Authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe

If you’ve had the pleasure of tasting Hawaiian macaroni salad in the local Hawaiian barbecue joint, then you’re aware that it’s among the most distinctive and interesting side dishes you can order. The Hawaiian macaroni salad recipe is sweet and tangy with the big macaroni noodles which is a common feature at these establishments. This traditional Hawaiian dish is a cheap appetizer to serve with your next meal. It is delicious with a spicy and delicious chicken Katsu as well as Hawaiian garlic shrimp.

What exactly is Hawaiian Style macaroni salad?

What’s the proof? The only thing I can think of is making sure that it’s dipped in plenty of mayonnaise! Different from other varieties Mac salads, this particular Hawaiian dish is a great example of the fat and flavorful mayonnaise that covers the pasta.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe
Classic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe

Mac salad isn’t complete without the sweet and tangy yet delicious mayo spice that glistens over the luscious macaroni pasta. If you pair it with other food items in a meal the mac salad shines. This dish from Hawaii is delicious fresh and is so simple that I like to cook the dish at home. This easy recipe will make an authentic Hawaiian macaroni salad in just 15 minutes.

What is Hawaiian style macaroni salad?

Lunch on plates is considered a typical Hawaiian dish that was developed in the 1880s with various plantations in the Hawaiian islands. A lot of the workers came from other regions of the Pacific such as Japan and took bento boxes for lunch.

Sometimes leftover rice was used to supplement most meals because it was inexpensive and was served with whatever meat or side dishes they could pay for. In in the early 1920s, street sellers began selling these bento boxes for sale to the public. This is where the plate lunch idea originates. It was later believed the macaroni salad had been incorporated into the meal as a alternative to plain rice and the meaty and delicious sides.

What is the reason Hawaiians take macaroni and cheese salad?

The roots of mac salad in Hawaii have several long-running stories, but they involve non-natives of Europe travelling (and perhaps having plants within Hawaii) and also introducing potato salad. Then, maconi was introduced to replace the potatoes, making it cheaper and then the dish became mac salad.

Mac salad is often referred to as an indigenous Hawaiian dish (and isn’t a native Hawaiian food) since it wasn’t developed in Hawaii however, it was heavily influenced by other foods. Similar to other dishes such as Spam Musubi which was inspired in part by American and Japanese food items. Today it is possible to count on a bowl of macaroni and salad with every meal you choose and what’s not to love? It’s loaded with fat mayonnaise, luscious macaroni, sweet and tangy seasoning and last but certainly not least, it’s fairly inexpensive to prepare.

Another reason to enjoy this traditional Hawaiian pasta dish is that it’s a great side dish to serve with the basic white rice and the marinated and succulent meats of plates of lunches. Mac salad is the perfect semi-palate cleanser or perhaps a palate-energizing food when you’re eating a lunch plate.

What’s included in this Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe?

All you require to make a fantastic Hawaiian macaroni salad recipe is macaroni The Best Food’s (or Hellman’s brand) mayonnaise as well as apple cider vinegar, sugar onions, sugar, and salt. One thing I love about macaroni salad is the dimensions of pasta. I prefer larger macaroni since it’s akin to the one L&L Hawaiian Barbecue uses (however the mac salads that are served on Oahu tend to be the size macaroni). This is a delightful size to eat, and I love the silky texture of the macaroni when it is paired with the mayonnaise spice.

Hawaiian style macaroni salad
Hawaiian style macaroni salad

In earlier times, many Hawaiians were able to make the mayonnaise themselves at home, however it’s not always practical, so I use high-quality mayonnaise. A lot of Hawaiian restaurants make use of Best Foods or Hellman’s (and definitely not Miracle Whip or mac salad, which won’t taste as good).

Classic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe

The fatty and plump Macaroni Hawaiian salad a low-cost and quick recipe to serve with a flavorful and tasty barbecue or rice dish
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Hawaiian
Servings 4
Calories 356 kcal


  • Pot
  • Strainer
  • vegetable peeler
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Mixing bowl



  • 140 g (⅔ c) Best Foods mayonnaise or Hellman's
  • ¼ fl oz (½ tbsp) apple cider vinegar
  • 7 g (1 ½ tsp) white granulated sugar
  • 40 g (3 tbsp) yellow onion (⅛ medium sized) minced
  • 21 g (¼ c) carrot (½ medium sized) cut into thin strips


  • 64 fl oz (8 c) filtered water for boiling
  • 115 g (1 ¼ c) dried large macaroni
  • 6 g (2 tsp) salt for seasoning


  • Make the dressing in the bowl of a large size, combine the dressing ingredients with a spatula or spoon to combine all the ingredients evenly. Set aside.
  • In a pot, mix the salt and water, and bring to a simmer on high temperatures.
  • Once it reaches a boil Add the macaroni, and reduce the heat to ensure a steady boil, but not until the sauce is spraying all over. Cook for 8 to 9 minutes. Check the pasta every 30 seconds after 7 minutes to ensure it's not overcooked. When the pasta is tender but not mushy, remove the pasta from the water but do not rinse the pasta.
  • After about 30 seconds of letting the pasta cool and then add it directly into the salad dressing.
  • Mix until pasta has been coated.Taste test the dish and add salt if you are satisfied. Serve right away or chill to serve cold.
Keyword Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe, how to make hawaiian macaroni salad, mac salad

One Response

  1. Ellen Deidre Daviau August 22, 2023

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