Save on Pinterest

Summer Macaroni Salad

When we grill, my mother asks me to make this summer pasta salad. To make it extra creamy, I like to keep a small amount of dressing separate and stir it in just before serving. —Carly Curtin, Ellicott City, Maryland
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. + chilling Cook: 15 min.
  • Makes
    16 servings


  • 1 package (16 ounces) elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons water or 2% milk
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 small sweet yellow, orange or red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


  • Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain; rinse with cold water and drain again.
  • In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, water, vinegar, sugar and seasonings until blended. In a large bowl, combine macaroni, peppers, onion and celery. Add 1 cup dressing; toss gently to coat. Refrigerate, covered, until cold, about 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate remaining dressing to add just before serving.
  • To serve, stir in reserved dressing. Sprinkle with parsley.
Nutrition Facts
3/4 cup: 160 calories, 6g fat (1g saturated fat), 5mg cholesterol, 320mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch, 1 fat.

Recommended Video


Click stars to rate
Average Rating:
  • Callie
    Jun 30, 2020

    Very simple recipe. Not a whole lot of depth, but tasty. I'd add more spices next time I make it.

  • Carol
    Jun 26, 2020

    Very tasty. I added chopped zucchini and sliced olives. This recipe is great for using lots of veggies.

  • Jerry
    Jun 26, 2020

    The recipe is great we made a couple of slight changes, neither of us like the celery so we remove that and add chopped up cucumbers, we also add chopped up hard boiled eggs. Along with one of these reviews we prefer the salad dressing to mayonnaise, we believe it gives it more flavor, for us anyway.

  • D.
    Mar 12, 2020

    I added finely chopped green onions to the mayo the night before and put it in the fridge to kind of blend the flavors together. Also, I did as one of the other posters suggested and didn't add all the dressing until just before time to serve, since it was already good and cold anyway. Added one small dash of the dry powder ranch dressing mix to the mayo-onion mixture, as well. If you're looking for more flavor, add more ranch or any of your other favorite spices, but it was great just the way I made it and I followed the recipe just the way it's written other than the extra green onions and the sprinkle of ranch dressing mix/powder. Great for summer picnics in the backyard.

  • Priscilla
    Jul 18, 2019

    Whenever I make macaroni salad, regardless of the ingredients, I use Ken's Lite Northern Italian salad dressing instead of mayonnaise. You do not have to worry about keeping the salad cool although I put the container in a bed of ice for an outdoor party.

  • Psalm127-3
    Jul 28, 2018

    This sounds like a true winner regarding ingreds. I’ll be giving this a try

  • Wildfiremustang
    Jun 24, 2018

    It was a little bland, not much flavor.

  • ginadeec
    Jun 13, 2018

    Delicious! Not a bite was left over. I added a drained can of diced tomatoes & kalamata olives. I also added some spanish spices. I'm sure it would be just as good as it was written, but for our meal, I added these items. Definately, a keeper!

  • ccolor1
    Aug 2, 2017

    We did like this, but a good idea would be to make extra dressing and add it before serving since ours did soak up the original quickly and became dry. I cooked the pasta in water flavored with Tony Chachere's seasoning for more flavor and since it's summer, we have tomatoes out the wazoo so some pieces were added. This really is a great recipe and will be used again - thank you for posting it.

  • scotland1
    Jul 27, 2017

    Made it. I did not have any bell peppers to add. It sure was good tasting. Will make ti again without the bell peppers. This is my go to salad.