It's macaroni salad time

Cooking with Cathie

Cathie CampbellMay 30, 2012 

I must admit that I am tiring of green salad and summer isn't even here yet. But I still get hungry for macaroni salad. I also admit that it was very difficult for me to try new macaroni salad recipes because I prefer my family's recipe. It isn't really a written down recipe, but I will at least put the ingredients down for you in case you'd like to try it out. My family has been making this version of macaroni salad for many decades. It has been made by my grandmothers, aunts, my mom, sister, cousins and friends.

Many people are well into the grilling season already and having backyard gatherings, so if you're hunting for some good mac salad recipes, here you go.


Cat's family macaroni salad

I don't have all the measurements for you, but since it's a salad, you don't really need to do anything but add as much as you wish.

  • 1 package small-sized macaroni salad pasta (the round kind that school kids used to make necklaces out of)
  • 1 can chopped olives
  • 1 small jar chopped pimentos, drained
  • Red onion, finely chopped
  • Sweet pickles or sweet relish, finely chopped
  • Hard-boiled eggs, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • Mayonnaise, to taste
  • Cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper or Lawry's seasoned salt
  • Paprika
  • Sliced hard-boiled eggs, optional
  • Fresh parsley sprigs, optional
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain well. Transfer hot pasta to a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle lightly with a small amount of vinegar. (Note: sometimes I run cold water over the pasta in a colander, to firm the pasta up if I have slightly overcooked it. I just like to add the vinegar to hot pasta or potatoes when making a salad because the hot foods tend to absorb flavors better.)
  2. Add the olives, pimentos, red onion, pickles or relish and hard-boiled eggs and mix well.
  3. Add enough mayonnaise to moisten (you may prefer Miracle Whip). Season to taste with salt and pepper or seasoned salt. Decorate the top with slices of hard-boiled eggs and parsley sprigs, if desired. Garnish with a few sprinkles of paprika. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled before serving.

Classic macaroni salad

  • 2 cups cooked macaroni, drained, rinsed, cooled
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • Pepper, to taste
  1. Combine all macaroni salad recipe ingredients (start out with 1/3 cup of mayo) and stir well. Add a little more mayonnaise, if necessary. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving. Makes about 4 servings.

Sweet macaroni salad

This recipe comes with a warning: it is very sweet and very unusual, being that it calls for sweetened condensed milk. I did not care for it, but I tried it because so many of my friends were raving about how much they and their families loved it. So, I thought it only fair to include it, plus a warning to think hard about it before you decide if you want to try it. Being that so many people did like it, I thought it only fair to include it and let you decide for yourself. But if you hate it, at least I warned you! (Maybe downsize the recipe if you're not too sure.)

  • 16 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 4 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni, and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Rinse under cold water, and drain.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the carrots, red onion, green pepper, red pepper and celery. Mix in the mayonnaise, condensed milk, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  3. Add the macaroni, toss gently, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Stir it occasionally to blend the flavors. The macaroni will absorb some of the liquid. Makes about 16 servings.

Crab macaroni salad

For those who hate seafood, my apologies for making you cringe! But if you like crab, you may like this salad. I like to add a few canned and drained pineapple tidbits.

  • 1 pound crab meat (can use imitation)
  • 1 package (10-oz.) frozen green peas (thawed or partially frozen)
  • 1 box (16-oz.) shell macaroni
  • 1 green bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped
  • Sour cream
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook macaroni according to directions. Drain and cool. Mix sliced or shredded crab meat, thawed peas, macaroni, bell pepper, celery and onions.
  2. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add equal amounts of sour cream and mayonnaise until desired consistency is obtained. Cover and refrigerate before serving.

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