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This classic macaroni salad is super easy to make! It's the best old fashioned creamy potluck salad. It has a vegetarian base that's perfect for adding extra protein if needed.

Classic Macaroni Salad

This classic macaroni salad is a summer staple! This bright salad has a delicious tangy and sweet creamy dressing. This recipe is a great base for adding in your favorite extras!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword classic macaroni salad, how to make macaroni salad, macaroni pasta salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 461kcal


  • 1 pound (16 oz.) uncooked macaroni
  • 1/2 medium red onion chopped finely
  • 3 sticks celery chopped finely
  • 1/2 green bell pepper chopped finely
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped finely


  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Boil a large, salted pot of water for the pasta, and cook it al dente according to package directions. Once cooked, rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly.
  • Meanwhile, chop all your veggies and add them to a large bowl.
  • Add the salad dressing ingredients to a medium bowl and stir thoroughly until combined (and make sure the sugar dissolves). Give it a taste and adjust if needed (e.g. more vinegar). 
  • Add the cooked macaroni to the large bowl, along with the dressing. Toss until everything is combined. Season as needed (I am generous with the salt & pepper - this is a lot of pasta). Salad can be made ahead, just be sure to seal it tightly so the dressing doesn't dry out. Salad can be refrigerated for a few days. 


  • This salad is great by itself or with other additions. The recipe post has some tips on what else you can add and how to spice up the dressing (if you want to). 
  • Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.


Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 151mg | Potassium: 286mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 855IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg