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An image of a large bowl of Hawaiian macaroni salad.
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4.78 from 35 votes

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

This Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is a creamy, comforting, authentic side dish from the islands that's perfect for summer cookouts, barbecues, and luaus (obviously).  We're talking local Hawaiian plate-lunch style classic macaroni salad here, and it's delicious!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Cooling Time2 hrs 40 mins
Total Time3 hrs 5 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 508kcal
Author: Amy Nash



  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons grated yellow onion
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Pasta Salad

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 green onions white and green parts sliced thin
  • 2 large celery ribs chopped
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • ¼ cup grated onion


  • Combine all dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk together until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on the stove over high heat, then cook the macaroni noodles in it according to package directions. Except add an additional 5 minutes to the cooking time so the pasta will be very soft and plump and can absorb the dressing better.
  • Drain the macaroni well in a colander, then return it to the pot and add the apple cider, stirring until the warm pasta absorbs the vinegar. Cover with a lid and let sit for 20 minutes.
  • Add half of the dressing to the cooked pasta, stirring to coat, then cover with the lid again for another 20 minutes so the pasta can absorb some of the dressing.
  • Add the remaining dressing, green onions, celery, and grated carrot to the pasta and stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, as needed.
  • Transfer to a large serving bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours until completely cool before serving.



These HIGHLY optional mix-ins are sometimes seen in Hawaiian macaroni salad, but they definitely decrease the authenticity of the dish: 1 cup frozen peas, 1 cup crumbled bacon, 1 cup cubed ham, 1 small, drained can pineapple tidbits, 3-4 chopped hard boiled eggs.


Calories: 508kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 20g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 542mg | Potassium: 221mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2272IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 1mg