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This simple Macaroni Salad Recipe is the perfect combination of creamy and crunchy, and totally adaptable to your own liking. It’s the perfect side dish for summer, or anytime really, and is ready in just 15 minutes! Pair macaroni salad with Baked Chicken Legs at your next BBQ.
Classic but Adaptable
I love this Macaroni Salad recipe for so many reasons! It’s simple to make, my kids will eat it no problem, it’s highly adaptable based on what you have on hand and it’s a classic recipe that everyone loves in the summer. Or any season really! Plus, it’s the perfect make-ahead salad for any potluck or BBQ.
Experiment with this recipe and make it how YOU like it.
If you don’t like pickles, don’t add them!
Like it spicy? Add some hot sauce into the mixture.
Want to healthify it up? Then add all the crunchy vegetables you can find in your fridge.
The possibilities are actually endless. So even when you make this simple macaroni salad recipe, again and again, you may never make it the same twice. It is all up to you. SO let’s get into how to make it!
How to Make Macaroni Salad
This pasta salad is ready to eat in just 15 minutes. Super easy, and best of all, you can make it with what you have on hand for veggies. For full recipe details, see the printable recipe card down below.
Cook Macaroni until al dente
Bring large pot of water to boil. Salt water generously and pour in pasta. Stir and cook until al dente. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water until cold. Pour into large bowl and set aside.
Chop your veggies. Things like celery, carrot, onion, bell pepper and pickles are all crunchy, delicious options. Add cut veggies to the pasta bowl.
Make the Dressing
Stir in mayonnaise, vinegar, and seasonings until everything is well coated. If it doesn’t seem like there’s enough mayonnaise to go around, add in a splash of water or a little more mayonnaise.
Refrigerate until ready to Serve
This salad is delicious as is, but only gets better with time! If you can, make a few hours in advance for best results.
What to Eat with Macaroni Salad
Once your macaroni salad is done, you can eat it as is or have it as a side dish with something else. It’s particularly delicious with steak skewers, baked chicken legs, pulled pork or smoked chicken wings. DELICIOUS!!
Storing Leftover Macaroni Salad
Any leftovers can be refrigerated and saved as a snack or lunch for the next day. This recipe should stay good for 3-5 days after making it.
Can you Freeze Macaroni Salad?
Yes, you can! You can either freeze everything separately (pasta, chopped veggies and dressing) and store up to 5 days or you can make the whole thing and freeze any leftovers you have for the same amount of time. Make sure to seal in an airtight container to keep things fresh.
Something to make sure you do is thaw in the fridge. This can take up to three hours so plan ahead! If you don’t do this, bacteria is more likely to grow on your food. Gross.
Perfect for Potlucks and BBQ’s
If making this recipe for a large group of people, or a party, make sure to double the recipe so everyone can have a taste of this stuff! You won’t regret it and neither will they.
The texture and taste of this macaroni salad make it seriously the best. Its creaminess and freshness are hard to resist and at any BBQ or potluck, you aren’t going to go home with leftovers. It is THAT good.
More Pasta Salads to Try!
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe
- Fancy Chicken & Pecan Pasta Salad
- Sesame Noodle Salad
The printable recipe card is below! Be sure to save, print, pin or bookmark this because it is a fabulous macaroni salad recipe you won’t want to lose!
- 1/2 lb. elbow macaroni such as barilla
- 3/4 cup carrot diced
- 3/4 cup celery diced
- 1/2 cup red onion diced (or yellow onion)
- 1/2 cup yellow pepper diced (optional)
- 1/3 cup dill pickle diced
- 1/4 cup black olives diced
- 1/2 cup real mayonnaise heaping 1/2 cup
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt & pepper to taste
- Bring large pot of water to boil. Salt water generously and pour in pasta. Stir and cook 7-10 minutes or until al dente. While pasta is cooking chop all your veggies. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water until cold. Pour into large bowl and top with chopped veggies.
- Stir in mayonnaise, vinegar, and seasonings until everything is well coated. If it doesn't seem like there's enough mayonnaise to go around, add in a splash of water or a little more mayonnaise. Refrigerate macaroni salad until ready to serve.