Creamy Macaroni Salad – Spend With Pennies

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This macaroni salad recipe is a classic side dish. There’s a good reason for that.

Mix the soft elbow macaroni with a few additives and toss it into a super easy 2-minute dressing.

Perfect for potlucks, picnics, and barbecues. It’s quick to make and best made ahead of time.

classic macaroni salad bowl

Easy to make side dishes

Macaroni noodles hold a special place in my heart, along with macaroni and cheese, topped with Rouladen gravy, and of course macaroni salad.

  • You can (and should) prepare macaroni salad Beforehand For the best taste.
  • the budget friendly and perhaps you materials on hand.
  • the super fast Easy to assemble and versatile (see notes below).
  • It’s very versatile. Use any short pasta you like and modify the add-ins.
Ingredients for creamy macaroni salad made in a frying pan

macaroni salad ingredients

The best macaroni salad recipes are simple, delicious, and budget-friendly.

Pasta – I use elbow macaroni, but you can use any small pasta.

add-in – I keep this relatively simple, but feel free to try any of the variations below to create your own macaroni salad recipe. I like to add celery, shredded carrots, red bell pepper, and red onion.

variation

  • Fresh – fresh parsley or fresh dill
  • bold – Cheese, bacon bits, diced ham, dill pickles,
  • savory – Garlic powder, boiled egg
  • sweet – Baby peas, bell peppers, sweet pickles, or extra pickle relish
Ingredients for macaroni salad in a glass bowl

quick macaroni salad dressing

This macaroni salad dressing is really quick to make. You can also substitute your favorite creamy or coleslaw dressing.

  • mayonnaise based
  • Vinegar (white vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
  • sweet pickle relish and a pinch of sugar or sweet pickle juice
  • Prepared or seasoned with Dijon mustard, salt and pepper
  • To lighten the dressing, you can replace half the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt.
Macaroni salad ingredients in a bowl

Basic proportions for macaroni salad: (full recipe below)

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni (or short pasta)
  • Approximately 2 cups add-ins
  • 1 cup dressing

Of course, you can add more or less of these ingredients depending on your preference. Add more dressing as the dressing will soak into the pasta if it cools in the fridge.

How to make macaroni salad

  1. Make the pasta: Boil the macaroni, drain and cool. Follow the recipe below.
  2. Prepare the add-in. While the macaroni is boiling, chop the vegetables and other ingredients.
  3. mix and cool: Mix dressing ingredients and toss with macaroni and other ingredients.
bowl of macaroni salad

Prepare the macaroni salad

This macaroni salad recipe is perfect for these occasions. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving. This allows the flavors to mix and the dressing to thicken and soak into the pasta. It can be made up to 24 hours before serving.

The dressing will soak in, so be sure to add plenty of dressing. Stir before serving and sprinkle with paprika or fresh herbs if desired.

Tips for the best macaroni salad

  • Elbows can be replaced with Ditalini, small shells and wagon wheels.
  • Cut the add-ins into macaroni-sized pieces.
  • Wash the pasta after draining to prevent it from overcooking.
  • Pour the dressing directly into the salad bowl, mix, and add the other ingredients, and you’ll have one less dish to wash.
  • Leftovers can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

easier side

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Serve the macaroni salad with a spoon

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classic creamy macaroni salad

A classic macaroni salad that is creamy and flavorful. Elbow macaroni and a few additions tossed with a simple homemade dressing.

Preparation time 20 minutes

cooking time 15 minutes

chill time 1 time

total time 1 time 35 minutes

author Holly Nilsson

  • Cook elbow macaroni in a large pot according to package directions. Do not overcook. Drain well and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.

  • While the pasta is cooking, combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well.

  • In a large bowl, add the cooled macaroni, dressing, celery, carrots, red pepper, and onion. Mix well. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

  • Refrigerate macaroni salad for at least 1 to 2 hours before eating.

*2 to 2 required 1/2 Add-in cup. Use the list above for a basic macaroni salad or modify it to suit your taste. Other favorite add-ins include pickles, olives, ham, sweet peas, and cheddar cheese.

  • Elbows can be replaced with Ditalini, small shells and wagon wheels.
  • Cut the add-ins into macaroni-sized pieces.
  • Wash the pasta after draining to prevent it from overcooking.
  • Pour the dressing directly into the salad bowl, mix, and add the other ingredients, and you’ll have one less dish to wash.
  • Leftovers can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

calorie: 432 | carbohydrates: 37g | protein: 6g | fat: 29g | Saturated fat: Fourg | Polyunsaturated fats: 17g | Monounsaturated fats: 6g | Trans fat: 1g | cholesterol: 16mg | sodium: 408mg | potassium: 214mg | fiber: 2g | sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 2332IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | calcium: twenty fivemg | iron: 1mg

The nutritional information provided is an estimate and will vary depending on the cooking method and brand of ingredients used.

course pasta, salad, side dishes
cooking American
Can macaroni salad be frozen?

Unfortunately it doesn’t cool well.

What is the shelf life of macaroni salad?

Macaroni salad is perfect for parties if you make it ahead of time. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

What do you eat with macaroni salad?

We love serving macaroni salad as a side dish to non-grilled dishes. Barbecued chicken, hot dogs, and hamburgers are great choices. This is a delicious dish that goes well with pulled pork.

Close up of classic macaroni salad with title
Classic macaroni salad with wooden spoon and letters
Classic macaroni salad bowl and letters
Close-up photo of plated classic macaroni salad with title

Other pre-made side salads

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