This Simple Macaroni Salad Recipe is filled with all the classic ingredients, tossed in a creamy sauce and perfect for summer potlucks and parties!
If there’s one thing I love about going to potlucks and parties, it’s all the different types of salads available. I could pretty much eat only side dishes and be totally happy. This classic Macaroni Salad is always the first thing to go, and people are always asking for the simple recipe, so here it is!
How To Make Macaroni Salad:
- Start by boiling your elbow macaroni noodles until they are tender to the bite. Quickly drain the noodles then run cool water over them to stop them from cooking any further.
- Gather all your macaroni salad add-ins and toss them in a large bowl with the cooled and drained noodles.
- Whisk together the creamy sauce and stir everything together. Keep the salad chilled until ready to serve.
The Best Macaroni Salad Add-Ins:
The best part about macaroni salad is that you can add in whatever you like to make it completely unique to your taste. Here are some of my favorite add-ins…
- Chopped Celery
- Diced Red Onion
- Finely Chopped Red Bell Pepper
- Frozen Peas (they defrost when added)
- Cubed Sharp Cheddar Cheese (you can also use shredded cheese)
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Diced Ham
- Cooked Bacon
- Shredded Carrots
As you can see, there are several options available, plus many more.
Creamy Macaroni Salad Dressing Recipe
Now that you have your noodles and all your add-ins in the bowl, it’s time to whisk up that super easy, finger-licking good dressing!
- Whisk together mayo, white vinegar (you can also use apple cider vinegar for a little added sweetness), sugar, dijon mustard (I like one with a little more kick to it), salt, pepper and just a little bit of sweet pickle relish.
- Pour the dressing into the salad bowl and stir to coat the ingredients evenly.
- Chill the mixture until ready to serve, make sure to stir again before serving.
Watch Video How To Make Macaroni Salad
What Can I Use As A Mayo Substitute?
Instead of using all mayo, you can use half plain greek yogurt and half mayo. Or you can try using half sour cream and half mayo. I wouldn’t recommend omitting all of the mayo because that is what helps keep this macaroni salad nice and creamy.
Can Macaroni Salad Be Made Ahead?
YES! In fact, I think this salad tastes even better the second day, once the flavors have had a chance to blend together. Store the salad in an air-tight container in the fridge and make sure to stir again before serving.
More Simple Pasta Salad Recipes to Make:
I’m confident you’re going to get RAVE reviews with this simple and easy Macaroni Salad Recipe at all your potlucks!
Simple Macaroni Salad Recipe
- 1 lb. elbow macaroni noodles, uncooked
- 1/4 cup diced celery
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup cubed sharp cheddar cheese
For the Dressing:
- 1 cup mayo
- 1/4 cup distilled vinegar
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp sweet pickle relish
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Cook the noodles according to package instructions, then drain and rinse with cool water. I like to add a few ice cubes to the noodles while running cool water over them to help cool the noodles faster. Drain and add pasta to a large bowl.
- Add in the diced celery, red onion, red bell pepper, peas and cheese.
For the Dressing:
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl until smooth and creamy.
- Pour the dressing into the large bowl and stir to coat evenly. Keep the salad covered and refrigerated until ready to serve. Enjoy!
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