Macaroni Salad – Life Above the Cafe

Macaroni Salad

A tangy and sweet side dish!
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Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad
May 20, 2020




15 mins.

7 mins.

6 plus

This is one of my favorite side dishes for BBQ’s. I based this Macaroni Salad off of my mom’s recipe that she made while I was growing up, and a friend’s recipe. My mom didn’t add boiled eggs or diced bacon to her recipe like my friend does, but she did use black olives, celery, bell pepper, and carrots, which I love in my Macaroni Salad. I incorporated the best of both recipes for what I feel is a perfect Macaroni Salad.

The dressing that tops this is slightly sweet, so if you’re not a fan of a sweet Macaroni Salad then you can leave out the sugar and pickle relish. It reminds me of the Hawaiian Macaroni Salads that I’ve seen on TV. One day I’ll go there to try out their food and see all of the amazing sights, but for now I’ll keep enjoying this Macaroni Salad at home.

If you’re a vegetarian or don’t care for bacon then leave it out. I don’t mix the bacon into the dish if there will be leftovers because I prefer the bacon to stay crispy, so I sprinkle it on top of the prepped bowl of Macaroni Salad. If you would rather mix all of your bacon in then go for it. This recipe also contains boiled eggs which I love, but to each their own. If your boiled eggs never turn out beautiful with golden yellow centers, and instead look gray/green check out my post for Perfect Boiled Eggs.

Another hint that I have is that the pasta will absorb the dressing overnight. I reserve a couple of tablespoons of my dressing and add it to the pasta and remix it the following day so that it’s just as saucy on day two.

This is perfect anytime of the year so don’t just reach for this recipe during the summer. It’s a common side dish at our holiday gatherings like Easter and Christmas.

I’ve cut this recipe down to a smaller batch, but it’s super easy to double or triple. Whether you’re eating solo, or feeding a crowd, I hope that you’ll try this recipe soon!


  • 1 & 1/2 cups of dry elbow noodles
  • Salted water for boiling the pasta
  • 1/4 cup white onion, diced
  • 1/2 medium bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup of carrots, finely diced or shredded
  • 1/4 cup of celery, diced
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. of sweet pickle relish
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp. of sliced black olives
  • 2 boiled eggs, diced
  • 2 – 3 pieces of crispy bacon, diced

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup of mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. of white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. of yellow mustard
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. of sugar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. of salt (plus more for pasta water)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. of black pepper


In a medium stock pot bring 4-6 cups of water to a boil.  Add as much salt as you desire for salted pasta water.  I suggest 1/2 tsp.  Cook the pasta until tender, mine was ready at 7 minutes.  Drain but do not rinse once the pasta is cooked through.

Boil the eggs and fry the bacon and dice them once cooled.  Wash and dry all of the vegetables, dice them and set them aside.  Drain the olives and slice them smaller if desired and set them aside.  Make the dressing in a small bowl so that it’s ready to pour over the warm pasta.

When the macaroni is ready, drain it and place it in a medium size bowl.  Pour 1/3 of the dressing over the warm noodles and stir it in.  Add the chopped vegetables, boiled eggs, olives, and bacon.  Add more dressing and stir everything together.  I reserve some dressing to add the following day since the pasta will absorb the dressing and dry out a bit.

Serve immediately or cover, refrigerate, and serve once cold.

Notes – If you prefer to leave out any of the ingredients please make it your own, also if you like more mayonnaise then add it, I am married to a mayonnaise hater so I have to go easy on it.  Follow the guidelines for safe food storage since this does contain mayonnaise.


Additional Photos:

Macaroni Salad
Macaroni Salad

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