Creamy Macaroni Salad

Most people’s mac­a­roni salad recipe exists only in their heads. Pretty incon­ve­nient, really. It involves a lot of guess­ing, where one never really remem­bers how much pasta to use, how much dress­ing is right, or how much milk to add. Do your­selves a favor. Get your recipe down on paper! Peo­ple who love your salad will thank you and you will won­der how you went so long  with­out a solid recipe to follow!

This recipe is sim­ple, and clas­sic. Use your pref­er­ence on the pick­les and peppers/tomatoes. I pre­fer Famous Dave’s Spicy Sweet pickle slices. And lately have been using roasted red pep­pers for the addi­tion of color.

Creamy Macaroni Salad

Most recipes tell you to mix the ingre­di­ents together and let sit to blend the fla­vors before eat­ing. I dis­agree with this phi­los­o­phy, as it allows so much liq­uid to soak into the pasta, result­ing in a less creamy salad. I think it’s bet­ter to make sure the water you use for cook­ing the pasta is amply salted, (1 table­spoon salt per gal­lon of  boil­ing water), and to have a dress­ing that is well bal­anced. Pre­pare your dress­ing in advance and refrig­er­ate. Pre­pare your pasta so that it’s not over or under cooked. (Over cooked will become mushy, and even per­fectly al dente pasta firms up too much when chilled.) Fol­low my method of cook­ing below. Then com­bine dress­ing and pasta/additives just before serv­ing. This will guar­an­tee you a rich and super creamy mac­a­roni salad.

Creamy Mac­a­roni Salad


  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 table­spoons sour cream
  • 3 table­spoons milk
  • 1 table­spoon cider vinegar
  • 2 tea­spoons dijon mustard
  • 1 table­spoon sugar
  • 1/2 tea­spoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tea­spoon pepper
  • 1/4 tea­spoon cel­ery seed
  • 1 pound pasta, such as elbow or shell
  • 4 large hard-boiled eggs–chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped pickles–your choice of dill, sweet, or spicy sweet
  • 1/2 cups chopped green onions (6–8)
  • 1/2 cup either diced toma­toes, diced red pep­pers, diced pimen­tos, or diced roasted red pepper
  • 2 table­spoons chopped cilantro


  1. Pre­pare dress­ing by whisk­ing together the nine ingre­di­ents, and then chill­ing in the fridge until just before serving.
  2. Fill a large pot with water, adding a table­spoon of table salt for each gal­lon of water. Over medium-high heat, bring water to a boil and add pasta. If the direc­tions say boil 7 min­utes, (typ­i­cal for mac­a­roni), then start your time as soon as you add the pasta and stir. Let boil on medium-high for the sug­gested time. When done, imme­di­ately drain and rinse with cold water, toss­ing the pasta as you do so, until pasta is cooled. Drain again and chill until assembly.
  3. Pre­pare all addi­tives, and set aside until assembly.
  4. Just before serv­ing, toss pasta and addi­tives together and stir in the dress­ing. I add it all, as I do not like a dry salad at all. You could hold some back if it suits you.
  5. Let guests salt and paper to taste.

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  1. Does it get any bet­ter than Fourth of July mac­a­roni and cheese?? I think not!.. yum.

  2. Mac­a­roni! Love it! :) And it is really my favorite!

  3. Worked like a dream. I used tzaziki as it was all I had on hand and was del­ish, thanks again! Nisha

  4. Thanks for this! I like a dry mac-salad but my hus­band likes it creamier. I’ve not been able to fig­ure out the secret until now.

  5. thnks for that idea

  6. I have to say this is my go to Mac­a­roni Salad… It’s Awe­some no need to look any­where else. It’s always a big hit at gath­ers. Thank You for sharing.

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