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A large bowl of classic macaroni salad

Classic Macaroni Salad


Grandma’s macaroni salad is iconically American. It’s the deli favorite we’ve enjoyed at large family gatherings for generations. Make this simple recipe in 35 minutes. It’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser!


  • 1 16-ounce box ditalini pasta, cooked al dente according to package instructions
  • 6 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, minced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, minced
  • 1 small red bell pepper (seeds removed), minced
  • 1/4 cup Kosher dill pickles (or sweet pickles), minced
  • 1 6-ounce can black olives, diced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Paprika to taste


  1. MAKE THE DRESSING. Add wet ingredients to a small bowl: mayonnaise, sour cream, dijon mustard, yellow mustard, and apple cider vinegar. Whisk them together. Add salt and pepper to taste. If making Hellmans macaroni salad, add 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Whisk again.
  2. COMBINE DRESSING AND PASTA. In a large mixing bowl, fold the tangy dressing into the cooked and cooled pasta until well combined.
  3. FOLD IN REMAINING INGREDIENTS. Add the minced veggies, chopped dill, and a sprinkling of paprika. Taste the macaroni salad. Adjust the spices as needed: salt, pepper, and paprika.
  4. COVER AND REFRIGERATE. Grandma’s macaroni salad with egg tastes best once the flavors have melded together in the fridge. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.Make the macaroni salad dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, yellow mustard, dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste, and mix again.

HOW TO BRIGHTEN AND GARNISH MACARONI SALAD: Before serving, you can brighten the taste by mixing in a sprinkling of apple cider vinegar. Garnish with black pepper, paprika, a hard-boiled egg sliced in half, a few whole olives, and sprigs of fresh dill or parsley.


CAN I DOUBLE THIS RECIPE? Yes! This is an easy recipe to double. It’s an ideal salad for large groups and parties.

HOW TO GIVE THIS RECIPE A TWIST OF FLAVOR: Mix in shredded cheddar cheese and bacon. For a spicy twist, add diced fire-roasted green chiles. For added tang, fold in some capers. For a crunchy garnish, try a handful of snapped or broken Fritos corn chips.

HOW LONG WILL MACARONI SALAD LAST  IN THE FRIDGE? When immediately stored in an air-tight container, it’ll stay fresh the fridge for up to 5 days. For the best taste and texture, enjoy it within 3 days.

CAN MACARONI SALAD BE FROZEN? No. This dish does not freeze well.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Potluck
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: classic macaroni salad, Grandma's macaroni salad