This classic macaroni salad is packed full of crunchy vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, and a homemade dressing made out of yellow mustard, mayonnaise, and pickle juice. It’s the perfect old fashioned Easter side dish or a delicious summertime cookout addition.
I really love macaroni salad.
But, as much as I hate to admit this, I’m super freaking picky about my macaroni salad.
It needs to be made with elbow macaroni ONLY, must include hard boiled eggs, MUST be made with yellow mustard (NOT DIJON!) and should only be made with mayonnaise. Do not come at me with Miracle Whip.
My dad is a huge Miracle Whip fan so I’m sure he would disagree but I’m just a mayo girl through and through.
I also really like lots of crunchy bits going through the salad. That’s why I like to include celery, red onion, bell pepper, and dill pickles – super crunchy and fresh!
If you’re not sure how you feel about hard-boiled eggs in your mac salad just know it’s the best thing ever.
Just make sure you don’t overcook them because green hard boiled eggs do not make a great addition. Since I almost always overcook my eggs on the stovetop I started making pressure cooker hard boiled eggs. They come out perfect every. single. time.
Classic Macaroni Salad – Sweet or Not Sweet?
Oh, and there is often a debate about how sweet macaroni should be. Personally, I don’t want it to be super sweet. There is something about sweet pasta dishes that sorta throws me off.
I also like to use dill pickles in the salad because pickles are life.
Now I know I said I don’t like a sweet mac salad but I do add a touch of sugar to the dressing. You need just a pinch to even out the vinegar in the mustard.
If you prefer a sweeter mac salad you can use sweet pickles and add a heavier pinch of sugar to the dressing but I’ll leave this choice to you.
Now, for the thing I feel most strongly about.
Why is this stuff so underrated? I grew up only eating yellow mustard and when I moved to New York I was super throw off by spicy brown. Sure, it tastes great, but I still only want yellow mustard on my hot dogs and hamburgers.
Oh, and macaroni salad.
And yeah, I have had it made with spicy brown and it’s fine. But in order to be classic macaroni salad (IMO) it’s gotta be made with yellow mustard.
I personally think classic macaroni salad is the perfect addition to Easter. It’s bright and flavorful and always tastes great alongside ham.
Plus it’s super easy to make and stays fresh and crunchy for days.
Since I kept the flavor traditional I decided to add a little chopped parsley to bring even more freshness.
Oh, and make sure to keep the salad cold at parties. Mayo, while delicious, can take a dangerous turn if you let it sit in the sun.
Love this Classic Macaroni Salad?
Try one of my other tasty recipes – Honey Mustard Potato Salad, Mediterranean Tuna Orzo Salad, Roasted Vegetable Tortellini Salad, Lentil Couscous Goat Cheese Salad, Herbed Shrimp Orzo Salad, Herbed Dijon Mustard Potato Salad, Watermelon Greek Salad, or my Crispy Chicken Apple Cabbage Salad
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 6 hard boiled eggs, minced
- 4 ribs of celery, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, minced
- 1/3 cup minced red onion
- 1/3 cup minced dill pickle
- 1/4 cup minced parsley
- 1 cup mayonaise
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon pickle juice
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- Cook pasta according to the box directions.
- Once fully cooked, drain and rinse under cold water until the pasta is cool.
- Let the pasta drain while you prepare the rest of the macaroni salad.
- In a large mixing bowl add minced hard boiled eggs, celery, red onion, dill pickle and parsley.
- Add the pasta and stir gently to combine.
- In a small mixing bowl whisk together mayonnaise, yellow mustard, pickle juice and granulated sugar.
- Pour dressing over the ingredients in the bowl and toss to combine. Start by adding 1/2 of the dressing first and add more until you reach your desired consistency.
- Taste and season with desired amount of kosher salt and black pepper.
- Serve cold and remember to keep it cold since it includes mayonnaise.
*If you prefer a sweeter macaroni salad you can substitute sweet pickles for dill or add 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar instead of 2 teaspoons to the dressing.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 278Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 309mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 8g
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.