More than 20 years ago I was in Hawaii and was served this traditional pasta salad as a side dish. Not expecting the subtle flavors I was pleasantly surprised and instantly fell in love with Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. I was jokingly told it was an ‘Island Secret’, but of course I knew better!

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Authentic and oh so simple recipe, makes up this traditional Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. The creamy dressing is both sweet and tangy and pairs beautifully in this traditional simple recipe. Serve with your favorite Teriyaki recipe and create a mouthwatering meal commonly known as a Hawaiian Lunch Plate.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is simple with only a few ingredients. Macaroni Pasta, sliced carrots, mayonnaise, cider vinegar, milk and a little sugar. You can also salt and Pepper this recipe to taste, but it won’t need much as the sweet and tangy dressing really does the trick.

A few key tricks to make note of. To ensure the delicious tangy taste given by the cider vinegar is important to toss the noodles in the cider vinegar while they are still hot. Hot noodles will absorb better than cooled noodles.

Another super important tip. Do not substitute the Mayonnaise for Miracle Whip. It’s just not the same. Use a good brand of Mayo and you won’t be disappointed. I prefer Best Foods or Hellmann’s

Serves 6 | Perfect as a Side Dish | 6 Qt Instant Pot

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

What’s in Hawaiian Mac Salad

  • 8 oz Macaroni Pasta
  • 2 1/2 Cups water or Broth
  • 1 Carrot slivered (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbs Milk
  • 1 Tbs Sugar
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic *optional

How to Make Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

  1. Pour water or broth in Instant Pot Pressure Cooker and add macaroni making sure to spread the pasta evenly on bottom.
  2. Close lid and set to Manual (Pressure Cook) high for 4 minutes with a 4 minute Natural Release (NR) and then Quick Release (QR) the remaining pressure
  3. Rinse pasta under cool water and drain
  4. Add slivered carrots and Apple Cider Vinegar to pasta and toss. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour.
  5. In a separate bowl combine mayonnaise, sugar and milk. Whisk to combine.
  6. Pour over cooled pasta.
  7. Add garlic if desired
  8. Toss to coat. Allow to marinate for 4 hours or overnight.
    Add additional 1-2 Tbs Milk if needed for desired consistency
  9. SEE FULL RECIPE CARD BELOW

Instant Pot Mac Salad

Of course you can cook your pasta according the package directions but let me tell you, pasta made in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker is infused with extra flavor. I love to cook pasta with a Chicken or Vegetable Broth. The broth is absorbed as the pasta cooks and it’s a wonderful flavor addition to an all ready amazing recipe

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

The sweet and tangy dressing on Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is so simple that you will crave it. The trick is a good Mayonnaise. Best Foods does a great job. Add your sugar, and milk to create the sauce. This recipe also calls for an Apple Cider Vinegar, but here is a tip! Toss the Apple Cider Vinegar onto the pasta while its still hot. That tangy goodness is absorbed right into the noodle. YUM!

Additional FAQ for Hawaiian Mac Salad

How to make Macaroni Salad Creamy?

The trick with any Pasta Salad is to add the sauce right before serving OR reserve 1/2 cup of the dressing to add right before serving so it’s creamy and delicious.

How many Calories are in Hawaiian Macaroni Salad?

This recipe has approximately 200 calories per serving.

Where did Macaroni Salad come from?

It’s likely that Mac Salad comes from Europe, where pasta comes from Italy and Mayonnaise is French.

What does Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Taste Like?

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is a cold pasta salad with a sweet and tangy dressing, unlike a traditional pasta salad that can be heavy in salt. The Hawaiian Macaroni has subtle flavors and can be an acquired tasted.

Can you freeze Hawaiian Macaroni Salad?

Yes you can, however it does change the consistency a bit. Since Mayo is used in the recipe you can freeze for 3-5 days. When you want to use the salad take out of the freezer and place in the Refrigerator to thaw. You do not want to thaw on the counter because the mayonnaise is perishable.

Can I use Gluten Free Noodles?

YES! Of course you can. HOWEVER, Please keep in mind that each brand of Gluten Free noodles tends to cook different lengths of time. So adjust your time in the Instant Pot accordingly or cook noodles on the stove. I would also add an extra 1/2 cup of water or broth as Gluten Free noodles tend to need to absorb more to soften.

What Brand of Mayonnaise is Best?

It’s important to note that using a good brand of Mayonnaise is important for the best results. I prefer to use Best Foods or Hellmann’s. Substituting Miracle Whip in this recipe will deliver poor results and is not suggested.

Does cooking the pasta in water or broth really matter?

When cooking pasta in a Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot it does matter. The pasta will be infused with the flavor of the liquid. I prefer to cook pasta with Chicken or vegetable broth as it gives the pasta such a great added flavor.

What is a Hawaiian Lunch Plate?

A Hawaiian Lunch Plate is a common term used for this traditional grouping of dishes. Standard plate lunches consist of two scoops of white rice, macaroni salad, and an entrée.

Can I cook Hawaiian Mac Salad on the Stove?

Of course you can. Follow the recommended directions on the package of pasta for cooking.

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Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Pair Hawaiian Mac Salad to make a Traditional Hawaiian Lunch Plate

More Amazing Pasta Side Dishes!

Yield: 6 Servings

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Traditional Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. Oh YUM! I love to goto a Hawaiian BBQ and have a bowl full of this Macaroni Salad. It compliments the many Hawaiian dishes and is a perfect balance to a meal.

Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 7 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz Macaroni Pasta
  • 2 1/2 Cups water or Broth
  • 1 Carrot slivered (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbs Milk
  • 1 Tbs Sugar
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic *optional
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Instructions

Instant Pot Directions

  1. Pour water or broth in Instant Pot Pressure Cooker and add macaroni making sure to spread the pasta evenly on bottom.
  2. Close lid and set to Manual (Pressure Cook) high for 4 minutes with a 4 minute Natural Release (NR) and then Quick Release (QR) the remaining pressure
  3. Rinse pasta under cool water and drain
  4. Add slivered carrots and Apple Cider Vinegar to pasta and toss. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour.
  5. In a separate bowl combine mayonnaise, sugar and milk. Whisk to combine.
  6. Pour over cooled pasta.
  7. Add garlic if desired
  8. Toss to coat. Allow to marinate for 4 hours or overnight.
  9. Add additional 1-2 Tbs Milk if needed for desired consistency

Stove Directions:

  1. Cook noodles according to package directions
  2. Rinse Pasta and drain. Add Carrot slivers and Apple Cider Vinegar and toss to coat. Place in refrigerator to cool for 1 hour
  3. In a separate bowl combine mayonnaise, sugar and milk. Whisk to combine.
  4. Pour over cooled pasta.
  5. Add garlic if desired
  6. Toss to coat. Allow to marinate for 4 hours or overnight.
  7. Add additional 1-2 Tbs Milk if needed for desired consistency
  8. Serve Cold

Notes

Pasta is served best with Hawaiian Ribs, Shredded Pork, Teriyaki Chicken or Steak or with a Grilled Teriyaki Pineapple Burger.

Additional Add Ins (add one)

1/4 Cup Diced Celery

1 Bunch Diced Green Onions

1/2 cup Chopped Spam

1/4 Cup Chopped Pineapple Tidbits

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 213 Total Fat: 15g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 9mg Sodium: 185mg Carbohydrates: 16g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 3g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 4g
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