How to make: Macaroni salad

How to make: Macaroni salad |

Macaroni salad was a very common family reunion party fare when I was a child. My father and my aunt, his sister, had their own versions and both were really great. My father’s version included hard-boiled quail eggs; my aunt’s had lots of pineapple tidbits and pickle relish.

Later on, when I started to learn how to cook, I discovered that I preferred crushed pineapple over pineapple tidbits. I also learned that adding small cubes of cheese makes macaroni salad even more interesting.

Then, there’s the chicken angle. I don’t know why, in the Philippines, macaroni salad almost always means chicken and macaroni salad. There’s so much more than chicken that can go with macaroni, pineapples and mayo. Take ham, for instance. Cut them into cubes and they’re just perfect. Then, there’s crisp bacon bits, diced turkey or duck meat. Or even boiled shrimps. Or canned tuna. My all-time favorite is macaroni salad with smoked salmon. Unbelievable experience.

Whatever meat or seafood I add to macaroni salad, chopped carrots and celery are always a must. I don’t know why but they add a depth to the macaroni salad experience that pineapple and pickle relish cannot provide. Perhaps, it’s the contrast in colors. Or the complimenting flavors. Or the crunchiness that balances the creaminess of mayonnaise and cheese. Or all of that.

Of course, adding carrots and celery does not mean you can’t have pineapples and pickle relish too. Ditch the usual and try different combinations. You’ll be surprised how extraordinary macaroni salad can be.

Ingredients :

250 g. of elbow or salad macaroni
1 c. of roughly chopped cooked chicken breast (or use ham, tuna, duck or turkey)
about 1/2 c. of mayonnaise
a cup of cheese cubes (1/2″ is a good size for elbow macaroni; smaller if you’re using salad macaroni)
a cup (or more) of drained crushed pineapple
1 tbsp. of sweet pickle relish
1/2 c. of slightly boiled and chopped carrot
1/2 c. of chopped celery
salt, to taste
white pepper, to taste
white sugar, to balance
chopped toasted nuts, to garnish (optional)

How to :

Just toss everything together. Transfer to a container, cover and chill for at least six hours.

Take out of the fridge and taste a piece of macaroni. At this time, the pasta would have absorbed the seasonings and the dressing. That’s really the thing about macaroni salad. You can never tell if it’s “right” until it has chilled and the flavors have blended. Only then can you tell what needs to be adjusted. More salt? Sugar? Pepper? Does the salad look dry? Need to add more mayo? Adjust the seasonings and the dressing, put back in the fridge, chill for another couple of hours and it’s ready to serve.

Serving suggestion: Place a couple of lettuce leaves on a salad plate. Pile the salad on top. Garnish with toasted nuts.


      • Luisa says

        What about Miracle Whip, my pinoy friends here in states told me MW is better drsg. than Mayo, how true is that? love this web site….

      • Popcorn says

        Hi Connie! This is my very first na nagtry ng recipe mo last December 31, 2007….So dito tayo nagkakilala…he!he!he! This is my son’s favorite, I add lang I sugar beets kasi they want it with color,,,,,,,and my bestfriend who hate macaroni loved this one too…It’s so yummy!

    • Ruth Reyes says

      hi! Connie! I’m glad to have found this website & sharing of authentic PINOY Recipes ^_^! My question is the same : how long does it last?

      I cooked the macaroni salad last week, but still ate some today (he,he)! taste seemed ok, & I’m not dead yet…

      • says

        Ruth, I really don’t know how long it lasts in the fridge. In our house, salad doesn’t last for more than a couple of days, nauubos.

        • Alex says

          How do I get rid of the oily look of my macaroni salad? Before, I thought it was because I used a cheaper brand of mayo, but the last one I did, I used the old reliable Lady’s Choice.

          I reviewed your recipe before I wrote this. It’s practically the same ingredients I use in making the salad. The family loves the taste. It just doesn’t look tangy and becomes less apetizing, as if wanting in more mayonnaise.

          Would appreciate hearing from you on this. Many thanks!

    • says

      hi! my kids loves to eat chicken macaroni… nung nag luto ako, bakit dry sya masyado? mayonnaise lng ba talaga ang ilagay? tapos maasim sya dahil sa mayonnaise… para makain sya, nilagyan ko nang evap milk ayon sumarap at naubos…pls help

      • janet says

        hi ms. connie! super nice ng Tastebook mo! mgiipon muna ako para makabili din ako.Ü

        re chicken macaroni salad, just an idea, mga ilang teaspoon po ng salt and sugar ang dapat ilagay ko? i will not be using parmesan. tnx po. we will have have it on christmas day.

        Advance merry christmas!

    • says

      Khrizia, quality of mayonnaise varies from one brand to the next.

      Janet, naku eh, to taste lang. I start with one tsp each then add and adjust while tossing.

      • janet says

        thanks so much! yung carrots po ba ok lang kung i-blanch lang or kelangan boiled talaga? thanks po again!

          • Ronel W. Galvez says

            I love chicken macaroni salad. I always prepare this dish sa Christmas and New year’s Eve. But I include chopped onions and also nestle cream and condensed milk to make it creamier. I also use Light Mayonnaise.

          • Sandra Garrett says

            16 ounces elbow macaroni
            1 cup miracle whip (or Mayo…and this can be adjusted according to taste)
            1 heaping tablespoon sour cream
            1/4 grated carrot
            1/2 cup finely chopped celery
            1 cup chopped tomato (I use Roma Tomatoes)
            1/2 finely chopped medium red onion
            2 large cans of White Chicken Breast(drain liquid) or two large cooked chicken breasts
            1/4 tsp of poultry seasoning
            salt and pepper to taste
            1/2 tsp of garlic powder

            Boil macaroni till firm but fully cooked, drain and rinse, add all ingredients except Miracle Whip and sour cream. Mix thoroughly then add the Miracle Whip and sour cream. Chill in the fridge before serving

            ***the best part about this recipe is you can add additional ingredients if you wish…some suggestions are peas, cheese cubes, bell pepper, corn, hard-boiled eggs etc. You can even substitute the chicken for ham.

  1. alma says

    Hi! Just wanted to know what brand mayo you used.
    I have tried making a dish similar before but was told the taste depends on what type you use. Is this true?

  2. says

    hey sassy may iba guest naman ko
    anyway I also chop mine
    it looks better
    how much is a bottle of mayo sa pinas

    I dont have a mayo in my fridge
    I only buy a small bottle when i need it
    kasi if i do keep one
    i just spread it on anything

  3. says

    the reason I ask is… mayo is always inside the balikbayan boxes.. padala ng mayo from here to pinas ;-) thinking is it the price or the quality
    am going to ask around hehehe

  4. Cherleen says

    If I may ask, where do you purchase American Maid mayo? I am not familiar with the brand :roll:… It seems that we don’t have that kind of brand in groceries around the vicinity. Have not checked Landmark and/or SM though. :wink:

    Thanks. You’re such a great help in the kitchen.

    God bless!

  5. says

    Sha, there must at least half a dozen brands of mayo locally. The oldies just don’t look hard enough. :razz:

    Hi Cherleen, Shopwise and Cherry carry the brand. :)

  6. ANN says

    umm.. can anybody give me the recipe for a chicken macaroni salad. with detailed ‘how to make it’. I love chicken macaroni salad but i really don’t know how to make one. please help.

  7. ANN says

    Thank you so much Connie! :) Do you also happen to know how to make a window cathedral too?

  8. says

    Probably true because we either import mayo OR, in the case of multinational corporations with local satellites, we pay for the brand name.

  9. lolit tuda says

    SOS! ms. connie, my marinated beef tapa is salty, what should i do? pls help me. thanks….lolit