Best Macaroni Salad (One Bowl)

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The best, classic, old fashioned, quick and easy macaroni salad recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in one pot or bowl. Rich, creamy, loaded with mayonnaise, sour cream.

Salads with pasta are always so filling and perfect for Summer picnics, potlucks and BBQ parties such as this Italian Tortellini Salad. Today’s salad recipe is also very filling, creamy and flavorful. It’s a combination of my Grandma’s Amish macaroni salad and the classic Southern macaroni salad.

How to make macaroni salad?

  1. Make a simple creamy salad dressing by mixing together sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, ginger powder, parsley, dill.
  2. Mix in boiled pasta, cheese and vegetables.
  3. Chill and serve.

What to serve with best macaroni salad recipe?

This Summer salad makes a wonderful side dish with smoked, baked or grilled chicken, steak and even fish (salmon). You can also serve it alongside burgers, hot dogs, bbq ribs.

Try it with some of my family’s favorite main dishes: Honey Garlic Chicken (One Pan) or this Chili Lime Chicken (One Pan) and Honey Sriracha Chicken (One Pot) and obviously these Garlic Butter Steak Bites (One Pot).

Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe

How do I keep macaroni salad from absorbing mayonnaise? How to keep pasta salad from drying out?

Nothing can truly stop this from happening because it is a natural process that the pasta will absorb the dressing. However, you can delay the drying out process by the following techniques:

  • Coat pasta in olive oil– Pour some olive oil over the boiled pasta. This will prevent it from clumping together and it will also create an oily barrier on the macaroni to delay the absorption of the mayo dressing.
  • Drain pasta and rinse it– Rinsing it removes the starch but make sure it’s not dripping with water. When it’s dry, use it in the recipe and this way, the dressing can coat the macaroni pieces very well and not become diluted.
  • Use ingredients– Chill boiled pasta in the fridge, along with all the other veggies before mixing it all together because this will also slow down the absorption of the mayo sour cream dressing.

Do you rinse macaroni for macaroni salad?

Yes, rinse it in cold water because it stops the pasta from continuing to cook and also, it removes the starch, which causes the macaroni to clump together. So, there are two benefits of rinsing.

How long is pasta salad with mayo good for in the fridge and outside?

It depends on how you are storing it. It can sit outside for up to 2 hours at room temperature. If you are serving this at an outdoor event in the sun, it should be kept chilled before serving there. Place it in a shaded area. It can last up to 2 hours but if it’s too hot, it can go bad before then.

If you store it in a sealed container in the fridge, it will last 2-3 days but a lot of the dressing will get absorbed in the macaroni. You

Best Macaroni Salad

Creamy macaroni salad dressing

This easy salad dressing is made by whisking together sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, ginger powder, fresh parsley and dill. You can also make it in advance and store it in a sealed jar for up to 1 week.

Variations

Simple macaroni salad with egg– Mix in 4 roughly chopped boiled eggs.

Tuna macaroni salad– Mix in 1or 2 drained cans of tuna (5 oz. cans).

Hawaiian macaroni salad– Mix in some ham and diced pineapples.

Chicken macaroni salad– Mix in 1 cup shredded chicken.

Shrimp macaroni salad– Mix in 1 cup cooked shrimp.

Add ham– Mix in 1 cup boiled or baked ham.

Add cheese– Mix in shredded cheddar cheese or cheddar cubes or any other cheese of your liking.

How to Make Creamy Macaroni Salad

Tips and Techniques

Use full fat ingredients– For maximum creaminess and richness. This is especially with regards to sour cream and mayo. You can also use Miracle Whip instead of mayo.

Can you make creamy Summer salad with Greek Yogurt? Yes! It’s a healthier alternative to sour cream or mayo but has a strong tangy flavor. You can also make this salad healthy by using low fat mayo and low fat sour cream.

Adjust amount of herbs and spices- This is based on your personal preference. Add more or less of whatever you like or dislike.

What herbs to use in salads? Typically, dill are parsley is used but you can also use basil, chives, green onions or even cilantro. Make sure to use fresh herbs since they taste the best and have a stronger aroma and flavor.

Let it rest– After preparing this salad, it’s important to set it in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes. This deepens the flavors.

Serve it cold– This is a cold pasta salad and it’s always served cold. If you serve it warm, the pasta will dry out because rather than coating the macaroni, the dressing will get absorbed in the pasta.

More Salad Recipes

Best Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe
Print

Easy Creamy Macaroni Salad

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

The best, classic, quick, easy macaroni salad recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in one pot or bowl. Rich, creamy, loaded with mayonnaise, sour cream.

Servings: 8 People
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: classic recipe, easy salad
Calories: 388 kcal
Author: Abeer

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise Full fat
  • 1/2 cup Sour cream Full fat
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • Salt To taste
  • Pepper To taste
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Ginger powder
  • 1 tbsp Sugar Optional
  • 2 tbsp Dill Roughly chopped, Fresh
  • 2 tbsp Parlsey Roughly chopped, Fresh
  • 1 pound Elbow macaroni Boiled
  • 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese Shredded
  • 1/2 cup Onion Finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Celery
  • 1 cup Peppers Variety of red, yellow, green bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup Peas Frozen, Thawed

Instructions

  1. In a large salad bowl, add mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, sugar, dill, parsley and mix everything until smooth and creamy.

  2. Add macaroni, cheese, onion, celery, peppers, peas and mix until pasta is fully coated. 

  3. Cover and chill for 30 minutes. Enjoy! 

Recipe Notes

  • Read all my tips above.
  • In the pictures, you can see that I added some red and yellow cherry tomatoes too. I added about 1 cup. It’s another veggie you can toss in this salad. 
  • Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days. 
Nutrition Facts
Easy Creamy Macaroni Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 388 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 4g20%
Cholesterol 20mg7%
Sodium 176mg7%
Potassium 249mg7%
Carbohydrates 48g16%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 345IU7%
Vitamin C 19.6mg24%
Calcium 88mg9%
Iron 1.1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Happy cooking everyone!

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