This Hawaiian Macaroni Salad combines simple ingredients for the best tangy & creamy salad. It's the perfect side dish for Spring and Summer holidays and bbq's. Plus, it only takes 20 minutes to make!
I grew up eating classic macaroni salad, which is really similar to this recipe, but it uses eggs and chopped carrots and onions, instead of shredded. Once I started making this Hawaiian Mac Salad, I never went back to the original version. It's the perfect example of less is more.
Macaroni Salad in Hawaii is traditionally served with bbq, like my Smoked Pork Shoulder. If you don't have a smoker, this Dutch Oven Pulled Chicken recipe is a great option. It's cooked down in BBQ sauce and makes the perfect main course to pair with this pasta salad.
Why You'll Love This Recipe:
- It's the perfect tangy side dish and pairs really great with bbq anything!
- Who doesn't love pasta in a salad?
- It only takes 20 minutes to make with minimal chopping & grating.
Elbows- Classic elbow macaroni noodles cooked al dente for a traditional Hawaiian salad.
Carrot- Shredded and provide a sweetness in the salad and color too.
Celery- Diced fine for a bit of crunch.
Sweet Yellow Onion- Grated for a really subtle texture and additional flavor.
Mayonnaise, Apple Cider Vinegar, Whole Milk, Sugar, & Salt and Pepper-Whisked together for the creamy sauce that makes the magic happen. It's tangy, sweet, and creamy all in one. The only ingredients I'm particular about brand is the mayo, which has to be Hellmann's for me. This sauce thickens as it mixes with the pasta and sets in the fridge.
Substitutions and Variations:
If Hellmann's mayonnaise isn't your first choice, you can use another.
Don't love onion? Feel free to leave it out.
I really recommend elbow macaroni pasta, but if you have another similar pasta choice, it should be fine.
How to Make Hawaiian Macaroni Salad:
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Here are the Step by Step Instructions for this Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe.
Step 1: Prep the Vegetables
Peel and grate the carrot on the large side of the grater. Grate the onion on the large side of the grater and remove excess water with a paper towel or cheese cloth. Finely dice celery and set aside.
Step 2: Boil Pasta
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add in pasta. Cook about 9 to 11 minutes, about 1 minute past al dente, but still firm when bitten. Drain pasta in a colander and rinse pasta with cold water. Shake out all the water and transfer pasta to a large bowl.
Step 3: Make Sauce
Into a bowl, whisk together milk, mayonnaise, sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper until fully combined.
Step 4: Assemble Macaroni Salad
Into the pasta bowl, add in the celery, onion, and carrot and stir to combine.
Step 5: Add Sauce
Pour over half the creamy mayonnaise sauce over the pasta and stir to combine. Add remaining sauce and stir.
Step 6: Refrigerate & Serve
Refrigerate for at least two hours. Stir well and serve this delicious salad. Enjoy!
To help the pasta from sticking, add in 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of olive oil in with the boiling noodles.
Don't overcook the pasta. You want the elbow macaroni still firm to the bite.
Make sure to store in the fridge at least 2 hours before serving. It helps to thicken up the sauce and makes the salad the best creamy texture.
Cooking the pasta right is important. You want it just cooked about a minute past al dente. If the package says 8 minutes, cook for 9 to 10 minutes. Strain it really well to avoid any water in the bowl. This sauce has a lot of mayonnaise in the mixture, which helps grab onto the pasta and create a nice creamy texture.
Yes! Rinse the pasta under cold water to help remove some of the starch and avoid the pasta from clumping together.
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