Easy Macaroni Salad – Filled with noodles, veggies, bacon and cheese. Then tossed in a creamy and tangy dressing that’s full of flavor. This easy macaroni salad will become one of your potluck favorites!
Macaroni salad is one of my top things to bring to a BBQ. It’s easy, quick and has so much flavor. Some of my other favorite potluck salads are cornbread salad, broccoli salad with bacon, classic pasta salad, fruit salad and cucumber tomato salad.
Best macaroni salad
Macaroni salad is a classic side dish for potlucks and BBQ’s during the summer time. It’s one of those sides that you can almost always bet someone will bring and is definitely a crowd favorite.
The macaroni salad dressing is my favorite part about this recipe. It’s super easy to make and has great flavor. Plus it’s perfectly creamy with a little bit of tang.
Adding the additional bacon and cheese to the macaroni salad adds such great flavor! You could even sub ham for bacon if you’d like. It’s the perfect way to use up leftover ham from Easter or other holidays. Yum!
What’s in it?
Below are the ingredients needed to make this easy macaroni salad. Feel free to add in extras like eggs or peas. I also love to top it with fresh parsley or dill too. Yum!
- Macaroni salad ingredients: Elbow noodles, red bell pepper, celery, red onion, bacon and cheddar cheese.
- Macaroni salad dressing: Mayo, white vinegar, sugar, sweet pickle relish and dijon mustard.
How to make macaroni salad
Scroll down for the printable macaroni salad recipe.
- Cook noodles. Cook elbow noodles according to directions, then drain under cold water.
- Whisk together dressing. While noodles are cooking, whisk together the dressing ingredients. S&P to taste.
- Stir all ingredients together and serve! Place noodles, bell pepper, celery, onion and bacon in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing over and toss until combined. Top with fresh parsley or dill if desired.
Can you make it ahead of time?
The great thing about this macaroni salad recipe is that it can easily be made ahead of time. I love to make it the day before and let the flavors marinate together in the fridge overnight. However I do leave out the bacon if chilling overnight. I’ll add it in right before serving so that it stays nice and crisp.
How do you keep it moist?
It’s important to make sure your macaroni salad stays moist. No one wants a dry salad where the macaroni has absorbed the mayonnaise dressing! If you’re making it ahead of time, I’d recommend making a little more dressing to have on hand. That way, you can add some in the next day before serving. The extra dressing will keep it moist and delicious!
How long does it last?
This macaroni salad recipe will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 to 5 days in an airtight container. After serving, just make sure you immediately put it back in the fridge to chill. The mayonnaise base can spoil quickly if left out.
What can I serve with macaroni salad?
Our favorite main dish to serve with macaroni salad is grilled meat, like chicken, hamburgers or steak. It also tastes great served with other BBQ side dishes, like fruit salad or cucumber tomato salad. And make sure not to forget dessert! One of our favorite summer desserts is no-bake chocolate lasagna. Easy and delicious!
Other easy pasta salads:
- Loaded Potato Salad
- Classic Pasta Salad
- Tortellini Italian Pasta Salad
- BLT Pasta Salad
- Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad
- Southwestern Pasta Salad
- Orzo Salad with Vinaigrette
Macaroni Salad Recipe
- 12 ounces uncooked elbow noodles
- 1 red bell pepper , chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup minced red onion
- 6 pieces bacon , cooked and crumbled
- 1/2-1 cup cheddar cheese , shredded or cubed
- 2/3 cup mayo
- 1/4 cup white vinegar , or cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
S&P to taste
Fresh parsley or dill, optional
- Cook the elbow noodles according to package directions. Drain under cold water.
- While the noodles are cooking, whisk together the mayo, vinegar, sugar, relish and mustard. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the noodles, bell pepper, celery, onion and bacon in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing over and toss until combined. Top with fresh parsley or dill if desired.