Creamy Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe: A Taste of Tradition and Paradise

Creamy Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe: A Taste of Tradition and Paradise

History and Popularity

Transport yourself to the idyllic shores of Hawaii with a culinary delight that’s as rich in history as it is in flavor – the Creamy Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. This iconic dish holds a special place in Hawaiian cuisine, often gracing the tables of family gatherings, luaus, and celebrations.

The origins of this creamy creation can be traced back to the mid-20th century when immigrants from various cultures brought their culinary traditions to the Hawaiian islands. The fusion of Asian and Western influences gave birth to a unique blend of ingredients that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of aloha.

Common Ingredients

At the heart of this delectable salad is the beloved elbow macaroni, a staple in many comfort food recipes. Combined with grated carrots, sweet onions (such as the renowned Maui or Vidalia varieties), and fresh parsley, the medley of textures and flavors is truly a party for the taste buds.

The dressing, a harmonious marriage of mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, and a hint of brown sugar, strikes a balance between tangy and subtly sweet. A touch of garlic powder, salt, and black pepper ties the ingredients together, creating a symphony of tastes that transport you to the sun-kissed beaches of Hawaii.

Creamy Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe

Learn how to make a delicious and creamy Hawaiian Macaroni Salad that’s perfect for barbecues, potlucks, and luau-themed gatherings. This classic recipe features tender macaroni, grated carrots, sweet onions, and a tangy-sweet dressing that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Course Pasta
Cuisine Hawaiian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 16
Author N. Jay Sorensen, MBA RDN


For the Salad:

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup finely minced sweet onion such as Maui or Vidalia
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

For the Dressing:

  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  • Cook the Macaroni: Boil salted water and cook the macaroni until al dente. Drain, rinse under cold water, and cool completely.
  • Prepare the Dressing: Whisk mayonnaise, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl.
  • Combine Ingredients: Add cooled macaroni, grated carrot, minced onion, and chopped parsley to the dressing. Gently fold to coat evenly.
  • Chill and Serve: Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight. Stir before serving.


Recipe Tips:
  • Add diced pineapple for a touch of sweetness.
  • Finely mince the onion for balanced flavor.
  • Adjust dressing if needed before serving.
  • Customize with ham, eggs, or bell peppers.
Enjoy this delightful Hawaiian Macaroni Salad that captures the flavors of the islands in every bite. Whether it’s a backyard barbecue or a tropical-themed potluck, this classic dish is bound to become a favorite.


Indulgence meets nourishment in this beloved Hawaiian dish. The Creamy Hawaiian Macaroni Salad provides a satisfying combination of carbohydrates, healthy fats, and a burst of essential vitamins. The carrots bring a vibrant dose of beta-carotene to the table, while the parsley adds a sprinkle of vitamin K and antioxidants. As with any recipe, moderation is key, making it an ideal treat for special occasions and gatherings.

Serving Ideas

The Creamy Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is more than just a side dish; it’s a centerpiece that brings people together. Serve it alongside grilled fish or barbecue, and let the flavors mingle in a harmonious dance. Its versatility extends to vegetarian and vegan options – simply opt for plant-based mayonnaise and savor the same mouthwatering experience.

For a burst of sweetness, consider adding diced pineapple or mango, infusing the salad with a tropical twist. Its vibrant colors and enticing aroma make it a stunning addition to your summer potlucks and holiday feasts.

Chef Tips

  • Texture Matters: Achieve the perfect texture by cooking the macaroni until al dente. The slight bite ensures the salad remains satisfyingly toothsome.
  • Mincing Magic: Finely mince the sweet onion to impart flavor without overwhelming the palate.
  • Chill and Blend: Allow the salad to chill and meld flavors for at least an hour before serving. Overnight refrigeration yields the best results.
  • Customize with Care: Play with additional ingredients like diced ham, hard-boiled eggs, or bell peppers to create your own unique variation.


As you prepare and savor this Creamy Hawaiian Macaroni Salad, you’re not just indulging in a dish – you’re embarking on a culinary journey through time and culture. The recipe’s history, popularity, and exquisite flavors showcase the essence of Hawaiian hospitality and the enchantment of its cuisine. So, gather your loved ones, celebrate tradition, and experience the allure of the islands, one delicious bite at a time.

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