Summer potlucks and BBQs wouldn’t be complete without macaroni salad. This is one of the classic comfort foods of summer. Delicious, creamy, carbohydrate-packed, and cold. It’s also cheap.

This is great because we are all in need of it at the moment. However, the salad with macaroni isn’t just good for gatherings. It can also be used to prepare meals for the week and can be used as a side dish for your lunches.

Let’s explore this interesting dish together.

What Is in Macaroni Salad?

One of our favorite budget-friendly ingredients, macaroni, is the base of macaroni salad. For color and crunch, we add celery, bell peppers, and red onions, as well as hard-boiled eggs to make the salad heftier.

Mayo, Dijon, sweet pickle relish, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper combine in a creamy dressing made from mayo, Dijon, sugar, salt, and pepper.

Although it is a classic dish, it has all kinds of flavors, from crispy and sweet to fatty and fragrant, all blended to create an unforgettable taste.

Sweetness Adjustments

If we talk about macaroni salad, we can divide it into two main camps – the sweet and the not so sweet. You’ll get an acidic and creamy dressing with just a hint of sweetness in the recipe below, which is how I like my macaroni salad.

You can add more sugar to taste (up to about 1/4 cups sugar) if you like a sweet macaroni salad.

But if you are not a person who is too fond of eating sweets, you should still use this dish with as little sweetness as possible to truly feel the ingredients in the dish.

Is There Anything Else I Can Add to Macaroni Salad?

There is a great recipe for macaroni salad that can be used for anything. A wide variety of ingredients can be added to make the salad look, feel, and taste amazing. If you are looking for some other ingredients to add to your macaroni salad, here are some ideas:

  • Diced ham
  • Black olives
  • Broccoli florets
  • Shredded carrots
  • Peas
  • Cheddar cheese cubes
  • Chopped parsley

How Long Does Macaroni Salad Keep?

There is no need to worry about keeping macaroni salad in the refrigerator for more than 4-5 days. If you leave macaroni in the refrigerator for a few days, you may find that it gets a little drier every day as it absorbs moisture from the refrigerator.

Make sure not to let your macaroni salad sit out at room temperature for more than two hours if you are taking it to a potluck or barbecue.

close up side view of macaroni salad in a bowl.

Macaroni Salad Recipe

Potlucks, summer BBQs, or a simple dinner side dish, macaroni salad is an easy and inexpensive classic.

Author: Beth – Budget Bytes

Prep Time: 15 mins / Cook Time: 10 mins / Total Time: 25 mins

Servings: 8(¾ cup each)


  • 8 oz. macaroni ($0.67)
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs ($0.48)
  • 2 ribs celery ($0.47)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper ($0.75)
  • 1/2 red onion ($0.20)


  • 1 cup mayonnaise ($1.16)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper ($0.02)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar ($0.01)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1 Tbsp sweet pickle relish ($0.08)
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar ($0.10)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard ($0.18)


  • The salad ingredients should be chopped first, so they are ready to use. Hard-boiled eggs, bell peppers, onions, and celery should be diced.
  • In a colander, drain the macaroni after it has been boiled until it is tender. To cool off the pasta, rinse it briefly with cool water.
  • Preparation of the dressing should be done while the macaroni is boiling. The mayonnaise must be mixed with the Dijon mustard, relish, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  • Make a bowl using the macaroni, egg, bell peppers, celery, and onion once they have cooled and drained. Mix everything together and coat with the dressing after pouring the dressing over top.
  • You can serve macaroni salad right away or keep it refrigerated until you are ready to eat it.


Serving: 0.75 cup ・ Calories: 332 kcal ・ Carbohydrates: 25 g ・ Protein: 6 g ・ Fat: 23 g ・ Sodium: 385 mg ・ Fiber: 2 g

The nutritional values shown here are only estimates. Please see our nutrition disclaimer.

Step-by-Step Photos on Making Macaroni Salad

Chopped salad ingredients on a cutting board.
First, chop the add-ins for the macaroni salad. Prepare two hard-boiled eggs (here’s a tutorial on how to make hard-boiled eggs), ½ red bell peppers, 2 celery ribs, and ½ red onions.
Cooked macaroni in a colander.
The next step is to boil 8oz elbow macaroni until tender. Rinse the pasta briefly with cool water after draining it in a colander.
Dressing ingredients in a bowl.
The dressing should be prepared while the macaroni cooks. Combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper, 1 Tbsp sweet relish, 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp sugar, and ½ tsp salt.
Macaroni and salad ingredients in a bowl.
Cooked macaroni, bell pepper, celery, and red onion should be added to a large bowl along with the cooled macaroni.
Dressing poured over the salad ingredients.
Place the salad in a bowl and pour the prepared dressing over it.
Finished macaroni salad in a bowl.
And now you are ready to eat your delicious macaroni salad, so go ahead and try it! You may want to keep it in the refrigerator if you are not planning to serve it right away, and you may want to give it a good stir before you serve.
close up side view of macaroni salad in a bowl.
Need more recipe ideas for your summer gatherings? Check out our round-up of Recipes for Summer BBQs and Potlucks.

A dish that is not too fussy in preparation and cooking but is delicious and has many nutrients.

Enjoy the dish to the fullest with its original taste, and you can also modify it with different ingredients available in your kitchen.