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A classic Macaroni Salad recipe that’s one of the best around!
Everyone needs a delicious, creamy Macaroni Salad recipe that can be made for any occasion – cookouts, pot luck suppers, picnics at the park, game day parties – or even a weeknight dinner! Our Macaroni Salad gets even better – because you can make it with pantry ingredients, plus a few fresh vegetables.
The Best Macaroni Salad Ever
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 ever had! It’s rich and creamy thanks to a dressing made with both mayonnaise and sour cream, and all that luscious creaminess turns this warm weather classic into pure comfort food!
But – it gets even better! This Macaroni Salad has great bright and zesty flavors that lighten the creaminess, thanks to the addition of spicy brown mustard, apple cider vinegar, and chopped dill pickles. Plus chopped hard boiled eggs, and red bell peppers, and sweet onion add even more flavor and texture to this classic salad.
This Macaroni Salad is prepared in a way that is similar to our popular Jack’s Potato Salad recipe – where we pour the dressing over the cooked pasta while it 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 party!
This recipe originally appeared on A Family Feast in July 2013. We’ve updated the photos and simplified the recipe. Our original Macaroni Salad recipe included lots of other added ingredients that are, still, also delicious added to a pasta salad like this. We’ve listed those in the Notes section of the recipe card below in case you’d like to include them when you make this recipe.
You may like these other salad recipes:
- Jack’s Potato Salad
- Classic Egg Salad
- Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad
3 hard-boiled eggs, click here for our Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs tutorial
1 teaspoon kosher salt to salt the pasta water
12 ounces dry Cavatappi or elbow noodles
2 cups good quality mayonnaise, see our homemade recipe here
½ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
¼ cup celery, finely diced
¼ cup sweet onion, finely diced
¼ cup dill pickles, diced medium and drained
½ red bell pepper, diced medium
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon white pepper
Optional: See Notes below for other ingredients you could add to your macaroni salad.
Cook the eggs following this method. Cool and chop. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to boil under high heat. Once boiling, salt the water with a teaspoon of kosher salt. Add the pasta and cook just to al dente – the pasta should be a little firm to the bite.
While the water heats/the pasta cooks, in a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, sour cream, brown mustard, vinegar, celery, onion, pickles, bell pepper, celery salt, sugar, garlic powder and white pepper.
Pour the pasta into a colander and drain very well but DO NOT RINSE OR COOL.
Shake and toss the hot pasta to remove any traces of water. Use a few paper towels to blot the hot pasta to absorb any last drops of water.
Pour the drained, still hot pasta into the bowl with the mayonnaise mixture, along with the chopped hard-boiled eggs. Stir to combine.
Pour the warm macaroni mixture onto a sheet tray and place uncovered in the refrigerator for one hour to chill. The warm pasta will absorb some of the liquid in the mayonnaise mixture as it cools – making the mixture thick and creamy. As well, the flavors will meld together better while warm. (Don’t worry about adding something hot to mayonnaise since you’ll be cooling it down quickly on a flat sheet tray.)
After the pasta salad has chilled, use a rubber spatula and scrape the Maraconi Salad into a serving bowl.
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Additional optional ingredients you could add to this Macaroni Salad:
- Crème Fraiche
- Cream cheese
- Dijon mustard
- Yellow salad mustard
- Cheddar cheese
- Green peas
- Sweet pepper relish
- Black olives
- Yellow, orange or green bell peppers