Let’s all be honest with one another, most deviled egg macaroni salads are pretty ugly, but I think I’ve mastered a fairly pretty one. Don’t you think?
Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad is a cold macaroni salad using deviled egg filling, pasta and finely minced vegetables. The perfect make ahead side dish for parties and potlucks!
Now you are asking yourself exactly what is a Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad…? Let me share this unique cold salad idea with you.
It is a typical macaroni salad but instead of just being tossed with mayonnaise and seasoning, the mayonnaise base is deviled egg filling complete with mustard, vinegar and smoked paprika.
PRO TIP: You can substitute mayonnaise with plain Greek yogurt, avocado or any mixture of the three.
It is a great recipe to use up hard boiled eggs after Easter or a few leftover deviled eggs after a party or you can even make specifically for a party or potluck.
Some folks use the terms macaroni salad and pasta salad interchangeably, but there is actually a difference.
Macaroni salad is made with a mayonnaise base and is generally sweet. Pasta salad is made with a vinegar or oil base and is generally a bit zesty from the vinegar.
Both, however, can use the same type and shape of noodles. Did you know there are over 500 shapes of pasta throughout the world? Each one was created with a very specific use or sauce in mind.
What are the best pastas for macaroni salad? You want something that has shape, body, nooks and crannies so the mayonnaise base has something to stick to.
Elbow macaroni are by far the most popular, but you can also use:
- Specialty shaped pasta
This is also one of the rare occurrences where using a dried, boxed pasta is preferably. Fresh pasta tastes fabulous when it is cooked fresh, but macaroni salads are going to sit for a while and the sauce they are tossed in will soak into the pasta. Dry pastas are better for this.
Chilled pasta also tossed better and gives you less of a chance for breakage. After boiling, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Make sure you toss the salad instead of stir it. One of the most common mistakes is a heavy stir and then all the ingredients muddy together making for an unappetizing macaroni salad.
You also want to cook your pasta all the way, not al dente. Typically pasta stays hot or is served with a hot sauce, resulting in further cooking. Here, we are chilling the pasta, which will result in it harding up a bit, so make sure you cook it until it is fully chewy.
I like to use a lot of vegetables in my cold macaroni salad. It adds color, flavor and texture to an otherwise monotone dish. Carrots, celery, red bell pepper and red onion are my favorites because of the color array, but don’t limit yourself.
Other flavors people adds are sweet pickles, relish, pickle juice and sour cream. I like to use Dijon mustard, but using variations of mustard is another way to make your macaroni salad unique.
Use a large mixing bowl. Bigger than you think you need and then transfer the mixture to a smaller serving bowl after combined.
Pro Tip: Use a mini food processor to evenly and quickly mince the vegetables.
Lastly, mix the creamy mayonnaise base before adding it to the rest of the pasta salad. Overmixing will make your pasta gummy and give the muddy effect. You also want to make sure the seasoning is a little over seasoned.
Also pay attention to the color of the egg yolks. Muddy egg yolks will result in muddy mac salad dressing.
Any chilled dish becomes slightly muted. You can either overcompensate when originally making it or correct the seasoning right before serving.
Generally just a little salt and pepper does the trick. Even if you make it just a few hours before serving, taste a bite to make sure.
Let’s review our tips for the best macaroni salad:
- Choose a noodle with lots of body and shape.
- Cook your macaroni noodles well, not al dente then drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Chill your noodles before combining.
- Use a colorful mix of minced vegetables.
- Mix the creamy mayonnaise base before adding to pasta.
- Use a large bowl (bigger than you think you need) and then toss your homemade macaroni salad opposed to stirring it.
- Chill until ready to serve.
- Correct seasoning, salt and pepper, before serving.
If you are making this from scratch and not using leftover hard boiled eggs or deviled eggs, you will need to choose how to make hard boiled eggs.
You can go the easiest route… which is buying them cooked and peeled at the store or your can make them yourself.
Hard boiled eggs can be the most difficult part of making this recipe. Lucky for you, I have 3 foolproof ways to make them! Here are instructions on how to make hard boiled eggs on the stove, in the oven and in the Instant Pot.
Here are a few more recipes you might enjoy:
- Classic Macaroni Salad
- Three Bean Salad
- Tortellini Salad Kabobs
- Italian Seafood Salad
- Pesto Chicken Salad
- Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
Tools for making Deviled Egg Pasta Salad:
Wood cutting board – wood won’t dull your knives like plastic and if treated properly, has natural antimicrobial properties.
Good knife – Global is my favorite! They are worth the price, I promise. I am kind of obsessed with them and store them tucked away so no one else can use them. Including hubby. Hands off my good stuff!
Mini Food Processor– I use this thing daily! It is by far my most used kitchen appliance, it is small and I throw all the parts into the dishwasher, well except the base and cord, of course!
Questions you might have about how to make macaroni salad:
Can I make macaroni salad in advance? You sure can! I wouldn’t make it more than 24 hours in advance, but it tastes best when the flavors have time to sit and marry.
What can I substitute for mayonnaise in macaroni salad? I use plain Greek yogurt, mashed avocado or any mixture of the three.
What is the best mayonnaise for macaroni salad? This is going to be a matter of personal preference, but I would say use a high quality mayonnaise they doesn’t have a high water content.
You want a creamy factor and cheapo brands won’t give this to you. You can even easily make your own mayonnaise.
Can I use Miracle Whip in macaroni salad? I don’t care for Miracle Whip in many recipes, I am going to say no… but you can use it if you prefer.
Can I free macaroni salad? I don’t suggest freezing any dish with a high mayonnaise base. Beyond the issues with foodborne illness, it will be watery and gross when defrosted.
Is macaroni salad dairy free? Macaroni salad is dairy free. Mayonnaise is commonly thought to be dairy, but isn’t. Mayonnaise is made from eggs, oil and salt, none of which are dairy.
Can you heat macaroni salad? I wouldn’t suggest heating macaroni salad. Mayonnaise is kinda gross that way.
How long can macaroni salad sit out at room temperature? The CDC recommends that macaroni salad and other similar mayonnaise based saladDeviled Egg Macaroni Salad is a cold macaroni salad using deviled egg filling, pasta and finely minced vegetables. The perfect make ahead side dish for parties and potlucks!
Enjoy and remember to come back and let us know how it was in the comments!
Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad
- 1 pound uncooked cavatappi pasta
- 6 eggs , hard boiled
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup carrots , finely minced
- 1/2 cup celery , finely minced
- 2 tablespoons red onion , finely minced
- 2 tablespoon red bell pepper , finely minced
- 1 tablespoon chives , minced
- smoked paprika , for garnish
- Heat water to boil pasta in a large pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a rolling boil and salt well.
- Cook pasta until fully done, going 1 minute longer than al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Drain well and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Cut hard boiled eggs in half, removing yolks and setting whites aside.
- Using a grate or fork, mash egg yolks in a small bowl until smooth.
- Slowly add mayonnaise, then white vinegar, Dijon mustard, ground white pepper, Kosher salt, smoked paprika and garlic powder.
- Chop egg whites until small pieces.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine chilled pasta egg yolk mixture, chopped egg whites, and minced carrot, celery, red onion, red bell pepper and chives.
- Toss until just mixed, do not stir.
- Top with additional smoked paprika.
- Cover and chill until ready to serve.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!