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Creamy Macaroni Salad

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A creamy macaroni salad is a classic dish perfect for serving at summer BBQs, cookouts, and picnics. It’s an easy and filling side dish! This delicious pasta salad recipe features hard-boiled eggs, celery, sweet pickles, and red onion.

This cold salad is a refreshing choice for hot weather. It needs to chill for at least a couple of hours before serving. I love making it ahead of time. This allows the flavors to meld together and intensify.

large bowl of creamy macaroni salad

This makes it a convenient option for busy hosts who want to prepare as much as possible ahead of time. Plus, the leftovers taste just as good the next day, making it a great option for meal prep or packed lunches.

The creamy pasta salad recipe is a crowd-pleaser that will surely be a hit at any gathering. The combination of the creamy dressing with the crunchy vegetables and tender pasta creates a delicious and satisfying dish. This pairs well with lighter summer foods like grilled meats and veggies.

Whether you’re hosting a backyard BBQ, heading to a potluck, or just looking for a tasty side dish to enjoy on a hot day, this creamy macaroni salad will surely be a hit. With its creamy texture and refreshing taste, it’s a classic dish that never goes out of style.

  • EGGS
big bowl of creamy macaroni salad made with pickles, celery, and onion

To begin, boil your macaroni pasta according to the package directions until it’s al dente. Once cooked, rinse it under cold water to quickly cool it down and stop the cooking process. Then allow it to drain well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the creamy mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, celery salt, pepper, and sugar to make the macaroni salad dressing. Add the cooled pasta to a large bowl along with the diced celery, onions, pickles, and chopped hard-boiled eggs. I use an egg slicer to slice them one direction and then slice again the other direction.

Cool the salad in the fridge for 2 hours before serving to let the flavors mix nicely. This cold time helps the ingredients mix, and the flavors develop, making your macaroni salad tastier.

serving of pasta salad along with a hamburger and fresh fruit

What can I use instead of mayonnaise?
For a lighter option, mix Greek yogurt or sour cream with lemon juice or vinegar for a creamy alternative.

Can I use a different type of pasta for this macaroni salad recipe?
Absolutely! While elbow macaroni is traditional, you can easily substitute it with other pasta shapes, such as ditalini or small shells. These shapes also hold the creamy dressing well, ensuring every bite is flavorful. Just make sure to cook the pasta until al dente to maintain a good texture in the salad.

How long does macaroni salad last in the fridge?
Properly stored in an airtight container, macaroni salad can last 3-5 days in the refrigerator.

What’s the best way to prevent the pasta from absorbing too much dressing?
To prevent the pasta from absorbing too much dressing and becoming dry, make sure to cool the pasta entirely before mixing it with the dressing. Also, consider preparing a little extra dressing to add just before serving if the salad seems dry.

How can I ensure my macaroni salad is safe to serve at outdoor events?
To keep the salad fresh, keep it in the fridge or cooler until you’re ready to serve. To avoid bacteria growth, don’t leave it out in warm temperatures for more than 2 hours. I recommend using an insulated cooler with ice packs for transporting or keeping it out during events.

large bowl of creamy macaroni salad

Creamy Macaroni Salad

Real Mom Kitchen

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 438 kcal


  • 16 oz macaroni pasta
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup sweet pickles chopped small
  • 2 sticks celery chopped small
  • ¼ cup red onion chopped finely


  • 1 cup mayo
  • ½ tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • pepper to taste


  • In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta according to package directions to al dente. Drain it, rinse it with cold water, and set it aside. Allow to drain well.
  • In the meantime, cook the eggs in a separate saucepan until hard-boiled. Then, cool them by running cold water over them for a few minutes. Peel the eggs and cut up.
  • Make the dressing by whisking the dressing ingredients above together in a small bowl.
  • Once the pasta cools and dries, add it to a large bowl with chopped eggs, pickles, celery, and onion. Pour the dressing over and toss until well coated.
  • Refrigerate for a couple of hours to let the flavors meld.


Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 438kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 402mg | Potassium: 175mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 185IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword macaroni salad, summer
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