Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe Perfect for Potluck

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A potluck dish that would wow guests doesn’t have to be fancy. Usually, the simplest fare stands out, especially if you find a way to zhuzh it up. Look at this macaroni salad recipe, for example.

A staple in many Filipino feasts, macaroni salad is versatile, inexpensive, and incredibly effortless. It pairs well with almost any other dish, from roasted and grilled meats to steamed and broiled seafood. Check its list of ingredients – you likely have most in your pantry already. It means you can stay within budget and have extra money for other holiday expenses. Make this simple macaroni salad two days in advance and just store it in the fridge until party time. Ready to start?

How to Make Macaroni Salad

A serving of colorful macaroni salad in a black bowl

This simple macaroni salad with mayo features a colorful mix of savory and sweetish ingredients. It’s a terrific dish to serve at handaans because it caters to the Pinoy palate. But you also don’t need to wait for a special occasion to do this!


  • 200 g uncooked macaroni noodles
  • 1 (220-ml) pack Lady’s Choice Real Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp pineapple juice
  • 2 tbsp pickle relish
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped onions
  • ¼ cup diced celery stalks
  • ¼ cup diced carrots
  • ½ cup cubed cooked ham
  • ½ cup diced cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup pineapple tidbits, drained and juice reserved
  • ¼ cup raisins (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse under running water, drain, and set aside.
  2. Combine Lady’s Choice Real Mayonnaise, sugar, pineapple juice, pickle relish, onions, celery, and carrots in a bowl. Mix until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add cooked macaroni and all remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Chill until ready to serve.

Because the recipe is flexible, you can omit or add other flavorful components to it. Some ingredients you can use to jazz it up are cucumber, apple, gelatin, corn, and hot dogs. Besides creating unique flavor combos through fun components, you can also level up your salad by tweaking the dressing.

Ingredients to Boost Your Macaroni Salad Dressing

A bowl of mayonnaise surrounded with herbs, spices, and vegetable oil on a wooden countertop

Give your macaroni salad a new flavor profile with these simple dressing tweaks. Check out these quick options!

Cream cheese

A bit of cream cheese can give your macaroni salad extra creaminess and a bit of indulgence. Plus, it adds sweetness, saltiness, and some zest to your dish. To achieve a smooth finish, make sure to soften the cheese at room temperature before mixing it with the mayo.

Bell peppers

How about adding extra splashes of color and crunch to your salad? You can do this with diced red or yellow bell peppers! Fresh peppers offer a sweet and slightly citrusy taste that cuts through the richness of the mayo. It also pairs well with cream cheese, achieving a profile similar to pimiento spread. 


Salt and pepper are enough to season a macaroni salad. But if you want to give the dish a touch of mild spiciness with hints of smoky flavor, add paprika. Rather than mixing it into your dressing, try sprinkling it directly over the salad before serving.

Sour cream

A touch of acidity can upgrade creamy mayo instantly. Introduce mild tart notes by mixing sour cream into your standard dressing. But add a teaspoon at a time! It’s easier to put in more than to remove excess quantities.

Greek yogurt

A healthier alternative to sour cream, yogurt gives a nice subtle tanginess to the dish minus the extra calories. If Greek yogurt is too sour, go ahead and use the regular plain variety.

Dijon mustard

Try mixing in a tablespoon of Dijon mustard to an easy macaroni salad recipe. Use a teaspoon or two and adjust if needed. With mustard, a little goes a long way. 

There are endless ways to customize a macaroni salad recipe. But no matter how you tweak the dish, it will always complement many other mains. Some potluck viands to serve it with are fried chicken wings, embutido, and creamy beef caldereta. Give this three-step recipe a shot and breeze through party prep!

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