Best Ever Classic Macaroni Salad

This Classic Macaroni Salad recipe is a hit at parties, BBQs and with adults and kids alike. It comes together easily and is the perfect side dish for summer parties, making it perfect for Memorial Day and 4th of July!

Macaroni Salad is a staple at all of our family get-togethers, served alongside other picnic favorites like Potato SaladBaked Macaroni and Cheese and Tuna Pasta Salad.

A bowl of the best macaroni salad with eggs and peas. There is a spoon in the bowl.

The Best Macaroni Salad Recipe

See the peas in that macaroni salad? This is seriously the only thing I like peas in. And I hate peas. But there’s something about the combination of flavors and textures in this macaroni salad that makes them fit in perfectly.

This is a favorite family recipe that my mom has been making since her home ec class in high school. It’s loved by everyone – so much so that my cousin listed it specifically in our family reunion book as his favorite food. It’s that good.

A close up of the best macaroni salad recipe with sliced hard boiled eggs on top.

What’s in Macaroni Salad?

  • Elbow macaroni – my mom swears by this brand. I haven’t been able to find it in grocery stores lately, but I just discovered that it’s available on Amazon!
  • Sweet pickle relish – make sure you get the sweet kind and not dill. Although dill won’t taste bad, the sweet really heightens the flavor of this macaroni salad.
  • Celery – because you gotta have some crunch!
  • Onion – just a little and diced really fine. I use red onion so it adds some color. Plus it’s a little bit spicier that other types.
  • Peas – Ok, this is where things get a little dicely. Not everyone likes peas, myself included, but they really pop (pun intended!) in this pasta salad.
  • Mayonnaise – This mac salad is mayo based, but it’s not so heavy with the stuff that it’s all you can taste. It’s what makes this salad so creamy and delicious.
  • Mustard – for a little bit of tang.
  • Hard boiled eggs – We always have hard boiled eggs in our fridge because my husband eats them almost every day. Make them yourself using that easy recipe or buy a package at the store.

Crunchy celery and peas, tangy pickle relish and mustard, tender hard boiled eggs and macaroni come together with the perfect amount of seasoning and just enough mayo to keep it from drying out. My kids love it too, even with the peas and onions! Now THAT is a special recipe!

How to Make the Best Macaroni Salad

  1. Cook macaroni following the directions on the package. Drain and rinse in colander and drain well. Cool to at least room temperature, or in the fridge. *Note: For cold pasta salads, you want to always rinse your pasta. Not only does this cool it off and stop the cooking process, it helps to rinse the extra starches and keeps the noodles from sticking together.
  2. While the pasta is cooking toss together the chopped celery, diced onion, pickle relish, peas, chopped hard boiled eggs in a large bowl. Once the macaroni is cool, stir that in too.
  3. Using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, stir in mayonnaise and mustard. The recipe calls for 1 cup of mayo, but you may need more or want to use less, depending on your personal preference.

An overhead shot of easy macaroni salad in a bowl with sliced eggs on top.

What Goes with Macaroni Salad?

This classic pasta salad is normally served with grilled meats or fish and is a backyard barbecue staple. These recipes would pair fabulously with Macaroni Salad:

Top Tips and Tricks

  • Rinse the pasta – Make sure to rinse the pasta after draining it. You want your macaroni to be al dente and not get mushy.
  • How long can Macaroni Salad sit out? Because of the mayonnaise in this recipe, it is best kept refrigerated. It can be left out for up to two hours in the shade before it would need to be discarded. If left out in the sun, it will spoil faster.
  • How to Store Leftovers – Store macaroni salad in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container for up to 5 days. If the salad seems dry, add a couple tablespoons of mayonnaise to moisten it before serving.
  • Do I have to add peas to Macaroni Salad? You do not have to add the peas to this salad. They do add a nice texture, but you can customize with other vegetables, like bell peppers, tomatoes or olives.
  • I don’t like mayonnaise – Instead of mayo you could use sour cream or greek yogurt. It definitely won’t have the same taste or texture but it’s close enough to still taste good.

A bite of macaroni salad on a spoon.

Love this Classic Macaroni Salad? For more delicious potluck friendly sides, be sure to check these out:

Print out this recipe and make this classic macaroni salad for your next BBQ or summer party. You can thank me later.

icon
If you’ve made this recipe, please come back and leave us a star rating or a comment below. Or, tag us on social media @yellowblissroad or #yellowblissroad for a chance to be featured.
Bowl of macaroni salad, with sliced eggs and a metal spoon

Classic Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad is a hit at summer parties & BBQs with adults & kids alike. This is the best macaroni salad for all of your picnics and get-togethers.
Prep Time 12 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 24 mins
Course Picnic, Potluck, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 390kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni ½ box
  • 4 tablespoons  sweet pickle relish
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 cup frozen peas cooked and cooled
  • 4 hard cooked eggs chopped
  • 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Cook macaroni following directions on the package. Drain and rinse in colander and drain well. Cool to at least room temperature, or in the fridge.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine celery, onion, relish, eggs, salt and peas.
  • Stir in cooked macaroni.
  • Stir in mustard and mayonnaise and blend thoroughly.
  • Store in a tightly sealed container for up to 5 days. If salad seems dry, add a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise to moisten.

Nutrition

Calories: 390kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 9gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 643mgPotassium: 181mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 769IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 1mg
Keyword hawaiian macaroni salad

This Classic Macaroni Salad is a hit at parties & BBQs with adults & kids alike. It comes together easily and is the perfect side dish for summer parties.

This Classic Macaroni Salad is a hit at parties & BBQs with adults & kids alike. It comes together easily and is the perfect side dish for summer parties.

This Classic Macaroni Salad is a hit at parties & BBQs with adults & kids alike. It comes together easily and is the perfect side dish for summer parties.

This Classic Macaroni Salad is a hit at parties & BBQs with adults & kids alike. It comes together easily and is the perfect side dish for summer parties.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

Free Email Series
5 Secrets to Dinnertime Sanity
Free email series with tested, tasted & terrific dinner recipes!

You Might Also Like

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. My go to Macaroni salad recipe from now on! This was a big hit, very flavorful. Next time I will only use two tsp of sweet relish to cut down on the sweetness, just personal preference though. thanks for this tasty recipe….

See More Comments