Easy macaroni salad filled with noodles, veggies, bacon and cheese. Then tossed in a creamy and tangy dressing that’s full of flavor. This recipe 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 favorites are cornbread salad, broccoli salad with bacon, fruit salad and cucumber tomato salad.
Macaroni salad is a classic side dish for potlucks and BBQ’s during the summer time. It’s one of those pasta salad recipes that you can almost always bet someone will bring and is definitely a crowd favorite. 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!
The 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. Below are the ingredients (amounts included in printable recipe below).
- White vinegar
- Sweet pickle relish
- Dijon mustard
How to make macaroni salad
Scroll down for the printable recipe.
- Cook noodles. Cook the 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 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.
TIP: Feel free to add in extras like eggs or peas. I also love to top it with fresh parsley or dill too. Yum!
Making in advance
This recipe 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 to 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?
It 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. I prefer to eat within the first few days of making.
Favorites to serve with
Macaroni salad tastes delicious served with any of the following:
Other easy pasta salads:
- Classic pasta salad
- Greek pasta salad
- Tortellini Italian pasta salad
- Buffalo chicken pasta salad
- Chicken caesar pasta salad
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, bacon and cheese in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing over and toss until combined. Top with fresh parsley or dill if desired.