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. Plus it cots just $5.39 to make!
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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 Hawaiian Macaroni Salad recipe for a few months now and I’m happy to report that I nailed it!
I have made this Hawaiian style Macaroni Salad for family gatherings, pot lucks, taken it to a friend for dinner, and bar-b-ques. Every single time I have had rave reviews. It’s always the first dish to go, and it is the first dish folks ask the recipe for.
It is a classic dish that is perfect for all kinds of occasions. Bring a little bit of the islands to your home or next party by whipping up a batch of this authentic Hawaiian Food Truck Macaroni salad.
Recipe Questions Answered:
What are the ingredients of the 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 salads do not have eggs or hard-boiled eggs in them. 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 for 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 goes good 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
Why is macaroni salad popular in Hawaii?
It first became popular in Hawaii because it was so cheap to make. It is also extremely filling. In fact, on a lunch plate in Hawaii, it is hard to find a plate that does not have a macaroni salad served on it!
Can you freeze macaroni salad?
Yes, you can freeze it. Just place the assembled macaroni salad in the freezer in an airtight container. When you are ready to use it, place it in the fridge the day before you want to eat it to defrost.
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
- 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 much will this recipe cost?
RECIPE COST: $5.39
PER SERVING COST: $0.45
NOTE: The recipe prices are used calculating name brand products from Walmart’s website. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what your pantry is already stocked with and current grocery prices.
- 2 cups half-and-half – $0.88
- 2 cups Duke’s mayonnaise – $1.60
- 1 ½ Tablespoons grated yellow onion – $0.06
- 1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar – $0.03
- 2 teaspoons pepper – $0.01
- 1 teaspoon salt – $0.01
- 1 pound elbow macaroni – $1.38
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar – $0.16
- 5 green onions – $0.50
- 2 large celery ribs – $0.36
- 1 cup grated carrots – $0.40
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 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.