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Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

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close up overhead shot of a bowl of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with a large wooden spoon
Our classic Hawaiian macaroni salad is a great side dish or potluck option full of veggies, pasta, and sweet dressing.
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Table of Contents
  1. Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Ingredients
  2. How to Make This Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe
  3. How to Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

This Hawaiian macaroni salad recipe has been passed down from generation to generation, and now it’s our turn to share it with the world. Simple ingredients combine to create this fun tropical salad loaded with tender noodles and veggies smothered in a creamy dressing.

Pasta salad recipes are the way to go when feeding a crowd. Check out our dill pickle pasta salad and Caprese pasta salad that you can whip up in a flash.

close up overhead shot of a bowl of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with a large wooden spoon

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Ingredients

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

For the Macaroni Salad

  • 16 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked to al dente according to box directions, drained
  • ½ cup finely grated carrots
  • ¼ cup grated sweet yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

For the Dressing

  • 2½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

PRO TIP:

Any mayonnaise will work in this great recipe, I chose the lighter Kraft Mayo, but some swear by Dukes.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

MIX-INS: You can add diced ham, finely diced celery, green onions, juicy pineapple, or even green peas to your authentic Hawaiian mac salad.

PASTA: You can use any short pasta noodles such as rotini, fusilli, or cavatappi in place of the macaroni noodles in this incredible salad.

How to Make This Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe

PRO TIP:

Follow the directions on the macaroni package for the cooking time of the pasta. You’ll want it to be al dente and not too soft.

STEP ONE: While the cooked, drained macaroni noodles are still hot, add the warm pasta, grated carrots, grated sweet onion, apple cider vinegar, kosher salt and pepper to a large bowl. Gently stir to incorporate the salad completely. Cover the mixing bowl and let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad process shot of ingredients in a bowl

STEP TWO: Using a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, milk, and sugar until smooth.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad process shot of dressing ingredients being whisked together in a bowl

STEP THREE: Gently fold the dressing into the macaroni salad. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours to overnight. Before serving, gently stir the macaroni salad. 

PRO TIP:

PRO TIP: Just before serving, if the macaroni salad is a bit stiff, you can stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad process shot of dressing folded into the bowl of macaroni salad

How to Serve

This Hawaiian style macaroni salad would be the perfect side dish to bring to a potluck. Add our cucumber salad or potato salad for another great addition to the menu. This salad would be tasty any time of year, whether for a summer barbecue or holiday gathering.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Store any leftovers of this creamy mac salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

IN THE FREEZER: We would not recommend freezing this Hawaiian pasta salad.

close up shot of a spoonful of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Add a little bit of tropical flavors of the Hawaiian islands to your pasta salad with this authentic Hawaiian macaroni salad. A handful of ingredients and a tangy dressing, and you’ll have a creamy side dish.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

This simple recipe needs to chill in the fridge for at least a couple of hours up to overnight, so it is a great make-ahead recipe that you can prepare the day before.

Can I use a different type of pasta in this recipe?

This creamy macaroni salad would be yummy with any short type of pasta such as rotini, fusilli, or cavatappi.

Can I freeze this pasta salad?

This delicious recipe won’t freeze as the dressing will separate, and the noodles will get soggy. We recommend making it fresh.

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close up overhead shot of a bowl of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with a large wooden spoon

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

5 from 1 vote
Our classic Hawaiian macaroni salad is a great side dish or potluck option full of veggies, pasta, and sweet dressing.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients
  

Macaroni Salad

  • 16 ounces elbow macaroni cooked according to box directions, drained
  • ½ cup carrots finely grated
  • ¼ cup sweet yellow onion grated
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Dressing

  • cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Instructions
 

  • While the cooked, drained macaroni is still hot, add the cooked macaroni, grated carrots, grated onion, apple cider vinegar, kosher salt and pepper to a large mixing bowl. Gently stir to completely incorporate the salad. Cover the mixing bowl and let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Using a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, milk and sugar until smooth.
  • Gently fold the dressing into the macaroni salad. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours to overnight. Before serving, gently stir the macaroni salad.

Notes

PRO TIP: Any mayonnaise will work in this great recipe, I chose the lighter Kraft Mayo, but some swear by Dukes.
 
PRO TIP: Follow the directions on the macaroni package for the cooking time of the pasta. You’ll want it to be al dente and not too soft.
 
PRO TIP: Just before serving, if the macaroni salad is a bit stiff, you can stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk.

Nutrition

Calories: 565kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 25g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 601mg | Potassium: 160mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1126IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg
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