With 5 simple ingredients, Macaroni Salad is an easy and inexpensive classic for potlucks, BBQs, or as an easy dish for lunch or dinner year-round.
Why You’ll Love This Macaroni Salad Recipe
Time allows the flavors to meld together making Macaroni salad the perfect make ahead of time dish!
- Macaroni salad is very easy to make and incredibly versatile.
- Did we mention it’s inexpensive and budget friendly?
- There is a good chance all 5 pantry ingredients are on hand or easy to substitute.
- This recipe comes together in under 30 minutes.
- It’s a meat free dish, but you can add in your favorite diced meat.
- Macaroni salad is great for leftovers as it’s ready to eat straight from the fridge.
- Many call this a summer dish but we make this year-round.
With just 5 ingredients this macaroni salad with egg is incredibly easy to make.
- Salad Macaroni Pasta: Salad macaroni are perfectly sized to match all the ingredients in this dish.
- Hard Boiled Eggs: Cook all the way through and make ahead of time so that they are able to cool.
- Celery: Chopped celery adds a delicious crunch and a nice variety of texture to the soft pasta.
- Green Onion: The green onions add a punch of flavor to this pasta salad.
- Mayonnaise: Use real mayonnaise or this quick and easy homemade mayonnaise recipe.
How to Make Macaroni Salad
(Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe card with exact measurements and recipe instructions.)
- Cook the Pasta: Cook the macaroni noodles according to package directions and rinse well with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Assemble the Salad: Combine the macaroni noodles, mayonnaise, celery, green onion and eggs.
- Refrigerate: For best flavor, cover and refrigerate salad for at least 4 hours before serving, but preferably overnight.
- Taste Before Serving: The macaroni will absorb the mayonnaise as it chills in the fridge, so you may find it needs a little more mayonnaise. Possibly more salt and pepper.
Variations & Substitutions
We love this macaroni salad as is but it’s also a very flexible dish, and you can add or substitute all sorts of ingredients. The main thing to keep in mind is to make sure any add-ins are diced about the size of the pasta.
Here are some ideas for additions and substitutions for your macaroni salad:
- Pasta Substitute: Use any short or similar sized pasta including ditalini, small shells, wagon wheels or elbows.
- Mayonnaise Substitute: For a lighter meal, substitute half of the mayonnaise for Greek yogurt.
- Pimento Peppers: A jar of Pimentos is one of my favorite additions and plays very well with this salad.
- Add Pickles: Sweet pickles, pickle relish, or dill pickles will all do the trick. Capers are a nice addition as well.
- Paprika: Paprika adds a zest of flavor plus some color when dashed on top. Try regular, smoked, or sweet paprika with this salad.
- Add More Vegetables: This salad works well with many vegetables including shredded carrots, red bell peppers, sweet bell peppers, red onions, dill pickles, peas, olives, broccoli florets, or cherry tomatoes.
- Add Herbs: Fresh parsley, chives, garlic powder, and dill all add a bit more flavor.
- Add Meat: Try adding diced tuna (canned), chicken, baby shrimp, diced ham, or chopped bacon.
- Get Cheesy: Mix in chopped or shredded cheddar.
- Spice it Up: Add some hot sauce or jalapenos for some heat.
- Make it Tangy: Stir in a little Dijon mustard for a tangier version of this salad.
Leftover macaroni salad can be stored in a refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Macaroni salad does not freeze well so we don’t recommend.
As previously mentioned, the macaroni will continue to absorb the mayonnaise and get drier as it sits in the refrigerator. Adding more mayonnaise will fix this. Be sure not let the salad sit at room temperature more than 2 hours.
- 16 oz (1lb) Salad Macaroni
- 1 Cup of mayonnaise
- 2 Hard boiled eggs cooked all the way through, diced or use egg slicer
- 1 Cup celery
- 1/2 cup green onion
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Cook macaroni noodles according to package cooking directions.
- Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- In a large bowl, combine macaroni noodles, celery, green onion and eggs. Stir until well-combined.
- Lightly mix and then add mayo and salt and pepper, to taste.
- Cover and refrigerate salad for at least 4 hours before serving, but preferably overnight.
What to Serve with Macaroni Salad
I love to serve it with: