Delicious and Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe

As soon as I sink my teeth into that juicy burger or savor a spoonful of creamy macaroni salad, it’s as if life seems more vibrant and colorful. I’ve always believed that the key to hosting a great party is having great food, and for me, macaroni salad is a must-have dish. Today I’m excited to share with you my Mama Mia’s Macaroni Salad Recipe, a classic recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation in my family.

This mac salad recipe is not just any ordinary pasta salad. It’s a creamy and tangy blend of shell pasta, red onion, bell pepper, and a secret combination of sour cream, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. This mouth-watering combination of flavors will surely leave you wanting for more.

I created this recipe with you in mind because I know how important it is to have an easy-to-make dish that can also be elevated for special occasions. Trust me; this Mama Mia Macaroni Salad will become your go-to pasta salad recipe for all your gatherings. So whether you’re hosting a casual get-together or throwing an extravagant party, this recipe should definitely sit at the center stage of your table.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Mama Mia's Macaroni Salad
Mama Mia’s Macaroni Salad

Mama Mia’s Macaroni Salad Recipe is the ultimate pasta salad for anyone looking to wow their guests at a party. This recipe has everything you need to make your guests come back for seconds and maybe even thirds. Trust me when I say that once you’ve made Mama Mia’s Macaroni Salad, you’ll fall in love with it.

The first reason why you’ll love this recipe is that it’s incredibly easy to make. Even if you’re not an experienced cook, you don’t have to stress about making this salad. Just boil some pasta, mix together a few ingredients, and voila! You’re done. It’s incredibly straightforward and perfect for anyone who wants a dish that tastes great without taking up too much time.

The second reason why you’ll love this recipe is the flavor. The combination of sour cream, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, cider vinegar, sugar, onion powder, salt, and black pepper creates a dressing that’s tangy, creamy, and slightly sweet. The red onion and bell pepper add crunchiness and a lovely color to the dish that makes it even more appetizing.

Thirdly; This macaroni salad recipe is versatile enough to cater to your taste preferences. Want to add more veggies? You can! How about trying it with some grilled chicken or shredded ham? Delicious as well. If you are looking for something more exotic, then try adding some of Mama Mia’s Olive Salad Mix. This mix has all the flavors and textures that will take this recipe to the next level.

Last but not least; Mama Mia’s Macaroni Salad Recipe is perfect for any occasion whether it’s a simple weekday dinner or at a grand party. It fits excellently as a side dish with any other food like Rotini Pasta Primavera or Guy Fieri’s Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Pizza.

In conclusion; Whether you’re making this dish for a family picnic or a large gathering with friends, Mama Mia’s Macaroni Salad Recipe is one of the best mac salads out there that will surely be appreciated by all food lovers.

Ingredient List

 A colorful bowl full of Mama Mia's Macaroni Salad perfect for a summer backyard gathering.
A colorful bowl full of Mama Mia’s Macaroni Salad perfect for a summer backyard gathering.

Here’s what you need to make Mama Mia’s Macaroni Salad Recipe:

Ingredients 1:

  • 2 cups uncooked shell pasta

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Ingredients 2:

  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced

  • 1/4 cup bell pepper, diced

Mama Mia’s Olive Salad Mix:

  • 30 oz jar of mama mia olive salad mix (or whichever size available)

We’ve kept the ingredients list for this macaroni salad recipe pretty basic. The stars of the show are the pasta and the dressing after all. However, we’ve added some colorful crunch to this creamy mix with the diced red onion and bell peppers.

One ingredient that might seem new to you is the Mama Mia Olive Salad Mix. Don’t worry about it because it’s easily available in your local supermarket or grocery store. This jar of veggies and olives can make a lot of difference in adding depth to an ordinary pasta salad.

The Recipe How-To

 Bringing some sunshine to your plate with this delightful macaroni salad.
Bringing some sunshine to your plate with this delightful macaroni salad.

Now let’s get into how to make Mama Mia’s famous macaroni salad! This recipe makes about 8 cups of mac salad, which is perfect for a big family gathering or barbecue. Here’s what you’ll need and what to do:

Ingredient List

  • 2 cups uncooked shell pasta
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Start by boiling the 2 cups of uncooked shell pasta in a pot of salted water until it’s al dente (usually about 8-10 minutes).

  2. Drain the pasta and set it aside to cool to room temperature.

  3. While the pasta is cooking, mix together all the bowl ingredients (except the bell pepper and red onion) in a large bowl: 1 cup mayonnaise, ½ cup sour cream, ¼ cup cider vinegar, ¼ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 2 ¼ teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons onion powder and 1 teaspoon black pepper.

  4. Once the pasta has cooled down, pour it into the large mixing bowl with the sauce.

  5. Add in the chopped red onion and bell pepper. Mix everything together well.

  6. Once everything is mixed together evenly, store your Mama Mia Macaroni Salad in an airtight container in the fridge or serve immediately.

Looks easy enough right? Don’t be intimidated by all that sauce! It really is delicious. In case you want to personalize this recipe for different occasions or preferences, here are some tips:

Substitutions and Variations

  • Instead of shell pasta you can use rotini or pasta primavera.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous try adding some diced ham or bacon for extra flavor.
  • If you’re not fond of sour cream, substitute with plain Greek yogurt,
  • Lactose intolerant? Swap out regular mayonnaise with vegan mayo.

The classic Mama Mia Macaroni Salad is perfect alongside hawaiian bbq chicken but feel free to experiment pairing it with other cuisine like noodles or spaghetti as long as it fits your taste buds!

Substitutions and Variations

 Simple yet delicious, Mama Mia's Macaroni Salad is a crowd pleaser that never fails.
Simple yet delicious, Mama Mia’s Macaroni Salad is a crowd pleaser that never fails.

Now, if you’re feeling adventurous and want to put your own stamp on Mama Mia’s Macaroni Salad Recipe, there are a few ingredient substitutions and variations that you can try.

First of all, if you don’t have shell pasta on hand or don’t care for it, try using rotini or another small pasta like macaroni, fusilli, or even penne. For a more colorful twist, consider using pasta primavera full of vegetables or try using noodles from your favorite Asian dishes.

If you’re in the mood for something a little less classic and traditional than mac salad, mix things up with guy fieri inspired macaroni or experiment with adding some spices to give it an ethnic flair such as Italian seasoning for spaghetti.

Can’t live without the spice? Add black olives to give the dish a nice salty taste. Fresh pepperoni works well too. If ham is preferrable, just replace it with chicken kabobs covered in hawaiian bbq sauce! Or experiment with other meats such as bacon bits or sausage.

For a lighter option, swap out the mayonnaise for Greek yogurt, and sour cream for coconut cream or milk.

Finally, if you’re looking for something truly unique and attention-grabbing to serve at your next party, try putting together an olive salad mix with mamma mia olive salad mix on top of the mac salad! The combination of tangy vinegar with creamy mayo and sour cream creates a great play on flavors that will be sure to impress any guest!

Serving and Pairing

 Bursting with flavors, this macaroni salad is all about balance and freshness.
Bursting with flavors, this macaroni salad is all about balance and freshness.

Now that you’ve whipped up Mama Mia’s macaroni salad, let’s talk about how to serve and pair it. This dish is perfect for a family gathering, potluck or any meal on-the-go. You can serve it as a side dish with your favorite BBQ meats like chicken or ham. It also pairs well with classic dishes like lasagna, pizzas or spaghetti to add a zesty twist to the meal.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try pairing this creamy macaroni salad with some restaurant-style recipes like Guy Fieri’s pasta primavera or Hawaiian BBQ chicken. The tangy flavor of the salad mixed with vegetables like bell peppers and red onions adds an element of freshness that will complement any hearty meal.

If you want to switch things up a bit and make it the main event, then toss in some black olives and make it a complete meal. You can also try adding rotini noodles instead of shell pasta for an even more delicious texture.

When presenting Mama Mia’s macaroni salad recipe at your next gathering, consider adding a serving spoon and fork. This makes it easy for people to scoop up the desired amount of this scrumptious salad onto their plates.

Lastly, don’t forget about the presentation! Serving this pasta mama mia salad in a large bowl can be both beautiful and functional. A colorful bowl can highlight the vibrant vegetables in the salad mix 30 oz, making the dish look even more appetizing.

Whether you’re sharing baking tips with friends over a casual picnic or hosting a formal dinner party, everyone is sure to love this classic macaroni salad recipe.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The ultimate addition to any potluck, this macaroni salad will make you the star of the party.
The ultimate addition to any potluck, this macaroni salad will make you the star of the party.

If you’re looking for a dish that you can make ahead of time and store for later, then Mama Mia’s Macaroni Salad Recipe hits the spot. It’s perfect for backyard parties, picnics, or when you just want a chilled side dish to go with your favorite entree. Here are some tips to help you make it ahead and keep it fresh.

Make-ahead: You can prepare the pasta salad days in advance if stored properly. After cooking and draining the pasta, set it aside to cool down at room temperature. Then mix together all the bowl ingredients except for the bell peppers and onions – these should be added before serving to retain their crunchiness. Once combined, chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours. This will let the flavors blend together and create an even tastier macaroni salad.

Storing: If you have any leftovers or have made more than you can eat in one sitting, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. You’ll want to consume it within 3 to 4 days to ensure freshness, as ingredients like sour cream and mayonnaise do not last long once opened.

Reheating: While macaroni salad is generally meant to be enjoyed cold or at room temperature, some people prefer it warm. You can reheat this dish on the stovetop by adding a bit of olive oil or butter to a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add your macaroni salad and stir until it warms up. Alternatively, you could also pop it into the microwave for a quick reheat—just be sure not to overheat it!

In all, Mama Mia’s Macaroni Salad Recipe is a delicious make-ahead option that’s both easy to store and simple to reheat. Its creamy texture blends well with most meals so pairing won’t be an issue if you’re having guests over or even catering for an event.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Mama Mia's Macaroni Salad is all you need for a quick lunch or as a side dish for dinner.
Mama Mia’s Macaroni Salad is all you need for a quick lunch or as a side dish for dinner.

If you want to impress your guests with a well-executed Mama Mia’s Macaroni Salad recipe, these tips will set you up for success.

First, make sure to salt the pasta water. It adds flavor to the otherwise bland pasta and enhances the overall taste of the dish. Adding a pinch or two of salt can go a long way.

When boiling the pasta, keep an eye on it and test it frequently to avoid overcooking. Overcooked macaroni can easily turn into mush and ruin the texture of the salad.

After draining the cooked pasta, rinse it with cold water to prevent it from cooking further and to cool it down. Then, let it sit at room temperature until completely cooled before mixing it with the other ingredients. This way, the dressing won’t separate when mixed with warm pasta.

To achieve a balanced flavor profile, be sure to mix together all of the dressing ingredients except for the bell pepper in a separate bowl before adding them to the cooled pasta. This will ensure that every bite is evenly coated with the dressing.

For added texture and crunch, consider adding chopped black olives or diced ham to your macaroni salad. These ingredients add extra layers of flavor while also diversifying the texture of your dish.

Lastly, allow your macaroni salad to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving. This will give time for all of the flavors to meld together and create a cohesive dish that is bound to impress your guests.

With these simple tips, you’re sure to create a crowd-pleasing Mama Mia’s Macaroni Salad that’s worth sharing at any gathering!


As I have gone over the recipe and shared some tips in the previous sections, I have also tried to anticipate some of the questions that may arise while making Mama Mia’s Macaroni Salad. In this frequently asked questions section, I will provide answers to common doubts and queries regarding the ingredients, substitutions, and variations. So, keep reading to clear your doubts and make a perfect mac salad that is sure to be loved by everyone at your party.

Why is there so much macaroni salad in Hawaii?

The origin story of Hawaiian macaroni salad involves the introduction of elbow macaroni and mayonnaise to the islands by Europeans. The locals embraced the new ingredients as mac salad was an inexpensive, non-perishable, and simple dish to prepare at home. This salad eventually found its way onto the plate lunch and has become a popular addition to Hawaiian cuisine.

What is macaroni salad sauce made of?

Are you ready to whip up a sensational dressing for your macaroni salad? Gather mayonnaise, sour cream, red wine vinegar, sweet pickle juice, sugar, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and (optional) crushed red pepper. Mix all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and whisk together until the texture is smooth and consistent.

Why does macaroni salad soak up mayonnaise?

When making pasta salad, adding vinegar to the cooking water and letting the noodles cool down after cooking will make them more permeable to the dressing. This way, the dressing, whether it’s a creamy mayonnaise-based one or a zesty vinaigrette, will blend perfectly with the pasta, giving it a satisfying and flavorful taste.

How do you keep macaroni salad from getting watery?

When macaroni salad turns out to be runny, it is often due to either inadequate drainage of wet ingredients or an excessive amount of watery vegetables added. To avoid this, we need to ensure that the noodles are fully drained of excess water after they are cooked, and that any additional wet ingredients, like tuna, have been properly drained. By following these steps, we can make sure our macaroni salad is the right consistency.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this macaroni salad recipe is a must-try for any home chef who loves a good party. The mixture of ingredients will leave your taste buds wanting more and your guests asking for the recipe. Its creamy texture and perfect flavor make it a great side dish to pair with anything from burgers to chicken, and it’s even perfect on its own.

Whether you’re looking for comfort food or a dish that will impress your guests, Mama Mia’s Macaroni Salad Recipe is the answer. With its easy-to-follow instructions and endless variation possibilities, it’s sure to become a family favorite in no time.

So go ahead and give it a try; you’ll be glad you did!

Mama Mia's Macaroni Salad

Mama Mia’s Macaroni Salad Recipe

This is a copy cat from The Shed in Ocean Springs, MS. I've not made this yet but it sounds good. Got it from a BBQ web site.
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Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 cups
Calories 499.2 kcal


  • 2 cups of uncooked shell pasta
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/8 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/4 shredded cheddar cheese


  • Boil and drain pasta- set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • Mix together in a bowl all of the ingredients except for the bell pepper, onion, and cheese.
  • Mix the sauce with the pasta.
  • Add in the chopped bell pepper, onion, and cheddar cheese.
  • Refrigerate and enjoy!

Your Own Notes


Serving: 124gCalories: 499.2kcalCarbohydrates: 59.3gProtein: 7.8gFat: 26.2gSaturated Fat: 6.3gCholesterol: 30.2mgSodium: 1069.8mgFiber: 2.3gSugar: 13.3g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Weeknight
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