This Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe is a delicious blend of creamy, sweet and tangy flavors that makes it a great side dish for summer cookouts and picnics.
This Hawaiian Style Macaroni Salad was a long time in the making.
The husband is kind of a freak about Hawaiian Mac Salad. Evidently there was some Hawaiian restaurant near his college campus that had THE BEST Hawaiian macaroni salad EVER.
I’ve made macaroni salad for him a few times over the years, but got sick of tired of hearing about this fabled best ever mac salad.
When I made a big batch of my Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken earlier this week, I decided that it was finally time to nail down my Hawaiian style mac salad recipe.
I can’t remember when exactly this was, but I was leafing through a magazine in the waiting room of my dentist’s office and came across an interesting tip.
The recipe said to toss the hot cooked macaroni with vinegar before letting it cool. I’d never heard of this trick before, but it made total sense to me so I decided to give it a shot.
Well, I’m here to report back that this MUST be the secret trick used by the college campus Hawaiian restaurant because the husband ate his weight in mac salad over the past few days.
It made me a believer, too; I’ll never making mac salad any other way!
Is Macaroni Salad a Hawaiian Food?
Mac salad is a dish that originated in Hawaii, but not all of its local dishes can be called Hawaiian. Learn more about the difference between this one and other “Hawaiian” foods here!
The dish called “macaroni salad” can be found all over the world, but it doesn’t have a single origin. This food is made from macaronis (pasta) and vegetables that typically include carrots in some form such as grated or boiled into them – though add-ins like peas wouldn’t necessarily make their way onto your plate should you decide to enjoy one of these bowls while traveling abroad!
How Did Macaroni Salad Get To Hawaii?
Macaroni Salad Has two interesting stories;
- Some say mac salad came to Hawaii via potato salad from Europe. Before World War II, many hotel chefs in early 1900s Hawaii were brought in from Europe and they got the preparation of this dish into their work ethic because it was common for them at home too- replacing potatoes with pasta when you’re on a tight budget can be done easily enough! It wasn’t until after that war ended though when tourism became more popular than ever before -so much so that cuisine styles began changing all over again. This time around though no one wanted Italian food anymore; everyone wanted “local” flavors instead…and what better way is there?
- Other said that mac salad came from the sugar and pineapple plantation. However, instead of coming from Asian workers who labored on it for hours each day in a hot environment without pay or appreciation-Mac Salad was created by European managers as an easy way to get rid of leftovers after meals where they could prepare something tasty but not messy with simple ingredients like potatoes while avoiding any messes themselves!
How to Make Hawaiian Macaroni SaladAssemble the ingredients for this recipe. For the exact amounts, see the recipe card at the end of this post.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a roiling boil. Add macaroni and cook until very soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, return the pasta to the pot and immediately toss with vinegar. Let cool ten minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the mayonnaise, 1 ½ cups of the whole milk, the brown sugar, salt, and pepper.
Once the macaroni has cooled for 10 minutes, toss with the mixed sauce and let cool to room temperature.
Once cool, fold in the scallion, carrot, and celery. Whisk together the remaining 1 cup mayonnaise and ½ cup whole milk and pour over macaroni salad. Toss well to coat. Taste and add more salt or pepper as needed.
Chill in the refrigerator until cold.
I absolutely love bringing a huge bowl of this Hawaiian pasta salad to summertime barbecues. If you’re looking for some other fun side-dish options, try my 10 Minute Veggie Ribbon Salad, my Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad, or my Warm Israeli Couscous Salad with Roasted Vegetables.
Okay, I know you just can’t wait any longer to start making a HUGE batch of this stuff, so…
Here’s the Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe!
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups mayonnaise - divided
- 2 cups whole milk - divided
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bunch scallions - sliced thin (about 5-7 scallions)
- 1 1/2 cups shredded carrot
- 1 1/2 cups minced celery
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a roiling boil. Add macaroni and cook until very soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, return the pasta to the pot and immediately toss with vinegar. Let cool ten minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the mayonnaise, 1 ½ cups of the whole milk, the brown sugar, salt, and pepper.
- Once the macaroni has cooled for 10 minutes, toss with the mixed sauce and let cool to room temperature.
- Once cool, fold in the scallion, carrot, and celery. Whisk together the remaining 1 cup mayonnaise and ½ cup whole milk and pour over macaroni salad. Toss well to coat. Taste and add more salt or pepper as needed.
- Chill in the refrigerator until cold.