Classic Macaroni Salad – Delicious is In the Details

I can’t believe I’ve never posted a video for my take on summer’s most iconic pasta salad. Whether it’s sitting next to some smoky ribs, or just a humble hot dog, this deli-style macaroni salad will always be a crowd-favorite, as long as you pay attention to a few key details.

The most important things are to not rinse the macaroni, and to let it cool before adding the dressing. If you add it while the pasta is too hot, the mayo sort of melts, and you get a greasy salad. By letting it cool, while tossing, the macaroni gets nice and tacky, and will grab the sauce a lot better.

I mention in the video, I don’t put as much sugar as many of the web’s most popular versions call for. For this much dressing, a half-cup of sugar is not uncommon, which for my taste is way too much. Since we’re adding all those sweet veggies, just a spoon or two is all you should need.

As long as you follow the technique shown, you can tweak the vegetables and dressing ingredients to your liking, but no matter what you put in, try to let it sit overnight before serving. The flavors will develop, the macaroni will fully absorb the dressing, and all you’ll need to do is taste, adjust, and serve. I hope you give easy salad a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 12 portions:
1 pound (4 cups) uncooked elbow macaroni, cooked in well-salted water
For the dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise, plus an extra spoon as needed
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 or 2 tbsp white sugar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 cup green onions, white and light parts
1 cup finely diced celery
3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced green pepper (I used poblano and jalapeno)
1/2 cup grated carrot