Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Aside from the beautiful beaches, awe-inspiring summits and tropical Aloha feeling and lifestyle, there’s one more thing that always excites me about visiting Hawaii and that’s its traditional Hawaiian Macaroni Salad! This mac salad is an incredibly simple recipe but one that I much prefer over the traditional macaroni/pasta salad.

There are many variations of this recipe that I’ve seen online but I’ve noticed that they all include at least these three ingredients. Ingredients that I think are essential to making a traditional Hawaiian Mac. They are: apple cider vinegar, sugar, and real mayo.

Hawaiian Mac Salad

Now when I say “real” mayo I really mean that good ole Hellmann’s Real Mayo. This is not at all a sponsored post but, let’s face it, Hellmann’s dominates the mayo game and it’s often the go-to for many people. To be honest, I’m not sure I can name another mayo brand other than Miracle Whip, which is technically labeled as a “salad dressing”, not mayonnaise. That said, you want to use real mayo in this recipe and any other alternative just will not do!

I also wanted to touch on the mega importance of apple cider vinegar and sugar in this recipe. These two ingredients obviously have very distinct tastes and even the slightest additions of them can make a difference. Needless to say, if you leave one, or both, of these ingredients out, you are not making traditional Hawaiian Mac Salad. You’re making regular old, boring-ass pasta salad. And before you ask, no you cannot substitute ACV for white vinegar, just don’t to it!

Okay, now that you’re aware of the essentials of a great mac salad, it’s up to you to pair it with a phenomenal main dish. Personally, I like it with another tropical/island main dish like my Jamaican Jerk Buffalo Wings or even a simpler chicken dish like my Chicken Rollups. Either way I find it to be a great alternate side dish to something like rice, potatoes or plain pasta.

Hawaiian Mac Salad

As I wrap up this post, I do want to acknowledge the fact that I did not actually use macaroni in my “mac” salad images. I don’t know if my Safeway was just under stocked that day, but literally, there was no macaroni in the entire store aside from that dreadful whole wheat one! I know, I’m rolling my eyes too. So as an alternative I got Cavatappi noodles instead which is like three macaroni noodles in one so you barely notice a difference!

I’d love to know some of your thoughts on Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. Have you tried it before? How do you think this recipe holds up? Leave me a comment below!

Hawaiian Mac Salad
Hawaiian Mac Salad
Hawaiian Mac Salad
Hawaiian Mac Salad
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
  • 1/2 lb. Macaroni or Cavatappi pasta
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup real mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tsp. raw sugar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • parsley for garnish
  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool by running the pasta under cool water.
  • In a bowl, add cooled pasta and remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
  • Details
    Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings