Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad

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Everyone needs this Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad recipe on hand to make for barbecues and potlucks.  This is a great, classic macaroni salad recipe. It’s the best!

Watch the video showing you how to make this recipe, then scroll to the bottom of this post to print out the complete recipe and make it at home.

Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad

Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad

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 amount of chopped celery and green onions.  Chopped hard-boiled eggs are folded in at the end.

Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad

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!

What makes this the best macaroni salad?

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 this Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad 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.  And it turns out 100% more delicious than store-bought macaroni salad.

Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad

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!)

What can you serve with macaroni salad?

My Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad is perfect to serve at a party or barbecue.  It makes an excellent side to to burgers and hot dogs, as well as grilled chicken and steak.  Add some sliced watermelon and corn on the cob, and you have a super easy complete meal!

How long can you keep macaroni salad in the fridge?

Macaroni salad will be fine when kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Then it’s probably time to throw it out.  Be careful when serving at room temperature.  It’ll be fine at room temperature for a couple of hours unless it is in a very hot environment.  Be sure to toss your macaroni cheese if it’s been left out at a party for more than 2 hours.  It likely won’t be safe to keep for leftovers.

Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad

Here are a few more salad recipes that would be great for a party or barbecue:

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4.91 from 10 votes

Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad

This macaroni salad recipe is such a popular choice for summer barbecues!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 342kcal
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword macaroni salad, old fashioned macaroni salad


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


  • Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Rinse under cold water and set aside to drain well.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, celery, green onion, mustard, onion powder, salt and pepper.
  • 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.



Serving: 1serving | Calories: 342kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 271mg | Potassium: 106mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 160IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 0.6mg


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  • Rebecca Kempton wrote:

    How can you half this recipe

    • Lori Lange wrote:


  • Holly wrote:

    Awesome as presented! Wouldn’t change a thing.

  • Leah wrote:

    It was delicious. I normally don’t like celery but I liked the crunch. I wasn’t sure about that much mustard so I only did one tablespoon. It worked and what I ate out of the bowl was perfect. My only complaint was after chilling it for like half hour it turned an ugly yellow. My husband looked grossed out but he said it tasted good. Thoughts? I used ball park mustard.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Matter of preference? I don’t remember my mac salad being an ugly yellow color. What you see in the video is the color it should be, so I’m not sure about what happened to yours!

  • Kimberly Spering wrote:

    I am constantly amazed that people will ‘rate” a recipe when changing it entirely. I tried to respond to Deborah, but the site wouldn’t let me do it.

    That said, this is a great basic macaroni salad recipe — very much like my grandmother’s recipe which I have used for decades.