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My Macaroni Salad recipe is tossed with fresh, crunchy veggies, a homemade creamy dressing, and my secret ingredient: bacon. It’s always a hit at the dinner table on a busy week night, a potluck, or a sunny summertime BBQ.
Today I’m on a mission to make classic macaroni salad, and I think I’ve done just that. I mean, who doesn’t get giddy over bacon? Time to toss that bland, flavorless grocery store macaroni salad to the curb and say hello to this major improvement.
I wanted to keep this recipe really simple so that you have a minimal grocery list for ingredients. Now there’s no excuse to serve a pre-made side for your guests or family! It’ll take you just 20 minutes from start to finish to make this recipe, and most of that time is simply boiling the pasta.
Keep Scrolling for to the recipe card for the full list of ingredient amounts and instructions or click the “Jump to Recipe” button at the top of the page!
- Macaroni – Other small shapes like rotini, penne, shells, or farfalle would be great too.
- Veggies – I used celery, red onion, carrot, and some green onion for garnish.
- Bacon – I promise you don’t want to leave this ingredient out! Bacon is the best part and my secret weapon.
- Mayo – You can use any brand you like best or homemade mayo.
- Dry mustard – If you don’t have any on hand you can use an equal amount of yellow or dijon mustard instead.
- Cider vinegar – White vinegar or wine vinegar will work too.
- Sour cream – I love to mix some sour cream in my macaroni salads so that they are a bit more creamy rather than tasting too mayo-y.
- Salt and pepper – Season to taste.
What else can I mix in my salad?
The dressing I have for you today is mild-flavored with a perfect balance of creaminess, vinegar, and a bit of sweetness. It will pair well with practically anything you’d like to mix in. Need some inspiration? Give these mix-ins a try:
- Bell pepper
- Cheese, shredded or diced
- Chopped hard boiled eggs
- Ham, chicken, pepperoni
How to make macaroni salad
- Prep the pasta: Cook the macaroni according to package instructions. Drain and rinse well with cold water so that the pasta doesn’t stick together.
- Make the dressing: Whisk the mayo, dry mustard, vinegar, sour cream, salt, and pepper together until well combined.
- Finish the salad: Add all the salad ingredients to a large bowl and toss with the prepared dressing. Garnish with green onion and enjoy!
How to store leftovers
This salad will stay good for 3-5 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge. It’s a perfect recipe for making ahead! I find that when the ingredients have a change to sit together and mingle, it gets even more delicious.
If you plan on serving this salad for guests or bringing it to a potluck, it will be okay for 2 hours at room temperature before you should put it back in the fridge.
How to serve
I’ll be honest, we ended up eating this macaroni salad all on its own for lunch today. It was just so good! It’s a great side dish not just for a classic summertime BBQ, but any time of the year. Give it a try with these mains:
- Instant Pot Chicken Breast
- Perfect Pulled Pork
- Crispy Fried Chicken
- Instant Pot BBQ Pork Ribs
- World’s Best Chili
- Firecracker Chicken Meatballs
- Oven Baked Chicken Thighs
- Baked Lemon Pepper Salmon
Did you love this recipe? Try these!
- Tuna Macaroni Salad
- Taco Pasta Salad
- Cowboy Pasta Salad
- Classic Potato Salad
- Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad
- Garlic Herb Red Potato Salad
- Italian Pasta Salad
Looking for more recipes? Follow on…
- 4 cups elbow macaroni dry
- 1/2 cup celery diced
- 1/2 cup red onion diced
- 8 slices bacon fried and chopped
- 1/2 medium carrot shredded
- 1 tbsp green onion thinly sliced, for garnish
- 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- 1 tsp black pepper or to taste
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse well with cold water.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, vinegar, sour cream, salt and pepper.
- Add the macaroni, celery, red onion, bacon, carrot, half the green onion, and the prepared dressing to a large bowl. Toss well to combine.
- Garnish with remaining green onion and serve cold.
- This salad will stay good for 3-5 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge. It’s a perfect recipe for making ahead! I find that when the ingredients have a change to sit together and mingle, it gets even more delicious.
- If you plan on serving this salad for guests or bringing it to a potluck, it will be okay for 2 hours at room temperature before you should put it back in the fridge.