Classic Macaroni Salad
Classic Macaroni Salad is a staple and perfect side dish for any potluck, tailgate, or barbecue. It’s easy to make, and everyone will love it. It takes several ingredients which you probably already have on hand. I’m confident your family and guest will love this dish.
Why This Dish Is Fantastic
Easy to Make– Make this dish a day or two ahead of time- it keeps nicely in the refrigerator.
Perfect for Dishes on the Go– This dish transports well for on-the-go dinners, parties, bbq’s, or tailgating.
Fresh & Tasty– Fresh vegetables and creamy dressing make every bite delicious.
Budget Friendly– No fancy ingredients are needed in this dish.
Simple ingredients are needed for this delicious macaroni salad—nothing fancy, just straightforward items from the refrigerator and pantry.
Cheese Cubes (Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Colby Jack)
Dressing (ingredients below)
Dressing for Macaroni Salad
This macaroni salad dressing is super simple to make and very tasty. It’s a mayonnaise-based dressing that only takes minutes to prepare.
Mayonnaise– This is the base for the dressing.
Mustard– Gives it just a kick of spice.
Sweet Pickle Relish– Adds just the right amount of sweetness to the salad.
Vinegar– Mixes with the mayo and adds tang.
Sugar– Just a little sweetness.
Salt & Pepper– Simple is sometimes all you need.
How To Make Macaroni Salad
The best part about this classic macaroni salad is that you can make it a day or two ahead of time. If you are having a gathering, double up on the recipe, make it the night before and store it in the refrigerator. Honestly, it is better the next day. Just give it a good stir before serving.
This salad only requires basic steps from start to finish.
For complete recipe instructions, see the recipe card below.
- Boil the noodles.
- Prepare the vegetables.
- Make the dressing.
- Mix everything and refrigerate.
Easy Greek Pasta Salad is loaded with fresh vegetables and topped with a tasty dressing. Simple and incredible.
The creamy dressing, the veggies’ crunch, and the pepper’s heat make this dish irresistible. It is pure comfort food in every bite. You can’t go wrong with a big bowl of macaroni salad, barbecue from the grill, and a tall glass of lemonade.
What’s nice about this easy macaroni salad is that you can add in just about anything you wish and make it to suit your taste. Get creative and make it unique. Some other great add-ins might be:
*Make sure noodles are cooled before adding the other ingredients. You don’t want your cheese to melt.
*Jalapenos are optional. If you are serving this dish to heat-sensitive guests or children, leave out the peppers.
*I used Cheddar. Try Pepper Jack Cheese for the added kick or feel free to use your favorite.
* Don’t overcook your noodles. You want them firm, not mushy.
* Any small pasta noodles will work for this recipe.
*Make a day in advance if time allows. You can certainly serve this salad the day you make it, but it is so much better the next day.
*If serving the next day, stir in another big spoonful of mayo or ranch dressing to the salad. The noodles absorb all of the creamy dressing while chilling in the refrigerator.
*Double the recipe if serving to a crowd.
For More Easy Salads, be sure to check out:
Classic Macaroni Salad
- ½ cup celery diced
- ½ cup bell pepper diced- red, green, or yellow
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup cheese cubes Cheddar, Pepper Jack or Colby
- 1 jalapeno (optional) finely chopped with seeds removed
- 1 pound (16 oz.) elbow macaroni dried
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- Cook the noodles according to package instructions, then drain in a colander and rinse with cool water. Shake well to remove all water and allow the noodles to cool for about 15-20 minutes. Then add to a large bowl.
- Add the diced celery, onion, bell pepper, peas, jalapeno, and cheese to the pasta. Stir well.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or Mason Jar (with a tight fitting lid) until smooth and creamy.
- Pour the dressing over the macaroni and stir to coat evenly. Keep the salad covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.