The Best Macaroni Salad

If you’re looking for the most perfect classic cold macaroni salad like you’re grandma used to make, you’ve come to the right place! This side dish  is creamy, tangy and a little sweet and full of crunchy celery, sweet pickles and red peppers. This is the Best Macaroni Salad you can make. Plus, it’s good with or without hardboiled eggs.

best macaroni salad

This macaroni salad is guaranteed to be a hit wherever you bring it; potlucks, picnics, barbecues and cookouts, this will be the star of the food table.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Versatile – take away the celery, add more veggies, take away the egg, etc. you can adjust this recipe to your liking.
  • It Never Disappoints – literally one of the most popular side dishes you can bring to a party. Everyone goes crazy for it.
  • Make-Ahead Friendly – this just continues to get better as it sits. So chop all the veggies and prep this salad the day before serving for the best macaroni salad.
  • Flavor and Texture – from crunchy veggies to the al dente pasta and tangy creamy sauce, this macaroni salad is loaded with addictive flavors and so much satisfying texture.

best macaroni salad

Key Ingredients in the Best Macaroni Salad 

Pasta – you can use standard elbow macaroni noodles, I am using ditalini. 

Mayonnaise – the creamy base of the homemade dressing. 

Sour cream – to freshen and lighten up the creamy base. 

Red Wine Vinegar – adds tanginess to the dressing, making it so addictively delicious! You can sub for lemon juice. 

Dijon mustard – adds a creamy richness. Just a hint of that mustardy flavor without being overpowering.

Sweet Pickles/Gherkins – both for dicing pickles and for the juice. it’s important to not use dill pickles as we want the sweetness. 

Sugar – to bump up the sweetness a tad, we’ll add just a little sugar.

Seasonings – garlic powder, red pepper flakes, onion powder, salt and pepper

Hard Boiled Eggs – the most debated ingredients. Thankfully, this is still the best macaroni salad with or without the hardboiled eggs.

Add-In’s – red onion, celery and red pepper

best macaroni salad

How to Make the Best Macaroni Salad

Boil the Noodles

Start by boiling the noodles in a large pot of salted water. Cook the noodles to al dente. Strain and rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking and cool them down for the pasta salad.

best macaroni salad

best macaroni salad

Make the Dressing

While the pasta is cooking, whisk together all the homemade dressing ingredients until smooth and combined: mayo, sour cream, mustard, vinegar, pickle juice, sugar and spices. Taste and adjust if needed.

best macaroni salad

Combine and Toss

In a large mixing bowl, add in the noodles, diced red onions, diced pickles, red peppers and celery. Pour over the dressing and toss well to combine. If you’re adding in eggs, dice up the hardboiled eggs and fold them into the macaroni salad. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. 

best macaroni salad

The Easiest Way to Dice Hard-Boiled Eggs

I love this time-saving hack I found a few years back using a cooling rack. Be sure yours has dual wires running horizontally and vertically otherwise this hack will not work. Place your peeled eggs on top of the cooling rack with a bowl underneath. Use the palm of your hand to press down on the egg so it pushes through the rack and into the bowl creating perfectly diced eggs. 

 best macaroni salad

best macaroni salad

Looking for More Summer Recipes? 

Banana Pudding
chick-fil-a banana pudding

Creamy Pea & Bacon Pasta Salad
bacon pasta salad

The Best Street Corn Salad (Esquites) 
street corn salad

BBQ Ranch Chicken Sliders
bbq chicken sliders

Garlic Parmesan Chicken Skewers
garlic parmesan chicken skewers

best macaroni salad

I hope you enjoy this easy Air Fryer recipe for the Best Macaroni Salad. Be sure to comment below with any questions or feedback!

If you make these or any other recipes, don’t forget to tag me on IG @BadBatchBaking to be featured on my story. Seeing your recreations makes my day!

The Best Macaroni Salad

If you're looking for the most perfect classic cold macaroni salad like you're grandma used to make, you've come to the right place! This side dish  is creamy, tangy and a little sweet and full of crunchy celery, sweet pickles and red peppers. This is the Best Macaroni Salad you can make. Plus, it's good with or without hardboiled eggs.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Keyword: pasta salad, side dish, summer,
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 267kcal
Author: Mallory Austin

Ingredients

  • 1 lb macaroni noodles ditalini or elbow macaroni
  • 3/4 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2/3 cup sweet gherkins, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely diced
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, diced

Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons sweet gherkin juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar red wine vinegar or lemon juice as a substitute, start with 1 tbsp add more if needed
  • 1 heaping tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  • Start by boiling the noodles in a large pot of salted water. Cook the noodles to al dente. Strain and rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking and cool them down for the pasta salad.
  • While the pasta is cooking, whisk together all the homemade dressing ingredients until smooth and combined: mayo, sour cream, mustard, vinegar, pickle juice, sugar and spices. Taste and adjust if needed.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add in the noodles, diced red onions, diced pickles, red peppers and celery. Pour over the dressing and toss well to combine. If you're adding in eggs, dice up the hardboiled eggs and fold them into the macaroni salad.
  • Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Be sure to toss the salad before serving.
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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Regina
    June 14, 2024 at 1:44 pm Awsome
     
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