The BEST Macaroni Salad Recipe loaded with elbow macaroni, hard boiled eggs, red bell pepper, onion and dill pickles! All tossed in a creamy, sweet and tangy dressing. The only side dish you’ll need for summer barbecues, parties, potlucks or get togethers!
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Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe
Is anyone else a fan of barbecues and cookouts solely for all of the side dishes?! I can’t get enough of the pasta salads, broccoli salad, potato salads even deviled eggs! For me the side dishes are the star of the show! That is why I took it very seriously when I sought to perfect my Macaroni Salad. And I am pleased to report this macaroni salad is rich, creamy, with the perfect amount of sweetness from the dressing and crunch from the veggies. This Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe is loaded with tons of fresh vegetables for crunch, seasonings, pickles (for tang) and is tossed in a creamy egg filled dressing!
This will be your new favorite side dish to make during the Summer! It goes great with burgers, hot dogs or grilled chicken. It is also a great dish to make in advance and it only takes 15 minutes to prep!
Macaroni Salad Ingredients
- Pasta: Use your favorite type of pasta! I love using traditional elbow noodles because they do a great job of holding all of the delicious dressing. You can also use bow tie noodles, rotini or cavatappi.
- Mayonnaise: I love using mayonnaise as the base of the dressing however I have made this recipe with half mayonnaise and half sour cream and it is really good! Sour cream adds a nice tang to the dish. You can also substitute some of the mayo for greek yogurt!
- Seasonings: Garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper!
- Sugar: Adds a nice sweetness to the dressing and offsets some of the tang from the red wine vinegar. You can also use honey in place of the sugar if you prefer.
- Red wine vinegar: You can also use white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
- Vegetables: Celery, onion and red bell pepper are added for crunch!
- Hard boiled egg: I separate the egg yolk from the egg white. The egg whites gets chopped and added to the salad and the yolks are mashed until smooth and added with the dressing. Adding the egg yolk to the dressing makes the dressing thick, creamy and adds extra flavor!
How to make macaroni salad
- Boil pasta: Until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside.
- Hard boil eggs: Peel the eggs and cut them in half. Chop up the egg whites and transfer the egg yolks to a small bowl and set aside.
- Make the dressing: Mash up the egg yolks with a fork then add mayonnaise, pickle juice, vinegar, mustard, garlic, onion powder and sugar to the bowl with the egg yolks. Stir until everything is combined.
- Assemble: Add the chopped egg whites to a large bowl along with the celery, red onion, bell pepper and pickles. Stir until combined. Pour dressing on to the homemade macaroni salad and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Chill: Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. When you are ready to serve sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley for garnish, if desired.
Can this be made ahead of time?
Yes! I actually like making it a day or two before a party to let the flavors develop! It always tastes better the day after it’s made! If it get’s a bit dry add a spoonful of mayonnaise, sour cream or splash of milk.
- Don’t over cook your noodles: I like to cook the noodles just until al-dente, any longer and the noodles will become mushy and break apart when in the salad.
- Salt your water: This helps to season the whole dish!
- Rinse noodles in cold water: To keep the noodles from sticking together. It also keeps the noodles from continuing to cook! The Kitchn has a great article on when to rinse pasta and when to not!
- Optional add in’s: Green onions, black olives, diced tomatoes, grated carrots, cubed ham, peas or cubed cheddar cheese.
- Add more sauce: If you plan on making this ahead of time and the pasta get’s on the drier side feel free to add in a bit more mayo.
- Add more heat: For a kick you can add in diced jalapeños, a pinch of cayenne or a couple dashes of hot sauce!
- Tuna macaroni salad: For a twist add in a can of drained white tuna. It adds protein and helps to bulk up the dish!
Make Ahead, Storage and Freezing Instructions
- To make ahead: I love making this creamy macaroni salad a day or two ahead of time. This really lets the flavors develop!
- Storage: Store leftover salad in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Can you freeze macaroni salad? It is possible however I would not recommend freezing this easy macaroni salad recipe. The creamy dressing will not taste the same frozen then thawed. It’s best to make this fresh and eat within 4 days. You can also cut this recipe in half if you are serving for only 2 people.
What to serve with this Macaroni Salad
- Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken
- Steak Kabobs
- The BEST Grilled Chicken
- Grilled Maple Dijon Salmon
- Easy Grilled Asian Chicken
- Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken
Here are more Easy Side Dish Recipes to try!
- Cold Broccoli Salad
- The BEST Macaroni and Cheese
- Easy Baked Beans
- BLT Pasta Salad
- Antipasto Pasta Salad
- Creamy Confetti Corn
- Avocado Black Bean and Corn Salad
- 8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
- 3 large hard boiled eggs, whites and yolks separated
- 1 rib celery, diced
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- 2 tbsp dill pickles, diced
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh chopped parsley for garnish
- Boil noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse in cold water.
- Peel the eggs and cut them in half. Chop up the egg whites and transfer the egg yolks to a small bowl and set aside.
- Add the chopped egg whites to a large bowl along with the celery, red onion, bell pepper and pickles. Stir until combined and set aside.
- Mash up the egg yolks with a fork then add mayonnaise, pickle juice, vinegar, mustard, garlic, onion powder and sugar to the bowl with the egg yolks. Stir until everything is combined.
- Pour dressing on top of the macaroni salad and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. When you are ready to serve sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley for garnish, if desired.