Macaroni Salad

5 from 17 votes

This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please read my disclosure policy.

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 Barbecue Chicken.

macaroni salad in a serving bowl

Why You’ll Love This Pasta Salad

I love this Macaroni Salad recipe for so many reasons! It’s simple to make, 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.

Want to include some protein? Add some cubed ham or chicken.

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 twiceIt is all up to you. SO let’s get into how to make it!

macaroni salad in a bowl

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 veggies you have on hand. For full recipe details including ingredients needed and measurements, see the printable recipe card down below. Here is step by step what you can expect when making this salad:

macaroni salad ingredients

Cook Macaroni until al dente

Bring a 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.  

Prep Veggies

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. This gives the ingredients time to marry and be happy.

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, smoked chicken wings or smoked pork butt. 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.

bowls of pasta salad

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.

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.

If macaroni or pasta-based salad isn’t your summer salad of choice, here are a few other delicious options: coleslaw, cucumber salad, broccoli salad, southwest chicken chop salad.

Macaroni pasta salad in a bowl

More Pasta Salads to Try!

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!

macaroni salad in a serving bowl
PrintPrint Pin ItPin It
5 from 17 votes

Macaroni Salad

This simple Macaroni Salad Recipe is delicious and can be made in 15 minutes! It’s the perfect creamy, crunchy, fresh and cold summer salad.
servings 6 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 28 minutes


  • 1/2 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 3/4 cup carrot diced
  • 3/4 cup celery diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion diced (or yellow onion)
  • 1/3 cup dill pickle 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. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water until cold.
    macaroni in a glass bowl
  • Place cooled pasta into large bowl (with a lid) and top with chopped veggies. 
    chopped veggies added to macaroni bowl
  • In a separate bowl, whisk mayonnaise, vinegar, and seasonings together until everything is well combined.
    dressing ingredients in a bowl
  • Add mayonnaise mixture into the bowl with pasta and vegetables and stir 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. Taste for seasonings and adjust as desired.
    macaroni salad in a bowl with serving spoon
  • Refrigerate macaroni salad until ready to serve (the longer the better). Serve chilled.
    macaroni salad in a bowl



Calories: 283kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 207mg | Potassium: 206mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2760IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: macaroni salad, macaroni salad recipe, pasta salad, summer salad

Share a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating

46 Responses
  1. Denise

    I don’t add vinegar but in place of that I add 2TBSPs of Zesty Italian dressing. I make a potato salad with the same recipe. Instead of pickles I add sliced green olives.

  2. Catherine warunek

    Hello Lauren. Your cod with the mayonnaise, basil ,garlic and parsley are my family’s favorite. Added bonus elegantly delicious for company. We are hooked lol. A few days ago I prepared your special fish sauce and placed on boneless skinless chicken breasts. Delicious. Me and my family can’t get enough of that delicious sauce thank you for allowing me to enjoy your recipes. Cooking is my passion.

  3. Italian Pasta Salad | Lauren's Latest

    […] for summer. Everyone loves them because they are easy to make, very fresh and oh so delicious. From Macaroni Salad to Tuna Pasta Salad, they’re all […]

  4. The Best Turkey Burger Recipe (Video) | Lauren's Latest

    […] Simple Macaroni Salad Recipe – This is a super simple recipe that can be found at any BBQ event. […]

  5. Laurie Budish

    5 stars
    This recipe is husband approved in my house. We were going to grill hamburgers, but after having a taste of this, we no longer cared to grill hamburgers. I skipped the carrots, but added chopped dill pickles, , salami, and marbled cheddar and mozzarella. It was fantastic!

  6. Grandma's Cucumber Salad Recipe | Lauren's Latest

    […] summer salads that are delicious and perfect for potlucks, family get togethers and BBQ’s: Simple Macaroni Salad, Classic Coleslaw, Amazing Broccoli Salad, Southwest Chicken Chop […]

  7. Southwest Chicken Chopped Salad Recipe | Lauren's Latest

    […] you’re looking for other salads, don’t look far, here are a couple of favorites: macaroni salad, cucumber salad, classic coleslaw or broccoli […]

  8. Broccoli Salad Recipe | Lauren's Latest

    […] isn’t your thing, try these other tasty salads: Grandma’s Cucumber Salad Recipe, Simple Macaroni Salad Recipe, Chinese Chicken Salad, Chicken Salad with Grapes & Grilled Chicken Caesar […]

  9. Classic Coleslaw Recipe | Lauren's Latest

    […] Coleslaw isn’t your summer salad of choice, be sure to check out my macaroni salad, cucumber salad, broccoli salad or southwest chicken chop salad. All fabulous sides for the hot […]

  10. Easy Oven Baked Ribs

    […] certain seasonings. I make these year round, but they are particularly tasty in the summer with macaroni or potato salad. Of course you can finish these off on the grill too, but it isn’t necessary […]

      1. Joana adams

        5 stars
        I make it with cucumbers, onion, red pepper, elbows and lowery’s seasoning salt and Kraft mayo. In addition, I juice a whole lemon and stir it in. I have been using this recipe for years and now I am going to try yours! My husband shakes red wine vinegar on his bowl before eating.

  11. Chris

    5 stars
    yummy salad! I made it tonight. I’ve got a cold, so needed some comfort food… this more than fit the bill. I’d like a bit less mayo, so next time will reserve some of it to add back. Good job!

  12. Carol

    5 stars
    Make mine just like this but double the amount of dill pickles and add green olives also. Wonderful dish and it’s better the next day, if it lasts that long.

  13. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts

    5 stars
    We have pasta salad all year round here. Simple, good, quick, and makes for great leftovers! Love all the veggies you put in here!

  14. Mary

    I COMPLETELY agree about the dill pickles being awesome and sweet ones being ehh…
    anyways, that pasta salad looks yummmmy! will be making it soon

  15. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel

    5 stars
    Eek, I’m loving the additional of bell pepper and pickles because uh, hello, that constitutes the best macaroni salad EVER. Ever, people, I mean it. Love this recipe & your videos!