This Classic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad recipe has a delicious creamy dressing that’s tangy, sweet, and totally addicting! It tastes just like it came from a Hawaiian Food Truck.
Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links.
This past April my family and I were on the island of Oahu for Spring Break. While there we soaked up as much of the Hawaiian culture and food as we could. Almost daily I would have Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with my lunch or dinner (or heck, sometimes both) because it was simple, so creamy, so delicious, and SO addicting!
When I got back from our trip to Hawaii I got started right away on my version of this classic recipe. I’ve been testing the recipe for a few months now and I’m happy to report that I nailed it!
Recipe Questions Answered:
What are the ingredients of Macaroni Salad?
The ingredients are simple, and nothing too fancy.
- Duke’s mayonnaise
- grated yellow onion
- brown sugar
- salt pepper
- elbow macaroni
- apple cider vinegar
- green onions
- shredded carrots
Do you put eggs in Macaroni Salad?
No. Well, yes…sometimes. Let me explain.
Traditional Macaroni Salad does not have eggs or hard-boiled eggs in it. However, while in Hawaii I noticed on some menus that there is a side dish called Potato Mac Salad which is a mash-up of potato salad and macaroni salad that DOES have egg in it (recipe coming soon!).
How to Make Hawaiian Macaroni Salad ahead of time:
You can prepare this Hawaiian mac salad up to 3 days in advance. Just follow the complete instructions below, transfer the salad to an airtight container, and keep it in the refrigerator.
What is good to eat with Macaroni Salad?
Basically any kind of backyard barbecue food, but here are some of my favorites:
- Grilled Hawaiian Chicken with Pineapple Barbecue Sauce
- Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- Smoked Ribs
- Chicken Teriyaki
- Garlic Shrimp – Shrimp Truck Style
What other people are saying about this Hawaiian Macaroni Salad:
This recipe has been shared over 17,000 times on social media. Here is what some people are saying:
I used your recipe for a Luau themed work party and everyone loved it. I have shared the recipe with all of them so your genius is likely to be spread throughout Florida now! Thanks for sharing it. Yummmm! -Nancie J
Delicious! Three generations of family ate this and complimented me, even a five year old! – Tammy
Cook’s Note – Hawaiian Macaroni Salad:
- If you use anything but half-and-half and mayonnaise, then the dressing for this macaroni salad will be too thin.
- This is a great recipe to make ahead of time as it will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. Just make sure you give everything a good stir before serving.
- If you want to make this pasta salad into more of a main dish then I suggest adding 2 cups of chopped chicken or 2 cups of the diced ham in step 4 below.
How to make classic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad:
Classic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
FOR THE DRESSING:
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 2 cups mayonnaise Duke’s if you can find it
- 1 ½ Tablespoons grated yellow onion
- 1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
FOR THE MACARONI:
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 5 green onions white and green parts sliced thin
- 2 large celery ribs chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 cup grated carrots
- In a medium bowl whisk together the half-and-half, mayonnaise, grated onion, dark brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 2 teaspoons of pepper until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.
- Cook the macaroni as per the package instructions, except add 5 minutes to the cooking time on the package instructions (you want the macaroni to be very soft and plump so it absorbs the dressing better). Drain the macaroni into a colander and then dump it back into the pot. Add in the apple cider vinegar and stir until the pasta absorbs the vinegar. Cover the pot with a lid and cool for 20 minutes at room temperature.
- Add half of the dressing and stir to combine. Then, cover the lid and cool for another 20 minutes.
- Add in the remaining dressing, green onions, celery, and carrots to the pot and stir to combine, and season with salt and pepper if needed.
- Cool completely to room temperature, about 30 more minutes.
- Transfer the macaroni salad to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
More Delicious Pasta Salad Recipes:
This Hawaiian Macaroni Salad first appeared on Food Folks and Fun on August 15, 2018. I have since updated the pictures and added a recipe video. Here are some of the original pictures below.