Authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

This Hawaiian Macaroni Salad recipe is the base of a great side dish! Add in extra toppings like peas, carrots, or cubed ham for the ultimate pasta salad!

This Authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is cool and creamy and completely customizable to your taste preferences too! 

This cool and creamy Authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is super easy to make and is the perfect side dish!pinterestWhen my husband and I first got married we lived in a tiny townhouse that was within walking distance from a quaint Hawaiian restaurant.

While I was pregnant with my first daughter I would walk the 1/4 mile to indulge in a plate lunch that consisted of chicken katsu and Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. Even after my daughter was born I would still pack her in the stroller and walk to get my fix. We moved shortly after she was born and I had almost forgotten about this epic salad until I recently visited a street cart in Portland last month.

This Hawaiian Macaroni Salad recipe is the base of a great side dish! Add in extra toppings like peas, carrots, or cubed ham for the ultimate pasta salad!

MY OTHER RECIPES

A few of my friends and I were trying all the infamous food carts in the bustling city of Portland when we spotted a cart that boasted a really long line.

Of course we had to check it out. To my surprise (and delight) it was a Hawaiian food truck! We waited for what seemed like hours to get a hot plate lunch with a cool and creamy macaroni salad.

I was instantly transported back to the early days of my married life. As soon as I got back home from my trip I knew instantly I needed to fine tune a recipe of my own.

I'm obsessed with this super cool and creamy Hawaiian Macaroni Salad recipe! So easy and so good!

I searched high and low for the key to the BEST dressing, and stumbled upon this gem. The trick to a good Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is to use a really good quality mayo. Best Foods was the top choice (or Hellmann’s depending on where you live).

How To Make Authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad:

  • Cook your pasta, then let it soak up some apple cider vinegar before tossing it in the creamy mayo sauce.
  • Customize your Hawaiian Macaroni Salad by adding in shredded carrots, shredded sweet onions, peas, or even diced ham!
  • The flavors of the pasta really enhance after a night of chilling in the fridge. But you can serve right away if desired.

Now, the macaroni salad that I had in Portland was suuuuuuper basic, and only consisted of this creamy sauce and a little salt and pepper. The nice thing about a pasta salad like this though, is that you can add in all sorts of additions to the finished product to suit your needs. I love adding in shredded carrots, peas, and sweet onions. Some people enjoy chopped pineapple and cubed ham.

The options are endless, but whatever you choose, you’re going to LOVE it!

This Hawaiian Macaroni Salad recipe is the base of a great side dish! Add in extra toppings like peas, carrots, or cubed ham for the ultimate pasta salad!

Now I only have to walk to my fridge to enjoy this delicious salad!

Oh and that delicious chicken in the pictures above is my Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken, in case you wanted something to go with your salad!

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Serves 8 to 10

42

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

This super easy Authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is super creamy and with all the different add-in options, you can completely customize it to your taste!

10 minPrep Time

25 minCook Time

1 hr, 35 Total Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. uncooked macaroni pasta
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups Best Foods Mayo, divided
  • 1 cup milk (2% is best), divided
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • Optional Add-ins:
  • thinly sliced sweet onions
  • diced celery
  • finely shredded carrots
  • chopped pineapple bits
  • peas
  • hard boiled egg
  • crumble bacon
  • cubed ham

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions and then drain well. Place hot pasta in a large bowl and sprinkle with the apple cider vinegar, stirring to coat. Let the pasta absorb the vinegar and cool for about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile whisk together 2 cups mayo, 1/2 cups milk, sugar, salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni salad into the dressing, stirring to coat and then let cool completely.
  3. Add the remaining 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, along with any additional add-ins you would like, and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight. Stir before serving and adjust seasonings as needed. Enjoy!

Notes

This salad tastes best after it's had time to refrigerate and let the flavors enhance.

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About the author

Shawn is the Owner and Creator of I Wash You Dry. She loves to create and share simple, family-friendly recipes with a bit of life sprinkled in. Mom to 4 adorable children and dwells in the desert of Southern Utah.
24 Responses
  1. Diane
    I'm looking forward to trying this recipe. Thank you for posting it! While serving in the US Navy, I was stationed in Hawaii and always enjoyed the lunch plate off the Kau Kau truck (food truck) after a day of beach and body surfing - teriyaki chicken, macaroni salad and sticky rice. Many happy memories. Thanks again for posting this memory. Aloha!
  2. DEBRA CARRASQUILLO
    This is not authentic.......vinegar, milk and sugar???? Just because it says Hawaiian bbq doesn't make it authentic.
    1. John
      Thank you for posting this recipe! I too have been on a search for the right creaminess, sweetness, texture and slight tartiness. You did a fantastic job. I live on the east coast now, and have been missing L&L in socal, and really can't do the 12 hour flight to get my hawaiian mac salad fix. Been there many times. Though I can't compare side by side, when I made it, it tasted authentic to me. I have tried other recipes and they just fell short. So thank you, thank you, thank you!
  3. Leah
    I noticed in the ingredients list it calls for 2 1/2 cups of mayo, however, in the instructions only 2 cups are added. What do you recommend? Can't wait to try it.
  4. Freddh
    My wife is from the Big Island, yes the same area where Kilauea is erupting. She adds a can of albacore tuna to the mix as well as other items from your optional add on list. Great recipe and eating. Mahalo!
  5. Janie
    We are blessed to be able to travel to Hawaii every other summer! I first had this salad at a luau in Honolulu years ago and haven't been able to stop eating it! I make mine at home with carrots and pineapple, but you're right, sometimes simple is better! :)

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Shawn Syphus Hi, I'm Shawn and I'm a busy mom of four; pretending to live on a budget. I love to cook, and explore new recipes, but they have to be quick and easy with as few dishes as possible.

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