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Macaroni Salad is one of the best recipes for summer potlucks.

This creamy, simple, old fashioned recipe is full of veggies for added flavor and crunch!

homemade creamy Macaroni Salad recipe

Why this recipe works:

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.

Ingredients needed:

When you make this recipe, 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
  • sugar
  • 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
  • celery
  • red onion
  • carrots
creamy Macaroni Salad recipe

How to make this recipe:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The dressing is easy to make. Simply combine all of the dressing ingredients together and whisk well until they’re fully combined.
  4. Finally, add the dressing to the rest of the salad and toss to combine.

Storage tips:

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.

how to make the best Macaroni Salad

This homemade mac salad goes great with Stuffed Bacon Jalapeno Cheddar Burgers and Potato Wedge Fries.

Other great salad recipes:

Love easy salad recipes that are perfect for potlucks? Well, then, you’ll have to make these:

Macaroni Salad

Prep20 minutes
Cook8 minutes
Total28 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Macaroni Salad is one of the best recipes for summer potlucks. This creamy, simple, old fashioned recipe is full of veggies for added flavor and crunch!



Macaroni Salad:

  • 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



  • 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!


Calories: 278kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 539mg, Potassium: 131mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 3180IU, Vitamin C: 13.4mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 0.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this? Leave me a comment below

Hi! I’m Krissy.

I love to create the BEST versions of your favorite recipes. If you love to cook, love to eat, or just have a deep appreciation for good food, you’re in the right place! Stick around… I have hundreds of recipes for you to make.

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  1. 5 stars
    I never, ever liked macaroni salad. Won’t be saying that again. This is great. Fresh and crisp and amazing flavor. Now I love macaroni salad.
    The self proclaimed foodie is my new go to recipe source for everything now.

  2. I generally like your recipes, but…like many of today’s bloggers, why do you need to write almost an entire dissertation before you get to the actual recipe. It is annoying to me.

    1. Hi Judith, I’m glad you like the recipes and totally understand your concern. If I could just post the recipe, I absolutely would because these long posts take FOREVER to write. The main reason they’re so long is because of two reasons: First, I have to write for the inexperienced cook, so I must include as much information as possible. Second, in order for my recipes to come up in search results, they need to be lengthy and relevant. If you’re an experienced cook, I hope you keep coming back for the recipes and just scroll down to the ingredients and instructions. Thanks!!! Krissy