Classic Macaroni Salad

04.03.2018

This is my favorite Homemade Macaroni Salad recipe! It’s a classic pasta salad dish — nothing super fancy, it’s just that delicious comfort food you remember growing up with and eating in the summertime. It’s tossed with colorful veggies and covered in a rich and creamy dressing.

Colorful Macaroni Salad in teal serving bowl

Macaroni Salad

Macaroni salad is one of those things that I haven’t always appreciated. I would always walk right past pasta salads and potato salads and now I absolutely love both of them! They are perfect for parties/potlucks, picnics, and of course they are a wonderful side dish for lunch or dinner.

I love pairing this easy macaroni salad with the classic summertime favorites like bbq chicken or pulled pork and corn on the cob, and oh yes, and let’s not forget the watermelon.

I have the feeling it might just be the first thing to go at your next cookout. Just look at all the goodness in this salad! Chances are it will become a new favorite!

Classic Macaroni Salad Ingredients

  • Dry elbow macaroni
  • Hellmann’s or Best Foods Mayonnaise
  • Fat free or low fat plain Greek yogurt
  • White wine vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Honey
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Hard boiled eggs , peeled and chopped
  • Red bell pepper
  • Matchstick carrots , roughly chopped
  • Celery
  • Red onion
  • Fresh parsley

Rainbow-colored bowl of easy Macaroni Salad Ingredients

Want to see how easy this macaroni salad recipe is? Watch the video!

How to Make Macaroni Salad

  • Cook macaroni in salted water according to directions on package.
  • Drain and rinse with cold water until completely cool. Let drain very well.
  • In a medium mixing bowl stir together mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, vinegar, mustard, honey, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add well drained macaroni to a large mixing bowl along with eggs, bell pepper, carrots, celery and onion.
  • Pour dressing over top, add in parsley and toss mixture to evenly coat. Serve or store in refrigerator up to 1 day.

Macaroni Salad Variations

I love this homemade macaroni salad recipe, and that you can make it your own! (I’ve made it a little healthier by subbing out half the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt).

I added the mix-ins I like but you can swap the ones I have here with different vegetables or mix-ins you prefer. Here’s some other good choices:

  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes (seeded)
  • Diced baby dill pickles or sweet pickle relish
  • Peas
  • Cheese

Serving dish of Macaroni Salad with red onion, celery, peppers, carrots and egg

Can This Macaroni Salad be Made in Advance?

Yes, this classic macaroni salad is great for making the night before a potluck or picnic. Because this is a pasta salad with mayo and yogurt in the dressing, making it ahead of time gives the macaroni time to soak up all that flavor.

You can store this homemade macaroni salad in the fridge for up to a day before serving it.

Do I Have to Add Honey?

Don’t worry, this macaroni salad won’t taste sweet at all. The honey helps offset the tanginess of the vinegar, yogurt, and mustard.

Tips for the Best Macaroni Salad

  • Use fresh parsley to brighten up this salad. Dried parsley won’t work in this recipe!
  • If you don’t have Dijon on hand, feel free to use a different type of mustard instead.
  • Another type of short, sturdy pasta can be used in place of elbow pasta, if needed.

Closeup of Easy Pasta Salad

More Pasta Salad Recipes You’ll Love:

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Classic Macaroni Salad

4.75 from 12 votes

The best summertime macaroni salad! Just like what you remember eating as a kid but here it's made a little healthier with Greek yogurt in the dressing. It's layered with colorful veggies and sure to satisfy!

Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz . dry elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup Hellmann's or Best Foods Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup fat free or low fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp honey
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 steamed or hard boiled eggs , peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup matchstick carrots , roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Cook macaroni in salted water according to directions on package (I added about 1/2 tbsp salt to the water). 
  2. Drain and rinse with cold water until completely cool. Let drain very well.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl stir together mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, vinegar, mustard, honey, and season with salt and pepper to taste (start with about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper then add more salt after you've added the dressing to the pasta).

  4. Add well drained macaroni to a large mixing bowl along with eggs, bell pepper, carrots, celery and onion (if you like to have some color over you salad I like set aside some of the veggies to sprinkle over the top).
  5. Pour dressing over top, add in parsley and toss mixture to evenly coat. Serve or store in refrigerator up to 1 day.

Recipe Notes

  • Use fresh parsley to brighten up this salad. Dried parsley won't work in this recipe! 
  • If you don't have Dijon on hand, feel free to use a different type of mustard instead.
  • Recipe source: Cooking Classy
Nutrition Facts
Classic Macaroni Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 247 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 47mg16%
Sodium 146mg6%
Potassium 193mg6%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 3415IU68%
Vitamin C 25.7mg31%
Calcium 39mg4%
Iron 0.8mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cold pasta salad
Calories: 247 kcal
Author: Jaclyn
This post is sponsored by Mirum Shopper, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

86 comments

  • Lenore Black: I made this for a bridal shower and everyone loved it. It’s the best Macaroni Salad I have ever had. I love your blog. I have used your recipes consistently for years now. They are always great. August 3, 2019 at 9:45pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Lenore I’m so glad to hear you’ve enjoyed my recipes! I hope you continue to find many more :). August 3, 2019 at 9:55pm Reply

  • Jenn B: I wonder what this would be like with sour cream instead of the Greek yogurt? July 28, 2019 at 8:14am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sour cream should work well too. July 28, 2019 at 5:39pm Reply

  • Betty: I love this salad July 24, 2019 at 3:44pm Reply

  • Taffa: Its soooooo delicious thanks for sharing July 21, 2019 at 4:30am Reply

  • Rosemary: Made this recipe. So delicious. I added sweet paprika which gave it a nice touch. It was a hit! July 2, 2019 at 6:24pm Reply

  • Yolanda tirado: Making this dish for memorial day for the first time May 26, 2019 at 5:15pm Reply

  • Lynn: Do you have to use Greek yogurt? Not a big fan…can regular yogurt be substituted? May 15, 2019 at 4:46pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It would probably work it would just be runnier. May 15, 2019 at 10:27pm Reply

      • Evelyne: I omit the celery and the yogurt and it was the best macaroni salad I ever had. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I love it. June 13, 2019 at 8:34pm Reply

  • maureen: I have made this my whole adult life, but I like miracle whip in my salads. Everyone else like Hellmans Mayonise. March 9, 2019 at 11:45am Reply

    • BEVERLY: ME TOO! March 22, 2019 at 6:40pm Reply

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