Hawaiian Macaroni Salad


Is there anything better than a big scoop of creamy, tangy Hawaiian mac salad to get you in that laid-back island state of mind? I think not! This nostalgic pasta salad is the kind of simple yet sublime dish that immediately transports you to your happy place.

Whether you’re firing up the backyard grill, hosting a luau-themed picnic, or just need a taste of tropical comfort, authentic Hawaiian mac salad is where it’s at. It hits all the notes you want – luxurious creaminess, a subtle tang, a touch of sweetness, and so much fresh, vibrant flavor.

The genius is in the simplicity here. You just need some solid elbow macaroni, Best Foods mayo (trust me on this one), mustard for zip, apple cider vinegar for brightness, and brown sugar to balance it all out. Oh, and plenty of crisp shredded carrots and a touch of onion if you feel so inclined.

Once you mix up that creamy dressing and toss it with the still-warm macaroni, you’re in for a real textural treat. As the salad chills out, the noodles drink up all that rich, tangy sauce until they’re gloriously imbued with flavor. Every forkful is a chewy, creamy, sweet-tart explosion for your tastebuds.

While you can definitely get fancy with add-ins like peas, celery, ham, etc., there’s something so satisfying about keeping it old-school with this classic Hawaiian mac salad. Let those pure, simple flavors shine in all their addictive glory.

It’s the kind of back-pocket staple that shows up at every summertime event because, well, it’s just an absolute group pleaser. One taste of those chilled, ultra-creamy noodles and you’re instantly transported to an island-tinged world of carefree joy.

So if you need me this summer, I’ll be the one in the corner of every backyard bash piling my plate high with scoop after scoop of Hawaiian mac salad. With its incredibly craveable mix of nostalgic comfort and invigorating flavors, it’s the low-key star of the show in my books!

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad


  • 8 oz elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (Best Foods or Hellmann’s )
  • 1/4 cup milk (plus more as needed)
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup grated onion (optional)
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley (garnish)


  1. Cook elbow macaroni in salted water until just shy of al dente, about 7-8 minutes. Rinse with cold water and drain well. Allow to cool completely.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together mayo, milk, mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, salt and pepper.
  3. Add cooled macaroni, carrots, onions if using. Gently toss until fully coated in the dressing.
  4. If salad seems thick, drizzle in a bit more milk 1-2 tbsp at a time until desired creamy consistency.
  5. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving to allow flavors to meld.
  6. Give it a gentle toss and taste for seasoning before serving. Top with chopped parsley if desired.
  7. Enjoy this creamy, nostalgic taste of the islands! Leftovers keep well refrigerated for 4-5 days.

Let me know if you need any other details on this classic Hawaiian mac salad! I’ve re-focused per your feedback.

1 Comment

  1. Debra Gragg

    Having trouble getting your Hawaiian macroni salad, please email me the recipe if you can, thanks bunches

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