Hawaiian macaroni salad in a blue serving dish.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe

When you can't get to the Big Island, bring the Big Island to you with authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. This beloved recipe for 'Mac Salad' has soft noodles, creamy dressing, and lots of shredded carrots. It's perfect for a plate lunch, a luau, or a barbecue. 
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword macaroni
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Chilling time 1 hour
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 444kcal
Author Meggan Hill


  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (see notes)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped


  • In a large stockpot, bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil, Stir in pasta and cook until very soft, about 15 minutes, stirring often. 
  • Drain well, transfer to a large bowl, and stir in vinegar. Cool at least 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together milk, mayonnaise, brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Pour over cooled noodles and stir until evenly coated.
  • Fold in scallions, carrots, and celery and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. 


  1. I love the vinegar flavor in this recipe. I personally think it tastes great. BUT. If you think 1/2 cup vinegar sounds like too much, feel free to use less. Perhaps add 1 tablespoon at a time. A couple of readers have suggested this had way too much vinegar and they were disappointed. I want you to love the recipe!
  2. If the pasta salad seems dry, stir in warm water, one tablespoon at a time, to loosen.
  3. Adapted from Best Potluck Recipes.


Calories: 444kcal