A Macaroni Fruit Salad for Holiday Parties

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You’ll often spot a macaroni fruit salad at Filipino Christmas parties. This classic dish tastes best during the holidays as part of a festive feast shared with loved ones. It’s cheerful and comforting, with an unexpected flavor combination that will urge guests to ask for more servings. It even looks celebratory as its ingredients mimic the colorful lights of the season.

If you grew up with this salad, consider this nothing short of a nostalgic treat in adulthood. And if you have kids, it’s a tradition you can continue enjoying together. Since this recipe requires minimal cooking, try making it with your little ones as a bonding experience. Prep the macaroni ahead and have them mix everything in a bowl while you watch. It’s a good chance to involve them in all the holiday festivities and lessen your load.

How to Make Macaroni Fruit Salad

A sea of elbow macaroni pasta

This dish combines the elements of two Filipino favorites: macaroni and fruit salad. You get creamy mayonnaise, chewy pasta, fruit cocktail, and savory cheese in every bite. It’s both a dessert and a side dish that's made for people who love the marriage of sweet and savory flavors.


  • 1 (400-g) pack macaroni
  • 1 (470-ml) jar Lady's Choice Real Mayonnaise
  • 300 ml condensed milk
  • 250 ml all-purpose cream
  • 1 can fruit cocktail, drained
  • 1 pack cheese, diced
  • 1 bottle nata de coco
  • 1 bottle kaong, drained


  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain well and set aside.
  2. Combine Lady’s Choice Real Mayonnaise, condensed milk, and all-purpose cream in a bowl.
  3. Add fruit cocktail, cheese, nata de coco, kaong, and cooked macaroni. Mix until well-combined.
  4. Chill until ready to serve. 

Other Mix-ins to Try

Ham being sliced on a cutting board with a backdrop of a Christmas spread

Sliced ham

Play up the savory flavors in this dish by adding sliced ham to the mix. Here is your chance to use noche buena leftovers or any ham your family may have received as gifts.


Fruit cocktail usually has this in the can already, but you can always add more. You can use sliced fresh pineapples, too. Even slightly tangier ones can still add another dimension to your salad. Plus, they're delicious with ham!

Corn and carrots

Sweet corn works for sweet and savory dishes, so it should feel right at home here. As for the carrots, make sure to blanch them first to bring out their natural sweetness. Since they have more crunch and snap, they’ll keep the textures in this dish exciting.

What to Pair with This Sweet and Savory Salad

A plate of crispy fried chicken at a barbecue, with macaroni salad on the side

Fried chicken

Do as many fast-food chains do and serve your fried chicken with macaroni salad as a side dish or rice substitute. The tanginess from the salad will help cut through the richness of this beloved ulam. Pair with bread rolls to mop up dressings and gravies.

Pork barbecue

Macaroni salad is a staple at American backyard barbecues for a reason. Since the salad is served cold, it offers a refreshing contrast to meats hot off the grill. Recreate the experience at home or your parties by pairing it with Filipino-style barbecue. After all, both are staples at holiday feasts, so you might as well enjoy them together.

Deli sandwiches

Along with sandwiches, pasta salads are a fixture at picnics. Next time you wake up to a sunny day, take it as an opportunity to have your meal outdoors. Your kids will love their merienda even more after a bit of activity.

Got a potluck coming up? Complete the festive spread with this Filipino favorite macaroni fruit salad. Experiment with different mix-ins, make it with your kids and enjoy this versatile side with many other dishes. It’s the perfect dish to welcome the holiday season!

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