Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Best Macaroni Salad Ever

I know The Pioneer Woman is a brand. I get that she has to make over the top claims about things because people expect her to have the best of the best recipes. That's fine. She's obviously doing quite well for herself. But is her claim that this is The Best Macaroni Salad Ever actually valid? Ehhh...not necessarily.

I rarely make macaroni salad at home but whenever we've bought it at the store I remember why I dislike it so much. See, there was a Jewish deli in my hometown growing up that made THE BEST (and yes, I stick by that statement) macaroni salad I'd ever tasted. It was simple, not too gloppy from mayo and perfectly seasoned. Sadly, the deli closed its doors a decade ago and I have yet to find macaroni salad that's as good. Now this recipe is completely different from any macaroni salad I've had. As SP pointed out, there's no carrot or celery. Instead you have olives and roasted red peppers. But I figured it was worth a shot.

I cut the recipe in half since it was just the two of us and that was perfect for dinner (including going back for seconds and thirds) plus lunch the next day. I'd say half the recipe makes 6 servings. I'm not sure what kind of pickles she was recommending so I just used the hamburger dill slices we had in the fridge. I'm sure whatever pickle you like would work just fine. I reworked the directions below because nothing irks me quite like a recipe ingredient list that doesn't go in the order of the instructions.

We both enjoyed this, especially the fact that it wasn't overly mayo-ed, but it wasn't quite what either of us were looking for in the perfect macaroni salad. I think I'll keep the base (mayo, pickles, vinegar) and swap the red peppers and olives for carrot and celery. I'll report back since I envision plenty of grilling opportunities this summer.

The Best Macaroni Salad Ever
As Seen on The Pioneer Woman

4 cups elbow macaroni
3 whole roasted red peppers, chopped
1/2 cup black olives, chopped fine
1/2 cup diced pickles (I used dill, any type would work)
3 green onions, sliced (white and dark green parts)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Plenty of black pepper
1/4 cup milk (more if needed)
Splash of pickle juice

Cook the macaroni in lightly salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool, then put in a large bowl. Add the roasted red pepper, olives, pickles, and green onions. In a small bowl, mix together mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Splash in enough milk to make it pourable. Splash in pickle juice for extra flavor. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add dressing to the macaroni and toss to coat. Add more of any ingredient you'd like

Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Stir and serve.
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  1. I wondered about this recipe when I saw it on her blog a few days ago. I love olives, but was unsure about them in this salad. Where we live it is peas and cubed cheddar :)

    1. How funny to see what's normal in different part of the country. This is good, we ate all of it (even the leftovers) but I wasn't in love with it.


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