We're Bringing Mac Back This Summer: Best Macaroni Salad Recipes

Memorable because of the creamy mayonnaise-based dressing and mix-ins like hard-boiled eggs, smoky ham and crunchy celery, macaroni salad is a popular summer potluck pick, and many recipes can be made with just a few pantry staples and served in under 30 minutes. Bring one of these macaroni salads to your next backyard get-together and you might notice that it’s finished before the meat even comes off the grill.

Old-Fashioned Macaroni Salad (pictured above)

For a true “down-home” side dish, combine the classic ingredients, like freshly hard-boiled eggs, ham steak and mayonnaise, with pimento peppers for a Southern kick and pickle relish for a bit of unexpected sweetness. You’ll have to be patient to dig into this creamy salad. Refrigerate for two hours to allow the flavors to fully meld.

American Macaroni Salad: Food Network Kitchens

American Macaroni Salad: Food Network Kitchens

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

Fresh ingredients are the best way to balance out the richness of creamy ingredients like mayonnaise and sour cream in macaroni salad. Food Network Kitchen uses flat-leaf parsley for brightness, plus a dash of cider vinegar for tanginess in the dressing. Stir up these ingredients with the cooked pasta for a dish that’s ready in just 30 minutes.

Virginia Willis' Macaroni Salad for FoodNetwork.com

Macaroni Salad

Virginia Willis' Macaroni Salad for FoodNetwork.com

Photo by: Virginia Willis ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Right Reserved

Virginia Willis, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Right Reserved

Macaroni and cheese have proven themselves the perfect match for one another, and in this recipe they remain a delicious duo. Combine mild cheddar cheese with cooled pasta for a decadent twist on macaroni salad. Celery seed, carrots and onions are added to the mayonnaise-based dressing for additional color and texture.

A bowl of macaroni salad with diced ham on a table with dishes of sliced fruit, salad and sandwhiches

A bowl of macaroni salad with diced ham on a table with dishes of sliced fruit, salad and sandwhiches

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Food Network

Tara Donne, Food Network

Fresh dill, ham and baby peas elevate this macaroni salad with heartiness and bright flavor. Food Network Kitchen also suggests tossing the cooked pasta with milk, explaining, “Adding just a couple tablespoons mellowed the dressing and gave the salad a wonderful old-fashioned quality without being goopy or heavy.”

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