This Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is a creamy, crunchy and slightly sweet delectable side dish! Perfectly cooked macaroni noodles are coated in a smooth, flavorful dressing and chilled just in time for you to devour the whole thing!
Seriously, there might be nothing better than a classic Hawaiian macaroni salad.
Reasons You’ll Love This
Creamy and Delicious – If you’ve never had Hawaiian Mac Salad, you’re in for a real creamy, smooth, rich, decadent treat!
Best Side Dish – Having a BBQ or looking for an easy, filling, yummy side dish? Look no further than this Hawaiian Mac Salad Recipe!
Classic Comfort Food – This is comfort food at it’s finest.
Easy To Make – Hawaiian Macaroni comes together so simply! You just throw everything into a bowl, stir, chill and you’re done!
Make Ahead – This sweet macaroni salad is a great make ahead option, it actually gets better the next day!
Buttery, smooth, crunchy, and savory yet sweet are the few words I can use to describe this mouthwatering Hawaiian macaroni salad. If you’ve ever gone to a Hawaiian BBQ restaurant, and wondered how they make the mac, you’re in luck! If you haven’t, well your tastebuds aren’t ready for the deliciousness!
Let’s discuss how to make Hawaiian Macaroni Salad, as well as the ingredients that are needed. Please take note that below you will find discussion, expert tips, and answers to frequently asked questions about this recipe to help you recreate it in your kitchen. If you *just* want the recipe itself, scroll down. The full printable recipe itself, with exact measurements and instructions, is found at the bottom of this page.
- Macaroni – Macaroni noodles are the best for soaking up all that goodness that is the dressing. If you don’t have macaroni, you can use Ditalini, Rotini or Bowtie noodles instead.
- Mayonnaise – You can either use Best Foods Mayonnaise or Hellmans Mayonnaise. Those are the best options for this recipe, I don’t recommend substituting.
- Half and Half – This is so the mac salad comes out super creamy, and not dry. The amount you use is up to how you like the texture of your macaroni.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar is great in this recipe because it adds a little bit of tang and a little bit of sweetness. You can substitute for rice wine vinegar or really any type of vinegar you have on hand.
- Yellow Onion – This adds a lot of flavor and a bit of crunch. You can also use white onion instead.
- Celery & Carrots – These veggies add a lovely crunch as well as some color to the dish, just make sure you chop them up before adding it to the recipe. You can leave out or add extra of whatever veggies you like best.
- Brown Sugar – Brown sugar adds a nice bit of sweetness and caramel flavor to the dressing. You don’t want to skip out on this!
Step By Step Instructions
- Start by cooking the macaroni according to package instructions. Drain the noodles and add them to a large mixing bowl.
- Pour the apple cider vinegar, onions, carrots and celery over the top of the hot macaroni noodles and toss until combined. Let the mixture sit in the fridge for 15 minutes, or until cooled.
- While cooling, start on the dressing. In a large mixing bowl, add the mayonnaise, half and half, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined, and add more salt, pepper to taste if needed.
- Once the noodles have cooled, take it out of the fridge and pour the dressing over top of the noodles. Stir everything together until evenly coated. Cover the salad, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Add more half and half if needed after chilling, stir everything together once more, then serve!
Tips and Advice
Storage – Store the Hawaiian Mac Salad in the fridge for 4-5 days. This recipe is a great one to make ahead, because it tastes even better after the first and second day of making it.
Expert Pasta Salad Tips
Make sure you’re using the right shape of noodles, because you want something small that will soak up the dressing the best. You also want to make sure all your pasta noodles are cooled before adding the dressing. If they’re still hot, the noodles will absorb the the dressing, and the pasta salad will become dry.
For this fantastic recipe, you’ll just need some large mixing bowls, and a few things to stir with!
It’s usually the sugar that set’s it apart from other mac salads. It’s also a lot creamier than normal mac salad dressings because of the half and half.
Not for this recipe. You want to add the apple cider vinegar and veggies to the macaroni while it’s hot. Normally you would, but not for this recipe. Don’t worry, you will chill the macaroni in the fridge.
Serves Well With
This Hawaiian Macaroni Salad makes the perfect side dish to many of your favorite BBQ staples, among many other things. Here are a few ideas of other dishes you can serve this with!
- Huli Huli Chicken
- Buttermilk Fried Chicken
- BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
- Red Cabbage Slaw
- Pork Tenderloin
- Honey Mustard Pork Chops
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
- 1 pound macaroni pasta
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 carrots grated
- 1/4 cup yellow onion shredded or finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 2 1/2 cups Mayonnaise Best Foods or Hellman's highly recommended
- 1/2 cup half and half if desired you can add an additional 1/4 cup of half and half to thin the dressing
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar light or dark
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pinch pepper can increase or leave out if desired
- Cook macaroni according to package directions for al dente pasta. Drain and place into a large bowl.
- While macaroni is still hot, add vinegar, carrot, celery and onion. Mix together until combined.
- Cover macaroni and place in refrigerator for 15 minutes, or until cooled.
- In a medium size bowl, combine mayonnaise, half and half, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.
- Add mayonnaise mixture to the macaroni mixture and gently mix together until all macaroni noodles are coated in the dressing mixture.
- Cover and place in refrigerator for at least four hours. If possible chill overnight prior to serving.
- If needed after chilling, a tablespoon or two of additional half and half can be added to Hawaiian Macaroni Salad to achieve desired texture.
Nutrition information is estimated as a courtesy. If using for medical purposes, please verify information using your own nutritional calculator. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.