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macaroni salad with peas, red pepper, and onion.
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Grandma's Macaroni Salad

A classic, creamy macaroni salad that still has just enough flavor, color, and crunch. This potluck-friendly side dish is easy to make and easy to love.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time7 mins
Chilling time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 27 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: classic macaroni salad, grandma's macaroni salad, side dish for potluck
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Katie Shaw


  • Large mixing bowl


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
  • 8 ounces elbow pasta (half. a box) slightly undercooked
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup diced fresh celery
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup diced red onion


  • Make the dressing. Combine the mayonnaise, sugar, salt, black pepper, and ground mustard in a small mixing bowl.
  • Add the pasta and veggies. Place the cooked, cooled pasta in a large mixing bowl and pour the. Dressing on top. Add the veggies and stir well.
  • Let the macaroni chill for at least 2 hours. Serve cold.


You can, of course, substitute any color onion or bell pepper in this recipe.
The peas do not need to be thawed before adding them. 
I cook the macaroni for 1 minute less than the box recommends.