Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons

Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.

Make this Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe as the perfect side dish for a cookout, party, or barbecue. You’ll love this creamy salad dressing mixed with tender elbow macaroni, cheese, peas, celery, bell peppers, and red onions, and it’s so easy to make!

Easy Macaroni Salad

Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe

When we need a quick and delicious side dish for a cookout, picnic, or to go with a dinner of hamburgers or BBQ, I go for Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe. It is super fast to put together and nothing beats fresh, homemade macaroni salad!

While you’re here, be sure to check out these great side dish recipes: Cucumber Tomato Salad | Easy Orange Creamsicle Salad | Dill Pickle Pasta Salad | Black Bean and Corn Salad

The Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make the Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe (the exact measurements and full recipe instructions are below in the printable recipe card):

  • Elbow macaroni
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Red onion
  • Celery
  • Red bell pepper
  • Frozen peas

For the dressing:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Fresh dill
  • Granulated sugar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper
ingredients to make Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe

How to Make Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe

Start by whisking together the ingredients for the dressing, then cover and chill in the refrigerator while you move on to the next steps. I do this first so it has time for the flavors to meld and also because the sugar needs a chance to melt into the dressing.

homemade salad dressing for macaroni salad

Cook the macaroni according to the package instructions, just until al dente. Pour the cooked macaroni into a colander to drain, then immediately rinse with cold water. The cold water will stop the cooking and cool down the pasta quickly to help prevent it from sticking together.

In a large bow, combine the cooked elbow macaroni, cubed cheddar cheese, red onion, celery, red bell pepper, and the peas.

mixing together macaroni, cheese, bell pepper, peas, celery, and red onion in a mint green bowl

Pour the dressing over the pasta salad.

pouring dressing over macaroni salad

Toss the macaroni salad together until everything is well coated in the dressing.

mixing Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe in a mint green bowl with a wooden spoon

You can serve the macaroni salad right away! If you won’t be serving immediately, cover the bowl and refrigerate the salad until you’re ready to eat.

a bamboo spoon with a scoop of macaroni salad


There may be some ingredients that you don’t prefer or different preparation methods you’d like better. The great thing about this Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe is that you can customize it to make it your own! Here are some ideas:

  • Different pasta – you may wish to use a different type of pasta, such as bowtie, penne, or rotini.
  • No dill – some people do not enjoy the flavor of fresh dill, so you can easily leave out this ingredient.
  • Mince or dice – when making this salad, you can see we roughly diced the red onion, bell pepper, and celery. This is because we enjoy the slightly larger pieces. But if you like the vegetables to be smaller, you’ll want to mince them into very small pieces. Either way is delicious!
  • Add eggs – many people love hard boiled eggs in their pasta salad. Just hard boil the eggs, peel, chop, then add to the salad.
  • No peas – some people love peas, some people don’t. This ingredient can easily be left out if you prefer.
  • Apple cider vinegar – not everyone likes the flavor of apple cider vinegar. You can instead use white vinegar or leave out the vinegar altogether. If you choose to not use any vinegar, you may want to add a couple of tablespoons of sour cream.
Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe in a white bowl with a white and yellow towel

How to Store the Leftovers

Due to the mayonnaise in the dressing, be sure to keep the leftover macaroni salad chilled. Cover with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to three days. Serve the salad cold.

closeup of the Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe

More Recipes You Will Love

Macaroni Salad Feature

Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe

Published By Jill
This Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe is the perfect side dish for a cookout, party, or barbecue! Made with creamy salad dressing mixed with tender elbow macaroni, cheese, peas, celery, bell peppers, and red onions. It's so easy to make!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 264 kcal



  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese cubed
  • 1/2 red onion peeled and minced
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas thawed


  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Cover and refrigerate while you move on to the next steps.
  • Boil the elbow macaroni according to the package directions just until al dente. Pour the macaroni into a colander to drain and immediately rinse with cold water to cool down the macaroni and prevent it from sticking.
  • In a large mixing bowl, toss together the cooked macaroni, cubed cheddar cheese, minced red onion, diced celery, diced red bell pepper, and the thawed peas.
  • Whisk the dressing well, then pour it over the macaroni salad; toss to combine.
  • Serve immediately or keep chilled until serving.


Calories: 264kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 10gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 426mgPotassium: 169mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 607IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 150mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @kitchenfunwithmy3sons or tag #kitchenfunwithmy3sons!
about me


I am a mom of 3 awesome boys that love to get crafty with me in the kitchen. Our blog is full of all sorts creative food ideas for the Holidays, Party Ideas, Free Printables, Featured DIY Ideas, Recipes, & Kids Craft Ideas! Read more...

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Sounds delicious. Celery is not listed among ingredients but is mentioned in directions. How much celery?

I used 3 medium size stalks (ribs)

Mac Salad5 stars

Great recipe; the celery is missing in the ingredient list…


As seen on