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Macaroni Salad

5 from 16 votes

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This simple Macaroni Salad Recipe is the perfect combination of creamy and crunchy, and totally adaptable to your own liking. It’s the perfect side dish for summer, or anytime really, and is ready in just 15 minutes! Pair macaroni salad with Baked Chicken Legs at your next BBQ.

Macaroni Salad

Classic but Adaptable

I love this Macaroni Salad recipe for so many reasons! It’s simple to make, my kids will eat it no problem, it’s highly adaptable based on what you have on hand and it’s a classic recipe that everyone loves in the summer. Or any season really! Plus, it’s the perfect make-ahead salad for any potluck or BBQ.

Experiment with this recipe and make it how YOU like it.

If you don’t like pickles, don’t add them!

Like it spicy? Add some hot sauce into the mixture.

Want to healthify it up? Then add all the crunchy vegetables you can find in your fridge.

The possibilities are actually endless. So even when you make this simple macaroni salad recipe, again and again, you may never make it the same twiceIt is all up to you. SO let’s get into how to make it!

Draining Pasta

How to Make Macaroni Salad

This pasta salad is ready to eat in just 15 minutes. Super easy, and best of all, you can make it with what you have on hand for veggies. For full recipe details, see the printable recipe card down below.

Cook Macaroni until al dente

Bring large pot of water to boil. Salt water generously and pour in pasta. Stir and cook until al dente. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water until cold. Pour into large bowl and set aside.  

Prep Veggies

Chop your veggies. Things like celery, carrot, onion, bell pepper and pickles are all crunchy, delicious options. Add cut veggies to the pasta bowl.

Make the Dressing

Stir in mayonnaise, vinegar, and seasonings until everything is well coated. If it doesn’t seem like there’s enough mayonnaise to go around, add in a splash of water or a little more mayonnaise.

Refrigerate until ready to Serve

This salad is delicious as is, but only gets better with time! If you can, make a few hours in advance for best results.

What to Eat with Macaroni Salad

Once your macaroni salad is done, you can eat it as is or have it as a side dish with something else. It’s particularly delicious with steak skewers, baked chicken legs, pulled pork or smoked chicken wings. DELICIOUS!!

Storing Leftover Macaroni Salad

Any leftovers can be refrigerated and saved as a snack or lunch for the next day. This recipe should stay good for 3-5 days after making it.

Macaroni Salad Recipe

Can you Freeze Macaroni Salad?

Yes, you can! You can either freeze everything separately (pasta, chopped veggies and dressing) and store up to 5 days or you can make the whole thing and freeze any leftovers you have for the same amount of time. Make sure to seal in an airtight container to keep things fresh.

Something to make sure you do is thaw in the fridge. This can take up to three hours so plan ahead! If you don’t do this, bacteria is more likely to grow on your food. Gross.

Perfect for Potlucks and BBQ’s

If making this recipe for a large group of people, or a party, make sure to double the recipe so everyone can have a taste of this stuff! You won’t regret it and neither will they.

The texture and taste of this macaroni salad make it seriously the best. Its creaminess and freshness are hard to resist and at any BBQ or potluck, you aren’t going to go home with leftovers. It is THAT good.

If macaroni or pasta-based salad isn’t your summer salad of choice, here are a few other delicious options: coleslaw, cucumber salad, broccoli salad, southwest chicken chop salad.

Macaroni Salad

More Pasta Salads to Try!

The printable recipe card is below! Be sure to save, print, pin or bookmark this because it is a fabulous macaroni salad recipe you won’t want to lose!

5 from 16 votes

Macaroni Salad

This simple Macaroni Salad Recipe is delicious and can be made in 15 minutes! It’s the perfect creamy, crunchy, fresh and cold summer salad.
servings 6 servings
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Total Time 1 hr 28 mins


  • 1/2 lb. elbow macaroni such as barilla
  • 3/4 cup carrot diced
  • 3/4 cup celery diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion diced (or yellow onion)
  • 1/2 cup yellow pepper diced (optional)
  • 1/3 cup dill pickle diced
  • 1/4 cup black olives diced
  • 1/2 cup real mayonnaise heaping 1/2 cup
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Bring large pot of water to boil. Salt water generously and pour in pasta. Stir and cook 7-10 minutes or until al dente. While pasta is cooking chop all your veggies. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water until cold. Pour into large bowl and top with chopped veggies. 
  • Stir in mayonnaise, vinegar, and seasonings until everything is well coated. If it doesn't seem like there's enough mayonnaise to go around, add in a splash of water or a little more mayonnaise. Refrigerate macaroni salad until ready to serve.


Calories: 295kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 300mg | Potassium: 221mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2805IU | Vitamin C: 25.1mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 0.8mg
Course: Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: macaroni salad, macaroni salad recipe, pasta salad, summer salad

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Recipe Rating

44 Responses
  1. Catherine warunek

    Hello Lauren. Your cod with the mayonnaise, basil ,garlic and parsley are my family’s favorite. Added bonus elegantly delicious for company. We are hooked lol. A few days ago I prepared your special fish sauce and placed on boneless skinless chicken breasts. Delicious. Me and my family can’t get enough of that delicious sauce thank you for allowing me to enjoy your recipes. Cooking is my passion.

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  4. Laurie Budish

    5 stars
    This recipe is husband approved in my house. We were going to grill hamburgers, but after having a taste of this, we no longer cared to grill hamburgers. I skipped the carrots, but added chopped dill pickles, , salami, and marbled cheddar and mozzarella. It was fantastic!

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      1. Joana adams

        5 stars
        I make it with cucumbers, onion, red pepper, elbows and lowery’s seasoning salt and Kraft mayo. In addition, I juice a whole lemon and stir it in. I have been using this recipe for years and now I am going to try yours! My husband shakes red wine vinegar on his bowl before eating.

  10. Chris

    5 stars
    yummy salad! I made it tonight. I’ve got a cold, so needed some comfort food… this more than fit the bill. I’d like a bit less mayo, so next time will reserve some of it to add back. Good job!

  11. Carol

    5 stars
    Make mine just like this but double the amount of dill pickles and add green olives also. Wonderful dish and it’s better the next day, if it lasts that long.

  12. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts

    5 stars
    We have pasta salad all year round here. Simple, good, quick, and makes for great leftovers! Love all the veggies you put in here!

  13. Mary

    I COMPLETELY agree about the dill pickles being awesome and sweet ones being ehh…
    anyways, that pasta salad looks yummmmy! will be making it soon

  14. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel

    5 stars
    Eek, I’m loving the additional of bell pepper, olives and pickles because uh, hello, that constitutes the best macaroni salad EVER. Ever, people, I mean it. Love this recipe & your videos!

  15. Cookbook Queen

    This looks so stinking good. I love that you added black olives!!

    My husband is a sweet pickle person. He’s also an alien.