Traditional Macaroni Salad is perfect for your next picnic or BBQ. This side dish tastes like summer and is what every gathering needs.
Traditional Macaroni Salad
I’ve made this pasta salad many times yet I’ve never actually used macaroni noodles so it’s not always macaroni salad. Sometimes it’s Shells Salad or Mini Penne Salad.
My point is, it’s just as good regardless of noodle shape. Use what you like or whatever you have on hand.
Rosie’s birthday is ON Memorial Day this year and we’re having family over for an “Oh Two-dles” birthday party. I have plans to make this macaroni salad to pair with all the meats Bob will undoubtedly make.
Tools you’ll need
- Mixing Bowls – Nothing worse than trying to toss a salad in a bowl that’s too small – pick the right size!
- Knives – Also super frustrating to try to chop onions and tomatoes with a dull knife.
- Colander – A collapsable strainer is nice to save space.
- Whisk – A whisk to mix up the dressing.
Classic Macaroni Salad Ingredients
Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.
- Noodles – Keep it classic with macaroni noodles or switch it up and try shells or penne.
- Red Onion – Minced red onion, which you’ll soak in cold water for 5-10 minutes to lessen the strong onion taste and make them a bit sweeter.
- Parsley – Dried or fresh will work.
- Tomato – I usually use romas.
- Cucumber – I like to use an English cucumber.
- Mayo – Duke’s or Hellman’s? People have strong opinions about mayo!
- Dry Mustard – For great flavor.
- Sugar – For balance.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – ACV makes a great dressing.
- Sour Cream
- Salt & pepper
How to make Macaroni Salad
- First, cook your noodles until al dente then rinse well in cold water. Drain in a colander to remove any excess water.
- Pour the drained noodles into a large bowl and add onion, parsley, tomatoes, and cucumber.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, mustard, sugar, sour cream, vinegar, and salt.
- Then, pour the wet ingredients over the noodles and stir to combine. Let sit in the fridge so the flavors can come together.
What to serve with it
How long does macaroni salad keep in the fridge?
Keep macaroni salad, covered, in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Do you rinse macaroni for macaroni salad?
When you make pasta for a cold salad, you should rinse it after cooking to stop the cooking process and remove excess starch.
Make sure you drain it well in a colander after rinsing it so the mayo and other ingredients can stick to the pasta without getting watered down.
Most recently, I made too many noodles so half went turned into this salad and the other half became Feta Artichoke Pasta Salad.
Need more pasta salads? Try these:
- Feta & Artichoke Pasta Salad
- Tri-Color Pasta Salad
- BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad
- Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- Antipasti Pasta Salad
Originally published May 28, 2012