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Macaroni Salad Recipe And Tips

Made with classic ingredients including celery, red pepper, and red onion and dressed up in a creamy mayo-based dressing, with Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar. This is a classic, delicious macaroni salad recipe!

Macaroni salad in a bowl

This is guaranteed to be a hit at every get together this year!

Sunny Days in August just reminds me of backyard grilling, picnics, and gatherings with family and friends.

It isn’t Summer without getting outdoors and giving your kitchen appliances a rest, maybe try and catch a breeze or take a dip in the pool while you’re at it.

For us, summer’s just getting started and nothing says summer like the most sensational summer side dish Macaroni Salad.

A good Macaroni Salad recipe is a treasure.

It’s something you can always pull out year after year to whip up something extraordinary.

I love this macaroni salad. It’s so flavorful and robust.

You can’t really go wrong with this side dish, but the way I make it with this recipe is next-level stuff.

You won’t want to have it any other way from now on.

Macaroni Salad in a bowl on a table

My Ingredients For Macaroni Salad

In order to make your macaroni salad come out on top, you need the best ingredients.

My macaroni salad recipe uses the following:

  • Elbow Macaroni
  • Red Onion
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Frozen Peas
  • Eggs
  • Mayonnaise
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper

Why You Need to Rinse the Macaroni for Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad is easy to make it just takes a little bit of prep work and some mixing.

The fastest way you can go wrong with macaroni salad is by forgetting to rinse the pasta.

As with any cold pasta dish, you should always rinse the macaroni after cooking it.

The reason for this is that if you start coating it in the mixture right away, it will not bind properly, rinse the macaroni thoroughly in cold water to ensure the salad comes together to make that velvety smooth texture you want with this side dish.

When you’ve combined all of the ingredients and coated the pasta mixture to your satisfaction, leave it in the refrigerator to finish bonding and reach the desired temperature to enjoy.

Ideally, this will take a minimum of one hour.

How to Keep Macaroni Salad From Turning Dry

A common problem with pasta dishes that get saved for leftovers is that they often go dry.

This is usually the result of undercooking your pasta.

You want to achieve a perfect al dente for this dish so follow the box instructions closely and maybe have a tester with you to make sure it has the desired firmness when bitten.

If you go too long on the pasta, it will overcook, which is no good either.

It will turn the texture to unappealing mush.

Tip for avoiding too much absorption into the macaroni pasta

Using cold ingredients helps slow the rate of absorption as well, which in part is why rinsing your macaroni in cold water is important.

You can take this even further by refrigerating the salad mixture before you add the dressing.

This is a good idea if you are making this macaroni salad a day in advance.

If your macaroni salad does dry up in the refrigerator, you may be able to revive it with some warm water.

Just mix in enough of the water to cover the pasta and put it back in the refrigerator.

Macaroni Salad

How Long to Keep Macaroni Salad Leftovers

This recipe is large enough to serve a large party or a small party for a few days, cover and place the remaining macaroni salad in the refrigerator to store for up to five days, three days is normal, so keep an eye on it as it passes the 72-hour mark.

If you know you will need longer, or just want this macaroni salad to remain as fresh and moist as possible, keep portions of the salad mixture separate from the dressing to add later.

It’s much easier to revive dry pasta without the dressing so you can drain it properly and then mix in the dressing.

Preparing Macaroni Salad

The hardest part of making this recipe is the prep, but if you are good with a knife it will only take a few minutes to have everything ready.

The only thing you need to cook is the pasta.

Be careful not to overcook it. Follow the instructions exactly to get the best results.

There are plenty of leftovers

KITCHEN TOOLS YOU MAY NEED

Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links for products we believe you’ll love. So if you make a purchase from one of these links, Kelly’s Thoughts On Things may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. And remember, we only recommend items that we use and love.

You can find the full recipe with ingredients and instructions in the printable card below.

Close up of macaroni salad

Macaroni Salad Recipe

Serves 16-20

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 10 min

Ingredients

For the Macaroni Mix

  • 1 box (16 oz) elbow macaroni
  • ⅓ cup red onion, finely diced
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • ¾ cup matchstick carrots, chopped
  • ¾ cup frozen peas
  • 2 large eggs, hard-boiled

For the Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise, regular or light
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Boil pasta according to directions on the box to al dente
  2. While pasta is cooking, cut vegetables and eggs
  3. Add to a large bowl
  4. When pasta is done, rinse thoroughly in cold water
  5. Add to a large bowl
  6. In a small bowl, combine ingredients for the dressing until smooth
  7. Pour over pasta mixture and mix to coat well
  8. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving
  9. Store leftovers in the refrigerator
Yield: 16

Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad

Made with classic ingredients including celery, red pepper, and red onion and dressed up in a creamy mayo-based dressing, with Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar. This is a classic, delicious macaroni salad recipe!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Inactive Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 box, 16 oz elbow macaroni
  • ⅓ cup red onion, finely diced
  • ¾ cup or ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ cup 2 stalks celery, diced
  • ¾ cup matchstick carrots, chopped
  • ¾ cup frozen peas
  • 2 large eggs, hard-boiled

Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise, regular or light
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Boil pasta according to directions on box to al dente
  2. While pasta is cooking, cut vegetables and eggs
  3. Add to large bowl
  4. When pasta is done, rinse thoroughly in cold water
  5. Add to large bowl
  6. In a small bowl, combine ingredients for dressing until smooth
  7. Pour over pasta mixture and mix to coat well
  8. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving
  9. Store leftovers in refrigerator

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 164Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 145mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g

Nutritional information is automatically calculated with ingredients and serving size and may not be accurate. Please always double check with your own nutritional apps as well.

Did you make this recipe?

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

WHAT’S NEXT?

If you make it, or any of our other recipes/crafts, let me know! Share your pics on Instagram or Facebook, tagging me @kelly_reci_, and using the hashtag #Kellysthoughtsonthings!

Check out these recipes you can find here on Kelly’s Thoughts On Things.

Do you need more inspiration and delicious recipes? Then head on over to Sweet and Savory Morsels.

Macaroni Salad
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