This Simple Macaroni Salad is the most popular yet simple pasta salad! Made with macaroni, eggs, pickles, vegetables, and creamy mayo dressing, this classic dish is a must for summer BBQ dinners and potlucks.
Why You'll Love This Salad
When it comes to classic summer dishes, macaroni salad always makes the list. Most everyone knows it and loves it. It's simple, yet absolutely delicious because the combination of macaroni (our childhood's favorite pasta!), chopped veggies, and a tangy creamy dressing never fails!
This is my simple version of the classic macaroni salad. No vinegar, because pickle juice tastes better. No red onion because it can overwhelm the salad. No carrots because I don't like the texture. I hope you enjoy it too!
- pasta - I use macaroni because that's what we grew up using. Any short pasta work.
- red pepper - Adds sweet taste and crunch.
- celery - Another veggie that adds texture and crunch.
- pickles - Necessary in my opinion. They give the salad the signature flavor.
- hard-boiled eggs - A classic ingredient in this salad. You can use my recipe for boiled eggs to make them.
- mayo - The base for the dressing. If you don't like mayo, use more sour cream. You can also use Ranch salad dressing.
- sour cream - Adds tangy flavor to the dressing.
- pickle juice or vinegar - I almost always use the pickle juice but apple cider vinegar works great too. Save the white vinegar for cleaning.
- mustard - Adds a nice tangy flavor to the dressing. You can use yellow or Dijon mustard.
How to make Macaroni Salad?
- Start by making the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Chill.
- Cook macaroni. Once done, drain and rinse with cold water. This will prevent sticking.
- Place cooked macaroni in a large bowl. Add eggs, vegetables, and dressing. Stir together.
- Serve or chill until ready to serve.
Tips for the Best Macaroni Salad:
- Macaroni: rinse it after cooking to prevent sticking; if you forgot to rinse it and the macaroni is stuck together, place it in a colander and rinse under cold water, stirring with a spatula at the same time to break up the clumps;
- Dressing: I highly recommend using pickle juice for the dressing, instead of vinegar. Lemon juice works great too!
- Vegetables: use mini sweet peppers or red bell pepper; add red onion, carrots, green peas, etc.
- Eggs: cook them easily following my tutorial How to Boil Eggs.
Absolutely! You can prep the macaroni salad for up to 2 days in advance. I highly recommend storing the dressing separately and adding it to macaroni and veggies just before serving. Otherwise, the pasta will absorb it.
This salad needs to be refrigerated to remain fresh. It will last well for 2 days if chilled.
Absolutely! If you like relish, add ¼ cup and taste the salad. Add more if needed.
More summer salad recipes:
If you like this recipe and make it, let me know in the comments below! Don't forget to rate it if you enjoyed it!
Simple Macaroni Salad
for the macaroni salad:
- 2 cups dry elbow macaroni
- ½ cup chopped celery ribs
- ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
- ½ cup chopped pickles
- 2 large eggs
for the dressing:
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon pickle juice
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Cook macaroni. Once done, drain and rinse with cold water. This will prevent sticking. See note for fixing stuck pasta.2 cups dry elbow macaroni
- Cook eggs. Peel and chop.2 large eggs
- Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in a bowl and whisking together. Chill in the fridge while you prepare the rest of ingredients.½ cup mayonnaise, ½ cup sour cream, 1 tablespoon pickle juice, 2 teaspoons mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Place cooked macaroni in a large bowl. Add chopped eggs, vegetables and stir together.½ cup chopped celery ribs, ½ cup chopped red bell pepper, ½ cup chopped pickles
- Pour dressing over salad. Stir with a spatula or a wooden spoon.
- Serve or chill until ready to serve.
- If you forgot to rinse it and the macaroni is stuck together, place it in a colander and rinse under cold water, stirring with a spatula at the same time to break up the clumps
- I highly recommend using pickle juice for the dressing, instead of vinegar. Lemon juice works great too!
- Please note, that the nutrition value can vary depending on what product you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use calorie counter you are familiar with.