Southern Macaroni Salad is a classic side dish that's perfect for your next picnic. This cold pasta salad is filled with macaroni, diced vegetables, and eggs, coated in a creamy and flavorful dressing.
You're going to love my recipe for southern macaroni salad because it's flavorful, filled with fresh ingredients, and easy to make for parties and picnics.
This macaroni salad is filled with red onion, celery, and red bell pepper. These vegetables add crunch and fresh flavor to an otherwise plain macaroni salad.
Arguably the best part is the creamy dressing made with freshly squeezed lemon juice. The lemon juice adds a bright, fresh flavor to this macaroni salad that you'll love.
Serve macaroni salad at your next picnic, barbecue, or really any family gathering where food is involved!
Ingredients and substitutions
Cooked macaroni can be substituted with any other medium sized pasta. Farfalle or shells would be a great choice.
Mayonnaise can be substituted with greek yogurt for a lower calorie salad.
Red bell pepper can be substituted with green, yellow, or orange bell pepper. If you'd like to add an extra southern touch, substitute the red bell pepper with pimientos instead.
Want to add a bit of heat? Add diced jalapenos to your macaroni salad.
Serving macaroni salad
Macaroni salad is served cold, and since it contains perishable ingredients, needs to be kept cold.
Your macaroni salad can sit out at room temperature for a maximum of two hours before it should be discarded.
Once you've served your food, I recommend covering any leftovers and storing in the refrigerator as soon as possible.
Leftover macaroni salad will keep for about 3 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
What to serve with macaroni salad
Macaroni salad makes the perfect side dish for just about any meal! Here are a few of my favorites:
- Burgers on the grill
- Baked Chicken Drumsticks
- Marmalade Glazed Ham
- Pulled pork
- Deli meat sandwiches
- Hot dogs
- Oven Roasted Brats
- Grilled chicken
Southern Macaroni Salad
- 8 ounces macaroni, uncooked
- 3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- ½ red bell pepper, diced
- ½ medium red onion, diced
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Cook macaroni according to package directions for al dente pasta. Drain, rinse with cold water, and allow to cool to room temperature.
- In a small bowl, add mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Whisk to combine.
- In a large bowl, add macaroni, onion, celery, bell pepper, and eggs. Add dressing and toss to evenly coat all ingredients.
- Pour macaroni salad into a serving dish and top with chopped parsley. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Your macaroni salad can be made the same day, or the day prior to serving. I'd recommend at least an hour of chilling in the refrigerator to allow all of your ingredients to cool and flavors to meld, but it can be served immediately.
- Red bell pepper can be substituted with green, yellow, or orange bell pepper, or pimientos instead.
- Optionally, sprinkle extra paprika on top as a decoration.
Very good, but added velveta cheese & sweet relish.
I added cubed pepper jack cheese with the diced jalapeños. Everyone loved it and it was gone by the end of the night. Thank you!
I made this tonight, super yummy, easy and filling.
I wonder about adding pickles….
Yes, pickles or relish would make a great addition to macaroni salad! I'd start with 1/2 cup of chopped pickles and add more as desired.
The first time I made this my husband, granddaughter and myself devoured the entire bowl at dinner! Then I made this for a party and everybody raved about it. My daughter was there and she usually doesn't eat macaroni salad but she tried it and loved it. Now she requested it be served for Christmas dinner instead oif the mac and cheese.
Not a fan of mayo, can I use sour cream instead
I haven't tried this recipe with all sour cream before, I've done half and half with mayo/sour cream, and also used plain Greek yogurt. If you give it a try, let us know how it goes!
This salad got rave reviews from the whole family. Thanks!
BRANDI EVANS WALKER
I added ham and broccoli, too! It was delish!
Great Salad. One of the best I have ever made. Thanks!!
Nancy L. Mihas
Can a little honey be added to mixture for a little sweetness?
I haven't tried it myself, but I'm sure it could be whisked into the dressing! I'd start with a teaspoon and taste test to see if you'd like it sweeter.
This is the best macaroni salad I’ve ever had. I added sliced Spanish olives and it was delicious! Thank you for this keeper.
First timer making Mac salad. This is awesome! Added 6 oz of tuna and sweet relish.
1st time making and was a hit
Yummy I used green onion instead and 1table spoon of lemom
I used pimiento instead of bell pepper. Turned out fantastic!
Glad you enjoyed the macaroni salad, Carolyn!