Learn how to make the best macaroni salad with eggs, peas and tomatoes, all tossed in a creamy mayo dressing that's quick and simple to prepare.
An easy pasta salad recipe to take to your next potluck, BBQ or summer party!
If there is one thing I look forward to every summer, it's got to be creamy macaroni salad!
You'll love this pasta salad because it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare, no fancy ingredients are needed and it's perfect for feeding a crowd.
More easy side dishes: crockpot mac and cheese / greek pasta salad / scalloped potatoes / green chili corn casserole / green beans with bacon / roasted rutabaga
For the salad
- elbow pasta
- frozen peas
- bell pepper
- red onion
For the dressing
- sour cream
How to make it
Here are five basic steps to make macaroni salad with eggs.
- Boil the pasta and the eggs.
- Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse with cold water to cool down the pasta.
- Mix the dressing.
- Chop the vegetables, basil and hard boiled eggs.
- Toss everything together, cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
I love to make a double batch for easy lunches throughout the week!
Tips for success
Frozen peas taste better in cold pasta recipes than canned peas because of their firm texture and fresh flavor. The peas can be added frozen or thawed as you are mixing the salad ingredients.
To keep your macaroni salad from getting watery, make sure to use a tomato with a low water content. The most common and readily available variety is the Roma tomato.
Do not over-cook the pasta. When this pasta salad is first mixed, the dressing may appear to be on the watery side. As the it chills in the fridge, the macaroni will absorb some of this liquid, adding moisture to further soften the pasta.
If you like to use Miracle Whip instead of regular mayonnaise, omit the vinegar and sugar from the dressing ingredients. Miracle Whip contains these ingredients so there is no need for them.
If you'd like to keep your pasta from absorbing the liquid from the dressing, place the drained pasta in the fridge separately from the rest of the mixed ingredients. After 4 hours, toss in the pasta and serve.
If you've had trouble with the dressing not sticking to the pasta in other mayo based recipes, try out this trick if you've got extra time.
Drain the pasta, but DO NOT rinse with cold water. Allow the pasta to cool completely before tossing it with the other ingredients. The starches on the outside of the pasta are sticky which will help the dressing stick to the pasta.
To keep your macaroni salad from being bland, make sure to taste the dressing for seasoning before tossing it with the salad ingredients. If the salad is still too bland after it's been chilled it probably needs a little more salt and pepper.
How long can pasta salad sit out? A mayo-based pasta salad can sit out for up to 2 hours or 1 hour if the temperature is over 90°F (32°C). You CAN get food poisoning from cold pasta salad if left in warm temperature for too long or if it's not stored properly.
How to store it
Because this macaroni salad can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days, it's a convenient recipe to make ahead of time. I always like to make it the night before serving to allow the flavors to come together.
How do you keep the macaroni salad from sticking together in the fridge? Simply give the pasta a quick toss to help loosen up the dressing before serving.
Can I freeze pasta salad with mayonnaise? Yes, you can! Divide leftovers into freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 4 months.
When you are ready to eat, allow the macaroni salad to thaw in the fridge overnight. Give the pasta a stir before serving and add a small amount of mayo if the pasta salad seems too dry.
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- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
Pasta Salad Ingredients
- 8 oz. elbow noodles (half of a box)
- ½ cup diced red onion
- 1 cup diced Roma tomatoes
- ½ cup diced green bell pepper
- ½ cup diced celery
- ¼ cup chopped basil
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 hard boiled eggs
- Remove the peas from the freezer and set aside.
- Boil the pasta to the "al dente" stage according to package directions. Drain the pasta into a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside
- Bring a small pot of water to boil and hard-boil the eggs for 12 minutes. Place the eggs into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Once they are cooled, peel the eggs and cut them into bite size pieces. Set aside.
- While the pasta and eggs are cooking, mix the dressing ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Dice the red onions, tomatoes, bell pepper, celery and basil.
- Add the diced vegetables, peas, eggs and pasta to the bowl of dressing and toss to combine. Taste for seasonings and add more if needed. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge to chill for a minimum of 4 hours.
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