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Cool and Creamy Macaroni Salad

Cool and Creamy Macaroni Salad

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Cool and Creamy Macaroni SaladPasta, Summer, Vegetarian

The best old-fashioned (think picnics in the 60's) macaroni salad recipe I've found

Active Time: 30 minutes
Start to Finish: 40 minutes


  • salt, to taste
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • cups mayonnaise
  • tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 rib celery, minced
  • ¼ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ small red onion, minced
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Bring 4 quarts water to boil in a large pot. Add 1 Tbs. salt and macaroni and cook until tender. Drain in colander and rinse with cold water until cool, then drain briefly so that the macaroni remains moist. Transfer to a large bowl.

Stir in onion, celery, parsley, lemon juice, mustard, garlic powder, and cayenne and let sit until the flavors are absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add the mayonnaise and let sit until salad texture is no longer watery, 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Don't drain the macaroni too well before adding the other ingredients-- a little extra moisture will keep the salad from drying out. Regular mayonnaise is best (Hellman's-- or Best Foods in the west-- always), although you can substitute low-fat mayo. Do not use nonfat or Miracle Whip.

The finished salad can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Check the consistency and seasonings before serving; if necessary, simply stir in a little warm water to loosen the texture.

This recipe appears in the following parties:

Memorial Day Barbecue
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recipe type

Side Dishes


Cook's Illustrated