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Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Hawaiian macaroni salad is the perfect sweet, tangy and creamy side to go with your favorite Hawaiian barbecue plate.
4.60 from 5 votes

By Christie Vanover | Published April 17, 2022 | Last Updated June 13, 2022

bowl of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

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I live in Las Vegas, which is known as the 9th Island, because of all of the people who have transferred here from Hawaii, including my husband’s family. 

Fortunately, we are surrounded by delicious, authentic Hawaiian restaurants, like L&L Hawaiian BBQ and Aloha Kitchen, where I can order kalbi ribs, loco moco and chicken katsu whenever I want. But none of those dishes would be complete with out a scoopful of white sticky rice and mac salad. 

scoop of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad on plate


I lived in the South for most of my life, so macaroni salad to me usually had hard-boiled eggs, celery and sometimes peppers. 

Hawaiian macaroni salad, on the other hand, is much sweeter with shredded carrots and sweet Maui onions, and it’s super creamy because it’s made with a lot of mayonnaise.

bowl of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad by racks of ribs


Upon surveying many Islanders, I’ve been told that Best Foods Mayonnaise is the preferred mayo for Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. I’m also a fan of using Duke’s and Kewpie mayo for this recipe. 

You many not realize it, but Best Foods is only distributed by that name West of the Rocky Mountains. East of the Rocky Mountains, the mayo is labeled as Hellmann’s Mayonnaise. But they’re the same thing.

In addition to mayonnaise, I also use Miracle Whip in my recipe. Some people might find that controversial, but Miracle Whip is a perfect addition, because it’s sweeter than mayo, and actually has less oil and therefore fewer calories.

Plus, it’s the way my husband prefers it, and his palate hasn’t steered me wrong yet.

If you prefer to use just mayo, go for it. Swap out that 1/2 cup of Miracle Whip.

bowl of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad by racks of ribs


You can definitely make this salad ahead of time, and in fact it’s even better when you do. The secret is to hold back some of the mayo.

When you first cook the noodles and add the ingredients, the noodles will start to absorb the mayo. After it’s been in the fridge for an hour or so, it won’t be quite as creamy because of that absorption.

So right before you serve it, mix in a 1/2 cup of mayo, and you’ll bring all that creaminess back to life.

GCG Tips!

It’s best to overcook the noodles. That makes them more tender, so they absorb the mayo better.

The recipe calls for white vinegar, but you can also use apple cider vinegar.

Be sure to grate the carrots and onion. They’re added for subtle flavor, not texture. You don’t want to bite a big onion.

bottles of rubs on black background
bowl of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Hawaiian macaroni salad is the perfect sweet, tangy and creamy side to go with your favorite Hawaiian barbecue plate.
4.60 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 16 servings


  • 4 cups macaroni noodles uncooked
  • 6 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup miracle whip
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise divided
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp sweet onion shredded
  • 1/4 cup carrots shredded
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt


  • Cook the macaroni is salted boiling water. Overcook them just a bit, so they'll absorb flavors better. Drain and let cool for about 10 minutes, stirring occassionally, so they don't stick together.
  • While the pasta is cooking, microwave the vinegar and sugar for 1 minute to dissolve the sugar.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the Miracle Whip, 1 cup mayonnaise, milk and vinegar-sugar mixture.
  • Fold in the macaroni, carrots and onions. Season with salt.
  • Chill for at least 1 hour. Right before serving, stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of mayonnaise.


NOTE: If you don't like Miracle Whip, feel free to use all mayo.


Calories: 266kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 4gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 10gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 275mgPotassium: 85mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 366IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 18mgIron: 1mg

This estimate was created using an online nutrition calculator

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