Tangy and Creamy Macaroni Salad

It may look like a standard macaroni salad, but this recipe delivers a tanginess and flavorful bite that elevates the backyard staple beyond the norm. [Photographs: Joshua Bousel]

If you want nothing more than heavy, mayo-laden pasta, the ubiquitous deli macaroni salad is for you. This recipe, however, takes the standard and gives it a depth and tang that makes it stand out in a crowd.

Why this recipe works:

  • Boiling the pasta until very tender allows it to absorb the vinegar and dressing better; it firms up once cold so won't taste overcooked.
  • Sour cream, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire, and hot sauce give this dressing more depth than the standard macaroni salad.
  • Celery, shallots, and scallions give a crunchy texture.

Tangy and Creamy Macaroni Salad

About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 8 to 10
Active time:25 minutes
Total time:35 minutes plus 1 hour chilling
This recipe appears in: How to Make Extra-Tangy, Extra-Creamy Macaroni Salad


  • For the Dressing:
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce, preferably Texas Pete
  • 3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • For the Salad:
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 4 scallions, finely sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. 1

    For the dressing: Whisk together all ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside.

  2. 2

    For the Salad: In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until very tender, about 15 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Add vinegar and stir until completely absorbed. Let pasta stand until cool, about 10 minutes.

  3. 3

    Add dressing and stir until well coated. Stir in celery, shallots, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.


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