Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

in Appetizers

If I had one wish right now, I’d grant all of us a summer vacation. Not, like, a college version of summer vacation, though I think all of us would take that too, but a real, kid-like summer vacation.

I’m talking water balloon fights, playing tag for hours with the neighborhood kids, watching TV until 3pm and maybe even a lil’ summer camp thrown into the mix, ‘cuz sometimes you need a break from your parents (and then you learn that summer camp is really just them needing a break from you).

Honestly, my favorite part about summer was watching Wimbledon in my pajamas until the mid-afternoon, all whilst eating ice cream straight from the carton. And sure, some could argue that I could do that now…but the guilt! Wasting days away doing nothing are never guilt-less. Not worth it.

So yeah, I wish all of us could have a guilt-less, do nothing, have fun kind of summer.

In the summer, my parents would always get take-out from a nearby Hawaiian restaurant. Don’t ask me why it was only reserved for summer, maybe it was the whole thing where my mom didn’t want to be near a stove, or they wanted to enjoy the few hours of sunshine, post work. Who knows.

Regardless, it was one of my favorite things to eat. There was always some sort of pork or chicken hawaiian bbq, really good rice and macaroni salad.

The macaroni salad I remember was dredged in mayonnaise. I’m talking more mayonnaise than pasta. I loved it though.

This salad is a little bit more refined; not by much, just a little. The pasta is cooked al dente, which is not traditional. Typically it’s overcooked on purpose, but my body won’t allow that, so it’s not.

The carrot from my memory was shaved. I personally enjoy more of a crunch so I diced mine. And there’s definitely less mayonnaise than my memory. Despite these little tweaks, this macaroni is simple and delicious. AND EASY.

Not that macaroni salad is ever difficult. It shouldn’t be.

The salad has a dash of sugar, loads of pepper, a few splashes of red wine vinegar, and of course a hefty amount of mayonnaise. After the pasta chilled out in the fridge, the pasta soaked up a good amount of the mayonnaise.

Right before you serve the pasta salad, you have the choice to add more mayonnaise, if you like. I personally did not. But you know, you do you!

This macaroni salad is perfect alongside some bbq chicken or steak. It’s good to bring to a pot-luck bbq, if that’s the sort of thing you’ll be attending in the next week or so. It’s simple and good.

The plan: you’ll make this and it will go quickly…very, very quickly.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Print this recipe!

1 pound elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cup Best Foods mayonnaise
2 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup diced yellow onion (from about 1/4 onion)
3/4 cup diced carrot (from about 2 small carrots)
3/4 cup diced celery (from about 2 stalks)

1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Cook elbow macaroni according to package instructions, about 5-6 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl; set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper; mix until combined.

3. The pasta should still be warm–this is good! Add the yellow onion, diced carrot and diced celery to the pasta and toss. Add the mayonnaise mixture and toss until pasta and vegetables are thoroughly coated. If you like more mayonnaise, by all means add one more 1/4 cup. Salt to taste just to make sure you’re pleased with the salt content. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours. The pasta will have absorbed some of the mayonnaise. If you like you can add more mayonnaise, if you like.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Domonique June 29, 2012 at 12:45 am

This looks so delicious! Oh ans I agree I would love to kick it like a kid but the guilt, ha! So unfair!




Margherita June 29, 2012 at 1:49 am

Yesterday I spent the whole afternoon watching Wimbledon digging hard into a pint of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice cream. And when I finished the ice-cream I started munching on salt&vinegar Chips…I had to…Nadal lost.
I know that I should feel guilty about it, but the disappointment was too much to bear; I had to resort to junk food to find some comfort.
Guess today I’m going to enroll in summer camp to keep my mind busy and not think about Rafa too much 😉


Adrianna July 2, 2012 at 11:59 am

HAHA! I love this. Good plan.


Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar June 29, 2012 at 3:19 am

Oh wow, so simple! Yum!


Bev @ Bev Cooks June 29, 2012 at 7:46 am

Good lord, I waaaaant this.


Liz @ Tip Top Shape June 29, 2012 at 8:01 am

This looks delicoius!! Perfect for summer!


Shawna @ CheekyChicFamily June 29, 2012 at 11:20 am

Your composed dish at the end of your blog post looks so perfect for summer. I love the addition of a sliced and seasoned tomato on a summer-time plate of food.


Katie @ Blonde Ambition June 29, 2012 at 11:37 am

I used to work at L&L in high school and I absolutely HATED any kind of macaroni or potato salad…until I had L&L’s macaroni salad. I’m pretty sure they sneak in a bit of tuna to theirs!


Adrianna July 2, 2012 at 11:59 am

Some people put imitation crab in it. You can use real crab or tuna, if you like!


Stacey June 29, 2012 at 11:40 am

1) Mmmm pasta salad. Yes.
2) That chicken leg is sexyyyyy.
3) I love that you eat ‘maters just by themselves all willy-nilly. I grew up doing the same thing. A tomato is totally a side.


joelle (on a pink typewriter) June 29, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Mmmm, how about we have this pasta salad IN Hawaii? :)


Adrianna July 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm



Becky June 29, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Yummm I like the way you think! And cook! I’ve been eating a lot of cold quinoa salads and such this past week. It’s over 100 degrees every day here in Oklahoma right now. I love the heat, actually. But it does have the affect on me of wanting to eat much lighter meals that are cold. I will have to try this pasta soon. :)


Melissa July 27, 2012 at 6:47 pm

can i have some of those mac + cheese, paesle. it is my favorite! :)am your newest follower, stopping by from you like me! friday blog hop. hope you can follow me back, am number 111 on the linky! have a good one! 😀


Melissa@Julia's Bookbag June 29, 2012 at 6:35 pm


I can’t tell you how happy this makes this former island girl (I’m from Maui). And can I tell you that I miss mac salad so much!! And have never had the wherewithal to try and find a recipe for it.

HAPPY DAY, seriously thank you!


Bettina June 29, 2012 at 10:33 pm

This looks soooo good! I love Hawaiian BBQ and I’m pretty sure a lot of it has to do with the yummy taste of both the meat and the macroni mixed together!


Sharon June 30, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I bet this would be good with some pineapple in it too.


Christin July 2, 2012 at 7:30 am

Macaroni Salad is gods gift to mankind. I am in love with all Macaroni Salads made with Best Foods.


Lorna July 2, 2012 at 8:57 am

this looks so tasty! would have to adapt it slightly since i live in england though – but looks yum!



Let Me Eat Cake July 2, 2012 at 12:26 pm

yummy! i totally want a kid summer vacay like so bad. i tend to on occasion waste days and just tell myself that I’m not feeling well so i can stay in bed but the guilt always surfaces!


Adrianna July 2, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I’m totally stealing this idea!


Baking Serendipity July 3, 2012 at 10:38 am

A childhood summer vacation sounds fantastic…but so does this macaroni salad! I love the Hawaiian twist!


Crude Oil Tips July 4, 2012 at 12:09 am

WOW..after seeing these pics now my mouth has become watery!!!


myfudo July 4, 2012 at 7:16 am

Looks so perfect for summer. The nearest I can get to a Hawaiian treat is a carton of pineapple juice. =) This is something that will bring me closer to a Hawaiian tropical adventure. Will definitely try before summer wears me out…Thanks for sharing.


Treasures By Brenda July 17, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Sounds like a good pasta salad. We love our meals simple and cool in the summer.


aashleeighh August 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm

how many does this make? hehe i need it for two :)


Jannie April 20, 2013 at 8:45 pm

This was incredibly good! It was light, refreshing and complimented carne asada very well. I had a particularly strong onion, though and might use less or try a different kind.

Thank you for a great recipe! This one in going on the “Go To” List!


karen April 27, 2013 at 9:10 am

I made this last night for the family and my husband followed it with pineapple teryaki chicken. We all loved it! Reminded us of our favorite Hawaiian place in Portland. Thank you for this recipe, we are adding it to our family favorites. I wouldn’t change a thing.


gracey July 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm

I have made this many times at hime and I simoly love it


Rob Marshall August 11, 2013 at 5:14 pm

How many servings does this recipe make?


Adrianna Adarme August 11, 2013 at 8:36 pm

I’d say it’d serve 6 as an appetizer.


Em November 17, 2013 at 8:43 pm

I live in Hawaii. I have never heard of red wine vinegar in macaroni. But that sounds good. I will have to try it next time I make shoyu chicken. I too do not like my macaroni salad drenched in mayonnaise.


Rob September 9, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Awesome my new favorite simple and delicious.


Anna December 17, 2016 at 1:40 pm

I made this salad and there is way too much mayonnaise. It’s a very bland taste. I won’t make it again. Maybe it’s supposed to taste that way.


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