This really good macaroni salad recipe is one of my favorite recipes, thanks to a few special touches and unexpected ingredients. I think you’re going to love it too!

homemade macaroni salad with fresh dill sprig on top

You can save this recipe and use it when you need an easy dish for a party or when you are making a salad to take to someone who is sick or homebound. It feeds a lot of people on the cheap.!

The low cost of the ingredients isn’t the only thing I love about this salad. It also tastes really good, like REALLY good (hence the name). One bite, and you’ll agree that this is the perfect side dish.

FOR MORE EASY PASTA SALAD RECIPES, CHECK OUT:

Frequently Asked Questions about Macaroni Salad

Before we get to the macaroni salad recipe, here are some questions people often ask about it. If you don’t see your question in this list, please leave it in the comments.

Do you put egg in a macaroni salad?

Yes, I always include hard-boiled eggs in my pasta salad. They are a meat-free way to add some healthy protein. I also love how the texture complements the al dente macaroni noodles.

Why is my macaroni salad bland?

If you follow my recipe exactly, then it won’t be bland – I promise! Make sure you aren’t using too many macaroni noodles. A common problem with pasta salad is not adding enough dressing. You can also try salting the water while your noodles boil.

How do you keep mayonnaise from separating in macaroni salad?

The best way to prevent the dressing from separating from the pasta is to coat the macaroni noodles with a thin layer of olive oil first.

Let’s Make Macaroni Salad

So, I stumbled upon a photo of macaroni salad this morning and had an immediate craving. Shame on you, Pinterest. Normally I can subdue these cravings, but with thoughts of summer swirling in my head, the desire to whip up a batch of macaroni salad was too powerful to resist.

dressing being poured over cooked pasta

Ingredients:

The secret to a really good macaroni salad is the ingredients. I have lots of special things that I put in my macaroni salad recipe.

Salad Ingredients

  • Elbow Macaroni – You can’t have macaroni salad without macaroni! But yes, you can totally make this recipe with another type of noodle – try it with bow-tie pasta.
  • Onion – I used white onion, but if you dice a red onion in tiny pieces, it will work too.
  • Celery – This adds a delightful crunch to the pasta salad.
  • Sweet Pickles – This is a sweet and sour salad, so use sweet pickles.
  • Eggs – Hard boil a bunch of eggs the day before and save yourself some time.
  • Olives – These are optional, but I love the tart flavor olives add to this sweet and tangy salad.
  • Dill – Fresh herbs taste the best, so use fresh dill.

Macaroni Salad Dressing

  • Mayonnaise – Don’t use Miracle Whip, only real mayo.
  • Sour Cream – Full-fat sour cream will give the richest flavor to the salad.
  • Dijon Mustard – This adds complexity to the dressing. If you like spice, add some spicy mustard too.
  • Pickle Juice – Use the same juice from the sweet pickles.
  • Sugar – White granulated sugar will mix in the best and give it the perfect balance of sweetness.
  • Salt & Pepper – Use just enough to enhance the other flavors in the salad.

Now that you know all of the ingredients, let’s whip some up!

How to Make the Best Macaroni Salad Recipe

Believe it or not, I’ve never made macaroni salad before. That’s kind of weird, right? To be honest, I was actually intimidated to tackle this today.

I seem to fear staple recipes such as this that people have come to know and love. Everyone has their favorite way to make macaroni salad, and anything but their favorite is blasphemy.

My dad, for example, makes an amazing macaroni salad. It’s no-frills and swimming (in a really good way) in Miracle Whip. I love the stuff, as does the rest of my family. If you’re looking for a Miracle Whip-based macaroni salad recipe, you can find that HERE.

macaroni salad side dish on a table with fresh flowers in a pot

Now, without further adieu – here’s how to make this incredible macaroni salad:

  1. Cook the macaroni according to the package directions for al dente. Drain and rinse under cold running water and set aside.
  2. For the dressing, in a medium-size bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, pickle juice, sugar, salt, and pepper. Whisk until combined.
  3. In a large bowl, add the cooked macaroni, onion, celery, pickles, green olives, and dressing. Stir well to coat.
  4. Add the hard-boiled eggs and dill. Stir again to coat. Add extra salt or pepper to taste.
  5. Chill in the refrigerator or transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh dill before serving.
close up of pasta salad with boiled eggs and olive

How to Store Macaroni Salad

This salad tastes best when it is fresh. But, you can make it ahead of time if needed. Store your macaroni salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

What to Serve with Macaroni Salad

This recipe is the perfect companion to just about anything you make. It tastes delicious on the side with burgers, grilled hot dogs, pulled pork, or even with a simple deli sandwich.

That’s a Wrap on Really Good Macaroni Salad!

It really is that easy to make a macaroni salad that everyone raves about! I have a fondness for more traditional, old-fashioned macaroni salad made with real mayonnaise, which is what this recipe calls for.

However, there are a few more unique ingredients that, in my opinion, make this particular salad bold and special. Those ingredients include sweet pickle juice, sugar, and fresh dill. They really make all the difference. Trust me.

Initially, I thought about naming this recipe The Best Ever Macaroni Salad. However, that’s a lot of pressure for a salad. Instead, I decided on Really Good Macaroni Salad.

Give it a try. I’m sure you’ll agree. And then check out more of my favorite appetizer recipes HERE.

Really Good macaroni salad pinterest image

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Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: macaroni salad, pasta, pasta salad, summer
Servings: 8 people
Prep Time 30 mins
Total Time 30 mins
This Really Good Macaroni Salad is one of my favorite recipes thanks to a few special touches and ingredients. I think you’re going to love it too!

Ingredients

Dressing:
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 teaspoons sweet pickle juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
Ingredients:
  • 6 cups elbow macaroni - 1 lb box, cooked
  • 1/2 large white onion - finely chopped
  • 4 celery stalks - finely chopped
  • 5-6 sweet pickles - finely chopped
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs - chopped
  • 1 cup green olives - pimento-stuffed, sliced in half
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill - chopped
  • Additional fresh dill for garnish

Instructions

  • Begin by cooking the macaroni according to the package directions. Cook al dente. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Set aside..
  • For the dressing, in a medium-size bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, pickle juice, sugar, salt, and pepper. Whisk until combined.
  • In a large bowl, add the macaroni, onion, celery, pickles, green olives, and dressing. Stir well to coat. Then add the hard-boiled eggs and dill. Stir again to coat. Add extra salt or pepper to taste. Chill in the refrigerator or transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh dill before serving.

Video


Nutrition Facts

Calories: 633kcalCarbohydrates: 86gProtein: 18gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 845mgPotassium: 333mgFiber: 4gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 433IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 75mgIron: 2mg
Made it? Share it!Tag @inspiredbycharm on Instagram and use the tag #myIBC so we can see what you’re cooking in the kitchen!
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Comments

  • celebspanda at

    That is a wonderful recipe, I made it tonight and it is better than any I have made before. Thanks so much for posting it!

  • Denise at

    Planning on making this recipe today and do not have the sweet pickles. Do you recommend leaving them out completely or replacing with another ingredient? Thank you 🙂

    • Elaine at

      I dont like sweet pickles , so instead, I added chopped up green olives with pimento and the olive juice instead of pickles , it came out great!!!

      • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

        LOVE that idea!! Olives are one of my favorites.

        xo Michael

  • Debbie Kandalec at

    I love the combination of dressing ingredients. This was, hands down, the best macaroni salad I have tasted. Glad I found the recipe!!

  • Barbara at

    I think the most appealing thing on your very appealing page is your open, happy, cute and smiling little face at the top.

  • Cherene at

    I made this pasta salad yesterday & it was “Really” good. The only things I did differently was add green peas, used dried dill, instead of fresh (it’s what I had on hand) and omited the olives (personal preference).

    • Cherene at

      FI made this pasta salad yesterday & it was “Really” good. The only things I did differently was add green peas, used dried dill, instead of fresh (it’s what I had on hand) and omited the olives (personal preference).

      • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

        That’s awesome! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe and made it your own!

        xo Michael

  • stephanie at

    This is my Great-Grandma’s mac salad recipe! I’ve never found anyone else who makes it this way. Have never added dill, but just might give it a try. And in our house, the dressing is simply Miracle Whip, salt and pepper = totally basic.

  • Kat at

    Tried the dressing and i loved it! and I’m not a fan of dressing so i was surprised I really loved this one,and my family, thanks!

  • Dana at

    I just made this. Seemed like it was missing something and needed more mayo so I reread the ingredients. I forgot to add the Dijon and he sour cream. Jeezzz!

  • Cheryl at

    Made your macaroni salad yesterday! DELICIOUS! Have never used dill, pickles, pickle juice, Dijon mustard or green olives in my macaroni salad before and am now wondering how I ever was satisfied WITHOUT THEM! I DID add matchstick carrots to your recipe because we LOVE carrots in all salads. Put in about a cup of them. The pickles and olives meld so nicely with the sour cream, mayo and Dijon mustard! Mmmmmm! Thank you for my NEW FAVORITE MACARONI SALAD recipe!!!

  • Kathy Griffith at

    Wow that’s so funny as I did the same thing, made macaroni salad and hamburgers in the middle of a cold spell on the East Coast. Brought out the George Forman grill and grilled those burgers, was very good change to the soups and such of the winter.

  • Patricia at

    I wanna make this for my sons wedding, how many servings does it make ?

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Im not exactly sure. I want to say it would serve about 20 folks. Just consider how much a pound of pasta feeds.

      Hope that helps!
      xo Michael

  • Janet Mayer at

    Michael, I made this recipe a couple of weeks ago for my granddaughter’s high school graduation party (awww…) and it was a huge hit!! I got so many compliments on it and several people remarked how much they loved the fresh dill. Will be making it again very soon. Thank you!!!

  • Jean at

    This mac salad looks so yummy, I can’t wait ti try it. I grew up on the miracle whip style and love it so much that I could eat the whole bowl all by my self… just kidding lol. My grandson took a culinary class, where they used mayo in place of miracle whip which I would have never done… I loved it.. so when I saw your recipe I just had to print it and give it a try. Nice twist w/ the ingredients! Thanks Michael, I can’t wait to see what you are going to share next.

  • dena at

    There are SO many different types of Dijon mustard out there and I have been struggling to find one that isn’t too overpowering. What kind do you use?

  • Michelle at

    Made this tonight for an early Father’s Day dinner tomorrow. I have always added sweet pickles, and olives to my macaroni salad, with straight Miracle Whip. I think this will be my new mac salad recipe. It is wonderful! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Jeannee at

    Wow ! You got me at the olives ! For a minute I thought this was just like one my family has been making for many years but we do not use the sweet pickle juice or the olives ! I am definitely going to make this one ! Thanks for a new take on an old faithful !!!

  • Linda Case at

    Are the sweet pickles the same as gherkins or cucumber chips?

  • Marla at

    I love the real mayo and dill! Simply aahmazing! My mom’s was always made with miracle whip and very traditional. My husband and I like a little bit of spice so I add cayenne as well.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Oooh! I love the additional of cayenne! Glad you enjoyed the recipe.

      xo Michael

  • Cindy at

    That is a wonderful recipe, I made it tonight and it is better than any I have made before. Thanks so much for posting it!
    Cindy

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      So happy to hear you enjoyed it Cindy!

      xo Michael

  • Debbie Whitford at

    ‘Almost’ exactly how I make mine. Try adding some diced sweet peppers. The kind that come in a bag next to the bell peppers. I love the variety of red, yellow and orange all in one bag. And also…the trick to my mac salad…deviled eggs…and potato salad…is to add white vinegar. I start at a tablespoon full. Add more to taste.

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