Hawaiian Mac Salad – Creme De La Crumb

Hawaiian Mac Salad – Creme De La Crumb

Total Time: 1 hour 22 minutes

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Sweet, tangy, and super easy to make, this Hawaiian Mac Salad is a creamy macaroni salad that goes well with all of your BBQ favorites!

creamy hawaiian mac salad in bowl with wooden serving spoon

Why This Recipe Works

No Fuss Pasta Salad: If you have never had Hawaiian mac salad, it is time to try it! It is quite possibly the easiest macaroni salad recipe to ever exist. It is basically the epitome of a “no fuss” recipe that uses pantry staple ingredients and takes just 20 minutes to prepare! You do have to let it chill in the fridge so plan ahead of time!

BBQ Lovers Perfect Side Dish: This Hawaiian macaroni salad recipe is tangy and sweet, making it the perfect side dish to all of your favorite grilled proteins. Since this recipe originated from Hawaii, it really goes best with Hawaiian style BBQ like Huli Huli Chicken! This is the kind of pasta salad you will find in Hawaii, and no, it doesn’t have pineapple or ham in it!


My Hawaiian mac salad uses pantry staples that you probably already have on hand! Here’s what you’ll need:

ingredients for hawaiian mac salad
  • Macaroni: The classic pasta choice for this pasta salad is macaroni. But feel free to use any short pasta here that you prefer!
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: A bit of apple cider vinegar adds a tangy flavor!
  • Veggies: Carrots, celery and onion are combined in this salad for flavor and a crunchy texture!
  • Light Mayonnaise: Since Hawaiian mac salad has a mayonnaise based dressing, you can use light mayonnaise like I did, or feel free to use the real stuff!
  • Milk: Milk adds liquid to keep things moist and makes this pasta salad extra creamy.
  • Sugar: Sugar helps balance out the tangy flavor of the apple cider vinegar and makes the salad pair perfectly with savory and smoky meats.
  • Garlic Powder: Some garlic powder seasons the pasta to perfection! Along with some salt and pepper, of course!
  • Green Onions: For extra flavor and crunch, slice up the green onions and add them at the end.

Here’s How to Make It

Step by Step Instructions

four steps of preparing hawaiian macaroni salad recipe
  1. Cook the Pasta: Cook the macaroni in a pot of boiling salted water as per the packets instructions.
  2. Drain & Add Veggies: Drain the macaroni well and combine it while still hot in a large bowl with the apple cider vinegar, carrots, celery and grated white onion. Set aside.
  3. Make the Dressing: In another bowl stir together the mayonnaise, milk, sugar, garlic powder, and a little salt and pepper to make the dressing.
  4. Pour & chill: Pour the dressing over the macaroni and stir well to coat. Chill for at least an hour, or overnight.
  5. Serve: Stir in the green onions and check to see if the salad needs a little more salt and pepper before serving.
up close mac salad

Expert Tips

  • Don’t be afraid of the mayo! I know that this mac salad recipe seems heavy on the mayo, but this is what it is known for and it makes it super delicious. However, you can replace some of the mayo with greek yogurt! It won’t taste exactly the same, but it will still be pretty delicious!
  • Use Best Foods (or Hellmans) brand mayo! Don’t judge, but it’s just a fact. Best Food or Hellmans brand mayo is the best mayo to use in this recipe.
  • Gently fold the dressing into the pasta and veg! It is best to fold gently so you don’t break up the noodles too much!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make Hawaiian mac salad ahead of time?

Definitely! This salad can chill in the fridge prepared for up to 24 hours. If it is a little dry after being in the fridge for 24 hours, add a little bit more milk to loosen things up before serving.

What to serve with Hawaiian mac salad?

This Hawaiian mac salad is generally served with food you would eat at a BBQ, but it is also commonly eaten with a side of rice! You can eat this pasta salad on it’s own, or as part of a BBQ or Luau!

wooden serving spoon scooping macaroni salad

More Side Dish Recipes to Try

Did you try this recipe? FANTASTIC. Please rate the recipe below and be sure to tag us on social when you share a photo of your CDLC creation!

creamy hawaiian mac salad in bowl with wooden serving spoon

Hawaiian Mac Salad

Sweet, tangy, and super easy to make, this Hawaiian Mac Salad is a creamy macaroni salad that goes well with all of your BBQ favorites!