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How to Make the Ultimate Macaroni Salad

I am a an overnight manager in a home for retired seniors. I love cooking for them and trying new recipes.

This macaroni salad features bell pepper, olives, red onion, cherry tomatoes, tuna fish, and more.

This macaroni salad features bell pepper, olives, red onion, cherry tomatoes, tuna fish, and more.

Macaroni Salad Is the Go-To Salad

To me, macaroni salad is a great comfort food, and it brings back fond summertime memories from my childhood. It was always a treat when mom made this dish, as she said it was time-consuming to make. And she only made it in the summer, because she said it was a summertime salad.

To me, anytime of the year is a good time to make this. With all the ingredients in this, it is a meal in itself and so filling. You will leave the table feeling full and satisfied. You might even go back for a late-night snack.


  • 1 (1-pound) box elbow macaroni
  • 1 green bell pepper, or red if you like; I switch up, depending on my mood.
  • 1 red onion, diced, or radishes are good, too
  • 8 hard-boiled eggs, to be smashed up
  • 2 cans of tuna fish, drained, or tiny baby shrimp (they come in a can, the same as tuna fish)
  • 1 can black olives; you can leave them whole or slice them in half
  • 1 container cherry tomatoes, cut in half, or sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced or cubed
  • 1 celery stalk, diced, or you could use celery seed
  • Sharp cheese, or whatever kind you like, cubed, about 1 cup or so (optional)
  • Mayonnaise (please don't use a lite or low-fat mayonnaise. It ruins the flavor.)


  1. Start by boiling the eggs, cooling them, peeling them, and then mashing them up.
  2. In the meantime, in a good-sized pot, boil the water till boiling, then add the elbow macaroni, stirring often. We don't want it to stick and burn in the bottom of the pot. Cook until just a little past al dente. Drain in a strainer, and run cold water over the macaroni until it seems cool. Let it sit in the strainer to dry. This stops the cooking of the macaroni. I really hate mushy macaroni.
  3. Now get all the veggies chopped and ready to go into the salad.
  4. Next, I like to add the eggs and tuna fish to the macaroni and then mix with the mayonnaise. This way it is mixed well.
  5. Then add the veggies, olives, and cheese.
  6. Next, add as much mayonnaise as needed to make it as creamy as possible.
  7. Stir really well. Make sure to use plenty of mayo, as you don't want a dry salad. Also remember that after it has sat in the fridge, the salad will absorb the mayo. That is why you need to use plenty of mayo to keep it moist. Salads always taste better the next day, as all the ingredients have a chance to meld together.

Photo Tutorial

I'm getting ready to put it all together.

I'm getting ready to put it all together.

After mixing in the eggs and tuna.

After mixing in the eggs and tuna.

My finished macaroni salad.

My finished macaroni salad.

Storing and Serving

This dish is good for up to four days in the fridge. It's good for any occasion! Keep in mind after adding all the ingredients the salad will be doubled, so expect leftovers. If you take the dish to a picnic or what not, be sure to keep it cool as possible, as the mayo will spoil. And we don't want anyone getting sick.


Also on another note, you can switch up the flavor; instead of using mayo, try ranch dressing. There are so many different ranch flavors to choose from. I like the peppercorn or bacon-flavored.

Keep in mind that macaroni salad can be anything you really want it to be. That's the beauty of it. So the next time you need something to bring to a pot luck supper or a picnic, bring something like this dish. Everybody will love it, and you will go home with an empty bowl.


Bonny OBrien (author) from Troy, N.Y. on October 28, 2012:

Thanks. To me this salad is a meal itself.

Justin W Price from Juneau, Alaska on October 27, 2012:

I love pasta salads... so I'll certainly give this one a try! Thanks for sharing. It looks scrumptious!

Bonny OBrien (author) from Troy, N.Y. on February 17, 2012:

Thanks. You can add canned shrimp instead of tuna if you like shrimp. I do every once in awhile, if I find it on sale in the store.

AnnieAvenue17 from Vermont on February 12, 2012:

vote up! this is a great idea for a side dish for a family gathering. The only thing i wont add is the tuna because most people i know dont like tuna! haha cant wait to try this!

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