Macaroni Salad for a Crowd


We had a small gathering tonight for Bubby’s birthday…10 adults and 10 kids.  As I said earlier, I was bound and determined to keep it simple.  Keep it real.

I was bound and determined to provide a meal that was scrumptious using what I had on hand!

The party was perfect!  And so was this salad!

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Macaroni Salad for a Crowd

Yield – 24 – 30 servings

Preparation Time – 15 minutes (+2 hours to chill in fridge)

Cooking Time – 10 minutes


  • 2 16 oz. boxes of elbow macaroni noodles ($1.94)
  • 2 carrots ($.20)
  • 2 green peppers ($.75 each)
  • 1/2 large red onion ($.30)
  • 1 cup light mayonnaise ($.50)
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice ($.20)
  • 4 Tbsp vinegar ($.20)
  • 4 Tbsp sugar ($.10)
  • Salt and cracked pepper, to taste


  • In a LARGE saucepan, bring water to boil and cook both boxes of pasta noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water. Add to large serving bowl.
  • Peel and chop carrots. Seed and dice green peppers. Chop red onion.
  • Toss pasta noodles with vegetables.
  • Whisk mayonnaise, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar and salt and pepper. Pour over pasta and vegetables. Mix well.
  • Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or until completely chilled.
  • Serve chilled Macaroni Salad to a Crowd.

Cost $4.94

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  1. says

    THIS is the ONLY macaroni salad I like! I could eat bowl-full after bowl-full of it. I’ll have to remember to make it once my peppers are ready. I don’t think my recipe calls for the lemon juice, and I like to use red wine vinegar, but I’m sure yours tastes almost the same enough to call it so :)

  2. Mary W says

    Seems like a great recipe. Most macaroni salads have too much mayo for me. The lemon juice and vinegar solve that problem. Would be very flexible depending on what’s ripe in your garden…Cherry tomatoes, chives, peas, etc. With the addition of tuna or chicken could be an easy main dish for a crowd on a hot day.

  3. dawn says

    sounds good! i am curious, though – is that ALL you served? just the macaroni salad and the cake? nothing else? and if so, folks were happy? i really would like to know – i have a tendency to over supply the food tables at parties. . . chips, salsas, dips, side dishes, several main dish choices, etc. . . .

    • says

      LOL! No Dawn! I served grilled pork chops, honey mustard chicken wings and some sausage. Along with chips and salsa, baked beans, watermelon, the macaroni salad…cake and ice cream! It was the perfect amount of food…not overdone and a variety enough for everyone!

  4. says

    Erin, thanks for posting this macaroni salad for a crowd. I have eaten other people’s macaroni salad but I can never make my taste good. I guess maybe I’ll stick with my potato salad making, which everyone likes. I’m making one that will serve 35 people for a friend’s daughter’s wedding buffet reception. I’ll post photos, if I can, on my new site. I’ll try this recipe of yours out soon. I’m sure it’s good. I remember making my kids birthday cakes. I got creative. I remember one I made to take to school when Megan was 9 and we were moving, also in Dec, close to Christmas. I frosted the cake with chocolate icing, that I probably made myself from scratch, and then wrote 9 in MnMs. I remember that one. Since we have MnMs around, we use them frequently for decorating. I’m an MnMaholic! :) Take care and stop by my blog as I’ll have new blog soon.

  5. Tinalou says

    I can’t wait to try this!!! I have never made macaroni salad (but I recently tried to to make mac N cheese which was a flop…) Anyway I digress, I have been using Mueller’s coupons in conjunction with my stores’s buy one get one free Meuller’s pasta sales and now have bunches of free elbow noodles (which as I stated earlier I am unable to use for mac N cheese – since I am obviously no good at making mac N cheese). I am hoping that my skills at making macaroni salad are way better than my mac N cheese skills – wish me luck!!!

  6. Amanda says

    Erin CONGRATS on the newbi site! This macaroni salad looks delish! I am going to make this on Friday for a birthday we are celebrating.

  7. Patty Lady says

    Erin. this is just what I need for a dinner for church. I will need to prepare it ahead of time and I think that this is just perfect. Something a little different for the same “old” stuff furnished for a funeral dinner, yet still in the comfort/familiar food group. :) Thanks!

  8. Patty Lady says

    This is perfect! Thanks. I am needing a salad for a small dinner at church this next Tuesday and I am going to give this a try. Still in the comfort food/familiar food catagory, yet a little different. I was wondering why I’d bought elbow mac. on sale. Now I know!

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