How To Make Southern Macaroni Salad (2024)

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Learn how to make Southern macaroni salad and take it to a picnic this summer. The recipe is easy enough for a beginner; it takes less than 20 minutes to get it ready and will feed 10-12 people. It has a variety of ingredients, but you can add your favorites to the bowl.

How To Make Southern Macaroni Salad (1)

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Total Time: 15-20 minutes
Servings: 10-12
Preparation Level: Beginners +
Yield: Large bowl

Why I Love The Recipe

  • Macaroni salad is a great dish to take to a picnic, a potluck, or your Fourth of July party. I love to find it on the table when I’m at a gathering because it’s fun to try how others make it with different ingredients.
  • It travels well and will feed a crowd.
  • The noodles are cooked on the stovetop, or you can make the recipe even easier by purchasing precooked noodles.
  • It’s super versatile. You can add your favorite ingredients to the recipe. So, if you like olives, you can add those, and if you don’t, you can leave them out.
How To Make Southern Macaroni Salad (2)

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces of elbow pasta, uncooked
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup celery, diced
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sweet relish
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika

Get the full printable recipe with measurements and instructions at the bottom of the page in the recipe card.

Serve the dish alongside some smoked pork tenderloin from Crave the Good.

How To Make Southern Macaroni Salad (3)

Make Ahead Instructions

You can make the entire recipe ahead of time, which is nice if you don’t want to make a lot of things at the same time. Once it’s made, cover it with plastic wrap or keep it in an airtight container and refrigerate. The recipe is great because it can be made ahead and refrigerated for two to three days. Take it out of the fridge when you’re ready to use it, give it a good stir, and it’s ready to go.

How To Make Macaroni Salad

How To Make Southern Macaroni Salad (4)

Gather your ingredients for the recipe. As I mentioned above, if you are really crunched for time, you can use precooked elbow noodles. You don’t have to cook them at all, and you can just add them to the bowl. You will need two 7-ounce packages if you use precooked.

How To Make Southern Macaroni Salad (5)
How To Make Southern Macaroni Salad (6)

Cook your noodles according to the package directions. Drain the water and add the noodles to a large bowl. Allow them to cool while you prep the rest of the ingredients. Dice your red bell peppers, red onions, and hard-boiled eggs. Add them to the cooled noodles and mix well.

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, relish, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Mix well using a fork.

How To Make Southern Macaroni Salad (7)
How To Make Southern Macaroni Salad (8)

Add the creamy mayonnaise mixture and mix well. Refrigerate the macaroni salad until you are ready to use it.

The recipe is nice because it has a bit of a crunch in combination with the tender elbow macaroni, so you are getting both of those textures, which I love.

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Substitutions and Variations

Here are a few great ideas for adding to your salad. You can add or switch out ingredients. For example, you can add a little Dijon mustard if you like a deviled egg flavor.

  • Green olives
  • Diced dill pickles or sweet pickles
  • Add potatoes for a potato salad
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Green bell pepper
  • Green onions
  • Diced ham (or leftovers from the holidays)
  • Tuna fish
  • English peas

Leftovers and Storage

If you have any leftovers, be sure to keep them in the refrigerator because you need to preserve the mayonnaise. Seal them with plastic wrap or in an airtight container.

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What To Serve With Macaroni Salad

  • Orange fluff salad from This Farm Girl Cooks
  • Green beans and ham hock
  • Homemade beans and weenies
  • Slow cooker BBQ pork chops
  • Slow cooker BBQ chicken
  • Pimento cheese sandwiches

Macaroni salad is a great dish for serving a crowd at parties and picnics. The recipe can be made quickly and ready for a gathering. It’s a filling dish with a delicious mayonnaise salad dressing and is the perfect make-ahead side.

How To Make Southern Macaroni Salad (11)

How To Make Southern Macaroni Salad

Yield: 10 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 9 minutes

Total Time: 24 minutes

You want to make Southern macaroni salad and take it to a picnic this summer. The recipe is easy enough for a beginner; it only takes less than 20 minutes and will feed 10-12 people. It has a variety of ingredients, but you can add your favorites to the bowl.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces of elbow pasta, uncooked
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup celery, diced
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sweet relish
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika

Instructions

    1. Cook the elbow macaroni noodles according to the box directions.
    2. Strain noodles and rinse with cool water.
    3. Pour noodles into a large bowl and allow them to cool. Add eggs, celery, red bell pepper, and onion. Toss with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are mixed well.
    4. In another mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, relish, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Mix well using a fork.
    5. Pour the mayonnaise mixture over the noodles and stir with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Notes

    • Best served chilled. Stir again after chilling and before serving.
    • The macaroni salad can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
    • This sauce has a smooth, tangy flavor with a hint of sweetness from the relish.
    • The diced vegetables give the dish a nice crunch.
    • Add more mayonnaise for a creamier texture. It may be needed when making the dish ahead of time.
    Nutrition Information:

    Yield: 10Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving:Calories: 202Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 275mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g

    Nutrition is approximate.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    Julie Pollitt

    Hi there! I'm Julie Pollitt from 'Back To My Southern Roots.' My love for cooking started way back on my grandparents' farm in Tennessee. Those sunny days, the smell of biscuits in the oven, and all the family fun really sparked my passion for cooking. On my blog, I share more than just recipes – they're like stories from my life, full of Southern warmth and homey goodness. The best part? Whether you're just starting out or you're a kitchen pro, you'll find my recipes super easy to whip up. So, come on, pull up a chair, and let's make some delicious memories!

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