Mexican Macaroni Salad Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Mexican Macaroni Salad

Total Time
Prep: 20 min. + chilling
This Mexican macaroni salad is irresistible!

Updated: Mar. 11, 2024

If you’re hosting an outdoor gathering, headed to a potluck, or looking to add more flavor to traditional macaroni salad, this Mexican macaroni salad will be a hit. And it comes together in a snap! It only takes 20 minutes to whip up, and can easily be made ahead of time.

What is Mexican macaroni salad?

Also known as ensalada de coditos (which roughly translates to “elbow macaroni salad”), this classic Mexican dish is usually served at picnics, quinceaneras and family gatherings. Recipes may include different types of cubed vegetables like red peppers, carrots and celery, but the pickled jalapeno and cubed ham are standard. That’s what makes this dish different from other macaroni salad recipes. A crowd-pleaser all year round, you can’t go wrong bringing this colorful dish to the table for your next get-together!

Mexican Macaroni Salad Ingredients

  • Uncooked elbow macaroni
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sour cream
  • Juice from pickled jalapeno slices
  • Ground mustard
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fully cooked ham
  • Mixed vegetables, drained
  • Pickled jalapeno slices, chopped


Step 1: Prepare macaroni

In a saucepan, bring salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni to al dente. Then drain and rinse with cold water to get rid of the extra starch. (This keeps pasta from getting mushy when tossed with the dressing.) Cool pasta completely before mixing with other ingredients.

Step 2: Combine the ingredients

Mexican Macaroni SaladTMB Studio

First, make the dressing. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, jalapeno juice, mustard, salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine ham, mixed vegetables, jalapenos and cooled cooked macaroni. Pour in dressing slowly, gently tossing to coat ingredients.

Step 3: Refrigerate and serve

Refrigerate until serving, at least 2 hours. This allows the flavors to meld together. To serve, garnish with additional pickled jalapeno slices, if desired.

Can I make Mexican macaroni salad ahead of time?

Yes, this macaroni salad is even better and more flavorful if made the night before! Just be sure to refrigerate, covered, to keep everything nice and fresh.

Mexican Macaroni Salad Tips

What type of ham should I use?

Use a pre-cooked, boneless ham for easy cubing. Also, avoid hams with a lot of additional flavors (e.g. smoked or spiced varieties) that could compete with other ingredients in the salad.

How do I keep macaroni from absorbing all of the dressing?

Be sure to cook the elbow pasta to al dente, and rinse with cold water after cooking. Both of these simple steps will ensure that your pasta doesn’t absorb all of the dressing.

What can I serve with Mexican macaroni salad?

Any Mexican favorites would be a delicious pairing with this macaroni salad, just be sure there’s a good mix of main dishes and sides. Make your favorite fajitas or tacos, alongside chips and salsa, Mexican rice and refried beans. The possibilities are endless!

Mexican Macaroni Salad

Prep Time 20 min
Yield 8 servings.


  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon juice from pickled jalapeno slices
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) mixed vegetables, drained
  • 1/3 cup pickled jalapeno slices, chopped


  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water. Cool completely.
  2. For dressing, in a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, jalapeno juice, mustard, salt and pepper. In a large bowl, combine ham, mixed vegetables, jalapenos and macaroni. Add dressing; gently toss to coat. Refrigerate until serving, at least 2 hours. Garnish with additional pickled jalapeno slices, if desired.

Nutrition Facts

3/4 cup: 253 calories, 15g fat (4g saturated fat), 36mg cholesterol, 765mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 2g fiber), 11g protein.

Enjoy this easy twist on macaroni salad for a lunchtime change of pace. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen