Macaroni Salad is one of the best recipes for summer potlucks.
MACARONI SALAD RECIPE
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I do love me a good potluck. There’s something about getting to try a small scoop of everything and then going back for seconds with your favorites.
This creamy macaroni salad recipe is definitely a keeper. You’ll find that my recipe has a lot more vegetables than most recipes out there. Chop them up super small and you can eat it with a spoon! The vegetables not only make this recipe healthier, but they add so much more crunch and texture than your ordinary macaroni salad.
Macaroni Salad ingredients:
When you make homemade macaroni salad, you’ll make the dressing and then everything else that goes into the recipe. My recipe uses a lot of ingredients, but it’s super simple to make and has more flavor than any macaroni salad recipe I’ve ever had.
For the dressing, you’ll need:
- mayonnaise – I always make my own homemade mayonnaise
- sour cream – full fat
- cornichon juice – you can use pickle juice if you don’t have cornichons
- apple cider vinegar – I recommend unfiltered
- dijon mustard
- salt – I always use kosher salt when cooking
- black pepper – freshly ground makes all the difference
- garlic powder
- red pepper flakes
For the rest of the macaroni salad you’ll need:
- elbow macaroni noodles – you can use a different kind of pasta if you prefer but I love the size and shape of these for this recipe
- cornichons – again, you can substitute with pickles but the cornichons are generally more firm and pack more flavor
- green bell pepper – you can use a different color… green is what I had on hand
- red onion
How to make the best Macaroni Salad:
- First step is to cook the pasta. When cooking pasta, I always heavily salt my water and use a good tablespoon of kosher salt. Cook the noodles al dente. You want them to be done but still have quite a bit of bite to them. Drain the pasta and let it fully cool.
- Next, you’ll combine the pasta with the remaining macaroni salad ingredients. This recipe tastes best when the vegetables are cut super small to a uniform size. This can be done quickly in the food processor.
- The dressing is easy to make. Simply combine all of the dressing ingredients together and whisk well until they’re fully combined.
- Finally, add the dressing to the rest of the salad and toss to combine.
Can you freeze Macaroni Salad?
I’m a big fan of cooking big batches of food and then freezing some for a future date. I would not, however, recommend freezing macaroni salad.
I’m sure it can be done and might even turn out okay, but I have never frozen macaroni salad so I can’t tell you for sure if it would keep well.
I highly recommend serving macaroni salad immediately. That’s how it tastes best. You can certainly store leftovers in the refrigerator, but vegetables release liquid over time so you will have liquid on the bottom of your leftovers.
How long is Macaroni Salad good for?
Although I think this is definitely best when served immediately, we’ve kept leftover macaroni salad in the fridge for a good 3-5 days and it was fine.
Keep in mind that the longer you store it, the more liquid the veggies will release and the soggier they’ll get. You may need to scoop it out with a slotted spoon.
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni noodles
- 1/4 cup cornichons diced
- 3/4 cup green bell pepper diced
- 3/4 cup celery diced (I used 3 stalks)
- 1/2 cup red onion diced (I used one small red onion)
- 2 large carrots peeled and shredded
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons cornichon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta just to the al dente stage. You want them to be cooked but still have a nice, tender bite to them. Allow to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine cooked macaroni with remaining salad ingredients.
- To make dressing, whisk together all dressing ingredients until well combined. Add to salad and toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!
Love easy salad recipes that are perfect for potlucks?
Well, then, you’ll have to make these: