Every good BBQ needs the perfect side dish. This Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe is my go to dish to bring to potlucks, BBQ’s, parties and more. It is loaded with lots of delicious veggies, cheese and more!

Creamy Macaroni Salad in a large bowl topped with fresh dill with wooden serving utensils behind it.

Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe

I love to make this Easy Macaroni Salad. It’s super easy and everyone always loves this salad. This Easy Macaroni Salad is budget friendly and makes feeding a crowd a breeze!

It’s creamy and delicious. The veggies combined with the cheese really make this simple side dish hearty and tasty.

It is the perfect compliment to hot dogs with the Best Coleslaw, BBQ Ranch Grilled Chicken, and more! We even like it with Jalapeno Poppers Burger Sliders Recipe.

Creamy Macaroni Salad in a large bowl topped with fresh dill

How to Serve this Salad:

I love to serve this salad in a pretty glass bowl. The layers of this salad look gorgeous in the glass.

The bowls with the lid are really handy for taking to BBQ’s or wherever you might be going. You might also like the plastic bowls with lids for outdoor parties and such.

What ingredients are in macaroni salad?

Traditional Southern macaroni salad has mayonnaise, cheese, vinegar and a few veggies. You can easily add or omit the ingredients you do not like.

A very simple version is just tomato and cheese with the mayo or Italian dressing.  Cheddar cheese cubed is what is traditionally in this salad.

You can mix it up with pepper jack or other cheeses though for something different. Classic Macaroni Salad uses elbow macaroni but you can use what you prefer or have on hand.

What do you put in your pasta salad?

This recipe calls for onion, green pepper, green peas and more. However, feel free to make it  your own. This simple salad is just as tasty with only a few ingredients or load it up with veggies if you prefer.

Hard boiled eggs are also good in the salad and add protein. I also like green pepper or red bell pepper. Sweet pickle is also in many traditional Southern style pasta salads.

Whatever you choose, it is the perfect Summer side dish. You can also use mustard sugar and black pepper instead of the vinegar.

Close up of creamy Macaroni Salad in a large bowl topped with fresh dill

How do you make creamy macaroni salad?

The mayonnaise is the secret to making the salad creamy. You can certainly try reduced fat or light versions but I don’t recommend it. You want the salad to be really creamy and sometimes the light version make it taste watered down.

How long can you eat macaroni salad?

Pasta salad recipe with mayo will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days. However, if the salad has been left out for more than 2 hours, discard it. This is due to the mayonnaise in the macaroni salad.

Ingredients to make this Macaroni Salad

Easy Macaroni Salad Ingredients:

  • elbow macaroni
  • cheddar cheese
  • red onion
  • celery stalks
  • red bell pepper
  • frozen peas
  • mayo
  • apple cider vinegar
  • fresh dill
  • sugar
  • Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
Creamy Macaroni Salad in a large bowl topped with fresh dill on a wooden platter

What Type of Mayonnaise to Use?

I recommend that you use a whole egg creamy mayonnaise for this recipe. It tends to be more creamier than other types of mayonnaise.

Also, use a full fat instead of a reduced fat option.

How to make Macaroni Salad Recipe:

  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions. You want the pasta to still be firm so cook until al dente. Immediately rinse under cold water and drain so it isn’t sticky and prevents it from over cooking.  Drain well.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together cooked pasta with the cubed cheese, onion, celery, bell pepper, and peas.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, mix together mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, dill, sugar, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
  4. Pour the mixture over the pasta and toss until everything is well coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving. Enjoy!

Salt and pepper to taste and then enjoy!

Refrigerate this Pasta Salad.  

You will love this Macaroni Salad dressing. It is so good and truly makes this macaroni salad amazing. Since this pasta salad has mayonnaise in it, you’ll want to store this pasta salad in the refrigerator.

Close up of Creamy Macaroni Salad in a large bowl topped with fresh dill

Simple Macaroni Salad Additions:

  • You can also substitute some of the mayo with sour cream. It will make it more tangy so just keep that in mind. You might want to try half mayo and half sour cream.
  • Stir in some cherry tomatoes cut in half.
  • Top with shredded parmesan cheese.

Tips for this Recipe:

  • Make sure that you do not over cook the pasta. Over cooked pasta will make this macaroni salad mushy. Watch the pasta closely when cooking, cook to al dente and rinse with cold water immediately to stop the cooking process.
  • Ensure that you refrigerate this salad before. Chilling the salad gives it time for the flavors to meld together.

This is the best macaroni salad recipe!

We absolutely love this Macaroni salad with peas. The green really adds a pop of color to this Macaroni salad with cheese. Pasta salads are such an easy side dish to make for large crowds.

Overview of this Macaroni Pasta Salad in a large bowl topped with fresh dill.

Make this Simple Macaroni Salad for your next Party.

It will be a crowd favorite and it’s so simple. I love dishes that are easy to make, everyone loves and didn’t cost a fortune to make. Pasta is an ingredient that really stretches.

If you are looking for something budget friendly, try this amazing pasta salad. You can make a huge bowl of pasta salad for not money much at all. It’s the perfect dish when asked to bring something to a cookout or when you are throwing a part.

Everyone will love it and you will love not spending all evening in the kitchen. Enjoy your guests and make memories hanging out.

Let us know what you think about this delicious and easy Macaroni Salad.

This Easy Macaroni Salad recipe is the perfect side dish to bring to Summer BBQ's, parties and more! Easy macaroni salad is loaded with veggies, cheese and more. You will love the creamy dressing in Macaroni salad recipe. Try this Pasta salad with mayo. Everyone will love this simple Elbow macaroni salad!

How to Store leftovers:

You can store leftover pasta salad for up to five days. Simply, scoop it out of the bowl and transfer it into an airtight container.

Add the lid, and keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat it.

What to serve with this pasta salad recipe?

This pasta salad recipe is perfect to serve with your favorite grilling recipes. I love serving this recipe at barbecues, picnics and any outdoor event.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes that I love serving with this easy macaroni salad.

When do you serve this pasta salad?

Traditionally, pasta salad was a Spring and Summer side dish recipe. Since it’s cold, it’s refreshing to serve with it’s warm outside.

Over the last few years, I have started serving this pasta salad in the Fall and Winter plus over the holidays.

This recipe is such a crowd pleaser, it’s the best side dish to serve year round!

Print this Creamy Macaroni Salad Recipe below:

Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe

4.79 from 245 votes
This Easy Macaroni Salad recipe is the perfect side dish to bring to Summer BBQ’s, parties and more! Easy macaroni salad is loaded with veggies, cheese and more. You will love the creamy dressing.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Chill 1 hr
Total Time 22 mins
Servings 12
Cuisine American
Course Side Dish
Calories 291
Author Carrie Barnard

Ingredients

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 6 oz cheddar cheese cubed
  • 1/2 red onion minced
  • 4 celery stalks diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  • Cook the elbow macaroni until al dente. You want them still firm. Immediately run the pasta under cold water so it isn’t sticky and prevents it from over cooking.  Drain well.
  • In a large mixing bowl, toss together cooked pasta with the cubed cheese, onion, celery, bell pepper, and peas.
  • In a small mixing bowl, mix together mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, dill, sugar, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
  • Pour the mixture over the pasta and toss until everything is well coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour before serving. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Calories 291kcal, Carbohydrates 34g, Protein 9g, Fat 12g, Saturated Fat 4g, Cholesterol 18mg, Sodium 422mg, Potassium 196mg, Fiber 2g, Sugar 4g, Vitamin A 910IU, Vitamin C 15.8mg, Calcium 124mg, Iron 1.1mg

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More Cold Easy Pasta Salad Recipes:

This Easy Macaroni Salad recipe is the perfect side dish to bring to Summer BBQ's, parties and more! Easy macaroni salad is loaded with veggies, cheese and more. You will love the creamy dressing in Macaroni salad recipe. Try this Pasta salad with mayo. Everyone will love this simple Elbow macaroni salad!
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Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Eating on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you cook delicious meals without busting your budget. Together we are going to cook real food… for real families.

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  1. Made this for dinner last night with baked chicken…so good! Printed to save and share.

  2. This macaroni salad was delicious. Just all the flavors blended together, the texture with the celery and bell peppers made for a surprising “treat”. Gotta make another one!!

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious! Instead of red onions and apple cider vinegar, I used green onions and rice vinegar. Left out dill because for me, its overpowering. Loved the addition of cheese and the dressing was perfect.

  4. 5 stars
    Had so many things to use out of my garden.. I love the dressing .. Thank you for all the tips.. Rebecca

  5. 5 stars
    So good! This is my go-to macaroni salad recipe! One comment was how nice it wasn’t “so mayo-e” & covered in mayo, it’s just the right amount! Thank you!

  6. Carrie…

    Made your Macaroni salad and changed but one ingredient…instead of adding dill, I added 4oz of sour cream to the wet mixture….my guests were impressed and requested the recipe. Thank you for providing a most delicious recipe…added not only flavors but good conversation.

    Sid Formica

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