Helping you create a home by hand.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

When you order a hot plate lunch in Hawaii you will be served the main course along with a scoop of sticky rice and a scoop of macaroni salad.

We lived in Maui for four years and when you’ve lived somewhere for a while, you get to have local favorites and Hawaiian Macaroni Salad became a family favorite. So when we moved back to the mainland, we found we missed having it.

It took some searching and a lot of experimenting but with this recipe, I’ve gotten as close to authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad as I’m going to get outside of the Islands.

The recipe serves 8 to 10… or three people for two days as side dishes for suppers and lunches. 🙂

Affiliate and Ad Disclosure Notice

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad


To make the dressing:

  • 2 cups whole milk (do not try to substitute low fat or skim milk)
  • 2 cup Helmans mayonnaise (it has to be Helmans)
  • ¼ c dark brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

To make the salad:

  • 1 lb of elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 c white vinegar
  • 4 to 5 chopped green onions
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peel and grated (I do this with the food processor as it’s faster)

Cook the elbow macaroni until it is soft, big and really fat… approximately 15 to 20 minutes. You may think that you’re overcooking the macaroni but this allows the pasta to absorb more dressing.

For the salad pictured in this post, I used our favorite Tinkyada Pasta Joy Elbow gluten free pasta (<<affiliate link.)

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad - photo of Tinkyada Pasta Joy our favorite gluten free pasta

Using gluten free pasta does change the taste of the salad slightly but it’s still the closest to authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad that you’re going to find outside of the Islands. If you or your family aren’t gluten sensitive, gluten intolerant or Celiac, then I’d recommend using regular elbow pasta for that true to the Islands taste.

Drain pasta. Return it to the pot and add ½  c vinegar.

Stir thoroughly. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

While it’s cooling, add the dressing ingredients to a medium sized bowl and whisk until smooth.

After the 10 minutes are up, gently stir the dressing into the pasta.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad - after adding dressing before adding veggies

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it has cooled completely.

Once cooled, add chopped green onions, celery and carrots.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad - chopped carrots, onions and celery

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad - after the addition of chopped carrots, green onion and celery

Return to the fridge for at least an hour or up to 2 days.

If serving a crowd, serve in the bowl it was made in. Or transfer it to a pretty glass bowl.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad - served in a pretty glass bowl

Give this recipe a try and I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s the best Hawaiian Macaroni Salad you’ve ever had with the possible exception of one you’ve had while living in or visiting Hawaii.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad - served with hot dog and broccoli slaw

If you make Hawaiian Macaroni Salad from my recipe and post about it, please feel free to tag me @supermomnocape on Instagram, @1SuperMomNoCape on Twitter and @1SuperMomNoCape on Facebook.



You might also like to try the salad that is most requested when I’m asked to bring a side to a potluck picnic or bbq. My Potato Salad to Feed a Crowd is definitely a crowd pleaser.

Beet and Edamame Salad is another salad I make throughout the summer. It’s quick and easy to get on the table and it tastes delicious.

Equally delicious is my Broccoli Salad with Balsamic Mayo Dressing. This is not your typical Broccoli Salad… no raisins and it’s dairy free!



Want to pin this post for future reference? Simply click on the Pinterest button underneath this post.

And of course, I’d love it if you’d share it on Facebook or Twitter. 🙂

The Most Authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Outside of the Islands


I would be so pleased if you chose to share by clicking on one of the buttons below!


  • Kathleen Kingsbury
    July 3, 2019 11:46 am

    I’ve had this recipe saved on my computer for quite a while and finally made it a couple weeks ago. It was absolutely delicious!! I was a little shy about adding so much brown sugar so I added it a tablespoon at a time and kept tasting. I believe I eventually added a quarter cup. Everyone loved it! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

    • Super Mom No Cape
      July 3, 2019 6:38 pm

      I’m sooo glad you all loved it Kathleen! It’s in the top two of our family’s favorite salads.

  • Mary Anne
    July 28, 2017 5:22 pm

    mmm – this sounds wonderful!! I’m surprised it doesn’t have pineapple in it. Will have to give this one a try.

  • Leanna
    July 12, 2017 1:16 am

    This looks delicious. Pinning as pasta salad is perfect for summer and I have never seen a macaroni salad like this one before. Yum.

  • Amber Harrop
    July 11, 2017 3:07 pm

    I love a good pasta salad so I must try this recipe out

  • Maxine
    July 4, 2017 10:09 am

    It sounds delicious but what kind of vinegar did you Use?

    • Super Mom No Cape
      July 4, 2017 11:59 pm

      Hello Maxine,

      I replied via email but thought I’d reply here too in case someone else has the same question. I use regular white vinegar for the dressing. I’ve edited the ingredient list to reflect this. 🙂

  • mary
    July 3, 2017 3:18 pm

    I did enjoy that when we lived there. How about the hot malasadas that they sold from the trucks????

  • C. Gibson
    July 3, 2017 11:39 am

    Really great recipe, would be good for those summer cookouts.

  • Cathy
    May 9, 2013 10:57 pm


    I would love for you to share this and link up to my TGIF Link Party! The party is opens Thursday evening and closes at midnight on Wednesday night. Who knows, you just might be featured next week!

    Hugs, Cathy

  • Sandra :)
    September 2, 2011 4:03 pm

    I thought I was the only one that preps carrots in the food processor – in my house, “shredded” means “cut into tiny ballish chunks” – they work fine for carrot cake or anything requiring shreds, and it’s a fast and easy way to prepare them! Certainly my knuckles appreciate not being shredded on the box grater, LOL.

    The macaroni salad looks yummy – just add it to the list of recipes you’re going to prepare for when we (Nancy and I, LOL) come visit! 😉 You’re not back home yet, are you?

  • Robin (rsIslandCrafts)
    September 2, 2011 8:46 am

    Sounds delicious! I’m always looking for a different mac salad to try.

Comments are closed.