This creamy Macaroni Salad recipe is like the sweet pasta salad you find at every corner grocery store and delicatessen in New York City and Long Island.
New York delicatessens are famous for their potato salad, macaroni salad, and coleslaw. These are all cold salads that go with deli sandwiches like pastrami, corned beef, and thinly sliced turkey breast.
Today I'm making a smooth, sweet, and creamy macaroni salad, the kind you get at the corner deli.
What You Need
This cold macaroni salad is made with elbow macaroni. You can sub fusilli, rotini, small shells, or cavatappi, a twisty cut similar to elbows.
- Elbow macaroni
- Red or green bell pepper
- Yellow or white onion
- White vinegar
- Table sugar
- Salt and black pepper
How To Make Sweet Macaroni Salad
Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water until tender but not mushy. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. Shake the colander to remove excess moisture and transfer the pasta to a large mixing bowl.
If you're not using the pasta immediately, prevent sticking by spraying it with a little cooking oil and mixing it well.
In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper until the sugar dissolves. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and bell pepper, stirring well.
Pour the dressing over the pasta and gently toss with a rubber spatula until thoroughly combined.
Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow the flavors to meld. Overnight is better, if you have the time.
For Gluten-Free Macaroni Salad
Try Jovial Elbow Macaroni, made with brown rice flour—an excellent gluten-free alternative to traditional wheat pasta. Brown rice flour provides a neutral taste and a texture that closely resembles conventional pasta. You can also try Banza Elbows made with chickpeas.
Storage of Pasta Salad
When stored in an airtight container, macaroni salad can be refrigerated for up to 2 days before serving.
For optimal freshness, it's recommended to consume within 3 or 4 days.
How To Serve Mayonnaise Salads in The Hot Weather
Caution! Mayo-based salads, such as cold macaroni salad, potato salad, and coleslaw, should not be left unrefrigerated for an extended period. To prevent foodborne illness, refrigerate promptly and avoid leaving them out at room temperature for more than 1 hour.
In the summertime, the safe time is reduced to just 1 hour. If you have a deep tray, place the containers in ice to keep them cool or refrigerate after serving.
What Goes with Macaroni Salad?
You can easily find sweet macaroni salad in any New York City deli, typically made with elbows. It has a distinctive taste attributed to a generous amount of sugar.
On the other hand, creamy macaroni salad is an excellent choice for potlucks, picnics, and barbecues. It's easy to make and a nice side dish that is always very popular.
Creamy Salad Recipes
Undoubtedly, creamy macaroni salad is a perfect complement to hamburgers and hot dogs! It's also an ideal accompaniment to anything from the deli counter.
Naturally, this New York Deli and Diner Tuna Salad pairs excellently with the classic deli macaroni salad.
Try my recipe for Veggie Tuna Salad, where chopped veggies are mixed with tuna salad in the bowl, providing extra crunch and flavor.
You can pair macaroni salad with this creamy Shrimp Salad with Old Bay Seasoning. Not exactly New York shrimp salad, it's better. I add a bit of Old Bay into the seasoning and the flavors pop!
For summer cookouts, try these snapper recipes including Panko Breaded Snapper, Pan Fried Yellowtail, Roasted Yellowtail, and Broiled Yellowtail. I have lots of Yellowtail Snappers where I live in Florida. You can sub any fresh white fish fillets including Red Snapper.
This creamy macaroni salad Recipe features crisp bell peppers, crunchy celery, carrots, and a blend of spices, mixed with creamy Hellmann's mayonnaise.
It's a recipe that comes remarkably close to the authentic New York macaroni salad!
Whether enjoyed with a big turkey sandwich, baked salmon salad, egg salad, or whitefish salad from a bagel store or NYC deli, this cold pasta salad is the perfect match.
The recipe is made with 8 oz. of pasta, equivalent to half a standard pasta box.
If you're using gluten-free Jovial elbows, cook 2 cups of uncooked pasta.
Macaroni salad from New York delicatessens is renowned for its creamy texture, balanced flavors, and high-quality ingredients, including mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and a mix of fresh vegetables.
Absolutely! Allowing the macaroni salad to refrigerate for a few hours or overnight enhances the flavors.
Yes, use gluten-free pasta such as Jovial gluten-free elbows. It's essential to avoid corn-based pasta, as it might introduce flavors that don't go with the traditional taste of the salad.
There are 290 calories in each serving of mayonnaise-based macaroni salad.
Macaroni salad needs a few hours to rest before serving. Make the creamy salad the day before you need it. Add a little extra mayonnaise if needed.
New York Deli Macaroni Salad
- 8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni (2 cups elbows)
- 3 tablespoons grated yellow onion, grated on the large holes of a box grater
- 1 carrot, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater
- 1 rib celery, minced
- ½ minced red or green bell pepper
- ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 ½ tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoons salt or more taste
- ½ teaspoon black or white pepper
- Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water until tender but not mushy. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. Shake the colander to remove excess moisture and transfer the pasta to a large mixing bowl.
- If you're not using the pasta immediately, prevent sticking by spraying it with a little cooking oil and mixing it well.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper until the sugar dissolves. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and bell pepper, stirring well
- Pour the dressing over the pasta and gently toss with a rubber spatula until thoroughly combined.
- Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow the flavors to meld. Overnight is better, if you have the time