Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

This week we are celebrating my little grandsons first birthday.  My daughter is part Tongan and her husband is Samoan.  So a Polynesian celebration is in order for this momentous birthday!

A common Polynesian dish is Hawaiian Macaroni Salad.  They are often served in a Hawaiian Plate Lunch.  Have you heard of them before?

Plate lunches are often made by individual families and then the word gets out through the neighborhood that plate lunches are for sale that day.  People in the neighborhood will go and buy their plate and their lunch is taken care of! Plus that helps financially support the family who makes them.

Typically Hawaiian plate lunches include two scoops of sticky Japanese-style white rice, a scoop of Hawaiian Macaroni Salad and then usually chicken but sometimes beef.    They look a little something like this:

The way to make the  macaroni salad is VERY specific in order for it to be considered authentic and luckily I have found just the right recipe!  I made this salad last weekend and asked my awesome son-in-law if it passed and he said that it did with flying colors.  So now I feel confident to make this salad again for the birthday party!

And I am also passing it on to you.  Here we go!

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups Best Foods Mayonnaise ONLY! Do not use Kraft Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip. In some areas, Hellman's Mayonnaise is the same as Best Foods
  • 1 cup whole milk or can also use 2% but not 1% milk
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring approxiately 4 quarts of water to a boil and add the macaroni. Cook until VERY soft, about 15 minutes.
  2. Drain the macaroni and return to the pot. Add the ¼ cup vinegar and stir until the macaroni is well coated. Let cool.
  3. While the macaroni is cooling, combine the mayo, milk and brown sugar. Mix well. Add any desired salt and pepper.
  4. Pour this mixture over the cooled macaroni and mix until well blended.
  5. After mixing, add in the green onions and carrots. I usually save a little of both to add as a garnish on top.
  6. This salad is best if chilled for 2-4 hours before serving.

Recipe adapted from I Believe I Can Fry.

So from our “Ohana” (family) to yours, we hope that you enjoy this Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe.

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Looking for some other salad ideas?  Check these out!

Strawberry Cheesecake Salad

Cold Rice Salad

Orange Tapioca Salad

This awesome post has been shared with Home Stories A to Z


  1. Marti Kent says:

    Aloha Debbie: Thanks for the Hawaii Mac Salad recipe. It looks fabulous, and I will be making it this weekend. I’m from Maui, Hawaii, so this recipe is dear to my heart! Mahalo Nui Loa and keep the Hawaiian recipes coming. Aloha from my Ohana to yours! PS: I love, love, your blog.


    • Hi Marti! Thanks so much for your sweet comment! With my daughter being Tongan and her husband being Samoan, we LOVE polynesian recipes around here! Two weeks ago we had a BBQ and I made TWO batches of this salad and there wasn’t ONE noodle left! haha


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