Chef John's Classic Macaroni Salad
Whether it's sitting next to some smoky ribs or just a humble hot dog, this deli-style macaroni salad will always be a crowd favorite, as long as you pay attention to a few key details.
Servings per recipe: 12
Calories per serving: 295
Preparation time: 20m
Total cooking time: 4h 33m
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon white sugar, or more to taste
- 1 cup finely diced celery
- 3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions, white and light parts
- 1/4 cup diced jalapeno pepper
- 1/4 cup diced poblano pepper
- 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked elbow macaroni
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise (optional)
- 1 tablespoon water (optional)
- 1 Whisk 1 cup mayonnaise, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper together in a bowl until well blended; whisk in sugar. Stir in celery, red bell pepper, carrot, onions, and jalapeno and poblano peppers. Refrigerate until macaroni is ready to dress.
- 2 Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Cook elbow macaroni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain but do not rinse. Allow macaroni to drain in a colander about 5 minutes, shaking out moisture from time to time. Pour macaroni into large bowl; toss to separate and cool to room temperature. Macaroni should be sticky.
- 3 Pour dressing over macaroni and stir until dressing is evenly distributed. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or, ideally, overnight to allow dressing to absorb into the macaroni.
- 4 Stir salad before serving. Mix 1 tablespoon mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon water into salad for fresher look.