4.75 from 113 votes

Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad (with Boiled Eggs)

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This Old-fashioned macaroni salad is the perfect retro recipe that will remind you of growing up at Grandma’s. Cue the big scoops of totally creamy, perfectly balanced macaroni salad (with an egg, of course) on the side of the plate.

As a picnic or holiday side dish, this simple, delicious macaroni salad is a staple that must not be skipped.

large white bowl of classic macaroni salad.

Looking for a family favorite recipe for the Thanksgiving menu?

THIS. IS. THE. RECIPE. 

Why you will love this Macaroni Salad Recipe

Just like Grandma used to make: This recipe version tastes like traditional macaroni salad. It’s a 10- to 15-minute salad, longer if you don’t have your pasta ready. You can also boil your pasta and let it cool, so this is a perfect make-ahead side dish.

Easy to alter: One thing about an old-fashioned macaroni salad recipe is everyone has an opinion. There are hoards of variations regarding this traditional side dish, and what you like in it or on it is something that is continuously debated.

Growing up, I was exposed to just about every macaroni salad that you can imagine.

Classic expected side dish: From tangy to sweet, every picnic, church function, and family get-together has included this aging staple. And why not? While there are plenty of new unique side dishes to rave about (Parmesan Crusted Potatoes, for one) timeless favorites are what get me excited to eat!

Wrapped up in delicious spices and mayo, the pasta in the macaroni salad is so creamy and delicious. Now, this particular macaroni salad recipe is a basic version, but it’s absolutely the best macaroni salad. It can be added and detracted easily to make the recipe your own.

Ingredients

  • uncooked elbow macaroni – that has been boiled, cooked, well-drained, and cooled down with cold water. 
  • real mayonnaise – part of a classic macaroni salad recipe to create a creamy dressing with tons of flavor. While many people try to use unflavored Greek yogurt or sour cream as a basis, I highly suggest using real creamy mayonnaise for the dressing. 
  • hard-boiled eggs – the best way to make hard-boiled eggs in the summer salad season is to pressure cook. Check out my Ninja Foodi hard-boiled eggs recipe – SO EASY!
  • diced celery ribs
  • Green onions
  • Prepared yellow mustard
  • onion powder
  • kosher salt & black pepper
laid out ingredients labeled for macaroni salad.

How to make Grandma’s Macaroni Salad

  1. Add cold elbow macaroni noodles, eggs, and diced stalks of celery in a mixing bowl.
  2. Mix well with mayonnaise, mustard, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Add all but 1 teaspoon of green onion and mix well.
  4. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Serve with remaining onions sprinkled on top and as always, additional salt and a little ground black pepper is fine to add. 
4 image collage of prepping and adding in all macaroni salad ingredients.

FAQ’s

The best way to cool down noodles

No matter whether you are making this day ahead of time, it’s imperative to make sure your cooked macaroni is COLD. If you need this done quickly, rinse the pasta immediately with cold running water and drain well before moving on. Any excess water or heat in the pasta can result in the creamy dressing being too liquid. 

What can you serve with macaroni salad?

Macaroni salad is a common side dish for potlucks and cookouts and goes great with burgers, hot dogs, chicken, and ribs. Serve with a bowl of fruit fluff, fresh fruit watermelon slices, or a side of fruit kabobs for a full meal.

How long can macaroni salad be stored in the fridge?

Sealed in an airtight container, this salad can be left in the fridge for 3-4 days. Occasionally, the noodles dry out a bit, so additional mayo may be needed to bring the freshness back. Just add a tablespoon and stir well before serving. 

Can Dijon mustard or brown mustard be used? 

Yes! Mustards can actually alter this side dish, and to mix up the taste, I have been known to add some sweet Dijon or honey mustard. 

Can you freeze macaroni salad? 

I do not recommend freezing macaroni salad due to the dressing. 

What is the difference between prepared yellow mustard and dry mustard? 

There are two main types of mustard: dry and prepared.  In the case of most side dishes, wet prepared mustard is used, which already contains additional stronger flavors as well as accounts for some of the consistency. 

mixed bowl of macaroni salad.
4.75 from 113 votes

Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad Recipe


Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Old fashioned macaroni salad is the retro recipe that will remind you of growing up at Grandmas. Cue the big scoops of creamy macaroni salad on the side! Let’s get busy making this simple, but delicious, party macaroni salad side dish. Makes a great side for holidays like Thanksgiving, you cannot go wrong adding this one to the menu this holiday season. This classic macaroni salad recipe is my grandma’s macaroni salad. It’s creamy, delicious, and a perfect retro recipe from the past. Truly authentic, this macaroni salad recipe goes amazing at potlucks, picnics, gatherings, and a side dish for lunch. Complements wraps, chicken breasts on the grill, and BBQ.

Ingredients
 

  • 4 cups cooked macaroni about 2 cups dry
  • 1 cup real mayonnaise
  • 3 hard boiled eggs chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 green onions thinly sliced and divided
  • 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard optional
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  • Boiled elbow macaroni noodles per instructions on box. Rinse with cold water and drain completly.
  • Add prepped macaroni noodles (cooled!), sliced boiled eggs, all but 1 tsp. sliced green onions, and chopped celery in a mixing bowl and mix well.
  • Stir in Real mayonnaise, prepared yellow mustard, onion powder, salt, and pepper and mix well.
  • Refrigerate Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad for 4 hours or the recipe does best overnight for full flavor.
  • Serve macaroni salad with extra green onions sprinkled on top.

Video

Notes

Macaroni Salad Variations
To mix your macaroni salad up, you can add green olives or colored peppers, and feel free to experiment with different pasta sizes as well. If you choose something other than the macaroni’s and go with farfalle or fusilli (the corkscrew pasta) it can bring a texture change that a lot of people really love as unique. 
Best way to cool down noodles
No matter whether you are making this day ahead of time, it’s imperative to make sure your cooked macaroni is COLD. If you need this done quickly, rinse pasta immediately with cold running water and let drain super well before moving on. Any excess water or heat in the pasta can result in the creamy dressing being too liquid. 
What can you serve with macaroni salad?
Macaroni salad is a common side dish for potlucks and cookouts and goes great with burgers, hot dogs, chicken, and ribs. Serve with a bowl of fruit fluff, fresh fruit watermelon slices, or a side of fruit kabobs for a full meal.
How long can macaroni salad be stored in the fridge?
Sealed in an airtight container, this salad can be left in the fridge for about 3-4 days. Occasionally the noodles dry out a bit, so additional mayo may be needed to bring the freshness back. Just add a tablespoon or so and stir well before serving. 
Can Dijon mustard or brown mustard be used? 
Yes! Mustards can actually really alter this side dish and to mix up up the taste, I have been known to add some sweet Dijon mustard or honey mustard. 
Can you freeze macaroni salad? 
I do not recommend freezing macaroni salad due to the dressing.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 217kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 289mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

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4.75 from 113 votes
4.75 from 113 votes (112 ratings without comment)

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10 Comments

  1. How many lbs of dry elbow macaroni is needed to feed 50 people. Making macaroni salad. Thank you

    1. Hi Rena, I would check the back of the macaroni box for recommended serving sizes and go off of that. I hope this helps!

  2. This turned out so good!! I just added a bit more onion powder and it was perfect!

    1. Thanks Linda! There is always room for more onion powder!

  3. Tara shaeffer says:

    I am in Pennsylvania dutch I remember it being like that but I thought there was vinegar and sugar in it too I can’t remember exactly how to make it

    1. Trisha Haas says:

      There are a great deal many recipes for something like macaroni salad, so in your past, they may have added a bit of vinegar. I personally do not love sugar in my macaroni salad, it makes it too sweet but some like it with pickle juice and some sugar. You can always experiment by adding a bit to the dressing.

  4. Delicious and a great staple mac salad recipe! The only thing I changed was adding sliced salami to make it more of a main salad dish. Thank you for the recipe….its a keeper!

  5. I just made this tonight. It’s delicious 😋. I didn’t have the celery but had the green onion. I used mustard and white vinegar with the mayo. And used all of the rest of ingredients. I also put dill.

  6. OH MY GOSH…. I loved my grandma’s Mac salad and haven’t made any in a long long time. I saw this and decided to give it a try. So Glad I did. It is delish and will be on our table a lot for sure. Thanks

    1. Trisha Haas says:

      Aww, this makes me so happy!

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