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Classic Macaroni Salad – Recipe Girl®

Classic Macaroni Salad is a traditional elbow pasta salad tossed with bell peppers, onion, celery and eggs in a mayo-based dressing.

macaroni salad in a bowl

I have always had my favorite macaroni salad (Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad), but this classic macaroni salad is honestly just as good. It’s the kind of salad that you will come across at a backyard barbecue. And it’s a popular pasta salad that everyone loves!

ingredients displayed for making classic macaroni salad

Ingredients needed:

  • elbow macaroni
  • mayonnaise
  • apple cider vinegar
  • spicy brown mustard
  • white sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • celery salt
  • red bell pepper
  • onion
  • celery
  • hard boiled eggs

four photos showing how to make macaroni salad in a bowl

How do you make Classic Macaroni Salad?

The full, printable recipe is at the end of this post.

In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni, and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain.

 

In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, pepper and celery salt. Stir in the cooked macaroni, bell pepper, onion and celery. Then gently stir in the hard boiled egg.

macaroni salad in a bowl

Cover the salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours. Don’t even think of tasting it until it has been chilled for 4 hours– preferably longer.

spooning macaroni salad out of bowl

If there are any ingredients in this classic macaroni salad that you don’t care for, it’s okay to leave something out. I grew up eating hard boiled egg in my mom’s macaroni salad, so I absolutely love it. But I know that some people don’t care for egg in theirs. Make sure you at least try it though!

How to make Hard Boiled Eggs:

I have a very easy method for making hard-boiled eggs that I learned from watching Martha Stewart a long time ago.  Place your eggs in a single layer in a large pot.  Cover the eggs with water and bring to a boil.  Cover, and then turn off the heat.  Let the eggs sit for 15 minutes.  Then rinse with cold water, and peel the eggs.

Also, now that I have an Instant Pot, I use that quite often for making deviled eggs.  It’s super easy to make them in the Instant Pot, and the shells slip off incredibly easy using this method too.  RecipeBoy has a good tutorial (with a video) that shows you how to make Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs.

spooning macaroni salad onto a plate

Here’s what we love about this classic macaroni salad. It has a bit of crunch to it with the celery, bell pepper and onion added in. The dressing is lightly sweetened and has a tangy flavor from added spicy brown mustard. And I feel like the hard boiled egg in this salad really brings it all together. Try this salad for your summer get-togethers and watch it fly off the table. Enjoy!

serving of macaroni salad on a plate with sandwich

The Best Macaroni Salad Recipes:

macaroni salad in a bowl

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Classic Macaroni Salad

This is the salad you’ll want to make for all of your parties!

Recipe Details

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 10 mins

Total Time: 30 mins

Course: Salad

Cuisine: American

Keyword: macaroni, salad

Servings: 10 servings

Calories: 412kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 4 large hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Instructions

  • In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni, and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain.

  • In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, pepper and celery salt. Stir in the cooked macaroni, bell pepper, onion and celery. Then gently stir in the hard boiled egg.

  • Cover the salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours. Don’t even think of tasting it until it has been chilled for 4 hours– preferably longer.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 412kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 84mg, Sodium: 569mg, Potassium: 219mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 530IU, Vitamin C: 16mg, Calcium: 32mg, Iron: 1mg

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