Classic Macaroni Salad

Classic Macaroni Salad

The BEST Macaroni Salad recipe! Loaded with fresh carrots, celery, diced bell pepper, red onion, and savory ham, this Simple & Classic Macaroni Salad is the perfect side dish for your next cookout or pot-luck.

The BEST Macaroni Salad recipe! Loaded with fresh carrots, celery, diced bell pepper, red onion, and savory ham, this Simple & Classic Macaroni Salad is the perfect side dish for your next cookout or pot-luck.

Classic Macaroni Salad

This Classic Macaroni Salad is the ultimate pot-luck or cookout side dish. I’m made and tried several macaroni salad recipes, and many are NOT for me. Some become overly heavy with thick dressing. Others load up on cubed cheese, which also seems to make it thick and heavy. This BEST macaroni salad recipe has the perfect amount of dressing, veggies and savory diced ham. Absolute perfection!

Growing up in rural South Dakota, summer was always a time for getting together with family and enjoying a little time along the Missouri river. South Dakota doesn’t have ocean beaches, and very few lakes, but we do have the beautiful, vast Missouri river. For the July 4th holiday, we often went camping near the river, which is about 20 miles from my home town.

As a kid, going to the river was always fun. My grandparents had a boat, which meant water skiing, tubing and fishing along the banks. At the end of a long day on the water, we would always come back to our campground to a big feast that was typically prepared by my grandma Dona. Burgers, brats, hot dogs and her Classic Macaroni Salad were always on the menu.

Very similar to Grandma Dona’s, this simple macaroni salad has lots of fresh vegetables, savory diced ham and along with the perfect creamy dressing. It’s the ultimate side dish for just about any cookout, potluck or in our instance, riverside feast.

Here’s how this Classic Macaroni Salad recipe comes together:

The BEST Macaroni Salad recipe! Loaded with fresh carrots, celery, diced bell pepper, red onion, and savory ham, this Simple & Classic Macaroni Salad is the perfect side dish for your next cookout or pot-luck.

Step 1: Prepare Macaroni, Ham and Vegetables

The first step to making this easy macaroni salad is cooking the macaroni and letting it cool. Cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water and let it come to room temperature.

While the macaroni cools, I will chop and shred the vegetables, and dice the ham. You can place these in their own small bowls, or simple add to one large mixing bowl where all of the ingredients will be mixed together.

The BEST Macaroni Salad recipe! Loaded with fresh carrots, celery, diced bell pepper, red onion, and savory ham, this Simple & Classic Macaroni Salad is the perfect side dish for your next cookout or pot-luck.

Step 2: Mix the dressing

This is a very simple macaroni salad dressing. Here’s the ingredients I use in this creamy dressing:

  • Light mayonnaise
  • Light sour cream
  • White vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper

Some people add a bit of sugar to this creamy dressing – I actually prefer it without the sugar. Additionally, I like light mayo and sour cream, as the full-fat versions seem rather heavy. For an even lighter dressing feel free to substitute plain, Greek yogurt for the mayo, sour cream or both.

The BEST Macaroni Salad recipe! Loaded with fresh carrots, celery, diced bell pepper, red onion, and savory ham, this Simple & Classic Macaroni Salad is the perfect side dish for your next cookout or pot-luck.

Step 3: Mix the Dressing to Coat All Ingredients

Once the macaroni has cooled, add it along with the vegetables and ham to a large mixing bowl. Top with the dressing. Using a rubber scraper, mix the ingredients and until completely coated with the dressing. Refrigerate the salad for at least 1 hour.

The BEST Macaroni Salad recipe! Loaded with fresh carrots, celery, diced bell pepper, red onion, and savory ham, this Simple & Classic Macaroni Salad is the perfect side dish for your next cookout or pot-luck.

This is a fantastic make-ahead recipe for your next cookout or barbecue. Make earlier in the day, refrigerate and then serve alongside your favorite grilled chicken recipe, burgers, chops and steak. Similar to a deli-style macaroni salad, I really love this with my favorite sandwich or BLT.

Classic Macaroni Salad FAQ’s:

  • How long does simple macaroni salad last? Answer: When kept refrigerated in an air-tight container, it can last 3-5 days. If your salad is left out for longer than 2 hours (like at a picnic or cookout), it is best to discard any leftovers.
  • Should I rinse macaroni for macaroni salad after it has cooked? Answer: Yes, I do for a could reasons. First, it stops the pasta from cooking, second, it keeps the pasta loose and not stick together.
  • Can I add eggs to macaroni salad? Answer: Yes, definitely! If you would like to add eggs, make sure they are hard-boiled and cooled. Then, dice the eggs and stir in with the rest of the ingredients. I would recommend 2-3 large, hard-boiled eggs.
  • What goes good with macaroni salad? Answer: I personally love macaroni salad with grilled chicken, pork and even steaks. It’s a great cookout food!

Here’s some of my favorite grilled chicken recipes:

The BEST BBQ Chicken Recipe

Lemon Pepper Grilled Chicken

Grilled Caprese Chicken

Spicy Verde Grilled Chicken

Barbecue Chicken & Red Grape Skewers

Grilled BBQ Chicken Legs 

This simple macaroni salad recipe is fantastic to bring to a pot-luck. Be prepared to be asked for this recipe – it’s always a hit with everyone!

The BEST Macaroni Salad recipe! Loaded with fresh carrots, celery, diced bell pepper, red onion, and savory ham, this Simple & Classic Macaroni Salad is the perfect side dish for your next cookout or pot-luck.

 

If you loved this classic macaroni salad recipe, be sure to check out some of my other side dish recipes:

You'll never believe this pasta salad is light and healthy! Made with a delicious Greek yogurt dressing and loaded with fresh garden vegetables, this pasta salad will be your new favorite summer side dish!

Garden Vegetable Pasta Salad

 

The perfect side dish for any potluck, cookout, picnic or back yard BBQ! This Creamy Ranch BLT Pasta Salad is loaded with bacon, tomatoes, crisp green leaf lettuce, and topped with an amazing creamy ranch dressing! Make extra - this disappears FAST!!

Creamy Ranch BLT Pasta Salad

 

A new fruit salad brought to a whole new level! Crunchy cucumbers, sweet watermelon and cantaloupe along with a delicious lime-ginger dressing makes this salad wonderfully fresh and delicious!

Cucumber Melon Fruit Salad

 

Best Ever Potato Salad by Delightful E Made

Best Ever Potato Salad

 

The classic baked beans recipe got an awesome upgrade! These Bacon Lovers Baked Beans and loaded with 1 pound of crisp, delicious bacon along with three types of beans, peppers onions and an amazing sauce. Made in the oven or slow cooker, this easy side dish is a must-have for any cookout, pot-luck, tailgate party or picnic!

Bacon Lovers Baked Beans

 

Here’s the recipe for this Classic Macaroni Salad recipe:

Yields 1 large salad

Serves 12 servings

Classic Macaroni Salad

The ultimate Macaroni Salad recipe! Loaded with fresh carrots, celery, diced bell pepper, red onion, and savory ham, this Classic Macaroni Salad is perfect side dish for your next cookout or pot-luck. 

30 minPrep Time

30 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 c. dry elbow macaroni, cooked to package directions
  • 1 1/2 c. ham, diced
  • 1 c. carrots, shredded
  • 1 c. celery, diced
  • 1 c. green bell pepper, diced (about 1 pepper)
  • 1/2 c. red onion, diced
  • Dressing:
  • 1/2 c. light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c. light sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook the 2 cups of dry macaroni according to package directions. Drain. Rinse with cold water, and let cool to room temperature.
  2. While macaroni is cooling, dice ham, shred carrots, dice celery, green pepper and red onion.
  3. Mix the dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  4. Place the cooled macaroni into a mixing bowl. Add the ham, carrots, celery, green pepper and red onion. Pour the dressing over the top, and mix together until all ingredients are coated with the dressing.
  5. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Top with some additional ground pepper, if desired. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

If red onion is too strong for your taste, feel free to substitute with diced green onion. This is a milder alternative.

7.8.1.2
365
https://delightfulemade.com/2018/06/24/classic-macaroni-salad/

 

The BEST Macaroni Salad recipe! Loaded with fresh carrots, celery, diced bell pepper, red onion, and savory ham, this Simple & Classic Macaroni Salad is the perfect side dish for your next cookout or pot-luck.

Comments

  1. Mother of 3 says
    Sounds yummy! Believe it or not I have never had ham in any pasta or macaroni salad. Pinned.
  2. I love the carrots in it - Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner party!
  3. Congratulations! We have enjoyed featuring your awesome post at Full Plate Thursday! Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing with us! Miz Helen

Speak Your Mind

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Advertising

Analytics

Other