CLASSIC MACARONI SALAD (2024)

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This classic macaroni salad combines cooked pasta and chopped vegetables in a tangy mayonnaise based sauce for the perfect make ahead bbq, lunch or summer side dish.

Classic Macaroni Salad

From the recipe collection of Tara Ippolito

Classic macaroni salad is truly a summer side dish staple.

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Most of us have probably grown up eating this at almost every BBQ and summer party and still do. It goes perfectly with sandwiches for lunch, too.

I love this recipe because it’s super easy to put together and needs to be made ahead of time.

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Anything that I can do a day or two before I need it just makes my life a whole lot easier. Plus, its served cold and I love that I don’t need to worry about keeping it warm.

This is one of those recipes that taste better the longer the flavors sit and blend together. So thats a great added bonus of making it early, too.

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Macaroni salad is such a delicious side dish that I loved growing up and now my own kids do, too.

I hope you give this classic recipe a try. If you do, I know you’ll love it just as much as my family and I do, too.

Fast. Simple. Delicious.

Did you know that I have a cookbook calledFast Simple Delicious?

It’s 60 no fuss no fail comfort food recipes perfect for busy weekday dinners.

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Classic macaroni salad variations

I love this recipe as is, but here are some ways to change it up if you’d like to.

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  • Pasta- this is traditionally made with elbow macaroni but any small shaped pasta like ditalini would work just as well.
  • Relish- you can add chopped sweet pickles if you’d prefer to do that instead of relish.
  • Mayonnaise- I used Hellman’s but if you’d like a little more tang, use something like Dukes. If you’d like a lot more tang, use Miracle Whip.
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  • Onion- instead of a chopped white onion, feel free to use red onion or green onions, too.
  • Add ons- some people like to add chopped boiled eggs, bacon, and other vegetables to their macaroni salad. It all adds great flavor so add whatever you’d like.
  • Sauce- Sometimes, if the pasta isn’t dried completely it can absorb some of the sauce and dry it out. If this happens, feel free to make another batch or half batch of the sauce to add to the macaroni. Some may want to do this anyway if they prefer a creamier macaroni salad texture.

Other easy side dishes

If you like easy side dishes like this one that are perfect for BBQ’s, lunches and summer parties, here are some others that I know you’ll love, too.

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  • Moms famous tortellini salad
  • Easy baked beans
  • Ranch butter corn
  • Mexican street corn casserole

Classic macaroni salad ingredients

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  • Macaroni
  • Red pepper, chopped
  • Celery, chopped
  • Onion, chopped
  • Sweet relish
  • Mayonnaise
  • Yellow mustard
  • Vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder

Instructions

First, cook the macaroni in salted water until al dente.

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Then, drain the pasta and run it under cold water to stop the cooking process.

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Now, add the cooked macaroni to a large bowl.

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Next, add the chopped onion, bell peppers, celery and relish.

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Then season it with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder and mix everything together until it’s evenly combined.

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Now, in a separate bowl, add the mayonnaise, yellow mustard, vinegar and sugar. Lightly season it with salt and pepper and stir it together until its evenly combined and smooth.

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Next, pour the mayonnaise mixture over the macaroni and mix everything together until it’s evenly combined.

PLEASE NOTE: Sometimes, if the pasta isn’t dried completely it can absorb some of the sauce and dry it out. If this happens, feel free to make another batch or half batch of the sauce to add to the macaroni. Some may want to do this anyway if they prefer a creamier macaroni salad texture.

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Then, cover it and place it into the fridge for a couple hours or overnight.

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Finally, give it one more big stir once you’re ready to serve it and enjoy!

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Print Recipe

Classic Macaroni Salad

This classic macaroni salad combines cooked pasta with chopped vegetables in a tangy mayonnaise based sauce for the perfect bbq, lunch or summer side dish.

Course: Salad, Side Dish

Cuisine: American

Keyword: classic macaroni salad, macaroni salad

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Elbow macaroni pasta
  • 1 medium Red bell pepper, chopped small
  • 3 stalks Celery, chopped small
  • 1 small White or yellow onion, chopped small
  • 2 tbs Sweet pickle relish
  • Salt and pepper to tasate
  • 1 tbs Garlic powder
  • 1 tbs Onion powder

For the Sauce

  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbs Yellow mustard
  • 2 tbs Vinegar
  • 1 tbs Sugar
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  • First, cook the macaroni in salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta and run it under cold water to stop the cooking process.

  • Now, add the cooked and fully drained/dried macaroni to a large bowl and add the chopped onion, bell peppers, celery and relish.

  • Then season it with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder and mix everything together until it’s evenly combined.

  • Now, in a separate bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, yellow mustard, vinegar and sugar. Lightly season it with salt and pepper then pour it over the macaroni. Mix to combine.

  • PLEASE NOTE: Sometimes, if the pasta isn't dried completely it can absorb some of the sauce and dry it out. If this happens, feel free to make another batch or half batch of the sauce to add to the macaroni. Some may want to do this anyway if they prefer a creamier macaroni salad texture.

  • Then, cover it and place it into the fridge for a couple hours or overnight.

  • Finally, give it one more big stir once you’re ready to serve and enjoy!

Comments (5)

  • CLASSIC MACARONI SALAD (19)

    Grace

    May 15, 2024 at 8:57 pm

    What kind of vinegar? White or red?

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  • CLASSIC MACARONI SALAD (20)

    Al Dente Diva

    May 16, 2024 at 10:50 am

    White

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  • CLASSIC MACARONI SALAD (21)

    Anonymous

    June 7, 2024 at 1:51 pm

    After draining macaroni I always sprinkle it with vinegar, while it is still warm. Gives another level of flavor.

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  • CLASSIC MACARONI SALAD (22)

    Al Dente Diva

    June 9, 2024 at 9:00 am

    That’s a great idea! Thanks for sharing

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  • CLASSIC MACARONI SALAD (23)

    CRISPY SMASHED POTATO SALAD

    July 6, 2024 at 9:40 am

    […] Classic Macaroni Salad […]

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