Hawaiian Macaroni Salad (2022)

Home Rice, Potatoes and Noodles



1 hr


Jump to RecipePrint

By: Lalaine ManaloPosted: 11/01/2020Updated: 11/01/2020

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is easy to make with simple ingredients and in under 30 minutes. Perfectly sweet, tangy, and creamy, it’s a great side dish for backyard BBQs, potlucks, or holidays.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad (1)

Guys, it’s November, and you know what that means. Christmas and New Year are just around the corner!

As part of a yearly holiday series, I showcase party-worthy recipes around this time to help you plan your Noche Buena menu. So far, we have slow cooker ham with pineapple and steamed lapu-lapu with mayo as well as homemade gift ideas such as tropical magic bars and Spanish-style bangus oil.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad (2)

Chicken macaroni salad is one of my most popular recipes here on Kawaling Pinoy during Christmas, and it’s not surprising as it’s seriously the bomb! Creamy and tasty with loads of diced ham, chopped eggs, cubed cheese, crushed pineapple, and raisins, every spoonful is like a party in your mouth.

But since our Filipino-style pasta salad comes with tons of add-ins, it can be time-consuming to prepare. If you’re looking for an easier option which takes fewer ingredients and under thirty minutes to ready, Hawaiian macaroni salad is it!

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad (3)

This Mac salad is a staple in Hawaii’s local food scene and is traditionally served with a meat entree and steamed rice as part of the quintessential Hawaiian meal, plate lunch.

An easy, no-frills recipe, the pasta dish uses only a handful of ingredients you probably already have on hand. It’s a simple affair of elbow macaroni, shredded carrots, and grated onions dressed in apple cider and creamy mayo, milk, and sugar mixture yet is just as mouthwatering as more elaborate versions.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad (4)

Cooking tips

  • Use full-fat mayonnaise and whole milk for ultra-creamy taste and texture. If you want to shave off some of the calories, swap the mayo with Greek yogurt but expect a change in flavor.
  • Toss the macaroni with the apple cider vinegar while still hot to give it a bit of tang and help it absorb more flavor. Let stand for about 10 to 15 minutes to cool before adding the dressing.
  • Add extras such as diced ham, bell peppers, celery, green peas, or crushed pineapple for variety. Not traditional additions in this classic Hawaiian side dish but still delicious.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad (5)

How to store

  • Hawaiian macaroni salad holds up well and can be prepped in advance of the party. If it looks dry from the refrigeration, just toss with additional mayo dressing to loosen consistency and add back some of the creaminess.
  • Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Unfortunately, it does not freeze well as the mayo dressing tends to break or separate when frozen then thawed.
  • For food safety, do not keep the salad at room temperature for more than 2 hours as it contains mayonnaise that might cause to spoil faster especially in hot weather.

For more island favorites, try this Spam musubi recipe!

(Video) How to Make Our Favorite Macaroni Salad

Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @kawalingpinoy on Facebook and Instagram!

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad (6)

5 from 9 votes

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Hawaiian-style Macaroni Salad is creamy, tangy, and the perfect sides for BBQs, potlucks, and holiday parties. It's easy to make and sure to be a crowd-pleaser!

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 10 mins

Stand: 35 mins

Total Time: 1 hr

Author: Lalaine Manalo

Course: Side Dish

Print Pin It

8 servings


  • 1 pound uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup grated onions
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • green onions, chopped

US CustomaryMetric


  • In a pot over medium heat, bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add elbow macaroni and cook according to the package's direction.

  • Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.

    (Video) Easy HAWAIIAN STYLE MACARONI SALAD Recipe | Keeping It Relle

  • While still hot, drizzle the apple cider vinegar and add the carrots and onions. Gently toss to evenly distribute and let stand for about 10 to 15 minutes.

  • In another bowl, combine mayonnaise, milk, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Whisk together until smooth.

  • Add half of the mayonnaise dressing over the macaroni mixture, and gently toss together all of the ingredients to coat. Let stand for about 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Add the remaining half of the mayonnaise dressing to the pasta mixture and toss again to distribute. Garnish with chopped green onions, if desired.

  • Cover the bowl with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for about 2 to 3 hours to completely chill and the flavors to meld. Serve cold.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 618kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 43g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 518mg, Potassium: 191mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 1398IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 39mg, Iron: 1mg

“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”

About Lalaine Manalo

Welcome to Kawaling Pinoy. Here you’ll find hundreds of delicious Filipino and Asian recipes. Make sure to browse around and pick a favorite dish or two. Happy cooking! Read More

Previous PostCocido-style Nilaga
Next Post Calamansi Cheesecake Bars

Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment

  1. Elizabeth Koehl says

    Do I actually grate the onion, or can I just chop it fine. Also what type of onion do you use? Looking forward to trying this recipe out!


    • Lalaine Manalo says

      I like to grate the onion; just brown onions 🙂


  2. Mar says

    Hawaiian Macaroni Salad (9)
    Amazing recipe. Did this for 40 -50 folks..scaled up. Only addition is I cook the pasta an extra 5 minutes, and keep some half and half for the the next morning to thin out a bit because I always chill overnight.


    • Lalaine Manalo says

      (Video) Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe

      Glad everyone enjoyed it!


  3. Dee says

    Hawaiian Macaroni Salad (10)
    Delicious, easy and very authentic. It’s much like the Mac salad I’ve had in Maui.


    • Lalaine Manalo says

      Yes, so simple yet delicious 🙂


  4. Sara says

    Hawaiian Macaroni Salad (11)
    So delicious! It’s a must try!


    • Lalaine Manalo says

      Thank you for the feedback!


  5. nichole carlson says

    Hawaiian Macaroni Salad (12)
    So so good! Thank you for sharing!


    • Lalaine Manalo says

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      (Video) Hawaiian Style Macaroni Salad


  6. Kate Smith says

    Hawaiian Macaroni Salad (13)
    I have always loved Hawaiian mac salad. On a whim, I decided to look up a recipe. I chose this one and from now on, whether exactly replicated or not, I will include cider vinegar, brown sugar and a small amount of milk in my mac salads. The carrots are a must too. Thanks for sharing.


    • Lalaine Manalo says

      The brown sugar, vinegar, and milk really makes the salad extra yummy. 🙂


  7. Mary says

    Hawaiian Macaroni Salad (14)
    My husband loves Mac salad and this recipe is the best I’ve ever found. He was so happy when I reproduced his favorite restaurants’s perfectly creamy Hawaiian Mac! Thank you for this, Mahalo nui loa!


    • Lalaine Manalo says

      Thanks for the 5-stars! Glad you enjoyed the recipe.


  8. Jovelita dulfo says

    More recepe pls.thanks


  9. Dimitri Komarov says

    Hawaiian Macaroni Salad (15)
    This salad looks so good yet it is so easy to make. Thank you for sharing, this is now going to be a mainstay at my Sunday brunches.


    (Video) Hawaiian Macaroni Salad


Why does Hawaiian mac salad taste different? ›

Unlike its Anglo counterpart, Hawaiian mac salad tends to shun vinegar and mustard; it eschews sugar and MSG (which some vintage recipes include), favoring Best Foods (also known as Hellmann's) mayonnaise instead.

What is Hawaiian macaroni salad made of? ›

What is in Hawaiian macaroni salad? It's the easiest dish ever—just cooked pasta, grated carrot and onion, a little bit of celery and sliced green onion, and the perfect sweet-tangy-creamy dressing.

Why is macaroni salad so popular in Hawaii? ›

It's said that Hawaiian macaroni salad made its way onto the plate lunch once Europeans introduced dry elbow macaroni & mayonnaise to the islands. Locals quickly adopted these ingredients because mac salad was affordable, not perishable (unlike a potato salad), & easy to make at home.

How many calories are in a Hawaiian macaroni salad? ›

How many Calories are in Hawaiian Macaroni Salad? This recipe has approximately 200 calories per serving.

Who invented Hawaiian macaroni salad? ›

The origins of Hawaiian mac salad are still debated, but it is believed to have originated with either hotel chefs or plantation managers who brought potato salad recipes to the island.

How do you fix too much vinegar in pasta salad? ›

How To Fix Too Much Vinegar In Salad Dressing
  1. A splash of olive oil.
  2. 1-2 spoons of mayonnaise.
  3. A few teaspoons of mashed avocado.
  4. A dollop or two of peanut or almond butter.
  5. A drizzle of tahini.

Can you put egg in macaroni salad? ›

With simple ingredients and a homemade creamy dressing, this Macaroni Salad with Egg is truly a tried and true macaroni salad recipe. Perfect for summer potlucks and ideal for making in advance.

What is a typical Hawaiian lunch? ›

Some of the most commonly seen dishes on a plate lunch are native Hawaiian dishes: loco moco (hamburger patties topped with brown gravy and a fried egg), kalua pork (a traditional luau dish of slow-cooked pork shoulder), or Spam musubi (slices of Spam on top of rice wrapped in nori), a highly portable snack that's said ...

What is the typical Hawaiian plate lunch? ›

So what is a plate lunch? Simply, a plate lunch is a scoop of macaroni salad, two scoops or rice and some sort of protein. Popular proteins include chicken katsu (fried chicken breasts or thighs, pictured above), kalua pig, shrimp, kalbi ribs, pork lau lau and of course, loco moco.

Why do they eat so much rice in Hawaii? ›

The many immigrants that came to Hawaii brought their tastes for certain foods with them. Japanese and Chinese immigrants traveled to Hawaii and worked on the sugarcane plantations. Laudan (1996) writes: “The Chinese, the first immigrants to work on the plantations, demanded rice instead of poi, the Hawaiian staple.

How many carbs are in Hawaiian macaroni salad? ›

Hawaiian Barbecue Macaroni Salad (1 serving) contains 23g total carbs, 21g net carbs, 13g fat, 6g protein, and 350 calories.

How many carbs is in 1 scoop of macaroni salad? ›

Macaroni Salad 1 Scoop (1 serving) contains 17g total carbs, 16g net carbs, 29g fat, 3g protein, and 340 calories.

Does Hawaiian Bros macaroni salad have dairy? ›

Our full menu is both dairy and nut free! All items aside from our buns, noodles for the salad, and our pasta salad are gluten free. The only item that contains eggs is the pasta salad, because egg is found in mayo."

Is macaroni salad supposed to be hot or cold? ›

Macaroni salad is a type of pasta salad, served cold made with cooked elbow macaroni and usually prepared with mayonnaise. Much like potato salad or coleslaw in its use, it is often served as a side dish to barbecue, fried chicken, or other picnic style dishes.

Why is macaroni salad called salad? ›

The answer is simple — because of the dressing. Today's definition of salad is a variety of cold dishes that include small pieces of food (such as pasta, meat, fruit, or vegetables) mixed with a dressing or mayonnaise. To put it simply, if it's dressed you can feel confident calling it a salad!

What's in a Hawaiian plate? ›

Traditional Hawaiian plate lunch. Clockwise, from bottom left: two scoop white rice, ahi poke, lomi-lomi salmon, haupia dessert, kālua puaʻa (roast pork), and pork laulau.

What neutralizes vinegar taste? ›

You made a dish too sour

Sourness comes from acidic ingredients (including tomatoes, wine and vinegar). If your dish tastes too sour try to add sweetness—think sugar, honey (it's healthy!), cream or even caramelized onions. You can also dilute the dish (same as you would with a dish with too much salt).

How do you get the vinegar taste out of macaroni salad? ›

You could try adding some sugar (preferably a syrup) and that will cut some acidity. You can also try adding a little bit of baking soda which will neutralize acid into salt. This will reduce the acidity but also increase the saltiness.

What does vinegar do to macaroni? ›

The Secret Ingredient: Apple Cider or Red Wine Vinegar

The acid in the vinegar and the residual heat from the cooking pasta make the noodles more absorbent so they'll really soak up the flavor from your dressing, whether you use a mayonnaise-based one or a vinaigrette.

What is the most popular Hawaiian dish? ›

Saimin is a traditional noodle soup that's considered the national dish of Hawaii. There are several variations on the dish, but it usually consists of thin noodles in clear broth with fish cakes, scallions, and often char siu pork or ham. Additional ingredients often include shrimp, poultry, and eggs.

What is the most popular Hawaiian food? ›

Here are 10 popular Hawaiian food and drink options you really must try on your next Hawaiian cruise.
  1. Poke. Perennially beloved by locals and visitors alike, poke is a rich dish full of flavorful, simple ingredients. ...
  2. Poi. ...
  3. Lomi Lomi Salmon. ...
  4. Kalua Pua'a. ...
  5. Lau Lau. ...
  6. Haupia. ...
  7. Pipi Kalua. ...
  8. Loco Moco.

What is the most traditional Hawaiian food? ›

Probably the most famous Hawaiian food to eat on the islands is poke. This popular raw fish Hawaiian poke is well loved here in Hawaii with many different versions, ingredients and sauces added to create a variety of taste and flavors.

How do you keep macaroni salad from drying out? ›

The key to keeping macaroni salad from drying out is the pasta. If you don't cook it enough, the pasta won't grab on to the dressing and will dry out. If you overcook the pasta, it will be completely soggy and gross. Cook the pasta just right, and your macaroni salad will stay perfectly creamy.

How do you keep Mayo from separating in macaroni salad? ›

How do I keep macaroni from absorbing mayonnaise? Very simple! Chill! Chilling your macaroni and other ingredients before mixing your salad together will help slow the absorption of mayonnaise.

How do you make Amish macaroni salad? ›

Combine eggs, onion, celery, bell pepper, and relish in a large bowl. Stir together salad dressing, sugar, mustard, vinegar, celery seed, and salt in a small bowl. Pour over eggs and vegetables. Top with cooled macaroni; stir until well combined.

Do you rinse noodles macaroni salad? ›

Do Not Rinse. Pasta should never, ever be rinsed for a warm dish. The starch in the water is what helps the sauce adhere to your pasta. The only time you should ever rinse your pasta is when you are going to use it in a cold dish like a pasta salad or when you are not going to use it immediately.

How long can you keep macaroni salad in the refrigerator? ›

Macaroni salad lasts 3 to 4 days in the fridge.

But if any of the ingredients loses quality faster, or the dressing starts to separate after 1 to 2 days, the salad will deteriorate even sooner.

What is the most popular meat in Hawaii? ›

More than any other meat, pork has a big place on Hawaiian tables. Pua'a (pigs) were part of the original bounty that voyagers brought to Hawaii more than 800 years ago. Kalua pork is one of the biggest, most time-consuming and most important parts of a traditional luau.

What is Hawaiian comfort food? ›

Loco Moco

A beef patty, white rice, a fried egg and brown gravy are the core ingredients of loco moco, Hawaiʻi's quintessential comfort food.

What do Hawaiians eat for breakfast? ›

Breakfast. Portuguese sausage, eggs and rice is one of the most common breakfasts of Hawaii. It includes linguiça, eggs, and white rice. The McDonald's franchise in Hawaiʻi has adapted this dish and put it on their breakfast menu as a replacement to bacon, ham, and eggs.

What kind of rice do Hawaiian restaurants use? ›

What type of rice do Hawaiians use? Most people use long grain white rice. But, you can also use basmati or jasmine rice for this Hawaiian fried rice recipe. Or make it a bit healthier with hapa rice (white rice mixed with brown rice.)

Why is pork so popular in Hawaii? ›

Pork is associated with many ancient Hawaiian rituals and religious sacrifice — and even represented by a demi-god: a half-man, half-pig called Kamapua'a (or "pig child"). Hawaiians believed that eating pork and other foods that the gods had once eaten would bestow divine potency (or mana) upon them.

What are 2 things typically found at a luau today? ›

A lūʻau (Hawaiian: lūʻau, also anglicized as "luau") is a traditional Hawaiian party or feast that is usually accompanied by entertainment. It may feature food such as poi, kālua puaʻa (kālua pig), poke, lomi salmon, ʻopihi, and haupia, beer, and entertainment such as traditional Hawaiian music and hula.

What vegetables do Hawaiians eat? ›

Here's a look at the most abundant.
  • Avocados. The Hawaiian avocado can be divided into three categories: Mexican, West Indian, and Guatemalan. ...
  • Cabbage. ...
  • Carrots. ...
  • Celery. ...
  • Corn. ...
  • Cucumbers. ...
  • Ginger Root. ...
  • Hawaiian Chili Peppers.
11 Oct 2020

Why are Hawaiians so healthy? ›

The slowed-down, low-stress island lifestyle gives Hawaiians a major health advantage. Less than one third of Hawaiian residents say they're stressed out on any given day, making them the least-stressed state population in the country. What does that slowed-down life look like?

What is in a traditional Hawaiian plate lunch? ›

If you've visited Hawaii, you've probably come across Plate Lunch. Plate Lunch is a popular type of Hawaii meal that consists of rice, meats, and vegetables. It's called Plate Lunch because everything is piled together in one plate. Easy, convenient, and very delicious!

Where did macaroni salad originate? ›

While macaroni pasta has Italian origins, Macaroni Salad is strictly American in origin. Some of the earliest reports of traditional “Macaroni Salad” recipes being published date back to 1914.

Why do they eat so much rice in Hawaii? ›

The many immigrants that came to Hawaii brought their tastes for certain foods with them. Japanese and Chinese immigrants traveled to Hawaii and worked on the sugarcane plantations. Laudan (1996) writes: “The Chinese, the first immigrants to work on the plantations, demanded rice instead of poi, the Hawaiian staple.

What kind of rice do Hawaiian restaurants use? ›

What type of rice do Hawaiians use? Most people use long grain white rice. But, you can also use basmati or jasmine rice for this Hawaiian fried rice recipe. Or make it a bit healthier with hapa rice (white rice mixed with brown rice.)

What is a typical Hawaiian dinner? ›

Hawaiian Plate

Order a scoop of rice with kalua pig on top, pork or chicken laulau (wrapped in ti leaves), pipikaula (dried beef) and lomi salmon on the side, with a helping of poi (taro, cooked, pounded and thinned with water), and kulolo (taro and coconut cream pudding) or haupia (coconut cream pudding) for dessert.

Which is better for you macaroni salad or potato salad? ›

Although classic potato salad is usually lower in calories than pasta salad (about 360 per cup), the mayonnaise keeps the saturated-fat content high (it typically has 17 grams of fat and 3 grams of saturated fat). But potato salad has one advantage over pasta salad-it's almost all vegetable.

Is macaroni salad supposed to be hot or cold? ›

Macaroni salad is a type of pasta salad, served cold made with cooked elbow macaroni and usually prepared with mayonnaise. Much like potato salad or coleslaw in its use, it is often served as a side dish to barbecue, fried chicken, or other picnic style dishes.


1. How to Make Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
(House of Nash Eats)
2. Make Mac Salad with Brad and Malia. Hawaiian Style in the 801
(808 In Any State)
3. How to Make Mac Salad
(Ono Hawaiian Recipes)
4. Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe
(Whisk Affair)
5. Potato Mac Salad
(Foodland Hawaii)
6. Hawaiian Mac Salad
(Cooking with zesty007)

Top Articles

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Prof. Nancy Dach

Last Updated: 09/27/2022

Views: 5259

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (57 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Prof. Nancy Dach

Birthday: 1993-08-23

Address: 569 Waelchi Ports, South Blainebury, LA 11589

Phone: +9958996486049

Job: Sales Manager

Hobby: Web surfing, Scuba diving, Mountaineering, Writing, Sailing, Dance, Blacksmithing

Introduction: My name is Prof. Nancy Dach, I am a lively, joyous, courageous, lovely, tender, charming, open person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.