This Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is an easy-to-make authentic Hawaiian side dish that’s cool and creamy with a tangy and subtly sweet taste! It takes just 20 minutes of hands-on time to prep and is perfect for BBQs!
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Will Be Your New Favorite Summer Side Dish!
This delicious Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is a popular staple on a Hawaiian plate lunch that both locals and tourists devour! And after your first bite, it’ll quickly become a staple at all of your BBQs and summer gatherings as well.
Tender macaroni combined with grated carrots and onions that are coated in a homemade creamy 5-ingredient dressing. The dressing gives the dish a tangy yet slightly sweet flavor that makes it totally irresistible!
Serve this easy recipe to enjoy at your next BBQ for a crowd-pleasing side dish that will have everyone talking!
Ingredients For Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
- Elbow Macaroni
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Yellow Onion
- Granulated Sugar
- Ground Black Pepper
This Hawaiian macaroni salad recipe starts with tender cooked macaroni that is then combined with grated onion, grated carrots, and apple cider vinegar. You can either grate your own carrots or buy a bag of grated carrots at the grocery store.
Next, the pasta and veggie mixture is coated in a homemade sauce made of mayonnaise, milk, granulated sugar, salt, and ground black pepper. For the creamiest sauce, I’d suggest using whole milk. However, feel free to use whatever milk you have on hand.
Macaroni Hawaiian Salad Substitutions & Variations
- Macaroni – Typically, classic Hawaiian-style macaroni salad is made with elbow macaroni. However, you can make it with other kinds, such as rotini, farfalle, or cavatappi pasta.
- Yellow Onion – A 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder can be used to replace the yellow onion.
- Add Meat – Add shredded chicken or ham for a more filling salad!
- Other Delicious Additions – Chopped hard-boiled eggs, celery, green olives, or chopped dill pickles are other tasty additions to try in this salad!
How To Make Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
Step 1: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the elbow macaroni. Cook until the macaroni is tender, then drain and transfer it to a large mixing bowl.
Step 2: Grate the carrots and onion while the macaroni is cooking.3
Step 3: While the pasta is still hot, fold in the apple cider vinegar, shredded carrots, and onions. Afterward, place the bowl in the fridge to cool.
Step 4: Combine the mayo, milk, sugar, salt, and pepper to taste in a separate bowl.
Step 5: Pour this creamy sauce over the cooled macaroni and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Step 6: Serve immediately or store in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the macaroni to absorb some of the dressing and allow the flavors to meld together.
What To Serve With This Hawaiian Mac Salad
The best foods to serve with this pasta salad are Huli Huli/Hawaiian Chicken, teriyaki chicken, or kalua pork. With menu options like that, you’ll feel like you’re at a real Hawaiian BBQ or luau! Our Juicy Chicken is another great pairing!
How To Store Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
Store Hawaiian Macaroni Salad by covering the serving bowl tightly with plastic wrap or transferring it to an airtight container. Store it in the fridge for up to 3 to 5 days.
Give the salad a good stir to reincorporate the ingredients before enjoying it!
Make Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Ahead Of Time
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad tastes even better after it has had time to chill in the fridge. This is because it has additional time for the ingredients to meld together, making for a more flavorful salad!
Therefore, this is a great make-ahead side dish that allows for easier prep for your summer cookout and gatherings! I’d suggest making this up to 1 day in advance.
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad FAQs
What is a typical Hawaiian plate lunch?
The typical lunch plate of the locals in Hawaii usually comes with scoops of white rice, macaroni salad, and protein! This is an affordable and iconic plate that is served all over Hawaii at local restaurants and food trucks.
What should I do if the pasta salad looks dry after it’s been in the fridge?
No worries at all. Add a splash of milk to the Hawaiian mac salad and stir until it’s as creamy as you like.
How long does Hawaiian Macaroni Salad last in the fridge?
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad will last for up to 4 days in the fridge.
Why did my macaroni turn out mushy?
If your macaroni turned out mushy, it could have been overcooked, or it could have been smushed when the apple cider vinegar, carrots, and onions were stirred in.
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Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 1 pound elbow macaroni and cook according to the package instructions for al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Once cooked, drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Meanwhile, grate the 2 carrots and an onion to get ¼ cup grated yellow onion, set aside.
- While the macaroni is still hot, add the 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar along with the shredded carrots and onion. Stir to combine then chill in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes or until completely cooled.
- While the macaroni is chilling, combine the 3 cups mayonnaise, ⅓ cup milk, and 1½ teaspoons granulated sugar saltn a separate mixing bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the cooled macaroni and combine thoroughly. Add salt and ground black pepper to taste.
- You can serve immediately but I recommend chilling for an additional 30 minutes. This allows the macaroni to absorb some of the dressing and the flavors to meld together.