A classic macaroni salad recipe with a secret ingredient in the dressing (sweet pepper relish) to give it great flavor!

Happy Monday everyone! Here’s another classic to add to your summer barbecue recipe collection – a delicious Macaroni Salad!

I know that this is a completely biased opinion, but I think my husband Jack’s macaroni salad is one of the best that I’ve eaten!  It’s rich and creamy thanks to a dressing made with both mayonnaise and crème Fraiche (you can substitute sour cream for the crème Fraiche if you can’t find it) as well as a small amount of cream cheese, and all that creaminess turns this summertime classic into pure comfort food!

But – it doesn’t stop there!  This macaroni salad has great bright and zesty flavors that lighten the creaminess, thanks to the addition of champagne vinegar, capers, scallions, roasted red peppers – and Jack’s secret ingredient – sweet pepper relish!  We’re not talking about the relish you’d put on a hot dog – look for a flavorful sweet pepper relish (such as Howard’s or Uncle Maynard’s brands) at your grocery store.

This macaroni salad is made in a way that is similar to our popular Jack’s Potato Salad recipe where we add the dressing while the cooked pasta is still warm.  As it cools, the pasta absorbs some of the dressing so it’s super flavorful – and sure to be a hit at your next summer party!

Macaroni Salad - A Family Feast

Macaroni Salad

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings


The Sweet Pepper Relish used in this recipe is not green relish you put on your hot dog. It is made with a variety of peppers (not cucumbers), some hot and some not. It also typically has marinated onions in the jar. There are several good brands out there, such as Howard’s or Uncle Maynard’s, and they are usually found in the same section as jarred hot peppers.


  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
  • 1 cup Crème Fraiche (sour cream may be substituted)
  • 2 tablespoons softened cream cheese
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ¼ cup minced celery
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions
  • ½ cup drained and chopped roasted red peppers
  • 4 tablespoons sweet pepper relish (such as Howard’s or Uncle Maynard’s brand)
  • ½ cup sliced black olives
  • ½ cup chopped yellow or orange bell peppers
  • 12 ounces uncooked pasta (we like the spiral Cavatappi or Cavatelli noodles)


  1. In a small sauce pan fill with enough water to cover three eggs. Bring to a boil, add white vinegar and then with a slotted spoon, gently drop the eggs in one at a time. Boil for five minutes and turn burner off, then let them sit in the hot water for another fifteen minutes. Drain, shake to crack shells and peel under running water. Chop and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix mayonnaise, Crème Fraiche and softened creamed cheese until smooth. Add all other ingredients except pasta. Fold in chopped eggs and hold mixture under refrigeration.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain thoroughly but do not rinse or cool.
  4. In a large bowl, place drained hot pasta. Add mayonnaise mixture to hot noodles and stir to combine.
  5. Spread the pasta salad onto a sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours.
  6. Spoon the now cooled pasta salad into a serving bowl and serve.

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Jack’s Potato Salad

Jack's Potato Salad - A Family Feast

Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad

Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad - A Family Feast

Mediterranean Pasta Salad 

Mediterranean Pasta Salad - A Family Feast

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  • Sherry wrote:

    I want to try this but don’t have champagne vinegar, anything else I can use?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Sherry – Yes – white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar will also work! Hope you like it!

  • Nancy wrote:

    Would love to try both the macaroni and potato salads, but cannot find sweet pepper relish anywhere (I’m in Southern California). I tried Amazon, but you have to purchase 4 at a time, so that’s out. Any substitution you could suggest?

    • Martha wrote:

      I’m so sorry to hear that Nancy – we’ve been able to find it at our local supermarket. But if you absolutely can’t find it, a regular pickle relish will also work! I hope that helps!

  • Ang wrote:

    I tried your potato salad recipe and LOVED IT . So I’m back to try this macaroni salad. I don’t have the champagne vinegar on hand can I leave it out or substitute something else?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Ang – A white wine vinegar will work as a substitute! Hope you like it!

  • Fran wrote:

    Try adding imitation (or authentic) lobster and/or crab meat. Might also add Green Giant frozen English peas.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for the suggestions Fran!

  • Denise wrote:

    It is so wonderful to find cooks from Massachusetts and New England. Mostly I find the South or Midwest bloggers. They offer good food but I really am a New England food girl and what I prefer. Your recipes seem great This Mac salad and your Steak Bomb had me ready to sign up for your newsletters!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Denise! We’re glad you found us too! Thanks for visiting our site and I hope you enjoy the recipes!

  • Courtney wrote:

    I LOVED this! Thank you to my parents for allowing me to try it, prior to posting.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for being our taste-tester Courtney! xxx

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