This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
The best creamy macaroni salad recipe made with pasta, vegetables, and a creamy homemade sweet and tangy dressing. An easy, traditional macaroni salad recipe!
This Macaroni Salad recipe has been a staple in our home for years and it is unreal that I haven’t shared it with you yet! My son, Carson, literally told me a few days ago that this is the favorite food I make. That is a bold statement as I make A LOT of food!
One of our favorite family activities is to go to the lake on our boat together as a family. We hit a lake that is a tad further away and is so beautiful and the best part of it is that there is zero cell phone service. So we really get away with our teenagers! Whenever we hit the lake, they have two requests for food — homemade mac salad and veggies and ranch dip. So this old-fashioned macaroni salad recipe has become synonymous with lake trips and road trips. My family loves it!
The key to making the best macaroni salad is to make sure the dressing is full of tang, spice, and a touch of sweetness and there’s a lot of it. As the sweet macaroni salad chills in the refrigerator, the pasta soaks up all of the dressing so it is imperative to make sure it is extra creamy.
This is the best macaroni salad dressing because it is made with a combination of mayo, sour cream, red wine vinegar, and mustard for tang, red chili flakes for a touch of spice, sugar for a little sweetness, and garlic powder for depth of flavor.
How to make the best Macaroni Salad Recipe:
This is such an easy macaroni salad recipe! All you do is cook your favorite type of bite-size pasta, according to the package instructions. Then finely dice all of the vegetables so the veggies are chopped into small pieces. Make the homemade mac salad dressing and toss with pasta and dressing. It is that simple! Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Macaroni Salad Ingredients:
- Sweet Pickle Relish
- Red Onion
- Sour Cream
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Deli Mustard
- Red Chili Flakes
- Garlic Powder
- Salt and Pepper
What should I serve with Macaroni Salad?
- Grilled Marinated Chicken
- Tri-Tip Steak
- Classic Cheeseburgers (how to grill the best burgers)
- Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
- Smoked Baby Back Ribs
This pasta salad with mayo can be served with all types of meat, as a side dish at a potluck, or as the perfect quick and easy lunch. This is just like Grandma’s Macaroni Salad Recipe…but even better!
This homemade macaroni salad can be refrigerated for up to 7-10 days. My husband prefers to eat it at room temperature so he loves to eat it fresh as soon as it is made.
Pin this now to find it laterPin It
The Best Macaroni Salad Recipe
- 1 lb. Pasta *
- 3/4 cup Sweet Pickle Relish
- 3/4 to 1 cup Red, Orange, and Yellow Peppers (diced)
- 1 to 2 stalks Celery (diced)
- 1 Carrot (diced)
- 1/4 cup Red Onion (finely diced)
Macaroni Salad Dressing:
- 1 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup Sour Cream
- 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar (or white vinegar)
- 2 Tablespoons Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Deli or Dijon Mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- Heat a large pot of water over high heat until boiling. Add a generous amount of salt to season the pasta while it cooks. Once the water is boiling, cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain.
- Meanwhile, chop the vegetables. Dice the peppers, celery, carrots, and onion into finely diced pieces.
- Once the pasta is drained, add to a large bowl. Toss the diced vegetables into the pasta.
Macaroni Salad Dressing:
- In a medium bowl, stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, red wine vinegar, sugar, mustard, red chili flakes, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Toss pasta and vegetables with dressing and stir well to coat. Taste for seasonings and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.