posted in 4th of July

Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad

Everyone needs this recipe on hand to make for barbecues and potlucks:  Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad.  A great, classic, no-frills recipe is what I have here for you.  It’s the best!

There is a short video showing you how to make this recipe toward the end of this post.  Then you can scroll to the bottom of this post to print out the complete recipe and make it at home.

Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad recipe - from

For as long as I can remember, my mother has been making a similar version of this simple, classic macaroni salad recipe.  It has always been my favorite.  I don’t want anything fancy in my macaroni salad, so the simplest version works best for me.

You must begin with the small noodles with the hole in the middle (otherwise known as ditalini).  I suppose you could use small elbows too, but I personally love the little guys.

I toss my macaroni salad with a mixture of mayo, mustard and onion powder.  I mix in a small dose of chopped celery and green onions.  Chopped hard-boiled egg is folded in at the end.

Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad recipe - from

I could seriously eat loads and loads of this stuff.  Since that’s not such a good thing, I like to make this salad when we have company coming over.  It needs to be devoured so I’m not tempted by a large bowl of leftovers!

Have you ever tried the macaroni salads that they sell in the deli section at your grocery store?  They’re over-slathered with a thick mayonnaise dressing, and the flavor is just not there.  It tastes like it is mass-produced because it is! Yuck.

Making it at home is infinitely better.  You can control the amount of dressing you add to the salad.  It’s totally your preference whether you like it heavily dressed or not.

Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad Recipe - RecipeGirl.comOld Fashioned Macaroni Salad recipe - from

And just for the record, Mom never would add celery and green onion to her macaroni salad.  She doesn’t care for anything crunchy.  But I chop them up quite small… they just add a little something extra to the recipe.

This salad is always a big hit- gobbled up quickly and hardly ever any leftovers (yahoo!)

Click below to watch a short video showing you how to make this recipe, then scroll to the bottom to print out the complete recipe.

Yield: 10 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad


  • 2 cups macaroni (I use ditalini)
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped (green and white parts)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • paprika, for garnish


  1. Prepare the pasta according to package directions.  Rinse under cold water and set aside to drain well.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, celery, green onion, mustard, onion powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Place the drained, cooled pasta in a large bowl.  Add the mayonnaise mixture and stir into the pasta until well combined.  Gently stir in the chopped egg.  Sprinkle with paprika, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least a couple of hours before serving.

Here are a few more macaroni salad recipes you might enjoy:


39 Responses to “Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad”

  1. postedMay 18, 2015 4:09 AM

    This is PERFECT because I actually don’t have a good macaroni salad to bring to BBQ this year. I know, terrible food blogger I am. But, you did the hard work for me and this looks so creamy and deeeelish! Pinned!

  2. postedMay 18, 2015 7:54 AM

    I get tired of potato salad and having a good macaroni salad recipe is nice.

  3. postedMay 18, 2015 10:54 AM

    This looks so good, Lori! Definitely a summer backyard party staple – I can’t wait to try your recipe! 🙂

  4. postedMay 18, 2015 2:14 PM

    This is very similar to my grandmother’s recipe, except she added diced sweet pickles and a little sweet pickle juice in the dressing, and no onion powder. I don’t use celery, but do add celery seed and sliced black olives in mine. Oh, and I’ve used all kinds of pasta, even the curly kind. Always a hit!

  5. postedMay 19, 2015 12:29 AM

    I go half and half with mayo and sour cream.  Love the extra richness the sour cream gives.  Also use diced pickle.

  6. postedMay 19, 2015 4:45 AM

    Salads like this one are my summer guilty pleasures! I can’t wait to give this one a try!

  7. postedMay 20, 2015 4:39 AM

    What a classic! I’d add green onions and celery too.

  8. postedMay 21, 2015 3:03 PM
    Jamie @ Love Bakes Good Cakes

    This looks perfect! I could go for a spoonful right now!

  9. postedMay 25, 2015 7:04 AM

    I am making this today for Memorial bbq. It looks delicious and I cannot wait to heap some on my plate! Thank you!

  10. postedMay 26, 2015 12:39 PM
    Julie J.

    Hi Lori, I made this salad for the Memorial Day weekend and it is delicious.  Thank you for sharing.  My husband said I need to make it again this weekend!

  11. postedJun 22, 2015 6:30 PM

    is it 2 cups of dry or cooked noodles?

    • postedJun 26, 2015 5:40 PM

      2 cups dry- then prepare as directed on the package.

  12. postedJun 30, 2015 2:24 PM

    Thanks a million was just thinking about making some yesterday. I can eat tons of it as well. I also like to add a bit of Velveeta cheese into the mix as well. 🙂

  13. postedOct 18, 2015 5:59 AM

    How much would you say is in each serving? I’m guessing just over 1/2 cup?

    • postedOct 26, 2015 4:06 PM

      I’d say that’s about right.

  14. postedFeb 10, 2016 3:19 PM
    Susan Yakus

    I will make this on the coming weekend for a party. The only thing I will add is a bit of cubed cheddar cheese. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • postedFeb 12, 2016 7:54 AM

      I love cheese in macaroni salad! Peas too!

  15. postedMay 1, 2016 2:36 PM

    If you like your salad soopy than use the above measurements. way too much mayo . the whole thing turned out soopy. Way too much mustard. the whole thing tasted like only mustard. had to cut the tanginess with honey. bad measurements on this recipe. this certainly wasnt old fashioned.

    • postedMay 2, 2016 7:48 AM

      Did you use two cups of cooked pasta or two cups of dry pasta? Sounds like you measured it already cooked… which would definitely result in too much dressing being added. Use two cups of dry- cook according to package directions (which should give you lots of pasta!), and the dressing added should be just right.

  16. postedMay 24, 2016 9:47 AM

    My mom always made the best macaroni salad. This one looks really yummy! I’m going to have to give this recipe a try. 

  17. postedJun 21, 2016 8:00 AM

    This was absolutely wonderful tasting; however, after reading the reviews it was stated use 2 cups DRY macaroni which I measured & used. I now see where the confusion lies with the macaroni amount. Measuring 2 cups dry does not work, recipe should say 16 oz. dry which is equivalent to 1 standard size box. I’m not a new cook but the recipe amount is deceiving. Hope this helps others because the recipe is SO GOOD! 

    • postedJun 21, 2016 9:55 AM

      I use 2 cups dry (8 ounces)… probably best to add in the dressing a little at a time until you get the texture you want for the salad. Did you use 16 ounces (4 cups) of dry ditalini pasta for the recipe?

  18. postedJul 4, 2016 8:30 AM

    Can you use miracle whip in place of mayo?

    • postedJul 7, 2016 5:03 AM

      I don’t like Miracle Whip at all, so I wouldn’t recommend it. But if that’s what you prefer then perhaps you should try it!

  19. postedJul 27, 2016 7:22 PM

    What kind of mustard do you use?

    • postedJul 27, 2016 9:20 PM

      I use regular yellow mustard in this recipe.

  20. postedAug 21, 2016 6:58 PM

    So good!! I made it for a family party yesterday and everyone loved it! I could eat the whole batch! ????

  21. postedSep 30, 2016 10:18 AM

    If I use the entire box of ditalini, do I double the sauce and veggie recipe?

    • postedOct 12, 2016 9:23 PM

      Well, you’d need to measure it out. The recipe calls for 2 cups dry… so if a whole box is 4 cups, then yes.

  22. postedFeb 21, 2017 5:24 PM

    This was amazing! Thank you for sharing!

  23. postedFeb 24, 2017 4:42 PM

    Why have I (almost) forgotten the long lost homemade mac salad!! We always made this when I was growing up. Time to get back to the basics and start enjoying it again.

  24. postedFeb 24, 2017 9:48 PM
    Hazel Pedersen

    Great recipe!

  25. postedMar 5, 2017 7:56 AM

    I like peas in it, and cheese sometimes. We also make it with small shrimp at times. Such a great recipe that can be made so many ways! Thanks for sharing.

    • postedMar 9, 2017 9:50 AM

      I love those ideas!

  26. postedMar 8, 2017 7:52 AM

    I put peppers, vinegar and pickle juice in mine.  Will swap out eggs for tuna depending on who I am feeding.

  27. postedMay 25, 2017 8:48 AM

    This is THE BEST! Just like my mom used to make.

  28. postedJun 16, 2017 6:35 AM

    Terrific…fabolouse flavors…a real crowd pleaser…thankyou for sharing your recipe !!!

  29. postedOct 18, 2017 8:02 PM

    Just made this tonight. Very quick and easy. It was delicious. Thank you!!!

  30. postedDec 30, 2017 12:25 PM

    I usually add some chunked up ham or flakes of ham to the recipe as well.

Leave a Comment