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Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

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This Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe is a delicious spin on traditional macaroni salad. The creamy tangy and sweet sauce combined with pasta and bright vegetables make this the perfect pasta salad. 

Hawaiian macaroni in glass bowl


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Summer is made for cookouts, spiked lemonade, and macaroni salad. Ok, summer is so much more than that but if you know me, you know I love me some summer. Speaking of summer, one of my best summer memories is from a summer when I was 17 and I traveled to Hawaii to stay for an entire month! Best summer ever!!! Although the summer I got married on June 21st, the first day of summer, may just have that one beat. Either way, I had a blast in Hawaii visiting family, volunteering at the local hospital, hiking, attending luau’s, and straight chilling.

I love this recipe for Hawaiian Macaroni Salad because everytime I make it it brings back memories of my time on the island (I only stayed on Oahu). This recipe is so simple yet delicious that it’s a must try for any macaroni salad lover.

What is Hawaiian Macaroni Salad?

It’s a creamy sweet and tangy salad that can be found all over Hawaii. There are many additions that can be added, but base recipes generally include elbow macaroni that has been slightly over cooked and lots of good quality mayonnaise.

sauce being poured on vegetables

What makes Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Different?

The Sauce!! It’s sweet, tangy, and oh so delicious. The mayonniase, milk, and apple cider vinegar are keys to the sauce. Most Hawaiian Macaroni Salad recipes require at least 2 cups of mayonaise…this one does not. I’m not that into mayonnaise and the movie Undercover Brother makes me feel bad for even liking it. Just kidding. But I feel that my version just didn’t need 2 cups.

Traditional Hawaiian Macaroni Salad also tends to have super soft overcooked noodles to absorb all the creamy sauce. I like my noodles cooked to al dente so I don’t overcook it. My obsession with the dish is with the sauce.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with or without Tuna, That is the Question!

The beauty of this dish is that it is amazing with or without tuna. I make it both ways often, my daughter doesn’t like the tuna (hence why my photos are missing tuna). On the other hand, everyone else loves it with tuna. Your choice, both are amazing.

I really hope you enjoy this Hawaiian Macaroni Salad recipe. It’s perfect for bbq’s, cookouts, and for meal preps throughout the week.

Tips for Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe

  • Allow your macaroni to cool for about 10 -15 minutes before adding the sauce. That will help keep your sauce creamy.
  • Use high quality mayonnaise only for this recipe. Any high quality brand will do.
  • Have fun with the additions to the recipe. Sub veggies for other veggies, protein for other proteins, etc. It’s the sauce that really makes this dish pop.
  • This macaroni salad is best after refrigeration. 2 hours is usually enough for the flavors to mend together.
This Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is a sweet and tangy macaroni salad that is a twist on traditional macaroni salad. Covered in a delicious creamy sauce with bright vegetables, it's perfect for summer. #easy #hawaiian #sidedish #cookoutsides #mealprep #pastasalad #picnicsalad #summersalad #hawaiianmacaronisalad #myforkinglife
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4.91 from 11 votes

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

This sweet and tangy Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is the perfect macaroni salad for any cookout or bbq. 
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Refrigeration 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 10 people
Calories 431kcal
Author Tanya


  • 1 lb uncooked macaroni pasta
  • 1.25 cup good quality mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoon milk
  • 2 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion chopped
  • 1 cup seedless cucumber chopped
  • 1 cup carrots shredded
  • 2 5 oz cans chunk light tuna (optional add in)


  • Prepare elbow macaroni as indicated on the box, drain, and set aside to cool.
  • Combine mayonnaise, sugar, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, milk, salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl and stir to combine.
  • Place pasta, red onion, red bell pepper, cucumber, carrots, and tuna (if you are using tuna) in a separate bowl. Pour sauce over top and stir to combine.
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours and Enjoy.


Calories: 431kcal
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Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Under no circumstances will be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information.

Step by Step Photos of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Loving this summer pasta salad recipe? Try my Cold Seafood Salad Recipe.

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Have you tried this recipe? Lease us a comment below and let us know how you liked it 🙂

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Recipe Rating


Monday 27th of September 2021

Im a Vegetarian thinking Hawaiian pasta salad would have pineapple and pineapple juice in dressing. But NO! Optional tuna of course leave out. But disappointed this is identical to my plain vegetable pasta salad. Title is very misleading.


Monday 27th of September 2021

Thanks but I don't agree. Feel free to add those ingredients to your pasta salad.


Friday 24th of April 2020

Love this. Has to add just a little extra off the sauce and the other things but this is very good.


Friday 24th of April 2020

Thank you Michelle, so glad you liked the recipe.


Monday 25th of February 2019

I think adding chopped ham instead of tuna would be good too- if I try it- I’ll let you know!

Krysten | Cooks with Soul

Sunday 24th of June 2018

This looks amazing! Love the added tuna, I would not have thought to put that in this dish. Sounds so delicious! This is going to be perfect at my next party.


Wednesday 27th of June 2018

Thanks Krysten! I hope you enjoy :)

Mila Buckley

Sunday 24th of June 2018

I can tell how good this tastes just by how it looks! Loving this recipe!


Wednesday 27th of June 2018

Thanks so much Mila. It does taste as good as it looks.