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Easy Macaroni Salad

Easy Macaroni Salad with Egg, celery, onion and dill pickles. It’s the perfect potluck salad and a must for any summer BBQ!

Growing up, macaroni salad was always present at our backyard BBQs, camping trips, and just about any potluck event we had. Each time someone different would bring it and add their own twist to the traditional recipe. I’m guessing that you had the same experience. I mean, after all, macaroni salad is a classic.

Overhead photo of macaroni salad in a white bowl on a wooden cutting board. A stripped towel off to the side.

And much like all classic recipes, there are a so many different variations.  This recipe is a combination various macaroni salads that people would bring to the backyard BBQs and potlucks I would attend as a kid. 

What ingredients do you need for classic macaroni salad?

Ingredients for macaroni salad in a glass bowl.

PASTA: Traditionally, macaroni salad is made with elbow macaroni. You can also use shells, ditalini pasta which is a shorter pasta. 

CELERY: This adds crunch to the salad. 

ONION: Yellow onion or red onion are perfect in this salad. 

DILL PICKLES: These also add a crunch to the salad while also adding saltiness. 

SWEET PICKLE RELISH: Unlike the dill pickles, the sweet relish adds a touch of, well, sweetness, to the macaroni salad. 

BLACK OLIVES: These are totally optional but were always a part of macaroni salad when I was growing up. 

HARD BOILED EGGS: Some people like to simply slice these and lay them on top as a garnish. I prefer to chop them up so they blend in with the salad. 

Ingredients for macaroni salad dressing in a glass bowl.

MAYONNAISE: Mayo is the base of the dressing. It gives macaroni salad it’s creaminess. Go for the highest quality you can find, I prefer to use Best Foods (Hellman’s to you East Coasters) 

MUSTARD: Yellow mustard is perfect in this recipe, adds the right color and just enough tanginess. 

CREOLE SEASONING: This adds the a bit of a kick to the salad. Depending on the brand that you use, it may or may not have salt. If it does have salt, you may not need to add an additional to the recipe. 

HOT SAUCE: Like the olives, this is optional. I just like to add a little bit of a kick. 

Step By Step Instructions with Photos:

STEP 1: Cook the macaroni according to package directions and drain. 
cooked elbow macaroni in a colander.

DES’ TIP: I recommend rinsing the pasta with cool water after draining. This stops the cooking process and helps cool the pasta. Make sure that you drain it well. 

STEP 2: Make the dressing by whisking together all of the ingredients in a bowl. 

Macaroni salad dressing in a glass bowl.

STEP 3: Combine all of the salad ingredients as well as dressing in a bowl. Mix well. 

An overhead photo of all of the ingredients for macaroni salad in a glass bowl.

STEP 4: Chill for 30 minutes to give the flavors a chance to meld. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve. 

A spoonful of macaroni salad

Variations on macaroni salad: 

Like I mentioned above, there are so many different possible variations to macaroni salad. You could add cheddar cheese. You could substitute green olives for the black olives. You could also add some diced bell peppers for more crunch. The possibilities are endless! I’ve even made a Seven Layer Dip version! What is your favorite variation? 

If you loved this Easy Macaroni Salad with Egg Recipe, check out these other potluck perfect salads: 

Pea Salad with Bacon 

Creamy Bacon Avocado Pasta Salad

Panzanella Salad

Italian Chopped Salad Recipe

If you’re looking fro more BBQ favorites, check these out! 

Instant Pot BBQ Ribs

Pulled Chicken Sandwich 

Loaded BBQ Hot Dogs 

Garlic Grilled Chicken 

Note: This recipe was originally posted in 2009. It was updated with new photos, tips and nutrition facts in 2020. 

Side angle shot of macaroni salad in a white bowl with a light blue background.

Easy Macaroni Salad

Easy Classic Macaroni Salad with egg, celery, onion and dill pickles. It's the perfect potluck salad and a must for any summer BBQ!
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Side Dishes
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 237 kcal



  • 2 cups uncooked dried elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce optional
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon diced dill pickle
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 2.25 ounce can sliced olives
  • 3 hard boiled eggs diced
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste


  • Cook macaroni according to package directions. Run under cold water for about 30 seconds to cool. Allow macaroni to cool while you are preparing the rest of the salad.
  • In a large bowl whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, creole seasoning, hot sauce (if using), sweet pickle relish and dill pickle.
  • Fold in cool macaroni and remaining ingredients.
  • Chill for 30 minutes.
  • Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Serve.


Nutrition facts for estimation purposes only.


Calories: 237kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 7.2gFat: 10.6gSaturated Fat: 1.9gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 758mgFiber: 1.9gSugar: 3.6g
Tried this recipe?Mention @lifesambrosia or tag #lifesambrosia!
Keywords: 4th of July Recipes, bbq, dill pickles, elbow macaroni, macaroni salad, mayonnaise, mustard, onions, side dish, summer, sweet pickle relish

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

  • Reply
    July 5, 2020 at 6:39 am

    5 stars
    Sometimes simple is best for pasta salad! I love that this one has some delicious seasonings and hot sauce!

  • Reply
    July 1, 2020 at 5:55 am

    5 stars
    Pasta salad is a favorite in our house! I will make your recipe tonight!

  • Reply
    Sara Welch
    June 30, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    5 stars
    Macaroni salad is a summertime staple in our home but your recipe has got to be my new favorite! So creamy and delicious with the perfect amount of crunch!

  • Reply
    Beti | easyweeknightrecipes
    June 30, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    5 stars
    I love how easy and delicious this is!! Perfect for summer picnics!

  • Reply
    katerina @
    June 30, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    5 stars
    This macaroni salad sounds incredibly delicious! I can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply
    June 30, 2020 at 10:26 am

    5 stars
    I love that it is so easy to make!! Amazing!

  • Reply
    June 30, 2020 at 7:01 am

    5 stars
    YUM! This is perfect for this holiday weekend!

  • Reply
    Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert
    June 29, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    5 stars
    I need to try this Macaroni Salad with Egg immediately, it looks so good!

  • Reply
    June 29, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    5 stars
    Nothing better than homemade macaroni salad! Once you take your first bite, you’ll never buy store bought again.

  • Reply
    February 2, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I have high cholesterol, and got tired of eating the same diet foods. Your recipes were delicious and helped me take the boredness out of foods. thanks.

  • Reply
    July 1, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    OMG this was SO good…I followed the recipe exactly and loved it!

  • Reply
    May 7, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I love your website and plan to try the chipotle ribs tonight. However, when I print out the recipes they are a full letter size sheet. It would be great if other print options were available, such as recipe card size or 5×7, the size of my small recipe binder.

    Anyway,love the recipes. Can’t wait to try this one. I love macaroni salad.

  • Reply
    April 22, 2011 at 7:19 am

    I was curious do you use black or green olives? How about a few tablespoons of sweet pickle juice?

    • Reply
      April 22, 2011 at 12:03 pm

      Hi Tom- I used black olives but green might add a nice bit briney flavor to the salad. I’ve never added the sweet pickle juice because over all I’m not a huge fan of sweet pickles, the relish for some reason I like. But if you like sweet pickles I don’t see the harm in adding a bit of the juice.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2009 at 6:45 am

    I just found your website today and it is beautiful. And the recipes look so good. I can’t wait till the office clears out so I can start printing them out!!!!

  • Reply
    July 12, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    I used this recipe for a picnic and I loved it! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      July 12, 2009 at 2:08 pm

      You’re welcome Richard! I am glad you enjoyed it :)

  • Reply
    July 8, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    I am definitely going to try this one. Everything on your site looks great.
    I look forward to new recipes.

  • Des

    Hey! I'm Des!

    Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too.

    Read more »

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