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Best Macaroni Salad Recipes

Best Macaroni Salad Recipes

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Top Rated Macaroni Salad Recipes

This macaroni salad is perfect for people who want a lighter, fresher salad that showcases summer produce.

Macaroni salad is a delicious side dish for any backyard barbecue, party, or family dinner.

If you hate the idea of dousing your pasta in mayonnaise, this macaroni salad is perfect for you. The Greek yogurt fullfills all the same duties as mayonnaise would, working as an excellent binding ingredient, but it provides a more unique and refreshing flavor.

The Best Macaroni Salad Ever

Pile it into a bowl and serve it at your next barbecue or picnic!

I love macaroni salad, but I'm very picky about it! Here's the way I like it.

red wine or distilled vinegar

sugar, more or less to taste

Splash of pickle juice, more to taste

whole roasted red peppers, more to taste (can also use pimentos)

black olives, finely chopped

sweet/spicy pickle slices, diced (about 1/2 cup diced)

green onions, sliced (white and dark green parts)

  1. Cook the macaroni in lightly salted water according to the package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Set aside.
  2. Mix together the mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Splash in enough milk to make it pourable. Splash in pickle juice for extra flavor. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside.
  3. Place the cooled macaroni in a large bowl and pour in 3/4 of the dressing. Toss and add more dressing if you'd like. (The dressing will seem a little thin, but it will thicken up as the salad chills.)
  4. Stir in the roasted red peppers (or pimentos), olives, pickles, and green onions. Add more of any ingredient if you'd like more stuff going on! At the end, splash in a little more pickle juice and stir.
  5. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Sprinkle with sliced green onions to serve!

I love, love, love, adore, and love macaroni salad. I&rsquom also picky, picky, picky, particular, and picky about macaroni salad. No joke. Macaroni salad is a religion to me.

I have issues, is what I&rsquom saying.

Here&rsquos what I don&rsquot like: Macaroni salad that&rsquos gloopy.
Here&rsquos what I do like: Macaroni salad that&rsquos creamy but still light.
Here&rsquos what I don&rsquot like: Macaroni salad that&rsquos overly vinegary.
Here&rsquos what I do like: Macaroni salad with a sweet/tangy/spicy kick.
Here&rsquos what I don&rsquot like: Macaroni salad that&rsquos mostly macaroni.
Here&rsquos what I do like: Macaroni salad with a confetti of wonderfulness coloring the whole mix with flavor, spice, and texture.
Here&rsquos what I don&rsquot like: Tea.
Here&rsquos what I do like: Diet Dr Pepper.

Recipe Summary

  • 16 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 4 carrots, shredded
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni, and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Rinse under cold water, and drain.

In a large bowl, stir together the carrots, red onion, green pepper, red pepper and celery. Mix in the mayonnaise, condensed milk, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the macaroni, toss gently, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. I usually make this a day ahead of time, and stir it occasionally to blend the flavors. The macaroni will absorb some of the liquid.

Recipe: Best Macaroni Salad

2 c dried elbow macaroni
Kosher salt
1 c celery, finely chopped, including the leafy ends if they are in good shape
½ c red onion, peeled and finely chopped
½ c mayonnaise
¼ c cider vinegar
½ t finely ground white pepper
1/8 t MSG (optional)

Method: cook pasta in a generous amount of salted water until it is well past the al dente stage drain. Place chopped celery and onion in a large bowl and add the drained, hot pasta. Let sit a few minutes so the heat of the pasta can steam the vegetables. Add mayo, vinegar, pepper and optional MSG and mix well. Refrigerate at least two hours (the pasta should be room temperature or cooler) then taste and add salt if needed. Serve as a picnic or BBQ side dish.

Possible mix-ins: frozen green peas and finely chopped red or green bell pepper can be added at the same time as the celery and onion. Use no more than ¼ c of each. For a more robust salad, consider adding finely chopped salami and neutral cheese after it is chilled.

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How Long Can You Keep Macaroni Salad?

The first rule of macaroni salad is never leave it out at room temperature for too long! Remember, you want to serve this cold. If you won&rsquot be eating it in the next hour, keep it in the fridge.

If you want your macaroni salad to last longer, keep it in an airtight container in your refrigerator. Do this and it will last for up to five days.

Unfortunately, macaroni salad can&rsquot be frozen because it has a lot of moisture. Don&rsquot worry though, this recipe is too delicious so it won&rsquot last long on your dining table!

Macaroni Salad with Miracle Whip:

This recipe is inspired by my dad&rsquos. His macaroni salad is a popular dish at his annual Independence Day party, so I think you&rsquore going to enjoy this salad. What I love about the Miracle Whip is the zip and tang taste it gives the macaroni salad.

To get all of the ingredients for this recipe, I headed to my local Giant Eagle. While I was there, I also picked up other grilling and entertaining essentials: hamburger, buns, cute gingham plates, and HEINZ Ketchup.

With everything purchased, I was ready to whip up a delicious and easy meal to celebrate the start of summer.

Don’t forget to keep this Pasta Salad Recipe with mayo refrigerated!

You will love this Macaroni Salad dressing. It is so good and truly makes this macaroni salad amazing. You can also substitute some of the mayo with sour cream. It will make it more tangy so just keep that in mind. You might want to try half mayo and half sour cream.

The Very Best Macaroni Salad

Summer would not be complete without the very best Macaroni Salad. This version is light and creamy with a surprise ingredient that will just make your mouth say “wow”. Or say nothing at all, because it’s full of food and your mom taught you better than to talk with you mouth full.

I’ve been to barbecues without macaroni salad. I know, gasp! The horror! Some people are getting all fancy these days making side dishes like Blueberry, Feta and Quinoa Salad or Soba Noodle Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing. But the fact of the matter is….macaroni salad IS summer. It’s a staple, a constant and we all know how I feel about change. Sometimes it’s good…but all the time it needs macaroni salad. And definitely at your next cookout.

I’m aware that most versions are loaded with mayo and the carbs give some people hives just thinking about it. But I never said you had to eat the whole bowl…in fact, you should definitely share this dish because it makes a ton. Perfect for your gaggle of friends. And I lightened it up a bit with some greek yogurt. There’s still mayo because why change a good thing but definitely not as much as those grocery deli salads. And I threw in some pimentos because…well…I like pimentos. And I also threw in some chopped pickles because this summer I’m putting pickles in everything. Smashed Potato Salad, anyone?

It only takes minutes to make (minus the time it takes to cook the pasta but if you’re antsy…go have a glass of wine for 8 minutes until it’s al dente.) Super simple to mix up, just put all ingredients in a bowl and toss around with your wooden spoon until well blended. Here’s a couple tricks to make your macaroni salad The Very Best Macaroni Salad:

  1. When cooking your pasta, make sure your water is well salted. It should taste like the ocean, I like to throw a palm full into a giant stock pot so my pasta has room to move.
  2. Cook the pasta just until al dente. It will continue cooking for a bit more but if you over cook it….it will fall apart and become mush. Not good eats.
  3. After draining the pasta, immediately stop the cooking process by running under cold water until the pasta is no longer warm. Drain completely.
  4. Layer your ingredients in a bowl with the pasta on the bottom and the dressing on the top. Toss to combine.

Now that you have all that macaroni salad knowledge under your belt….go…go to the kitchen and whip it up. Have a picnic on your lunch break. Invite your coworkers….or don’t. Sometimes coworkers are not the best lunch dates…but sometimes they are. I don’t know who you work with or…if you work at all. Play date anyone.

Cooking Directions

Place the thoroughly cooled pasta in a large mixing bowl along with all remaining ingredients, except for the sauce. Stir to combine.

To make the sauce, place all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stir to combine.

Pour the sauce over the pasta salad and stir to thoroughly coat the pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste. If it doesn't taste excellent it needs more salt. Transfer to a non-reactive bowl. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

NOTE: Pasta absorbs a lot of liquid over time and will dry out, so if serving leftovers the next day, add a little more mayo sauce.


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