegetables. The small pieces of fresh ingredients really give this creamy macaroni salad a nice crunch. You can sprinkle some fresh herbs over your delicious macaroni salad like fresh parsley.
Place the salad in the fridge for an hour to let the flavors marinate.
Find a new favorite recipe to serve this Macaroni Salad recipe with:
Sloppy Joe Biscuit Cups
Pulled Pork Sliders
Sausage & Peppers Sandwiches
Better than Rotisserie Chicken
Baby Back Ribs
How long will macaroni salad last?
You can keep your macaroni salad in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
More great side dishes to serve along with Best Macaroni Salad Recipe
- Corn on the cob
- Cucumber Salad
- Sweet Potato Fries
- Potato Salad
- Salad Recipes
- Giant list of side dish recipes!
Macaroni Salad Recipe
- Macaroni Salad
- 2 cups dry macaroni noodles (4 cups cooked)
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1/2 cup diced carrots
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 green onions, diced (green parts only)
- For the dressing:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar (can use white or red wine vinegar)
- 2 Tablespoons white sugar, to taste
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 2 Tablespoons sweet green relish
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Do not rinse after draining.
- In a large bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust to your personal preferences.
- Add the cooked macaroni, stir well to coat, and then mix in the chopped vegetables.
- Place the macaroni salad in the fridge for an hour to let the flavors marinate.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Saturday 16th of April 2022
Since my husband became allergic to eggs, I’ve tried different macaroni salads over the years, hoping to find one that can replace my good, old fashioned, fairly basic, macaroni salad with eggs. This one is quite good.
I used 8 ounces of macaroni. Rotini, cavatappi, and extra-large elbows.
It’s creamy without being weighed down by lots of heavy mayonnaise. Has a rich taste from the sour cream that very nicely replaces the hard boiled eggs I miss. I like the tanginess of the vinegar, prepared yellow mustard, and sweet pickle relish, that is offset and enhanced by the sugar. But it’s not too sweet! I used 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
I substituted a ½ teaspoon of onion powder for the green onions (as raw onions bother my stomach), and I think that worked out pretty well. I used ¾ teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper, and ½ teaspoon of granulated garlic. I think I might increase the black pepper and garlic just a bit. Maybe another ¼ teaspoon of each.
This recipe is a keeper! Thank you.