You know that one recipe that brings you back to a certain place every time you have it? This creamy macaroni salad is that recipe for me. And, because it is a family favorite, I am documenting it so that our kids can make it for generations to come.
The BEST Creamy Macaroni Side Salad
My mother-in-law puts so much time and detail into every dish that she makes. Although sometimes maddening, her patience in making sure that she gets to the very root of the green onion when a recipe calls for a 2-3 stems of green onions – by golly, she’ll get every part of that green onion down to the white shoots at the end.
It’s why – I’m just speculating … that none of the recipes of hers that I make actually turn out tasting as good as hers do.
I am a lazy cook, throwing in ingredients to “my best guess” whereas Grandma Connie will measure out every ounce of an ingredient, literally skimming the top of a measuring cup with the back of a butter knife until the cup is perfectly flat on top. But, I love that about her!
And, it’s how we get the most perfect, creamiest, best-tasting macaroni salad ever. BONUS, I finally feel like I have this cold macaroni salad down – YES!
Until I started using her macaorni side salad recipe every macaroni salad I ever attempted was dry and chunky and never, ever had that creamy texture. Never.
This is the cold side salad recipe of all recipes if you want creamy macaroni salad that everyone will love!
A few must-do tips when making this creamy macaroni salad:
- You MUST rinse the macaroni with cold water after cooking
- You MUST mix the Miracle Whip and the sugar before adding it to the other ingredients.
- You really *should be like Grandma Connie and chop your onions, celery, and carrots up really tiny. It just makes everything come together better and easier.
- Creamette noodles are the key to this recipe. I have no idea why … but they just are. If you don’t have Creamette noodles at your store, get them here on Amazon.
That’s it! Those are the real, true rules for making this macaroni salad, and when you make it like this, I can promise you’ll make it again, and again and again!
More side dishes that you’ll also want to take a peek at:
How to Keep Macaroni Salad From Drying Out:
The biggest tip that I have for making sure that your macaroni salad doesn’t dry out is to make sure to take very good care of the pasta. Cook it just the right amount, in lots of salt and rinse with cold water after cooking to stop the cooking process.
For me, the perfect amount of cooking time is the lesser end of the cooking recommendation. If the box says 11-13 minutes, cook the pasta for 11 minutes in a boiling pot of very salted water. The salt adds so much necessary flavor to the macaroni salad.
How Much Macaroni Salad for a Crowd?
I usually plan on 1/2 cup per person. This recipe can be doubled, tripled, evenquadrupled. Just multiply the ingredients by whatever you’re needing.
How Long Does Macaroni Salad Last?
I have a four day rule in my house. After four days, whatever it is gets thrown away. That is my rule with this macaroni side salad, too.
How Long Can Macaroni Salad Sit Out?
Because of the Miracle Whip in this cold side dish, I don’t receommend leaving it out for longer than 2 hours – if it does, it will need to be thrown away.
Can Macaroni Salad Be Prepped in Advance?
I always make this macaroni salad in advance. Atleast 3-4 hours and if it’s the ideal situation then you’ll make it the day before you plan on serving it.
Tips for the Best Macaroni Salad:
- Mix Miracle Whip and sugar together well before adding it to the noodles and veggies
- Make enough of the Miracle Whip and sugar mixture to really coat the macaroni and veggies (you can always make more)
- Always put salt in the macaroni water when making the macaroni. It’s imperative for flavor
- Always rinse the macaroni with lots of cold water while stirring
- If you have it, and if you need some time to cut veggies, stir some olive oil into the macaroni so the noodles don’t stick together
- Stir before serving
Creamy Macaroni Cold Side Salad Recipe
- 7 oz box Creamette elbow noodles
- 2 tsp salt
- 3/-4 medium sized carrots grated
- 2-3 cups chopped celery
- 2 T chopped onion
- 1 cup Miracle Whip
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Ground black pepper
- Mix Miracle Whip and sugar and place in the fridge to come together
- Cut veggies
- Bring large pot of water to a boil
- Add salt in to boiling water
- Add macaroni to water and cook until the lesser amount of recommended time
- Stir macaroni often
- Drain and rinse macaroni well with cold water
- Add macaroni, veggies and Miracle Whip mixture together in large bowl
- Let sit in refrigerator for 3-4 hours minimum