Chef John's Classic Macaroni Salad

Chef John's Classic Macaroni Salad

Salad Pasta Salad 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.

Nutrion facts:

Total Fat 16.1g 25%
    Saturated Fat 2.0g  
Cholesterol 7mg 2%
Sodium 508mg 20%
Potassium 170mg 5%
Total Carbohydrates 32g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1.9g 8%
Protein 5.4g 11%
Sugars 3g  
Vitamin A 1243IU  
Vitamin C 17mg  
Calcium 19mg  
Iron 1mg  
Thiamin 0mg  
Niacin 4mg  
Vitamin B6 0mg  
Magnesium 25mg  
Folate 103mcg