Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

5 from 14 votes
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If you’re craving a tasty side dish that’s a staple in Hawaiian cuisine, then you’ll love my Hawaiian Macaroni Salad recipe. This salad is perfect as a side for a traditional Hawaiian plate lunch – it’s super creamy and perfect with white rice! Keep reading below for the full recipe and my key tips for making the best Hawaiian Macaroni Salad that goes perfect with my Chicken Katsu for an authentic plate lunch!

Watch the Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe Video Below!

Hawaiian Macaroni salad on a plate with rice and chicken katsu

Ingredients for Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Firstly, I love this Hawaiian Macaroni Salad recipe because it only has a few ingredients. Here are the ingredients you will need!

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2.5 cups Best Foods or Hellmann’s Mayo (reserve 1/2 cup to achieve desired consistency after refrigerating)
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup carrot, shredded
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 can canned tuna (about 5oz)
  • 2 eggs, hard boiled
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, to taste
Raw ingredients for Hawaiian Macaroni Salad on a table

What else can I put in my Hawaiian Macaroni Salad?

The great part about this salad is it’s versatility of ingredients! You can add more options to change the texture or include your favorite fillings!

  • Hard Boiled Egg
  • Tuna
  • Cabbage
  • Diced onion
  • Scallions
  • Potato

Tips for the Hawaiian Macaroni Salad:

Here is are my top tips for making the best Hawaiian Macaroni Salad:

  • Overcook the pasta: To achieve the perfect texture, overcook the pasta by 3-4 minutes past the instructions. This will give the macaroni a soft, creamy texture that’s perfect for absorbing the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Add apple cider vinegar: Adding apple cider vinegar to the macaroni after it’s cooked and cooled will give the dish a tangy, slightly sweet flavor that’s a signature of macaroni salad from Hawaii.
  • Use Best Foods Mayo: Best Foods Mayo is the go-to mayo for making Hawaiian macaroni salad, as it has a creamy texture and a rich, tangy flavor that complements the other ingredients perfectly.
  • Chill before serving: Let the macaroni salad chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. This will allow the flavors to meld together and give the dish a creamier texture.
  • Reserve some mayo: Reserve some mayo to add to the salad after it has chilled. This will give you the opportunity to adjust the consistency of the salad to your liking.
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad mixed in a bowl

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad: Recipe Instructions

Overcook the Macaroni

Cook the macaroni in salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes past the instructions. The pasta needs to be overcooked and “fat” to achieve the desired texture. The pasta will firm up once mixed with the dressing and chilled, so don’t worry about the texture at this point! Trust the process!

Cooked macaroni in a pot of salted water

Mix the fillings and dressing

In a large bowl, add 2 cups of Best Foods Mayo, onion, carrot, scallions, canned tuna, chopped hard boiled eggs, black and white pepper, and salt. The hard boiled eggs and tuna are optional, ensure you mix the macaroni salad thoroughly.

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I love eating my macaroni salad as my side with white rice and a main like Chicken Katsu. It’s the most comforting lunch that takes me back to the island of Hawaii!

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5 from 14 votes

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Servings: 8
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad mixed in a bowl
If you're craving a tasty side dish that's a staple in Hawaiian cuisine, then you'll love my Hawaiian Macaroni Salad recipe. This salad is perfect as a side for a traditional Hawaiian plate lunch – it's super creamy and perfect with white rice!

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2.5 cups Best Foods or Hellmann's Mayo, (reserve 1/2 cup to achieve desired consistency after refrigerating)
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup carrot, shredded
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 can canned tuna, about 5oz
  • 2 eggs, hard boiled
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, to taste

Instructions 

  • Cook macaroni in salted boiling water 3-4 minutes past instructions for al dente. The pasta should be soft, as it will firm up once mixed and cooled in the fridge.
  • Once the macaroni is drained and cooled, add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and mix into the pasta to absorb.
  • Add mayo, onion, carrot, scallions, tuna, egg, black and white pepper, salt and mix thoroughly.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours until chilled. Add the reserved 1/2 cup of mayo to the salad, or enough to achieve your desired consistency. Serve with your plate lunch and enjoy!

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Hawaiian
Tried this recipe?Mention @cj.eats_ or tag #cjeatsrecipes!

About CJ

I’m a third generation Chinese-American home cook who has always loved cooking & eating! Welcome to my food blog, where you can find trusted, tested, easy & approachable recipes for the everyday home cook that taste delicious! I am so glad you're here!

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Recipe Rating




13 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I lived on Oahu for 7 years and loved the mac salad as part of plate lunches! This recipe took me back to my fun college days there! Sooooo yummy!

  2. 5 stars
    This was an excellent dish! I have had a few different Mac Salads but this one was top notch!! Love it and will definitely make it over and over again. ♥️