Look no further than this classic macaroni salad recipe for that quintessential Americana flavor you grew up with!
Summer is swimsuit season, so I have been dieting obsessively in-between meals and snacks. I hate bragging, but I am totally rocking the dad bod this year. All the ladies at the beach look at me and think, “Man, I could really rest my head on his soft stomach.” Sorry ladies, this guy’s taken. Side dishes like this classic macaroni salad keep my heart happy and my physique in peak dad bod condition.
What is Macaroni Salad
Macaroni salad is a classic summertime side dish served frequently at picnics and BBQs. This creamy pasta salad is mayo based with a subtle tanginess added from mustard and vinegar which is offset by the sweetness of sugar. Macaroni salad traditionally contains the added crunch of fresh produce mixed in with the tender elbow macaroni and dressing.
Macaroni Salad Ingredients
Even a classic macaroni salad recipe has flexibility on the acceptable ingredient add-ins. For me personally, I believe the best macaroni salad will have chopped onion, celery, and peas, as well as a hint of sweet pickle relish. However, bell peppers, shredded carrots, and cheddar cheese are among the wide variety of additions people sometimes include in their recipe. I’ve seen dill included as well, though I would rather make my Dill Pickle Pasta Salad if I was going that route. The point is, feel free to customize it to your own tastes.
How to Make Macaroni Salad
Macaroni salad is exceptionally easy to make. Simply boil the elbow macaroni in a pot of salted water and prepare the remaining ingredients while it cooks. All of the ingredients get combined together in a large bowl, however, I always rinse the rinse the cooked pasta under cold water prior to mixing it with the other ingredients to prevent heating up the pasta salad. Also, make sure the pasta is well drained or your pasta salad can get runny. If it does turn out runnier than you prefer, simply add more mayo.
How Long Can You Keep Macaroni Salad
Macaroni salad should last in the fridge for up to a week if using fresh ingredients, however, it is best consumed within a couple days. Always keep it in a sealed container in the refrigerator to prevent your macaroni salad from soaking up off-flavors.
How Long Can Macaroni Salad Be Left Out
When serving macaroni salad at a picnic or potluck don’t let it sit at room temperature longer than 4 hours. Since it is dairy based you risk food poisoning if it sits for a prolonged period of time. Using an iced serving bowl and help prolong the servability by keeping the temperature below 40 degrees.
What to Serve with Macaroni Salad
If you are planning a picnic, cookout, or potluck you may want to consider additional complimentary side dishes such as coleslaw, red potato salad, and homemade baked beans. If you are looking for something a little more adventurous, check out this Blue Cheese Potato Salad with bacon!
Classic Macaroni Salad
- 16 oz Elbow Macaroni
- 1 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup Distilled White Vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 medium Onion (chopped)
- 3 stalks Celery (chopped)
- 1 cups Peas
- 2 tablespoons Sweet Pickle Relish
- 2 tablespoons Sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt (plus more for pasta)
- 3/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
- Cook pasta in a pot of salted boiling water according to package directions.
- While pasta is cooking prepare the remaining ingredients and mix in a large bowl.
- When pasta is tender remove from pot and rinse under cold water until cooled.
- Combine cooled pasta with remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Serve immediately or store in refrigerator in an air-tight container.
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