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5 from 2 votes

Easy Southern Macaroni Salad | With Shortcuts

Easy Southern Macaroni Salad is a classic side dish made with elbow macaroni and a creamy, tangy dressing. Although this make-ahead pasta salad is already simple, I give you plenty of shortcuts to make it even easier to serve at summer barbeques, cookouts, potlucks and picnics.
Course Salad, side
Cuisine American
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Chill time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 9 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 210kcal
Author Kathleen Phillips | GritsAndGouda.com


  • 1 8.5 ounce package fully cooked, Barilla ready pasta-Elbows* (or 8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni cooked according to package directions)
  • 1/2 cup frozen baby English peas, thawed (See notes for thawing tip)
  • 3 ounces cubed Cheddar cheese
  • 2 large boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped purple or sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or parsley (optional)

Tangy Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper


  • Cook elbow macaroni according to package directions whether you choose the Barilla ready pasta or uncooked macaroni. Be sure to drain the macaroni well if choosing to boil uncooked pasta.
    Let the pasta cool while chopping the salad ingredients. See my quick-chill tip in Notes.
  • Combine the remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Stir together Tangy Dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  • When the pasta is cool to the touch, add it to the salad ingredients and stir well. Stir in Tangy Dressing and stir gently until everything is coated.
  • Cover and let chill 1 hour to let the flavors meld and get the salad nice and cold before serving.


*Technically, you don't have to cook the Barilla ready pasta at all but I think that 1 minute of steaming in the microwave helps to soften the pasta a bit more than straight out of the bag.
To quick-chill the cooked pasta, spread it out on a small baking sheet and place in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes.
Pro Tip: To quickly thaw English peas, toss them in the boiling pasta water right before you pour it out to drain the pasta. This can be done if you choose to boil uncooked pasta.
This macaroni salad is easily doubled for a larger crowd.


Calories: 210kcal