There’s nothing like a creamy mac salad to enjoy on a warm day. This macaroni salad recipe makes the easiest, most delicious creamy pasta salad. The salad comes together in less than 20 minutes, making it an ideal and easy recipe for all your salad needs. 

A pasta salad can come in many forms! From a classic caesar pasta salad to an italian pasta salad, you can never go wrong with these side dishes.

A pot of macaroni salad with a wooden spoon in it.

This macaroni pasta salad recipe is full of elbow macaroni, red pepper, celery, and hard-boiled eggs. The best part is the creamy mayo salad dressing. Our homemade macaroni salad dressing is sweet and tangy and so flavorful, perfect for bringing to a potluck.

What Makes This the Best Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe?

  • Make-ahead. This is the perfect salad to make up to a couple of days in advance.
  • Party favorite. Everybody loves a good pasta salad.
  • Perfect leftovers. A macaroni salad makes perfect leftovers. 
  • Meal planning. Easily make a large batch and enjoy it throughout the week.
A pot of all the macaroni salad ingredients.

Macaroni Salad Ingredients

  • Macaroni – elbow macaroni makes the perfect base for this salad.
  • Vegetables – a combination of red bell pepper, celery, and red onion, diced and cubed to your preferences.
  • Eggs – hard boiled eggs cubed up.
  • Mayonnaise dressing – mayo, sour cream, vinegar, mustard, and fresh garlic make an incredible salad dressing.

See the recipe card below for a complete list of ingredients and quantities.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Pasta shape: From elbow macaroni to fusilli and even ditalini, you can’t go wrong with a short pasta shape. 
  • Vegetables: Customize this macaroni salad by adding a variety of your favorite vegetables and fresh herbs. 
  • Add protein: Level up this salad by adding air-fried bacon, or leftover shredded chicken to make a southern chicken style pasta salad!

How to Make Macaroni Salad Recipe

Step-by-step instructions for making the best macaroni salad:

  1. Cook pasta: Boil a large pot of salted water and cook the elbow pasta al dente according to the package instructions. Drain that water, and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. 
  2. Combine: Add the cooled pasta to the cubed red pepper, celery, red onion, and cubed hard-boiled eggs in a large bowl. 
  3. Dressing: Combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and add it to the salad. Toss the salad until well combined.

Expert Tips:

  • Prep pasta: Make sure the pasta is fully cooled before adding it to the salad. 
  • Let the flavors marinate: Chill the macaroni salad in the fridge for a couple of hours to let the flavors soak into the noodles. Serve the salad cold for the best results. 
  • Seasoning: Taste the salad and adjust for seasoning after mixing together.

Serving Suggestions

A wooden spoon holding a scoop of macaroni salad.

Recipe FAQs

Do I need to rinse my pasta after cooking?

You can rinse the pasta after boiling to stop the cooking and get the pasta to cool down faster. 

How do I make the pasta salad in advance? 

Prep all of your ingredients and combine the salad without adding the dressing. Add the dressing to the salad a couple of hours before serving and refrigerate until ready. 

Are there other dressings that can be used for this salad?

You can use an easy caesar dressing, a quick zesty italian dressing, or even a homemade greek dressing for this salad. 

Store & Reheat

  • Storage. Keep this salad in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container. 
  • Freeze. We do not recommend freezing this pasta salad.

More Salad Recipes

If you enjoyed this macaroni salad recipe, be sure to try our other popular salad recipes; here are some of our favorites:

Easy Macaroni Salad

Author: Valentina
A pot of macaroni salad with a wooden spoon in it.
Print
5 from 6 votes
This easy macaroni salad recipe makes the perfect creamy salad. This elbow macaroni salad is loaded with diced vegetables, eggs, and a creamy mayo dressing. This is the perfect salad to make in advance as it stores well and just tastes better with time.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 oz elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 red pepper cubed
  • 1 celery stalk cubed
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 hard boiled eggs cubed

dressing –

Instructions

  • Boil elbow pasta until fully cooked. Drain the pasta, and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  • To a large bowl, add red pepper, celery, red onion, hard boiled eggs, and pasta.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients.
  • Add the dressing to the salad and toss together.
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
  • Serve, and enjoy!

Notes

  • Make sure to cook the pasta all the way and not just al dente. 
  • Taste the macaroni salad and adjust the seasoning to your preferences.
  • Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

386kcal Calories31g Carbs8g Protein25g Fat5g Saturated Fat79mg Cholesterol423mg Sodium170mg Potassium2g Fiber3g Sugar505IU Vitamin A14mg Vitamin C36mg Calcium1mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Easy Macaroni Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 386 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 79mg26%
Sodium 423mg18%
Potassium 170mg5%
Carbohydrates 31g10%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 505IU10%
Vitamin C 14mg17%
Calcium 36mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
(The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)