Hawaiian-Style Mac Salad

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One thing you are sure to find on every Hawaiian food truck and Hawaiian menu is Mac Salad. It is a staple in the island cuisine and so incredibly easy to make. What I love most is that almost every where you go it will be very close to the same, as it is a simple recipe. The big difference between Hawaiian-Style Mac Salad and other macaroni salads is that it typically does not have mustard in the dressing. Nor does it have much in the way of add-ins like veggies – except for one!

Hawaiian-Style Mac Salad

I usually say use whatever short pasta you want for a pasta salad, but this one really needs elbow macaroni to be the classic Hawaiian-Style Mac Salad that you want. I like to use Barilla brand specifically because it has sort of ridges that help hold more dressing on the noodle. Any brand will do, as long as it’s elbows!

Hawaiian-Style Mac Salad

When I say minced carrots, I mean it. You don’t want to puree them or anything, just cut them as small as you can but still retain a bit of carrot. I started with shredded carrots and then chopped them with my best chef’s knife to chop it up into bits. You also want to go straight into the bowl with the carrots after cutting them so that any liquid that comes out will seep into the dressing and not the cutting board.

Hawaiian-Style Mac Salad

I made this mac salad to create my own fakeaway Hawaiian plate at home – just like the one you get from the food truck! So I served it up with some slow cooker Huli Huli Chicken and rice. The chicken has sweet (from pineapple) and spicy (from Sriracha) components that meld with the mac salad so completely it is a perfect bite.

Huli Huli Chicken & Hawaiian-Style Mac Salad

Now Let’s Get Cookin’!


Hawaiian-Style Mac Salad

The classic mayo based mac salad you find on your Hawaiian lunch plate!
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Hawaiian
Keyword carrots, mac salad, mayo, Pasta Salad
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cool Time 2 hours
Servings 6


  • 1 lb Elbow Macaroni
  • 2 cup Mayo
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 cup Carrots minced
  • ½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper coarse ground
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder


  • Start water boiling for pasta.
  • Once boiling, add pasta cook as directed on package. Drain in colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Transfer to a bowl and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Add remaining ingredients to bowl and stir well to combine. Cover and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Combine pasta and dressing. Cover and let chill at least another hour before serving. Will keep in an airtight container up to 4 days.

Estelle Forrest’s self-published first cookbook – Homemade on a Weeknight: A Family Cookbook – was created after a lot of playing around in the kitchen. You can purchase your own copy here:


Estelle self-published a second cookbook – Burgers on a Weeknight – recently. It has over 60 delicious burger creations! You can purchase your own copy here:


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2 thoughts on “Hawaiian-Style Mac Salad

  1. yoongpauline – Welcome to Beautiful Voyager. I'm Pauline, author and owner of Beautiful Voyager, a food recipe and travel blog where I share my favourite recipes and travel stories.
    yoongpauline says:

    Oh carrots add a crunch to the creamy salad, definitely a great idea to add, not to mention it’s full of antioxidant! Thanks for participating in Fiesta Friday party which I’m co-hosting this week. I can’t find the link to Fiesta Friday and http://www.beautifulvoyager.com, but I’m sure you’ll add them soon. Hope to see you soon! ~ Pauline @ BeautifulVoyager.com

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