Mom’s Easy Macaroni Salad

SaladBudgetVegetarianMacaroni SaladPasta SaladPicnic Salad

When it's hot, cooking has to be at a bare minimum, right? This quick and easy macaroni salad with hard boiled egg, roasted red bell pepper, onion, mayonnaise, and paprika gives new life to your standard issue picnic macaroni salad!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Homemade Macaroni Salad

When you have a week straight of over 100°F temps, you start looking for cooler things to make. My mother makes this macaroni salad all summer long. She whipped up a batch earlier this week and I think I ate half of the bowl.

Think macaroni and deviled egg have a love child, and you’ll be in the vicinity. There is a hard boiled egg, some roasted red bell pepper, chopped spring onions, a generous amount of mayo, and seasoning with sweet paprika. It’s a perfect salad for a summer BBQ or picnic.

macaroni salad recipe

ROASTED RED PEPPERS

There are two ways of going about obtaining roasted red peppers for this salad. You can buy them, or you can make them.

Many retailers, Trader Joes included, carry jarred roasted red bell peppers packed in oil and vinegar. We usually use these in recipes calling for roasted bell peppers.

Alternatively, you can roast a fresh bell pepper by blackening it over an open flame on a gas range or broiling until the skin blisters on all sides. Remove from heat source, place in a bowl, cover the bowl, after a few minutes remove from the bowl and scrape off the blackened bits. Discard seeds and stem. You can find more instructions about this in our Marinated Roasted Bell Peppers Recipe.

How Long Does Macaroni Salad Keep?

Macaroni salad is best served the same day it’s made. If you’re serving this at a picnic, be sure to only let the salad sit out for a maximum of two hours.

Refrigerate all leftovers; the leftovers will get a little dried out, but will still be good for 2 to 3 days. We do not recommend freezing this salad.

LOVE PASTA SALADS FOR PICNICS? HERE ARE 5 MORE

Updated July 9, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe.

Mom’s Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Prep the ingredients while the pasta water is coming to a boil.

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (about 1/2 pound) dry macaroni pasta (use rice or gluten-free pasta for gluten-free version)
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped spring onion or green onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1 hard boiled egg, chopped
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • A generous amount of mayonnaise (1/3 to 1/2 cup)
  • Several pinches of paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Method

1 Cook the pasta: In at least 2 quarts of salted water (1 1/2 teaspoons of salt per quart of water), cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente—still slightly firm. Remove from heat, drain and rinse with cool water until the pasta reaches room temperature.

2 Soak the onions: While macaroni is cooking, put the chopped onions into a small bowl and sprinkle the lemon juice or vinegar over them. This will take the edge off the onions.

3 Assemble the macaroni salad: Combine cooked macaroni, onions, and all other ingredients in a large serving bowl. Adjust seasonings to taste.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

40 Comments / Reviews

No ImageMom’s Easy Macaroni Salad

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. AnnMc

    I made this salad and it turned out great. I used shallots in place of the red onions. It’s really really good. It was a winner and enjoyed by all at our family get together. Thanks for sharing!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Gita

    Just made this salad for dinner and it is soooooo good! Thank you for the awesome recipe :)

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Deb

    This recipe is BOMB! I used TJs roasted peppers per your recommendation. Fantastic! I also made two boiled eggs and added celery. Thank you!!!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Amanda Achtymichuk

    Totally delicious! Would like to make again and bring camping. How many days do you think it would hold up in a cooler? (airtight container obviously)

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (2)
  5. Janice Valdez

    I also add celery to my salad. IT gives it a little crunch which i like. sometimes i do add tuna. love your recipe. thanks

    xxxxxyyyyy

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