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Easy Macaroni Pasta Salad

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Easy Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad is a classic summer side dish that is not only easy to make but its always a crowd pleaser. You just can’t have a backyard barbecue or a pool party without it!

Cold and creamy, tangy with a little bit of sweetness, and little bits of crunch from a few hidden veggies makes this macaroni salad perfect for just about any occasinon.

Easy Macaroni Salad

How to Make Macaroni Salad

I am SUPER PICKY about my macaroni salad and it’s level of sweetness. That’s why I recommend whisking your dressing ingredients together first then adding the sugar in a teaspoon at a time, making sure to taste in between addition to achieve the perfect sweetness level. I can’t stand an overly sweet pasta salad.

To Rinse or Not to Rinse

Once upon a time, I rinsed my pasta like everyone else. Then my brother dated a chef for a little while and she convinced me to stop doing that. So…NO RINSING.

When you rinse your pasta the layer of water that stays on the noodles actually prevent the dressing from sticking (because oil and water to mix, y’all). Instead, spread your freshly drained noodles out on a baking sheet and pop them in the freezer for a few minutes to cool them off (just don’t forget they are in there…like I have done).

Easy Macaroni Salad

How Long is it Good For?

Macaroni salad or any pasta salad with mayonnaise is good for 3 to 4 days in the fridge. If you pasta seems to be drying out or absorbing the dressing, add a splash of milk or a spoon of mayo and mix thoroughly.

Macaroni Salad is easy to make and delicious to eat and I hope you give it a try!

Easy Macaroni Salad

Easy Macaroni Pasta Salad

Easy Macaroni Salad is a summer classic! Whip this up a day or two in advance for your next picnic or backyard barbecue for a delicious side dish!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: make ahead, side dish
Cuisine: american
Keyword: pasta salad
Servings: 10
Calories: 201kcal
Author: jodiemo


  • 8 oz large macaroni elbow pasta
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 leaves stalks of celery plus the celery , finely chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion finely chopped
  • 1 large carrots finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain the pasta and then spread out onto a sheet pan in a single layer. This will allow the pasta to cool faster and the noodles not to clump up. DO NOT RINSE. If you do, the dressing won’t stick to the pasta as well.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together mayo, lemon juice, half of the salt, pepper, dill and milk. Whisk in one teaspoon of the sugar then taste the dressing. Add more sugar or lemon juice if needed. I usually add in 3 teaspoons of sugar but your taste may be different.
  • Stir in chopped veggies and parsley and mix well.
  • Stir in cooked macaroni and toss until well coated.
  • Season with remaining salt and pepper and more lemon juice if needed. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until chilled. Serve and enjoy!
  • *Note* If the macaroni salad seems to dry out in the fridge, add in a splash or two of milk before serving.


Calories: 201kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 337mg | Potassium: 97mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1175IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @TwoLuckySpoons or tag #twoluckyspoons!

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Susan Rice, JodieMo. JodieMo said: NEW POST!! 72 degree weather calls for a nice summery Southern pasta salad! #food #recipes […]

  2. Ohhh I have not had or made pasta salad in ages! And this one sounds good – really, really good!
    And you are right, the days here in Florida have been awesome too… the only bad side, most o them are spent INSIDE at WORK – boo hoo!

  3. Jodie you are making me crave summer so bad!  This looks delicious!  I think macaroni salad is one of those things that gets better with age…if it lasts that long around here.  

    Hey I thought of you,  This month’s Southern Living has the most perfect dish for your Tuna Tuesday.  It was tuna patties like hamburgers but tuna on buns.  It looked so good.  You should see if you can find it.  If not I’ll type up the recipe for you and email it to you.  Anyway, made me think of you. ;o)

    Heather @At The Picket Fence

    1. I’ll have to get that one. I’m always looking for new tuna recipes. Unless of course you would like to do a guest post for me while I am moving. 🙂

  4. […] Macaroni Salad: To this recipe I added finely chopped red bell pepper, and cheddar cheese. I’m sure the recipe is great without them, but with them? Out. Of. This. World. […]

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Jodie is a wife, mom, writer and lover of chickens and gardens. She runs her family's winery by day and cooks and writes by night.

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