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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  • Deborah wrote:

    I make mine entirely different. I use elbow macaroni. I chop up a 1/2 of a medium to large cucumber. I get the small grape sized red tomatoes & cut them in half. Chop up a 1/2 cup of purple onion. I add salt, pepper, paprika & mayo and it’s ready to eat! My mouth is watering for it..,,,think I’ll make a batch this weekend!

  • Debra wrote:

    Hi. Just want to confirm that you mean yellow prepared (ballpark) mustard, not dry mustard, right?

    • Lori Lange wrote:


  • Ben Buffington wrote:

    My family loves it, Thank you

  • Joanne wrote:

    Omg! Awesome! Made exactly as instructed but I think I will add some chopped left over Easter ham, just cause. I had to get it out of the freezer so once thawed I ‘ll throw it in. Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

  • Cheryl S wrote:

    This has become a favorite recipe at our house!! We add just a little pickle relish.

  • Julie wrote:

    I love how easy this is to make! Perfect for family get-togethers.

  • Jessica wrote:

    Yum this was delicious! Thank you!

  • Beth Pierce wrote:

    Seeing this recipe just got me excited because it means summer is approaching! Looks delicious; I’ll have to make this with some bbq!

  • Aimee Shugarman wrote:

    This is one of our favorite salads for potlucks! Everyone loves it.

  • Tim Bennett wrote:

    Thank you so much for this. My wife loves it. I added a tablespoon of sweet pickle relish, a tablespoon of honey, a Squirt of Worcestershire sauce, and a little bit of Sriracha. It was surprising how much the honey added some extra flavor without adding much sweetness. Of course, the recipe is awesome on its own. It is now my go-to from here out. Looking forward to trying your other recipes. Outstanding site.

  • Rose wrote:

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

  • Nicole wrote:

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

  • Lynn wrote:

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

  • Lorie wrote:

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

  • Connie wrote:

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

  • Gladys wrote:

    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.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I love those ideas!

  • Hazel Pedersen wrote:

    Great recipe!

  • Christine wrote:

    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.

  • Becky wrote:

    This was amazing! Thank you for sharing!

  • Carolyn wrote:

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

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      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.