Macaroni Salad

This easy, 4-ingredient Macaroni Salad is that classic mayo-based salad, a snap to put together and feeds a crowd. It’s our family’s favorite accompaniment to quick weeknight dinners on the grill, summer BBQs and potlucks, and big summer entertaining.

This easy, 4-ingredient Macaroni Salad is that classic mayo-based salad, a snap to put together and feeds a crowd. It’s our family’s favorite accompaniment to quick weeknight dinners on the grill, summer BBQs and potlucks, and big summer entertaining.

Sometimes one of the biggest challenges of summer is entertaining. Don’t get me wrong, it’s super easy to throw a bunch of meat and veggies on the grill – maybe with a side of fresh watermelon – and to call it a day, but when it’s a big crowd? Not so easy. My husband would be grilling for hours if that’s all we served when entertaining. But not going to lie, I don’t want to be standing in the hot kitchen either.

Over the years, I’ve build ups  little portfolio of easy sides to make indoors to be served alongside our summer grilling (or to take to BBQs and potlucks). Like Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad or a simple Homemade Pesto tossed with tortellini. But this Macaroni Salad – what I think of as a Classic Macaroni Salad, if there is such a thing – is one of my go-to recipes. It’s a “recipe” that I learned from my mom, and after making it dozens of times, I go by instinct and taste when I make it.

This easy, 4-ingredient Macaroni Salad is that classic mayo-based salad, a snap to put together and feeds a crowd. It’s our family’s favorite accompaniment to quick weeknight dinners on the grill, summer BBQs and potlucks, and big summer entertaining.

But instinct doesn’t help you, my readers, when you’re trying to recreate my dishes. So this last time I made this Macaroni Salad, I measured everything – just for you all.

That being said, please do taste as you go. Everyone’s tastes vary, and the ingredients themselves vary. So mix and taste. Mix and taste.

A couple of Recipe Notes:

  • As the warm macaroni salad sits, the mayo will be absorbed. Feel free to add extra mayo if you prefer a creamier consistency.
  • Red onion is our favorite veggie to mix in, just for a little flavor. Feel free to adjust the quantity listed below – I tend to use whatever I have in the house.
  • Taste as you go – don’t add too much salt!

This easy, 4-ingredient Macaroni Salad is that classic mayo-based salad, a snap to put together and feeds a crowd. It’s our family’s favorite accompaniment to quick weeknight dinners on the grill, summer BBQs and potlucks, and big summer entertaining.

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This easy, 4-ingredient Macaroni Salad is that classic mayo-based salad is a snap to put together and feeds a crowd. It’s our family’s favorite accompaniment to quick weeknight dinners on the grill, summer BBQs and potlucks, and big summer entertaining.

Classic Macaroni Salad

This easy, 4-ingredient Macaroni Salad is that classic mayo-based salad, a snap to put together and feeds a crowd. It’s our family’s favorite accompaniment to quick weeknight dinners on the grill, summer BBQs and potlucks, and big summer entertaining.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 12 1/2 cup servings
Calories 290 kcal
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. elbow pasta
  • 1/2-3/4 red onion small dice
  • 1 1/4 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs. white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. coarsely ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, cook the elbow pasta according to package.

  2. While pasta is cooking, dice onions.

  3. When pasta is cooked to desired consistency - should be cooked throughout - drain and return pasta to hot pot. Add remaining ingredients, stirring to coat completely. Taste and adjust salt and pepper or add more mayo as needed.

  4. Transfer to a serving bowl and allow to cool until warm or room temperature before serving. (As pasta salad cools, you may want to add a little extra mayo to your preferred consistency. I rarely do, but feel free. Just add a little bit at a time, tasting as you go). Or, refrigerate until ready to serve.

  5. Serve cold or at room temperature.

A Books n’ Cooks original recipe.

This easy, 4-ingredient Macaroni Salad is that classic mayo-based salad, a snap to put together and feeds a crowd. It’s our family’s favorite accompaniment to quick weeknight dinners on the grill, summer BBQs and potlucks, and big summer entertaining.

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