macaroni salad recipe in a bowl
Pasta Dishes, Salad Dishes

Classic Macaroni Salad Recipe with a Twist: Perfect for Summer BBQs and Picnics



Looking for a refreshing dish for your summer gatherings? Our classic macaroni salad recipe with a twist is the perfect addition to any BBQ or picnic. This easy-to-make salad is not only delicious but also a crowd-pleaser with its creamy dressing and vibrant ingredients. Letโ€™s explore how to create this delightful dish.

Ingredients for Macaroni Salad Recipe

  • Elbow macaroni: 2 cups, cooked and cooled
  • Bell peppers: 1 cup, diced (use a mix of red, yellow, and green for color)
  • Carrots: 1/2 cup, shredded
  • Celery: 1/2 cup, diced
  • Red onion: 1/4 cup, finely chopped
  • Sweet pickles: 1/4 cup, chopped
  • Mayonnaise: 1 cup
  • Dijon mustard: 1 tablespoon
  • Apple cider vinegar: 2 tablespoons
  • Sugar: 1 tablespoon
  • Salt: to taste
  • Black pepper: to taste
  • Fresh parsley: 2 tablespoons, chopped

How to Prepare Macaroni Salad Recipe

A vibrant bowl of macaroni salad.
A vibrant bowl of macaroni salad recipe.
  1. Cook the macaroni: Follow package instructions, drain, and let cool.
  2. Prepare the dressing: In a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper until smooth.
  3. Combine ingredients: Add the cooled macaroni, bell peppers, carrots, celery, red onion, and sweet pickles to the bowl with the dressing.
  4. Mix well: Stir until all ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing.
  5. Chill: Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to meld.
  6. Garnish: Sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving.

Tips for the Perfect Macaroni Salad

  • Cool the macaroni completely: This prevents the salad from becoming too mushy.
  • Chill before serving: Enhances the flavor and texture.
  • Use a variety of colors: Bell peppers add a vibrant touch.

Variations of Macaroni Salad Recipe

  • Greek Macaroni Salad: Add feta cheese, olives, and a touch of oregano.
  • Spicy Macaroni Salad: Mix in some chopped jalapeรฑos and a dash of hot sauce.
  • Vegan Macaroni Salad: Substitute mayonnaise with a vegan mayo and omit the sweet pickles.

Nutritional Information

  • Calories: 250 per serving
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 30 grams
  • Fat: 12 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams

Storing and Serving

  • Refrigerate: Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Serving suggestion: Best served chilled, perfect for potlucks, picnics, and BBQs.

Frequently Asked Questions about Macaroni Salad

1. Can I make macaroni salad ahead of time?

Yes, macaroni salad can be made a day in advance. Just give it a good stir before serving.

macaroni salad recipe in a bowl
macaroni salad recipe in a bowl

2. What can I add to make it healthier?

You can add more fresh vegetables like cucumbers or cherry tomatoes. Use Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise for a lighter dressing.

3. How do I keep my macaroni salad from drying out?

Ensure your pasta is cooked properly, not overcooked. Adding a bit more dressing before serving can also help maintain moisture.


Creating a classic macaroni salad with a twist is simple and rewarding. This versatile dish is perfect for any summer event, bringing freshness and flavor to your table. Enjoy preparing and sharing this delightful salad with friends and family at your next BBQ or picnic.


Did you know that macaroni salad gained popularity in the United States during the early 20th century and became a staple at picnics and potlucks?

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