Classic Macaroni Salad

Classic Macaroni Salad is an easy and delicious macaroni salad that is perfect for a backyard BBQ or picnic! Made with red bell pepper, celery, cubed cheddar cheese, green onions, and a mayonnaise-based dressing.

Classic Macaroni Salad

This summer Lars and Soren both have soccer on Wednesday nights, which means there are some nights we will be at the soccer fields for 2 ½ hours. Of course this is over dinnertime, so I'll be packing our dinners to avoid hungry and cranky kids and a hungry and cranky mom! I've decided my basic formula for soccer night dinners will be some sort of sandwich/wrap, fruit, and a pasta salad. There's a shaved ice food truck at the fields too, so I'm guessing I'll be talked into those, too. First up for my pasta salad - Classic Macaroni Salad!

Classic Macaroni Salad is one of those that we've all had at some point at a summer BBQ, potluck, or picnic. My version is filled with bell pepper and celery for some crunch, green onions for a subtle green onion flavor, and a creamy mayonnaise-based dressing.

Classic Macaroni Salad

Ingredients in Macaroni Salad

  • Macaroni Pasta
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Celery
  • Green Onion
  • Mayonnaise - you can use whatever kind of mayonnaise you prefer. I like olive oil mayonnaise, but use whatever you have on hand or prefer!
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Sweet Pickle Juice - just the juice from a jar of sweet pickles
  • Salt
  • Garlic Powder
Classic Macaroni Salad

How to Make Classic Macaroni Salad

This recipe is super simple to make. To start, bring a pot of water to boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. While the pasta is cooking, you can chop the veggies, cube the cheese, and prep the dressing.

Once the pasta is cooked, run it under some cool water to cool it down and then combine it with the chopped bell pepper, chopped celery, cubed cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, and the dressing. That's it! If you're making this ahead of time, simply cover it and refrigerate until it's time to eat. This pasta salad is great to make ahead of time because it doesn't dry out and the flavors are even more delicious after a few hours or a day.

Classic Macaroni Salad Questions

  • How long does it last? This macaroni salad will last 5-7 days in the refrigerator.
  • Can different pasta shapes be used? Yep! I used elbow macaroni pasta because I wanted it to appear as the classic macaroni salad, but you can use whatever you want. I think short-noodles will work best.
  • How can I make this healthier? You can swap half of the mayonnaise for greek yogurt, if you want! Add some chopped kale or spinach for a boost of nutrients.
Classic Macaroni Salad

Like this recipe? Check these out, too!

Southwestern Pasta Salad

Deviled Egg Pasta Salad

Waldorf Chicken Salad

What to Serve Classic Macaroni Salad With:

Blue Cheese Burgers

Grilled Lemon Rosemary Chicken Breasts

Grilled Caprese Chicken Sandwiches

Lightened Up Macaroni Salad

Classic Macaroni Salad

Classic Macaroni Salad is an easy and delicious macaroni salad that is perfect for a backyard BBQ or picnic!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 425kcal


  • 8 ounces macaroni pasta
  • 1 red bell pepper stem and seeds removed and diced
  • 3 stalks celery finely chopped
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese cubed
  • 3 green onions diced


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder


  • Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • In a large bowl, combine cooled pasta with bell pepper, celery, cheese, and green onions.


  • Combine all dressing ingredients and stir well to combine.
  • Mix with the macaroni salad ingredients and stir well.
  • Enjoy!


Calories: 425kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 561mg | Potassium: 145mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 821IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 215mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @greensnchocolate to let me know!
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