Hawaiian Macaroni Salad, a classic pasta salad that I discovered more than two decades ago during my time in Hawaii. It’s a staple on a Hawaiian lunch plate, complementing the bold flavors of BBQ. This subtly flavored Macaroni Salad Recipe has become a family favorite.
What Makes Ono Hawaiian Macaroni Salad So Special
The key ingredients in Ono Hawaiian Macaroni Salad are pasta, carrots, mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, milk, and broth. It’s typically made with elbow macaroni, but I prefer using curly corkscrew-shaped Cellentani pasta, as it adds more texture to the salad. Matchstick carrots work beautifully, but you can also use diced or shredded carrots. When it comes to mayonnaise, using a high-quality brand like Best Foods or Dukes Mayo is essential. The addition of a little sugar and apple cider vinegar gives the salad a subtle flavor that enhances the overall taste. Milk, specifically 2% milk, is used to create a creamy consistency. And for added flavor, using chicken or vegetable broth when pressure cooking the noodles is my secret tip to make this recipe truly fantastic. While optional, you can also top the salad with green onions or grated onions.
My love for this salad extends beyond my own kitchen. With over 1,000,000 satisfied fans, this recipe has become a favorite macaroni salad for many others too.
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad: Not Your Average Deli Mac Salad
Don’t be fooled by the name. What sets Hawaiian Macaroni Salad apart is the rich tradition behind the recipe. Its mild, subtle flavor offers a delightful contrast to the bold and robust flavors often found in a Hawaiian BBQ lunch plate, complete with teriyaki and BBQ sauces. When enjoyed together, the harmony of flavors is simply delicious. However, please note that this salad may appear bland if eaten on its own. Choose the right macaroni salad to complement your main dish. Another personal favorite of mine is Deli Mac Salad.
Serve Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with your favorite teriyaki recipe and create a mouthwatering meal that’s commonly known as a Hawaiian Lunch Plate. I highly recommend trying it alongside Huli Huli Chicken, a marinade that is incredibly flavorful.
This recipe is incredibly simple, requiring just a few ingredients: macaroni pasta, sliced carrots, mayonnaise, cider vinegar, milk, and a little sugar. You can also add salt and pepper to taste, although the sweet and tangy dressing does most of the flavor work.
Quick Tips for Making Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
Here are a few essential tricks to ensure the best results. For that delicious tangy taste provided by the cider vinegar, make sure you toss the noodles in the vinegar while they’re still hot. Hot noodles absorb the vinegar better than cooled ones.
Another tip to remember is not to substitute mayonnaise with Miracle Whip. It simply won’t have the same taste. Stick to a good brand of mayo like Best Foods, Hellmann’s, or the bolder flavor of Dukes Mayo for optimal results.
This recipe serves 6 people and is perfect as a side dish. You can easily prepare it in a 6 Qt Instant Pot.
How to Make Hawaiian Macaroni Salad in an Instant Pot
Here’s a step-by-step guide to preparing Hawaiian Macaroni Salad in an Instant Pot:
- Pour water or broth into the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker and add the macaroni. Make sure to spread the pasta evenly on the bottom.
- Close the lid and set it to Manual (Pressure Cook) mode on high for 4 minutes. Allow a 4-minute Natural Release (NR) before performing a Quick Release (QR) to release the remaining pressure and fully cook the macaroni.
- Rinse the cooked pasta under cool water and drain.
- Add slivered carrots and apple cider vinegar to the pasta, and toss. Place it in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar, and milk. Whisk the ingredients together.
- Pour the dressing over the cooled pasta.
- Optionally, add garlic to the salad.
- Toss the salad to evenly coat it with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate, allowing it to marinate for 4 hours or overnight.
- If desired, add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of milk for the desired consistency.
- For the full recipe, refer to the recipe card below.
Instant Pot Mac Salad: Elevate the Flavor
While you can cook your pasta according to the package directions, let me tell you, making the pasta in an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker infuses it with extra flavor. I love using chicken or vegetable broth to cook the pasta, as it adds a wonderful depth of flavor to this already amazing recipe.
The sweet and tangy dressing for Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is incredibly simple and addictive. The key is to use a good mayonnaise. Opt for a brand like Best Foods, add sugar and milk, and whisk everything together. And here’s a tip: toss the apple cider vinegar onto the hot pasta. This allows the tangy goodness to be absorbed right into the noodle. It’s truly mouthwatering!
Additional FAQ for Hawaiian Mac Salad
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Pair Hawaiian Mac Salad with Classic Hawaiian Dishes
To create a traditional Hawaiian lunch plate, consider serving Hawaiian Mac Salad alongside these dishes:
- Teriyaki Chicken Wings
- Easy Japanese Rice Bowl
- Teriyaki Chicken Fingers
- Teriyaki Sauce
- BBQ Ribs
- Teriyaki Chicken Bowl
- Teriyaki Beef
More Amazing Pasta Side Dishes!
If you’re a pasta lover like me, you’ll enjoy these incredible side dishes:
- BLT Pasta Salad
- Pepperoni Pasta Salad
- Ramen Pad Thai
- Asian Noodles