• Easy Macaroni Salad

    by Christin Mahrlig on June 1, 2014

    in Salads, Side Dishes

    Easy Macaroni Salad

    A simple Macaroni Salad recipe is a must for summer entertaining. This one is easy, uses only basic ingredients, and the flavor is spot on. Serve it at a family cookout or neighborhood potluck and it will be devoured by adults and kids alike.

    This recipe is from Cook’s Country Magazine (Aug/Sept 2010), one of my favorite resources for basic, traditional, and regional recipes that you can always count on to work.

    Easy Macaroni Salad

    It’s a creamy and delicious pasta salad with just the right amount of mayonnaise and subtle flavor from red onion, celery, parsley, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.

    Seasoning the cooking water with plenty of salt helps ensure that the pasta gets off to a good start as far as flavoring. The salt really works its way into the pasta as it cooks and seasons it in a way that cannot be achieved by adding salt to the cooked pasta. The seasonings get stirred into the pasta before the mayonnaise and this helps the pasta absorb even more flavor.

    Easy Macaroni Salad

    If you want to jazz this basic Macaroni Salad up a little, try adding a few peas, some diced ham, a chopped hard-boiled egg, or some diced cheddar cheese.

    You can count on it to make every cookout a smashing success. Pair it with some Root Beer Baked Beans and Jalapeno Creamed Corn for a summer meal everyone will rave about.

    Easy Macaroni Salad


    Easy Macaroni Salad
    This classic macaroni salad is simple and easy, but not lacking in flavor.
    Recipe type: Side Dish
    Serves: 10
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1 pound elbow pasta
    • ⅓ cup minced red onion
    • 1 celery rib, minced
    • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1½ cups mayonnaise
    1. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta. Cook until al dente, about 6 to 8 minutes.
    2. Drain pasta in a colander and rinse with cold water until no longer hot. Drain briefly again, leaving a little water on the pasta and transfer to a large bowl. The pasta will absorb this water instead of the mayonnaise which will help it stay creamy.
    3. Add onion, celery, parsley, lemon juice, mustard, garlic powder, and cayenne to bowl with pasta and stir to combine. Let sit 2 minutes to allow the flavors to absorb into the pasta.
    4. Add mayonnaise, stir to combine, and let sit 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    5. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 2 days.


    Recipe slightly adapted from Cook’s Country

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    { 15 comments… read them below or add one }

    Jess @ On Sugar Mountain June 4, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Oh Christin this is just what I needed! I’m thinking of whipping up all sorts of pasta salads for the summer, and I needed somewhere to start. :D This looks absolutely splendid!


    Karen (Back Road Journal) June 3, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Pasta salad is always a crowd please during a summer cookout and as you say, you can change it but adding other ingredients you have on hand.


    Deittra@Bon Appégeechee June 3, 2014 at 12:05 am

    It’s that time of year, and I’m totally craving macaroni salad!! Thanks for reminding me!!


    Suzanne June 2, 2014 at 10:14 am

    I love macaroni salad. This may sound weird but one of my favorite combinations is macaroni salad, baked beans and grilled hot dog. So yummy!


    Christin Mahrlig June 2, 2014 at 11:39 am

    That sounds like a yummy combination :)


    ela@GrayApron June 2, 2014 at 9:05 am

    yeah…that’s a good one to have it handy in your fridge. Delicious and satisfying!

    ela h.


    Christin Mahrlig June 2, 2014 at 9:29 am

    It’s a keeper alright :)
    Hope you have a great week!


    Melanie @ Carmel Moments June 2, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Easy and delicious! One of my favorite picnic sides for sure.
    Have a lovely Monday!


    Christin Mahrlig June 2, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Thanks Melanie! Hope you have a wonderful week!


    Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice June 2, 2014 at 8:16 am

    This looks like the perfect, easy macaroni salad! Great for the summer, and I like that it has simple ingredients that you can thrown together.


    Medeja June 2, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Yummy! I think I would throw some bacon and eggs.. :D


    Christin Mahrlig June 2, 2014 at 9:45 am

    That would be delicious!


    Shashi @ RunninSrilankan June 2, 2014 at 5:07 am

    Who wouldn’t love diving into a dish like this at a potluck!!! Love the combination of red onion, celery, parsley, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard!


    Christin Mahrlig June 2, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Thanks Shashi! It is so simple, but so good!


    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes June 2, 2014 at 1:18 am

    I love a good mac salad! It really is my favorite side dish for cookouts.


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