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Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is creamy, delicious and made with simple pantry ingredients. This pasta salad is the perfect side dish to make this summer.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad in a bowl
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This Hawaiian Macaroni is a simple pasta dish that is great served with all your summer barbecues. There is no tropical flavors in this pasta dish, just simple pantry ingredients.

During the summer, we love Easy Macaroni Salad and we make a lot of Macaroni Salad Recipes and potato salads. They are an easy side dish to all of our grilled meats and they are easy to make. This Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is packed with simple flavors.

Check out more of our easy pasta recipes.

What is Hawaiian Macaroni Salad?

This macaroni is made mainly with pasta and mayonnaise and it originates in the Aloha State. This authentic Hawaiian macaroni salad has been around since the 1900s and was introduced when macaroni was mixed with mayonnaise.

Hawaiian mac salad is a popular menu item still in Hawaii. It is served with your plate at lunch with your favorite meat or other Hawaiian food.

Ingredients

Ingredients needed - macaroni pasta, apple cider vinegar, carrots, onions, mayonnaise, milk, sugar, pepper and salt
  • Macaroni Pasta 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar 
  • Grated Carrots (peeled and shredded) 
  • Green Onions (thinly sliced) 
  • Mayonnaise (Hellman’s or Best Foods Real Mayonnaise) 
  • Whole Milk 
  • Sugar 
  • Black Pepper 
  • Salt 

Scroll to the bottom for the full recipe and ingredients for the recipe card.

Substitutions and Additions

  • Macaroni – We used elbow noodles in this recipe. You can use other types of small macaroni options.
  • Add in Vegetables – This pasta salad is known for being a very simple side dish. But if you prefer, you can add in white grated onion, celery rib, fresh crab or relish. But these items are not necessary.
  • Greek Yogurt – To try and make this pasta dish a little healthier, you can substitute the mayo for Greek Yogurt. But keep in mind it will change the taste.
  • Milk – If you prefer, you can substitute the milk for other options. We have not try it with an almond milk or a cashew milk but some recipes say it turned out delicious.
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs – You can also add in chopped boiled eggs if you prefer. They are not necessary for this salad but some recipes add it.

Step by Step Instructions

  • Step 1 – Cook Pasta – Cook the elbow macaroni based on the pasta instructions to al dente in a large pot.  Drain the pasta.  Rinse with water.  
  • Step 2 – Toss Pasta with ingredients – Place in a large mixing bowl.  Pour the vinegar on top and toss in the shredded carrots and onions.  Set aside to cool.  
Combine the pasta ingredients in a bowl
  • Step 3 – Make the Dressing – In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, milk and sugar.  
Combine the dressing ingredients in a bowl
  • Step 4 – Mix Dressing and Pasta – Pour the dressing mixture over the pasta salad.  Gently toss to coat the ingredients with the dressing. 
Combine the pasta ingredients and dressing ingredients and seasoning together in a bowl with a wooden spoon
  • Step 5 – Season Pasta Salad – Season with salt and pepper.  
  • Step 6 – Cover and Serve – Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (you can refrigerate overnight).  Stir before serving and serve cold.  Enjoy!  

Recipe Tips

  • Mixing Bowl – We recommend using a large bowl to combine the pasta with the creamy dressing. This allows for the sauce to full cover the cooked pasta.
  • Cooking Pasta – Make sure to cook pasta according to package. We like the pasta to be al dente. Allow pasta to cool before mixing in the other ingredients.
  • Make Ahead – We really like to make this pasta ahead of time so the ingredients marinate together. It gives it so much flavor and perfect for any gathering.
  • Refrigerate Pasta – If you make the pasta salad on serving day, make sure to allow the pasta to refrigerate. We recommend placing in the fridge for at least 2 hours. This helps the ingredients to combine and gives it the best flavor. It is best to allow it to chill overnight.
  • Mayonnaise – Since mayonnaise is the main ingredient in the dressing recipe, we recommend using the Real mayonnaise. It will give you better flavor than whipped mayonnaise.
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad in a bowl with a wooden spoon

Serving Suggestions

This macaroni salad is delicious served with many different meats. These are some of our favorites.

  • Grilled Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs We love grilled boneless chicken thighs and they are inexpensive to serve your family or a crowd. The cooking time is less than 20 minutes total for a super quick dinner idea.
  • Pulled Pork Sandwich Make a batch of pulled pork sandwiches for a delicious option to serve with this pasta salad. This recipe is so easy to make in the crock pot.
  • Grilled BBQ Teriyaki ChickenThis is one of my family’s favorite recipe. The recipe is easy to make and the chicken is loaded with flavor.
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad in a bowl

Can you Make Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can make this simple pasta salad ahead of time. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. If the pasta salad seems a little dry, just mix together mayo and milk. Then gently fold back in with the pasta ingredients.

This allows the pasta salad to turn back to be a creamy pasta salad.

How to Store Leftovers

Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  

More Macaroni Salad Recipes

We love to hear from you. If you make this Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe, please leave us a comment or star review.

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Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

5 from 8 votes
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is creamy, delicious and made with simple pantry ingredients. This pasta salad is the perfect side dish to make this summer.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Refrigerate 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings 12
Cuisine American
Course Side Dish
Calories 407

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta based on the pasta instructions to al dente.  Drain the pasta.  Rinse with water.
  • Place in a large mixing bowl.  Pour the vinegar on top and toss in the carrots and onions.  Set aside to cool.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, milk and sugar.
  • Pour the dressing mixture over the pasta salad.  Gently toss to coat the ingredients with the dressing.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (you can refrigerate overnight).  Stir before serving and serve cold.  Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

Nutrition Facts

Calories 407kcal, Carbohydrates 31g, Protein 6g, Fat 29g, Saturated Fat 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat 17g, Monounsaturated Fat 6g, Trans Fat 0.1g, Cholesterol 16mg, Sodium 443mg, Potassium 152mg, Fiber 2g, Sugar 3g, Vitamin A 1783IU, Vitamin C 2mg, Calcium 26mg, Iron 1mg

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About the Author

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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